These three sets of buttons were purchased between 1950 and 1957 from the shop, A.L.A. Buttons and Ornaments, located at 21 Rowe Street, Sydney. Before joining with Niina Rätsep (later Ots) in Anina Pty Ltd in 1957, Anna-Louise and Hans Bernhard Alma established ALA Buttons and Ornaments in Rowe Street in 1948. It was managed by Anna-Louise who specialised in 'fleur de lis motifs' and mother-of-pearl buttons, bearing the distinctive makers mark of 'AL' within a large 'A'.
Of French origin, Anna-Louise came to Australia from Paris in about 1948; she died in 1961. Roy Garwood (Mitchell & Garwood Art & Design Studio, 21 Rowe Street, 1956-58) remembers Mrs Alma as being 'a petite French lady, charming, lively, humorous, very French. She would sometimes bring to the shop her two miniature poodles wearing their beautiful collars of black suede leather studded with pearls'.
When Sally Garrett, grand-daughter of Harold Casneaux, who photographed Rowe Street before the first world war, was in her early 20s, the father of her boyfriend of the time married Anna Louise Alma, who she remembers as very elegant, and beautifully dressed. 'ALA was one of the first to wrap purchases in beautiful packages, with lovely dark paper and curly mauve ribbon.'
Darani Lewers, daughter of Margo Lewers, and who had worked for her uncle Carl Plate at Notanda gallery in the school holidays, also worked for both ALA Buttons and Anina in 1957. She remembers how Madame Alma and Maggy Hutchison, who shared the same shop space, drew a line across the floor and discouraged customers from crossing it.