Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ten Questions with Lisa Ingegneri of The Lafayette Shoppe 

Lisa Ingegneri (photo: Lisa Ingegneri)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Lisa Ingegneri.

What is your job title and description? 

I am the owner of The Lafayette Shoppe. The Lafayette Shoppe celebrates the legacy of the Marquis de Lafayette by providing Lafayette-themed souvenirs to local, state and national park gift shops.   

Why did you feel compelled to open a Lafayette-themed business?
After years of searching for a souvenir bust of the Marquis de Lafayette and other Lafayette merchandise and not finding any that was historically based, I decided to create The Lafayette Shoppe to bring these historical souvenirs to market myself. Lafayette is one of the greatest founders of this country and his legacy deserves to be more well known.
Creating visual souvenirs is a great way to bring Lafayette’s image into our daily consciousness. But, why now? Well, in 2024-2025, America celebrates the 200th anniversary of the return of the Marquis de Lafayette to America in what was known at the time as Lafayette’s Triumphal Tour, or Lafayette’s Farewell Tour. It was 1824 when Lafayette came back to America for the nation’s 50th birthday. He toured all 24 states and was met with a raging fanfare that would be impossible to repeat today! Entire towns came out to greet him, archways were constructed at the entrances to towns; people made plates, mugs, gloves, scarves, coins and ribbons with Lafayette’s image on them.
This was one of the first superstar fan merchandise souvenir moments the nation had and many of these souvenirs survived and are in museums today. To celebrate Lafayette in 2024 and 2025 and then for Lafayette to be present in 2026 as the nation celebrates its 250th birthday (the semiquincentennial), made it the perfect time to create these products.
(photo: The Lafayette Shoppe, LLC)

Who do you interact/work with regularly? 

I regularly interact with historical societies and museums in an effort to promote The Lafayette Shoppe’s products to their societies for fundraising or to their gift shops for sales.   

How do you/your organization interact with the local community? 

Locally, we aim to interact with the museums and historical societies on the Peninsula that are keeping the history of the Revolution and the legacy of Lafayette alive.   

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about? 

The fact that I am a fluent French speaker has helped me tremendously to learn more about Lafayette, travel to historical sites in France and interact with French historians in my quest to learn more about Lafayette.   

How do you define success?   

I define success on multiple levels. There is a concrete kind of success defined by accomplishing a task, like making a sale, or producing a new product. But the kind of success that matters to me the most is defined by how much I am living as my true self with honesty, integrity and authenticity. I know that if I am succeeding at those intangible things, I will always be a successful person whether or not the outward aspects of success can be tallied.   

What is your most successful accomplishment to date? 

My company produced a beautiful reproduction souvenir bust of the Marquis de Lafayette that is available now for sale both wholesale and retail on our website! This was a two-year-long process and the results are beautiful! The fact that this high-quality souvenir bust is available on the market now is an accomplishment I am very proud of!   

How long have you lived/worked in the Historic Triangle? 

I have called the Historic Triangle home for 19 years! For 16 of those years, I was a French teacher in our local high schools. In 2021, I left the teaching profession and started The Lafayette Shoppe.   

What is your favorite part of being in the Historic Triangle? 

I love how this region is rich in American history. It is a very lively and dynamic place to live. I also love the proximity to the rivers and the beach.     

What is the next step in your journey? 

2024-2026 will be big years for celebrating the history of the America. 2024-2025 is the 200th anniversary of the return of the Marquis de Lafayette to America in 1824-1825 and I am supporting the American Friends of Lafayette in promoting the Lafayette200 events. After that, in 2026, it is the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and America 250. 2026 is a big birthday year for the USA. During this time, we will experience a presidential election, and there is no better time for Americans to learn about and understand the founding principles, documents and events of this nation’s history. The Lafayette Shoppe is working to be actively providing Lafayette products to gift shops and to the public through our website. The goal is to keep Lafayette’s legacy in American history alive; to underscore the role of the French in helping us win independence; and to commemorate Lafayette’s life-long fight for American ideals of freedom and democracy for all.    

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people that live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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