Entrepreneurs and creatives in Paris: meet Caroline de Marchi

MyFrenchLife™ - Caroline De Marchi

Inspired by different cultures and living in foreign lands, Caroline De Marchi began to create handbags, bringing together beautiful materials and unique designs.

She learned the craft in Italy and her first handbag, the Cubo, was created in 2008. Luxurious, exotic and refined, the collections of her eponymous brand do not feature a logo, as the designer-entrepreneur’s philosophy is to highlight her creations’ wearers, rather than the brand.

We visited the Caroline de Marchi boutique on Rue Saint-Honoré in the heart of Paris and talked to Caroline herself about how she turned her artistic passion into a business.

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MyFrenchLife™ - Caroline De MarchiYou created your current company around 2008. What inspired you to start the company and what major obstacles did you have to overcome to reach your goal?

In 2008 I began timidly creating a collection of handbags, firstly for myself and then for my friends. It was more for fun and to make what I couldn’t find, despite the size of the handbag market. So, I learnt the tricks of the trade in Italy. It was only in 2013 that I found the place to present my models to the public, the showroom at 217 Rue Saint-Honoré. I wanted a nice address and an adequate space.

Did you carry out the process of building your company alone or did you have other support?

I was motivated and encouraged by my family, including my daughter Capucine who works with me. And most of all, my husband who helped me to execute this project.

Your creations are beautiful. Have you always been creative and attracted to the world of fashion? Does your inspiration come from a particular person or experience?

I grew up in a completely artistic environment.

Could you explain briefly how a new collection or model is born? What steps are taken, from the idea to the final product?

I have been lucky enough to live in countries with different cultures, which helps my creativity a lot. The signature model, Le Cubo, was inspired by my love of baskets that I wanted to create using different materials, like leather, snakeskin and linen.

It is the woman who carries my hand bags that I want to showcase, and for this there is no need for a signature.

Your creations are high-end products. What was your strategy at the start to differentiate your brand from other competitors in the industry?

I didn’t have a particular strategy, but I love beautiful materials, elegance, diversity and most of all, ‘no logo’. It is the woman who carries my hand bags that I want to showcase, and for this there is no need for a signature.

MyFrenchLife™ - Caroline De Marchi - showroom and boutique Paris

What has been your biggest satisfaction since you created your company?

My clients, who often become friends and who are my ambassadors. Seeing their smiles fills me with joy and that’s what makes me want to persevere.

In what way has working with your own daughter changed the nature of your relationship with her? Families working together can be tough, even destructive. How do you make it work for the better?

My daughter has been working with me almost since the beginning. It is true that working as a family can prove to be difficult but we have been lucky to have found the perfect balance, knowing how to separate private life from professional life.

MyFrenchLife™ - Caroline De Marchi - bagWould you say that being French or the word ‘France’ act as an open sesame in the world of fashion?

This question isn’t relevant for me because my products carry the label “made in Italy” which is just as dreamy.

How do you spend a day off when in Paris?

Paris is a city where anything can happen. I love my city. There are magnificent parks – I particularly like the gardens of the Palais Royal and the Parc de Versailles. I also enjoy wandering through the Saint-Ouen flea markets on Sundays.

We find stories about women following their passion inspiring. Many people find it difficult to find the nerve to take the risk and follow their passion and many don’t know how to turn their passion into a business. What advice would you have for them?

The best piece of advice for carrying out any project is, firstly, to believe in yourself, and secondly, to be perseverant and passionate, to surround yourself with good people and to work hard. There is no secret to it!

Thank you, Caroline, for sharing the story behind your business with MyFrenchLife™!

What are your favourite handbags? Let us know in the comments below!

Come with us and be inspired:
Introduction // Quelques Femmes du Numerique // Kasia Dietz
Sandrine Benattar // Christina Montenegro // 
Tom Clarke // Felipe Perez // Marie Van Haecke // Nicolas Piègay
Lisa Vanden Bos // Chris Nielsen // Olivier Magny and Nicolas Paradis
Lucie Knappek // Paul Arnephy // Caroline de Marchi

The Caroline de Marchi showroom and boutique can be found at 217 Rue Saint Honoré Paris 75001.
Translated by Stephanie Williamson.
All images © Jacqueline Dubois Pasquier.

About the Contributor

Judy MacMahon

Experience FRANCE beyond the CLICHÉ with MyFrenchLife.org MyFrenchLife is for Curious Savvy Francophiles wherever you are. Meet Francophiles in France, online, and/or wherever you live. You’re very welcome to join us - Judy MacMahon - MyFrenchLife.org

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