Gaux Girl - Christiane Lemieux2018-04-18
As the former founder of DwellStudio, the author of The Finer Things, and now the founder of the recently-launched startup, The Inside, Christiane Lemieux is a true renaissance woman. Her eclectic taste and passion for design have come to life in her latest endeavor, The Inside - an innovative custom furniture company that celebrates individual style through color, pattern, and chic personalization. At its core, The Inside provides a select group of products that consumers can shop by color, collaboration, and more. Given our shared appreciation of color and smart design, our trip inside Christiane's colorful world was a particular delight.
The Inside's new Tribeca showroom is a feast for the eyes. Think bold wallpapers, rich fabrics, and eclectic pieces of all shapes and sizes. Christiane gave us a tour, wearing our Heel in Leopard and excitedly chatting about the businesses she's founded, her vision for The Inside, and her life on the go.
Read on to meet this inspiring Gaux Girl and to see how she styled The Heel from desk to drinks.
Meet Our Gaux Girl:
My name is Christiane Lemieux, and I am the former founder of DwellStudio which I sold in 2013 to Wayfair and currently the founder of The Inside – a new custom furniture company, that like Margaux, embraces smart design and innovation. We want to give people the chance to put personality into their interiors. We love fashion, print, pattern and the mix and want to bring that into every space.
Tell us more about how you got started in the design world.
My career path is wild and crooked. I started in Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design. My first job in school was at Gap doing women’s woven design. My next job was working for Isaac Mizrahi doing fabric and fabric design. I fell in love with textiles. After, I was given a unique chance to work for a home company in New York called Portico. I tried some of my designs on the floor, and they resonated. I decided right then and there to do it for myself. I left after a few months and started DwellStudio.
I had no business being in business because I truly knew nothing about operating a business, but I did know I want to try my hand. And so I did. Along the way, DwellStudio launched a baby and kid's business, had a long run at Target, launched furniture, upholstery, and lighting, opened a store, and sold to Wayfair. In 2014 Wayfair IPO’ed and our DwellStudio logo was on the side of the New York Stock Exchange. It was thrilling. I stayed for two years and learned e-commerce and then figured I would try it again.
The Inside was born from the idea that interiors don’t have to be gray - everyone should have the interiors that speak to who they are. I would say it’s the same with one's wardrobe, and of course, shoes. The shoe is the accent chair of the outfit – the one place you can really throw in the wow to make the whole look standout.
At Margaux, smart design dictates our design process. How would you define "smart" design and how has this idea evolved for you as The Inside has grown?
The Inside was born out of smart design as well. We want to use technological advances like 3D modeling to create endless styles and to see them before they are made. We are making everything custom for each one of our customers. We are working every day to make things more efficient and seamless to pass on savings and time to our customers.
With our founding duo at the helm of Margaux and our mission of creating the perfect pair, we have an appreciation for The Inside's penchant for collaboration. Who would you say completes your "perfect pair" at work and why is this person a muse to you?
My perfect person to complete my pair is absolutely my partner and COO Britt Bunn. We are a perfect yin and yang. She is the one person who moves faster, sees things with absolute optimism and pushes us forward every day. We were a work set-up (a blind date if you will), but it worked out perfectly. I appreciate that she does the things I can’t in a much better standard than I would hold myself to. Britt has a way of upgrading every situation, and that makes her the perfect, well, everything.
Walk us through your daily schedule. What role do shoes play in your wardrobe and how do your Margaux heels help elevate your everyday?
My days are as wild and crooked as my career path, but they usually start at 6:30 AM with coffee and then several attempts to wake up my two children for school. My son William is 10 and my daughter Isabelle is 12. My kids love to sleep. This wake-up is followed by the mad morning dash involving dressing, breakfast, backpack packing and running to school. I can run in my Margaux Heels which is a huge plus. I run to the office from school, have back to back meetings with my team and outside with partners. I clock an average of six Uber or subway rides a day all over Manhattan. I am constantly in motion. Half the time I am traveling too – I am happy to say that my Margaux Heels qualify as TSA Precheck shoes! I try and get home by 6 PM for homework and dinner, and it actually happens most of the time. I have to say it’s more challenging this second time around with a start-up and kids. But I guess I would not have it another way.
What does being "a girl on the go” mean to you and where do you hope you’re going next?
I am always on the go. That is the adventure. I used to try and plan every step, but I have learned that this is not the way the universe works. Now I let it all unfold. I can’t wait to see where I go next. In the short term it’s Singapore in the long-term I hope it’s towards my inspiration.
Gaux and live your truth. It’s the only thing that will make you absolutely happy.
Photos by Bridget Badore for Margaux