A while ago I featured the fabulous Anne Touraine, scarves expert extraordinaire. Be sure to check out my previous interview with her if you want to brush up your skills on how to wear scarves.
Now, she has taken her expertise to another level and started her own scarves line: Anne Touraine Paris. Time to go have a look at this unique scarf collection and ask Anne a few more questions on what inspired her to start this new business and how she did it!
What motivated you to take your business a step further and create your own line of scarves?
I fell in love with silk scarves when I was a teen and soon after I started to be fascinated by the world of French luxury… After I graduated from college, I had the huge privilege to work for many years for Christian Dior. There I learned a lot about the rigorous creation process associated to luxury products.
Deep inside I have always known that one day I would develop my own line of high-end scarves. The true question was when…
The eBook about scarf styling I published a few years ago – along with the many scarf styling lectures I have given for years – was a first step. It allowed me to connect with thousands of women and to have a very accurate perception of their expectations. It also encouraged me to go to step #2: launching my scarf line. You wouldn’t believe the number of scarf enthusiasts who would ask me: “When will you create your own silk scarf collection, a collection made for us with elegant designs which would be less expensive than traditional French brands such as Hermès?”
If it weren’t for all these supportive women I have met, I wouldn’t probably be where I am now… I owe them a lot!
Can you tell us a bit more about the process you went through in setting up Anne Touraine Paris?
LOL. I will try to be short but creating a business is not as simple as some people might think! Actually, the name Anne Touraine Paris imposed itself very naturally.
This said, there was a huge amount of preparation work to define precisely the final positioning of the brand and its products and to make sure they respond to market expectations. It then took about a year to create and finalize the designs. A major point for me was to offer exclusive, original, and timeless designs which convey French elegance and have their own personality.
Finding the right manufacturers was another big adventure. Only a few in the world possess the true savoir-faire for luxury silk scarves and only a few are able to produce perfect hand-finished scarves like the ones I had in mind.
How difficult was it?
Each step required perseverance and pugnacity (and lots of coffee too in order to remain awake until very late in the evening!). Yet, at the same time the whole process was so thrilling and the final result is so rewarding, that I tend to forget the hard times I sometimes had. If you allow me a comparison which will speak to all women: it’s very similar to delivering…. The joy of welcoming your baby (my scarves are my babies!) is so overwhelming that you forget the tough moments you have been through.
One of the most exciting times I experienced is when I received the scarf samples for final approval. The other one is when I got the very first order.
I also enjoyed very much the photo shoots with a professional photographer and professional models. Featuring my scarves on models (for the website and for the How-To-Wear Guide) was fun and interesting.
What was the inspiration for your scarf collection?
Actually, there was not one source of inspiration but multiple sources, all driven by a same and permanent idea: to create original designs and to offer a variety of themes which speak to many women … and men as well (Don’t be surprised. We do have many male customers who purchase scarves for their beloved. It’s such an easy and at the same time wonderful gift!).
In some cases, I explored personal memories such as the mesmerising trip I once had on The Silk Road. This gave birth to the Rêves de Soie (meaning “silk dreams”) scarf which comes in a large array of vibrant and trendy colors for 2013-2014.
Haute Couture celebrates the world of high-fashion. Neiges de Russie (Russian snows) came up after I saw the movie “Anna Karenina” with Keira Knightley… It’s also directly inspired by “Doctor Zhivago”, the kind of movie which makes many of us dream of sitting in a troika next to handsome Omar Sharif…
Paris Je t’Aime sounded like a must. Who doesn’t like Paris, the city of love? Of course, I worked on tender and soft shades for this theme!
France-Amérique celebrates two countries dear to my heart. It also pays homage to all these adventurers ready to travel from one continent to another. As for Brise de Mer (Sea breeze), the fascinating beauty of the Ocean and of the colorful maritime world was a major and endless source of inspiration.
As geometry and lines belong to our modern world, I also developed the Graphic collection (Qube, Zen, Spring, Bubble) which targets young as well as more mature scarf addicts.
The hardest part was not to find design ideas but rather to select among all the themes I had in mind… I have a long – very long – list of new designs I plan to work on in the near future. Every day my list is getting bigger. Inspiration is all around!
What is your dream? What do you hope to achieve?
My dream is to see millions of women from all over the world wearing my silk scarves they can purchase right now on our web store or they will soon purchase in an Anne Touraine Paris store somewhere in Paris, New York, or in any other famous city such as Singapore… In the meanwhile, we (as a team) keep working hard on developing the brand exposure through major high-end trade shows – like for instance the September NYC Accessory show – and international advertising campaigns. Our American network of Scarf Ambassadors (women hosting scarf parties) keeps growing. More and more retailers are interested in distributing the scarf collections. And on the website the sales are picking up (with customers from all continents). The adventure goes on!
The scarves are a true treat and you should definitely check them out at the Anne Tourraine Paris store. You may even want to become one of her ambassadors!
Which is your favorite design?
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