What it took to leave my corporate job and start a female-driven concept store
Change is what makes our lives on earth so fascinating. Change is a rebirth. Salvation. Liberation. It can impact each pan of our lives, for the better. Change can also be scary as it involves leaving our comfort zone.
Back to my corporate days, I let myself carried away by daily duties. Leaving my own needs behind, I sometimes felt like a ghost, an automat, an unconscious robot. I lived the life of a clockwork and became despite myself a cliché, the cliché of a young, bright and successful woman who was living a lie.
Rising in the early morning.
Hit by the stress.
Stretching my body.
The bones were cracking.
The muscles were tensed.
Cold-pressed celery in the juicer.
Radio stations for intellectuals.
Business cards spread on the coffee table.
Heels laying in the entrance.
My leather jacket.
A cashmere coat for cooler days.
The overloaded leather purse.
The faded Boyfriend denim for Casual Fridays.
I was living the perfect consumerist dream.
Every day looked the same. Getting ready for the hectic schedule ahead. Riding my pink scooter to the office, enjoying the headwind on spring days. Dropping it in front of the office, heading to a meeting, interacting with peers. Please repeat.
In this busy life, there is no space for introspection, but sometimes during the ride, at a traffic jam, a bit longer than the others, it was hitting me. Physically and mentally, I craved for change. All I could feel was discomfort, and a single yoga class would certainly not be enough to fill in my existential gap.
On the surface, I had it all. My life was a modern fairy tale, blending US dollars and designers' apparels. I was a successful corporate girl, surrounded by other bad-ass chicks; it felt like living the 'Sex and the City' dream.
Life was busy, exciting, hectic, vibrant... I had very little time for reflection and introspection, but who needs this in the age of Insta-fame?
Out of the office, the buzz went on. I was in all places: volunteering for women organizations, running from one dinner party to another, attending popular lifestyle festivals, or squeezing in my schedule late-night yoga and pilates classes. Stretching the body, calming the mind, doing everything I could to sustainably increase my performance while collecting living experiences.
Deep inside, I knew my purpose was elsewhere. Who honestly believes that their life purpose is to contribute to the enrichment of global corporations? I felt tremendously animated by the growing inner desire to contribute to the greater good.
Wearing the corporate suit for nearly ten years, the urge for change became stronger. I resigned my well-paid job and jumped into the first flight. My destination was Rishikesh, a holy city in Northern India, the place where The Beatles were initiated to transcendental meditation. A true spiritual centre of the world, Rishikesh is packed with yoga and meditation school, attracting each years thousands of Westerners. I enrolled in a Yoga Teacher Training and also studied to become a Reiki Master. Did I want to embrace a brand new holistic career? I hardly considered that option, but onboarding on such a journey felt as the one-way ticket towards change and transformation.
I crucially needed was a way to unwind, and a yoga teacher training in Rishikesh seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. I was craving for the ultimate culture clash. The ideal next step to reconnect with my real self. I was craving for stillness and simplicity. Surrendering in the unknown was a real blessing, and very honestly, I never felt that joyful.
No business breakfast.
No morning stress.
Goodbye, late-night anxieties.
I was taking the time to breathe. Taking a break, and letting it all go, without questions or concessions. Observing my emotions, letting go of judgments. From the first days, I could watch a significant switch within. What used to matter did not anymore, life was taking a brand new turn, and I loved each of its features.
For a month, I lived day by day. It was simple, perfect and rejuvenating. Rising up with the sun, sinking in deep sleep at dawn time. All the ingredients were here to ensure a perfectly relaxing month: intensive yoga practice, a daily hour of meditation, learning how to listen to my body - and to myself. No mirror to face, no dress-code. I never felt so true to myself. How nurturing were those days....!
This journey to India had a significant impact on my physical and mental well-being. As I returned to Amsterdam, I knew there was no way back. The era of change had come, and I will certainly not settle for another consuming corporate role.
It was time to start fresh. Starting fresh implied leaving Amsterdam, travelling and new challenges. India had taught me how alienating material possessions can be, I sold nearly everything I owned to keep the essential. I felt so liberated, life was getting easier by the day.
FOLLOWING MY HEART
A few weeks later, I was back in Paris. My first love, the city of my childhood. I embraced a digital nomad lifestyle and started to work as a freelancer for tech companies, such as Croissant and Airbnb. Teaming up with such companies gave me the feeling I finally had found something that matched my values and vision of the world. Being a freelancer also has its own perks, the world is your office, and you can work how, where and when you want. It requires, of course, a lot of self-discipline, but the flexibility it brings into your life is priceless, especially for someone who just left a corporate environment.
I was continuously on the move and travelled through the US. New York, L.A, what a joy to re-discover these vibrant and exciting metropolia. This itinerant lifestyle gave me back my beat. Working in my own terms, meeting friends, strolling and exploring new cultures and ways of life. During this trip, I enrolled in another Yoga Teacher Training in California and got certified as Sup Yoga Teacher (yoga on paddles). Things were getting exciting again.
My experience in fashion and tech played a significant role in my reconversion. Working with various companies and people let me acquired highly-desired knowledge and skills that would turn out being quite useful to set up a new venture.
It was finally time for me to bring my contribution to topics that matter to me: sustainability and gender equality. This company was directly inspired by my frustration not to be able to find online, digital concept stores offering sustainable and woman-led brands.
INITIATING FEMME FATALE
Femme Fatale comes from this intrinsical desire to democratize sustainable and fair-trade fashion. My goal was to empower women, artisans and consumers. I aim to build a future-proof digital concept-store to unlock the real power of fashion. In the era of fast-fashion, we tend to forget its purpose, its essence. Fashion is not only about cuts, about shapes and fabrics enrolling the bodies. Fashion is a symbol. It reflects times and eras; it stays as the vestige of civilization at a certain point of time.
Fashion changed over the past decade. Exit, the iconic, long-lasting outfit, hello fast-consuming looks. The amount of fast-consumed clothing is increasingly growing. While today's objects of our affection are announced to become tomorrow's trash, many consumers still ignore the hidden part of the iceberg. Behind each monthly new collection, lay pollution and destruction. Most people even ignore that the fashion industry is more polluting than petrol and gas industry. Most consumers ignore the true price of a 10 bucks jumpsuit. What's the price you tell me? It's slavery and massive pollution.
In the meantime, purchasing fair-trade and environmentally friendly apparels remains challenging… and expensive! Femme Fatale takes its roots in my desire to create a better fashion industry. It reflects my intrinsic will to educate consumers and to transform consuming habits.
To make it simple, Femme Fatale aims to create awareness and to inform consumers on the importance of consuming fashion differently. Fashion should be long-lasting, and it is vital to restraining our insatiable appetite for new apparels. Fast-fashion belongs to the past. My goal with Femme Fatale is simple, I want to restore craftsmanship, I aim to drop on stage apparels that last and represent our era. The era of change, the age of revolution, the time of consciousness, equality and sustainability.
If you want more information about Femme Fatale, click here