How many of you were determined to use the quarantine to master a workout, take up a new hobby, or deep-clean your closet, only to succumb to the temptations of that new Netflix series instead? Well, I imagine that Marina Larroudé can't relate. Impressively, she and her husband built an entire company from scratch during the lockdown. "We worked non-stop 16-hour days, assembled a team remotely, interviewed 3PL, logistics companies, and factories, did wholesale meetings, and raised seed capital all via Zoom," she told us.
A former editor and fashion director, Larroudé was able to translate her industry experience into a beautiful brand of shoes, bags, and clothes. Perhaps you've already spotted the brand all over Instagram and on Shopbop and Revolve? Scroll down to read our interview with Larroudé and shop her collection.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your business?
I spent the last two decades working side by side with the most talented creatives in the industry. I spent over a decade as an editor at Conde Nast and later VP Fashion Director at Barneys. At Larroudé I bring my diverse expertise as editor, product developer, and entrepreneur to consumers in an innovative way. With the consumer and community in mind, we never compromise on design, fit, and quality.
And if you had to sum up your business in five words or fewer?
Digital Fashion Platform for Attainable Luxury.
What inspired you to start Larroudé?
Early in the pandemic, my husband and I lost our jobs and saw ourselves locked at home with no job openings and no opportunities for networking. All doors were closed. Then we decided to take the reins of our own future and build our own company. Together we have 40 years of experience—me in the fashion industry and Ricardo in finance and operations. He has been following the fashion industry all these years, and we've always spoke of how we would make it differently if we had our own business. We saw many inefficiencies in the industry and had a vision to do it very differently. So we used the lockdown time to build Larroudé for the long run. We worked non-stop 16-hour days, assembled a team remotely, interviewed 3PL, logistics companies, and factories, did wholesale meetings, and raised seed capital all via Zoom. In the middle of all of this, we also rented an RV and drove across America twice… it was a journey of a lifetime.
How do you use your background at Barneys to inform your shoe line?
My years at Barneys were very informative in understanding customer behavior, digitally and in stores in different parts of the country. What works in NY doesn’t necessary work in Seattle or LA and so on. It was like doing MBA in fashion retail. I use daily what I learned there.
Your shoes look like they have somewhere fun to go. Tell me about your inspiration.
I’ve spent many hours at Barneys’ shoe floor seeing women trying on the most whimsical fashion items and taking home the black version of it because that was the “safe” version. They thought they would wear it the most, to justify the high price point. At Larroudé, I wanted to offer those emotional high fashion quality shoes, but at a price that she would buy without breaking the bank. There is no need to sell your soul for a pair of shoes! And here we are: our customer loves our prints, our fashion, our whimsical pieces. Inspiration comes from everywhere, pop culture, fashion, runway…
Does your native country influence your design at all?
I have in my blood that Latin joie de vivre, so naturally when creating Larroudé, I wanted the brand to have that too. To be playful, fun, whimsical, and I loved it translated so well into our shoes.
Tell me about why you manufacture in Brazil?
When I worked at Barneys, I used to produce our shoes in Italy. At the time I did not know Brazil could execute high end shoes despite their capacity for production. For my line, I wanted the work to come from my home country, and when I got my first samples from Brazil, I started crying because they were perfect. If I had known, if there had been a way for people like me to see the level of work possible in Brazil, I would have started working with those factories years ago.
What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?
How do I pick just one? To launch my own brand and employ so many creatives that were out of a job during such a difficult year is something I will never forget. To see Larroudé’s in the wild posting all over the New York and so many celebrities wearing our shoes! Gwyneth Paltrow, Normani, Rita Ora, and Dove Cameron to name a few.
We like to give a little Spotlight love to other brands. What are some of your favorite brands you like to support, and why?
I love Area. I launched their brand at Barneys and have been a huge supporter since day one! Altuzurra, I adore Joseph and anything he designs! I live in my La Ligne pieces. I’m so inspired by the work Valerie and Meredith do and love to support women’s founded company.