A Lesson on Trusting Your Gut with Christiane Lemieux

March 2, 2021

 

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TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • How the designer challenges “tradition in a quintessentially American way,” and her “American design visionary” status.

  • Canada, does that feel ironic or did you always know you would end up in New York?

  • Christiane’s first two strategic jobs including working with Isaac Mizrahi.

  • The emotional experience of her brand DNA

  • Christiane’s collaboration with target.

  • Why young entrepreneurs should take the risk

  • The changes in the online retail space and the importance of being nimble.

  • Christiane’s collaboration with Target.

  • Evolution of social media.

  • When to say yes and when to say no.

  • What is the hardest thing about being visible and the face of the brand?

RESOURCES/ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/christiane-lemieux-reveals-her-latest-furniture-collection-launching-at-anthropologie

Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design, Christiane Lemieux

Frictionless: Why the Future of Everything Will Be Fast, Fluid, and Made Just for You, Christiane Lemieux

#LESSONUP:

(5:10) I did it, I did it all on my own. So I left that business with about $15,000 in the bank, but what I did was because the Portico was really a visionary brand at the time and all of the sort of larger companies looked to Portico for trend and product inspiration. I use that as a calling card and went to some of the larger companies like Crate & Barrel and and sort of pitched my private label services because at that point not only could I design things, but I could also get the manufacturer because I had developed this whole network of sourcing both in Europe and in Asia. And I was very lucky that all these companies took a chance and I did private design and manufacturing for them very early on. And so that sort of became the venture capital arm of the business.

(7:38) The whole world of getting your brand out in front of people, channels of distribution, and getting in front of eyeballs has really opened up. I think it’s a great time to be a in product development and an entrepreneur right now.

(10:44) I think it’s part of the whole eclectic philosophy. that you can have all of these different things and they can all be meaningful.

(11:15) I think the only reason we have relationships with those companies is because we let our work do the talking for us. We’re not out there hustling and trying to get product in front of people. What we’re really doing is designing and trying to design to the best of our abilities. And I think if you create really great product and it speaks for itself, then those types of doors will open up.

(14:05) I was reticent for a long time about being the face of the brand, but then I realized, everyone’s doing it, everyone’s their own brand. All of my peers are doing it. So I realized that it’s a requisite for business in any way, shape or form, whether it’s a tiny business or a massive business. I think people are looking for authenticity and they’re looking for a real person, a real voice behind the brand. So they don’t just feel like they’re being serviced some sort of large corporate agenda. I’ve kind of done it generously, but to me, the most important thing is to be authentic. To be who you are to tell your story.

(16:01) I would say that the businesses of scale, the most quickly and the most directly are ones that raise money, stay true to the vision and get there. But if you want to grow it organically, say yes, until you feel like you are, you’re making a compromise where your business isn’t growing the way it should, because you’re doing all kinds of other things. Does that make sense? There’s a fine balance.

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