Profiled: Aurélie Bidermann's Secrets to Building a Business
Over the weekend while we were welcoming spring with open arms, French jewelry designer Aurélie Bidermann was also greeting the uptown crowd to her second shop in New York City. She considers the first opening in SoHo her most surreal career moment up date, so we couldn't help but get the inside scoop on what she has in store for this new venture, conveniently located at 75th and Madison, a block away from picturesque Central Park East. Scroll down to see why this is a must-visit location, and even if you don't live in New York City, we still picked her brain about everything from female entrepreneurs she looks up to, the biggest struggles she's faced, and what a typical workday is like for her in Paris—so read all about it below!
WHO WHAT WEAR: Can you tell us a bit about how you started your business?
AURÉLIE BIDERMANN: I’ve always loved jewelry. I had originally studied art history and worked in Sotheby’s, but after a few years, I returned to my first love and took gemology courses. After my studies, I went on a trip to India, which quickly turned into a two-month stay, during which I created my first collection. Friends bought pieces from that first collection, and Sarah from Colette happened to see one of my bracelets on a friend. She asked who it was made by, and the rest is history!
WWW: Were there other female entrepreneurs you looked up to at the time?
AB: Rei Kawakubo from Comme des Garçons. I met her once, and she left a huge impression on me. She’s a woman of few words, but she has such a strong vision, and she absolutely never compromises, which has led her to create this huge empire in Japan and worldwide. I hope that I’m also uncompromising in my vision in that same way.
WWW: What were the biggest struggles you faced, and how did you overcome them?
AB: You know, I was very lucky in the way that I started my business. When I created my collection, I didn’t have an official business strategy or a team behind me, and it just grew very organically—I didn’t really have concerns about meeting a bottom line, since I didn’t have one in place! It started with just pieces that I made in my apartment that my friends bought, which grew into a wholesale business, which grew into our own stores and e-commerce, and kept growing. It was certainly an unconventional start, and I’m very lucky that my business has grown to what it is now. Now, of course, I have a team and a CEO who we brought on last year, so now we have very specific goals that we aim for.
WWW: What’s been the most surreal moment in your career so far?
AB: Opening my first store will always be that moment for me when I felt that I had really made it.
WWW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
AB: You learn from your mistakes. And do not compromise on your vision.
WWW: What’s a typical workday like for you?
AB: My days often vary, as I’m lucky enough to travel very frequently. When I’m in Paris, where my office is, I usually read the news while I eat breakfast, and then walk across the Seine to my office. Once I get to the office, I sit with each of my different teams for 5-10 minutes and touch-base with everyone. After that, I’m able to look through my email, and tackle whatever I’m working on for that day—design, sales, new stores, whatever it might be. The most important part of my workday are those daily team meetings—I like to know what’s going on from every aspect of my business.
WWW: When are you your most inspired?
AB: When I travel—travel has always been a huge source of inspiration for me. Art is also a huge source of inspiration for me, and something that I’ve always loved.
WWW: How do you stay motivated?
AB: I have a whole team that depends on me. And my vision: I have a very strong vision on what I want, and making sure that vision comes across is a huge source of motivation for me.
WWW: Do you have any morning or evening rituals that help you stay productive?
AB: Every morning, my day starts with music. It’s the same playlist always, which I find energizes and centers me at the same time. I listen to it while I walk to the office as well, which helps me feel focused when I arrive.
WWW: What’s next for the brand?
AB: Everything! I want to open more stores of course, and I’m thinking about some new categories to explore that make sense for the brand. My fine jewelry has become an increasingly important part of the business as well, so I want to continue to expand that with a greater range of price points and product.