The Story Of Ian

A Russian born French Bulldog, Ian was imported to South Africa where he successfully fathered several top breed French bulldog litters. After retiring from breeding, Ian was placed in a wonderful home to enjoy the best years of his life, however when he began to lose the movement in his back legs, his owners at the time couldn’t provide his required treatment and he was placed in a centre.
Fortunately for Vanessa and Mike Ralston, Ian was only temporarily kept at the rehabilitation centre and they were given the chance to foster him. After a home check, an in-depth interview and watching the interaction of Ian with the Ralstons, permission for adoption was granted. Ian was a natural member of the family – he quickly settled in and started his rigorous rehabilitation, which included hydrotherapy, physio and lots of love, cuddles and tummy rubs. After many months, he regained the movement in his back legs and now runs around like there was never anything wrong.

Ian is the quintessential French Bulldog – thrilled with life, happily playing with Bouncie the Jack Russell, ‘talking’ to Vanessa each day (he is VERY vocal) and sharing breakfast snacks of toast in the mornings. Like all super smart dogs, he knows where the dog biscuit barrel is and chances his luck with everyone that visits (and all employees) to get a treat!  That being said, Ian is on a strict eating programme to keep the weight off his legs and is fed only the best top quality dog food.


Walking through the front door, Ian’s delightful face – and his offering of his favorite toy, a pink circle, greets almost every person.  Like all dogs, Ian loves to go for walks and see the world around him – you can see the joy on his face as he follows you around and it makes everyone who meets him smile when they see how he enjoys meeting ‘humans’. He truly brings happiness to everyone who meets him.
The Ralston family are forever grateful that Ian chose them – and that they can love him as much as he loves them.
French Lemon | Beauty & Bath Products | Vegan & Cruelty Free

The French Lemon and Ian

Shortly after Ian was adopted, Vanessa Ralston and Kara-Leigh Baker proposed to start a company. The original idea was to create something ‘lemony’ as lemons are always clean and fresh…. The brain-storming began…..Perhaps something inspired by a fresh GnT? How about lemon food products (creamy lemon fudge, preserved lemons, lemon cordial, lemon salt to name of few)? While getting ideas for lemon products, they ‘fell into’ the enormous category of bath products and craft soap.

Business Idea Sorted

Now to come up with a company name. Brainstorming continued… and while detailing the values of what the business stood for, who was standing there? Wiggling his tail with a smile on his face and his favorite toy at his feet? Ian, of course.

That was it – French Lemon was born with Ian’s beautiful face being the face of the brand.

From the very first market in Kyalami, Vanessa and Kara-Leigh knew that they had something special at their fingertips and most importantly, a brand that they were proud to produce and sell. That first market gave the French Lemon the momentum to continue and drive the company forward, and to develop and sell products that customers want to see and buy.

The French Lemon, Vanessa, Kara-Leigh and of course, Ian continue to thrive on the journey that they are on. Meeting incredible people, keeping the values of the brand alive and every single day, doing what they love with French Lemon inspiration.