Gaux Girl - Elisa Marshall

2016-10-25

The Gaux Girl - A series on brilliant women we’re privileged to count as friends.

You may remember us listing Maman - a beloved french bakery and café - as an essential must-see for all city gauxers in search of an inviting, homey escape. Think of Maman as a parisian oasis in the midst of modern (and sometimes overwhelming) New York life. For us it’s served much more than an array of delectable, freshly-prepared treats (though we will admit that their chocolate sea salt cookie certainly keeps us coming back!) as it was a place we happily frequented in Margaux’s early days. That’s why we’re proud to introduce our next Gaux Girl and the radiant woman behind it all, Elisa Marshall.

With her two co-founders and growing staff across four thriving New York locations (and one abroad in Toronto!) Elisa has got her hands full. We joined the busy gaux girl at their new Greenpoint space, where she gave us a tour of the industrial set-up and invited us to sample a few new creations the team is working on for Fall. Over coffee, cakes and pastries Elisa also tried out our newest Navy Haircalf texture from The Pointe collection, which needless to say fits perfectly with Maman’s signature navy blue and white palette - talk about the perfect pair!

Read on to learn more from Elisa who touched on what’s next for Maman, her plans for Fall and her enduring love for New York.


“I have big dreams for Maman and we are just getting started. We are not looking to open more locations per say (though I know I am probably lying as I write this...) but to further develop the brand in the lifestyle market through fashion, design and retail collaborations!”

Meet our Gaux Girl:

My name is Elisa Marshall - I am a Canadian born New Yorker with a love for design, food, arts and crafts, event planning and ice cream! I am the founder and creative director of Maman alongside my partner in life and work, Benjamin Sormonte!


What was the inspiration behind Maman and are there any gaux girls who really inspired the essence of it?

My maman of course! Growing up I had so many different passions and things I wanted to do, from being a baker, to a fashion designer, event planner, interior designer… my mom always instilled so much creativity and drive in me to follow my passions… the problem was I had too many! I found myself at a point in my life where I was doing a little bit of everything, but nothing seriously. I was fortunate to meet Ben who shared the same drive and passion and wanted to make a career change into the food and beverage industry, so naturally it was a perfect match and future for us! I needed to create a world for myself where I could incorporate all the things I loved to do, baking, design, events and doing it alongside the person I love with the help of both our families and moms… and Maman was born!

When we were looking for a name and a concept, we went back to our roots and where our inspiration stemmed from, and also something that could be relatable to others. We were both so fortunate to have grown up with our moms as our 'gaux girls' in our lives and our biggest inspiration in the kitchen too. Not only has she been a huge support for me growing up, but she also is in NYC all the time, cleaning, cooking and my partner in crime hosting events with me!


We love Maman’s signature navy blue, as it is a color we also hold dearly here at Margaux! From a design perspective why do you think this color makes sense for Maman?

I am not a color person at all and I love neutrals… my closet consists of white, black, grey, beige and blue! I have always shied away from color so when designing Maman and the branding I wanted to keep a neutral palette and steer away from bright bold colors, but I did want a signature color we could work with that wasn't too much against the rustic woods, and raw textures.

My inspiration came from a set of blue plates from Ben's grandmother in France and I fell in love with the french blue and white toile knowing that was the perfect accent for the space… and meaningful. From there I worked with Candice Kaye to create four signature patterns, all using the same color palette and have stories behind each one.


Fall is one of our favorites at the HQ, so for Maman what can we expect to see more of this season?

Fall is my favorite season for fashion and food and we have had so much fun playing in the kitchen coming up with new items! We are currently in love with our inspiralizer, playing around with new fall seasonal veggies and creating fun delicious salads and in the bakery testing with the season's flavors, cinnamon, cloves… we have an amazing carrot cake coming out, caramel apple turnover, cinnamon toast pastries and pumpkin… there’s never enough pumpkin anything!


With Maman’s four beautiful locations in very distinct New York neighborhoods how would you say your outlook on Manhattan has changed?

Manhattan got bigger! Having opened shortly after we moved to NYC we didn't know Manhattan that well… mostly from vacations over the years! We live in Tribeca, a 10 minute walk to our Soho location and office, so naturally when we first opened our doors, and with the hours we would work, our world consisted of only a 10 block radius of NYC. We rarely had the time to go out and explore anything above Houston and we were really living in a NYC bubble, and that got worse when we opened our second Tribeca location! Now that we have two other locations on the Bowery and in Greenpoint it has been so fun to explore new neighborhoods, especially Brooklyn which we have now fallen in love with! In this industry there is not much personal time so we are happy that expanding our business has allowed us to expand our lives too in NYC! There are so many great neighborhoods to discover, one Maman at a time!


When it comes to life in the city what is your inspiration or muse?

I love people watching, and working at Maman daily and being out on the go, I get to meet and see so many interesting people and characters. I love NYC for its diversity of people, amazing fashion, characters, stories… and that is where my biggest inspiration is from. Maybe a girl walking down the street with a killer outfit or a story told to me about a favorite dish someone’s mom used to make them growing up is my inspiration. Despite my maman's advice I love talking to strangers!


When you’re not at Maman where else will we find you this season?

I am really in love with Dumbo right now, the park at dusk, the cute stores, the view and the energy of the city in the distance! My ideal day off would be a chill fall day, to grab a big scarf, some comfy shoes, a Maman coffee and head under the bridge with Ben for a stroll in the park. We would go into all of the cute independent shops, buy things for my house that I don't need, people watch, relax and get inspired!


What does being "a girl on the go” mean to you and where do you hope you’re going next?

To me, it means aspiring to attain your passion - if you don't like what you are doing, stop. If you don't like where you are, go somewhere else. These are all the challenges I have faced over the years with my many jobs and cities I lived in. I know too many people who settle for where they are and are afraid to go pursue their dreams. It will not come to you and you have to not be afraid to go get it!

Gaux and ___ get what you love! If it is not there, create it.


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Elisa wears our Pointe pointed-toe ballet flat in Navy Haircalf. Shop The Pointe collection inspired by our life in New York here.

Photos by Bridget Badore for Margaux

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