Sarah LaFleur is the woman behind Mémé LAFLEUR, a collection of dresses designed for brave women (which you may remember I wrote about here). Sarah is definitely a brave woman, and I thought it would be fun to get to know her a little bit better! I hope you enjoy meeting this inspiring woman as much as I have.
Where did you grow up?
Paris, France and Tokyo, Japan. And a bit of Washington D.C. and New York in between.
What did you dream of becoming when you 'grew up'?
The first female Prime Minister of Japan. Considering the country has, on average, a new prime minister every 6 months, this is looking slightly more promising than my other pipe dreams!
Where did the idea for Meme LAFLEUR begin?
To tell this story truthfully, I'd have to go back to when I was seven, when I used to watch my mother dress for work. I thought she was the most powerful woman on the planet, wearing her brick-red lipstick and her tailored suits from Paris. Fast forward twenty years, I had my dream job at a management consulting firm in New York, and well, I just didn't feel like that powerful woman in my poorly tailored, ill-fitting clothes. So I decided it was time to change: eradicate the pantsuit once and for all, and create a line of beautiful yet professional dresses.It was important to me that the dresses had all the qualities of a designer dress, but remained affordable. So I partnered with designer Miyako Nakamura, who had previously worked with Zac Posen and Jason Wu, sourced all fabrics from Italy and Japan, and made the garments right here in New York City. We only sell directly to customers through trunk shows (and, starting September, our website), and that is why we're able to keep our prices affordable. A dress that is made with the quality and care that we put into it could easily be priced at $1000 at another brand.
Read the rest of the interview after the jump to find out how starting a business is like the movie Cool Runnings!
What do you think of as perfect work wear?
A dress. That beautiful, fitted, well-tailored dress that makes you feel invincible and that everything is possible. You know what I'm talking about.
What is your perfect weekend?
Being lazy all weekend and not feeling guilty about it on Sunday evening.
What advice would you give to others wanting to start their own business?
Someone recently asked me what it was like being an entrepreneur, and, I know this is going to sound a bit "out there," but the best analogy that came to mind was Cool Runnings: a Jamaican who's never seen ice, competing in a Winter Olympic sport. I have never felt more ridiculous and uncomfortable during my day-to-day, yet I've also never felt so sure that I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. The most important thing is that you find a way to trust your instincts through the madness. So, "Feel the rhythm, and feel the ride. Get on up, it's bobsled time!" Here's to letting yourself go and hopping into your 80 mile-per-hour, spectacular ride-on-ice...
What is your favorite food?
I like variety. Don't call me greedy: For breakfast: American (To be clear, brunch, and to be even clearer, Eggs Benedict) For lunch: Chinese or Italian For dinner: Indian, Japanese or Malay For dessert: French, always.Be sure to check out Mémé LAFLEUR which will be launching online this Fall!