Maud Heline is her name and that of her brand, which she purposefully named so to make her company an extension of herself --- of her past and future, which included working at extensive design houses in Paris and which she now promulgates as a pioneer of French fashion in New York. She's no amateur in the world of fashion, but despite this being her first time as an entrepreneur, in just over a year after her launch, Maud boasts of a growing line, present internationally from Lebanon to Japan.
Read on to learn about her life as a designer, entrepreneur, and mom:
Why New York?
Because of Love, Creativity and Energy. Love because I moved here 3 years to join my husband who's been living here for a while. Creativity because I really believe this city is where any creative can fully express itself and energy... well... you know why!
On top of that, I've always had a connection with the US, as I had been coming to California every summer for a month during my adolescence. I also studied fashion at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, a city that I love -- and at the time, a city that I always promised myself I would come back to.
How would you compare the fashion industry climates between Paris and New York?
Paris is "La Mode" and "La Mode" is Paris and it has been the case since the XVth century when the Royal French court created the word. Fashion is everywhere in Paris, every Parisian woman has a style and would take good care of her looks. It is in their genes. But the weight of this historical responsibility makes it harder to start a new venture there. New York is amazing for young designers, we've already seen some NY based names becoming internationally acclaimed in the last decade, and I would not be surprised if it became the new capital of fashion.
Becoming a mother certainly gave me the strength to realize my dream, which was to create my own line. I always envisioned it to be elegant and timeless while being modern and crisp. Working closely with Isabel Marant, I learned from her to try on every single piece and not to produce it if I wouldn't buy it for myself.
Being in Brooklyn also gave me the freedom of creativity. I chose to produce everything in New York, as I want to very closely control every single step of the production process to ensure the best quality.
Who has been your biggest motivator, and why?
My husband Carl believed so much in my fashion point of view that he pushed me to do what I love, to listen to my little voice and to start creating. He gave me the freedom to try and not to live with regrets. One of his mottos is "Happy wife, Happy life."
What is your average day like?
My pleasure in the morning is to dress up my daughter and take the time to have a family breakfast. I then drop her off at the day care and walk to my studio in Brooklyn . Becoming an entrepreneur changed my life, and I feel free. I am where I am supposed to be. But we are still a very small company, and it takes a lot to build, despite a very successful start. I often have to work in the evening once my daughter is in bed.
What are your next goals for the brand? Is a children’s line in the future?
If I had to create a second line, it would first be men's wear, except if my current women clients are asking for a children's line. I have the chance to be in direct contact with them, as I personally take care of the online orders on our e-shop. The next goals is to solidify the company structure and to enlarge the team to divide my workload and get other savoir faire. Being well surrounded is extremely important.
Where can we get your pieces?
On our e-shop where there are all the pieces.
In the US, you can find the collections at Barneys New York and in 10 Barneys across the US (Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco ...), Goop online, at Serenella Boston, Capitol in Charlotte, Canary in Dallas
In Paris, the collection has been distributed at Colette since its first season, and Summer '16 will be sold at L'exception.
We are in Tomorrowland, Japan, in Trois Pommes, Switzerland, Bacci's, Vancouver Canada, Aishti in Lebanon.