31 10 / 2012

Think a classic LBD (little black dress).  Like the LBD, Cowhide can complement the bedroom, boardroom, or like at Turbine, our very own Boutique “living room”.  You can even throw it over a couch!

PHOTO: Cowhide ($628) over sofa in Lisa’s Annapolis Valley home.

From Vogue magazine, to Architectural Digest, Cowhide has recently seen a surge in fashion, from belts and vests; cowhides are quickly becoming one of the most talked about trends this season. Depending on their color, each cowhide reflects a different environment. Whether it’s old worldly and quaint, trendy and hip; whether you’re shy, or bold; or whether you’re more handbag than home décor, Cowhide is the designer’s choice.

PHOTO: Cowhide Sam-Satchel $148

Turbine is introducing its latest collection of Handbags, including our classic Sam Satchel made from Genuine Cowhide, as well as Lisa’s newest design: Cowhide Shoulder Bag.

PHOTO: Cowhide box-bottom shoulder bag $228

PHOTO: Cowhide rug ($628) in front of Lisa’s fireplace

A cowhide rug is probably one of hottest trends in homes today, being sold at some of the most luxurious stores around the world.  Cowhides add warmth, texture, luxury, and sense of play and fun to a room and you might even say eco-friendly to the max!  We are proud to be carrying a select few in our Turbine boutique at Bishop’s Landing and as with all of our genuine leather products, our cowhide rugs are by-products of the food industry, and therefore contributing to sustainability, with style!

See you soon at the boutique!

mooooo! (I just did that! haha.)

xo Elise

26 8 / 2012

Hello dear friends,

Wow, It’s hard to believe it is already the end of August! What a summer it has been for Turbine!

On July 26th we held an intimate fundraiser for the Turbine India Project at the Halifax Club, sponsored by LifeQuest Financial, True North DJ Services, and Dr. Sura Hadad Family Dentistry. It was a fabulous evening full of love as well as a teaser fashion show of some of the pieces from our latest collection inspired by Lisa’s recent trip to India.  As a result of Lisa’s travels to India, the Turbine team has been busy organizing a fund for young women to attend college in Hyderabad, India.  For as little as $140 we are able to provide room, board, and tuition for a student for an entire year!  The fundraiser was an absolute success!

The Halifax Club served us delightful Indian inspired hors d’oeuvres, a belly dancer, and we toasted to the success of Turbine’s helping women abroad. 
It’s of no surprise that Lisa created this fund, a branch of the Turbine Fund, with the mandate to support women through education, support and example. It is very rewarding for all involved in the project to see that so little can make such a difference. Considering the rapid growth and industrialization of India, many are often left behind and it is a phenomenal opportunity to be able to help these bright young women achieve educational success. Their education will then in turn support their families and communities, it is a cycle. 
I’m sharing a few fun images of the generous and gracious friends that shared this evening with us! Thank you to all who attended.
We are busy preparing for our annual Fall Showcase! I am looking forward to sharing the details for the event very soon…
With gratitude, Namaste.
Elise xo

19 6 / 2012

This quote has been posted at my cutting table at the Turbine Studio since 1999. The apple trees are my view out the studio window. The orchard and this quote have inspired me to press forward many times over the years when the challenges of entrepreneurship temporarily seem to outweigh the thrill of a creative, fulfilling, and independent life. Follow your dreams… I’m so glad that I did!

This quote has been posted at my cutting table at the Turbine Studio since 1999. The apple trees are my view out the studio window. The orchard and this quote have inspired me to press forward many times over the years when the challenges of entrepreneurship temporarily seem to outweigh the thrill of a creative, fulfilling, and independent life. Follow your dreams… I’m so glad that I did!


27 5 / 2012

Thirteen years ago in 1999 when I was 29 (ok, do the math…) Turbine was a thriving business in Calgary with a 3rd store opening, a design & production studio (with seamless walls for in-house photo-shoots!), and I had a gig as industry expert on an international TV show. I had just been listed on Western Living Magazine’s prestigious “Top Designers List” and had developed a loyal following in just over a year of launching my own independent label.  Life was so busy with new opportunities at every turn.  During those crazy early months, our kids, Sam-6, Sarah-18 months, were being dressed each morning and tucked in each night by our wonderful nanny, Anke.  The trouble with it was that my life lacked balance.  Too much, too soon….

In an effort to re-prioritize, Carey & I felt it was best to move our family out of the concrete-jungle to rural Nova Scotia to enjoy forts in old apple trees, visits to the lake, and pet-ownership.  This is when the transition of the Turbine mini-empire and the Drader-Murphy family to the Annapolis Valley occurred. 

We started by keeping things close to home by purchasing a 4 acre orchard in Falmouth and rezoning and renovating the barn on the property as the Turbine Studio.  It began as the production/showroom entertaining clients and shopping parties for numerous groups and supplying a growing list of wholesale accounts.  A few years later we added the Turbine Cafe.  The goal was to start opening stores again after transition year 10. 

In Dec. 2008 the retail operation at the Studio moved and the Turbine Boutique at Bishop’s Landing opened, doubling in size a year later, opening doors for opportunities. I traveled with the Turbine collection to the celebrity gift suites at TIFF, The Golden Globes, and the Cannes Film Festival and sourced fabric in France and Vienna.  I traveled alone to India where the Turbine Fund provided healthy biscuits and scholarships to women and children in the villages. 

To meet the demand of the waterfront store, the production equipment took over the studio.  Now after catching up to fulfill the demand at the Turbine Boutique we are able to expand our production and provide our full product and service offering again in Falmouth.  We’ve renovated and are reopening the Turbine Studio to the public, fully stocked with our entire collection of clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and shoes!

We’re so excited to be coming full circle and publicly opening our Turbine Studio during our Grand RE-Opening Celebration!  All are invited to join us on Friday June 1st at 7pm at 1901 Highway 1, Falmouth. (Take Exit 7 on the 101 and turn right at the 3-way intersection.  We’re directly across from Pothier Motors.)  We have some exciting surprises and will be making an announcement…. It’s going to be quite a party!

With Gratitude,

Lisa & the Turbine Team

06 5 / 2012

Turbine India Project - Update Eight.

Shopping for silk and traditional handmade mud bangles in the 400+ year old market at Charminar in Hyderabad, India.  These beautiful bracelets are now at the Turbine Boutique in Halifax!


02 5 / 2012

Turbine India Project - Update Seven.

While visiting Imamguda for a free Health Camp for the villagers, I ventured to discover a temple with women and girls sitting quietly in the shade.  With the help of bodyguard (and dear friend!) Zishan, I asked if they would mind if I took a picture of them in their beautiful sarees.  Not only did they say “yes”, they asked me to photograph them individually!  So that’s what I did.  Although we spoke not one word of a common language, we communicated friendship and community.

23 4 / 2012

We visited the village of Pochampalli, near Hyderabad, India, which is famous for yarn tie-dying and hand weaving. Although the old world techniques are still in practice after five hundred years, the number of skilled craftspeople is dropping drastically due to mass production by the mills.  Many families are struggling as the 5th and 6th generation trained in this skill with nothing else to fall back on.

The following photos illustrate the process from silk strand to finished garment…

The weaver sits in a hollowed out area in the concrete at waist-height.

The patterns for a silk saree are hand drawn on graph paper before yarns can be tied off and dyed.

The tie-dye process…

Tie-dye finished and left to dry.

Several looms prepared and ready for weaving silk sarees.

This is the yarn-dye “laboratory”, outside of the work space.

A block away at the shop, viewing the handwoven silk sarees and cotton scarves. I selected my saree fabric! (Stay tuned!)

To support the families of this trade and help sustain this dying art, verify that you are buying product from a source that supports hand-woven, fairly traded goods.  You will also own a piece of a centuries-old Indian tradition. 


23 4 / 2012

On the evening of April 20th we visited an orphanage in Hyderabad to surprise the 50 children there with a cake.  We pretended that we were celebrating a “surprise birthday party” for everyone!  The children were so excited when they recognized Satish Sikha’s Healthy Kids Happy Kids Foundation car pull up to the door.  Several little ones ran our to greet us and huddled so close it became difficult to climb the two flights of stairs to the concrete room that they spend their days in. 

Once upstairs, they sat quietly in neat rows of plastic garden chairs, youngest at the front, eldest at the back.  Although they knew that the bag on the table in front of them was certain to hold a treat for them they remained seated quietly until asked to each stand and tell their name and grade, or “class” as they refer to it in India.  Once everyone had done so, they sang us some songs, prompted by Satish and Zishan.  My eyes welled with tears as they sang so joyfully amidst such stark surroundings.  When they started chanting for me to sing for them I finally gave in and sang a song from my childhood… “gentle breeze, blowing through the trees, and a meadow filled with flowers showing me your gentleness… how I love you…”

Written on the cake was “We love you Lisa”.

It was my honour to serve the cake.  The children were so polite and patiently waited until it was their turn to be served; not one moved from his or her seat. 


It was on this very day that my dad, who lost his battle with cancer in 2004, would’ve turned 64 and I couldn’t help but feel his presence in the room with us.  He loved children and they were drawn to his gentle giant stature and sparkling blue eyes.  I imagined him enjoying a piece of “his” birthday cake with a couple of little ones perched on his lap.  He would’ve wanted to rescue them all from such poverty.  I sat with my cake and my thoughts and fought to stay composed.

As we pulled away in the car Satish pointed to the 3 story building that was the orphanage and told me that the children were contained on the floor we saw with a main room for school and play and 2 small rooms that slept boys in one and girls in the other.  The other two floors house a call center to solicit donations from all over the world.  I was also told that the owner of the orphanage lives in a mansion across town.  It’s a sad reality in the third world and a lesson to us all to research before we donate overseas, and better yet, spend some time visiting firsthand and determine how we can help these children directly.



For more pictures visit the facebook album here:


18 2 / 2012

Friday was a busy media day with our first appearance on CTV Morning Live Ottawa! We spent the morning at the CTV Studios getting our models fitted, and then off to hair and makeup and finally it was time for the segments!


Hair + Makeup with the models! Wild!

Full Turbine! Gorgeous!

CTV Set!

Lisa on CTV Morning Live Ottawa!

Asymmetric Dress + OBI Belt + Leather Tote

And the iPad Case!!

The new Silk Print Bubble Top

Turbine power suit. (There had been a cooking segment previous to us..looked really tasty.)

And once we wrapped this segment at the CTV Studios, we rushed off to the next tv appearance where I spoke on behalf of Turbine, in french, for an interview about Turbine in Ottawa and the partnership between Ottawa Fashion Week and Winterlude!

But no pictures! Ha. I can’t take photos while I’m on camera!

Elise xo

03 11 / 2011