An interview with Marie Sanou of ‘Designer toi-même’ – an ode to DIY in France
With its first appearance in France dating back to 2010, the DIY trend is now a major part of the French lifestyle. To better understand the popularity of this creative trend, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marie Sanou, CEO of ‘Designer toi-même’.
Join us as we discover Marie’s creative passions – and discuss what makes her tick, both personally and professionally…
Marie Sanou: mad about material
- First of all, Marie, tell us about yourself
I was born in Toulouse in the south of France, and I’m a very creative and passionate person. These qualities are particularly useful in my line of work because I’m a designer.
I spent over ten years in Paris, working as a designer for Groupe PSA, a car manufacturing company. My role was to create the colorful vehicle designs. Specifically, I worked on textiles, paint shades, and other aspects of model design…
What I enjoyed most was working with different materials. So, I decided to specialize in material innovation. This allowed me to work with brand new materials, such as NewspaperWood for example – an innovative material made from newspaper, used in the Peugeot Onyx concept car.
I love art, interior design, and cooking too!
Amongst these many passions, I found my true inspiration, which, in December 2017, led me to launch my own Do It Yourself specialist company.
DIY: dream career
- Could you describe exactly what your company offers?
Last year, I had the opportunity to return to my hometown to start a new career. For me, this was the moment I’d dreamed of – it was my chance to create a 100% custom-made job for myself.
And this is how ‘Designer toi-même’ was born.
I provide workshops to design and create decorative objects using innovative materials, such as supple sheets of rock, or flexible concrete.
Each month, I offer different workshops for groups of under ten people, lasting two and a half hours. These events take place in co-working spaces across Toulouse.
Lamps and light shades, small furniture items, or floral creations – every month I offer new objects to create, that I design myself.
Because everyone knows that it’s not always easy to find time for ourselves – between professional and personal obligations – I’ve also decided to offer DIY kits.
These DIY kits include all the necessary materials, allowing design fanatics to create their own original objects from the comfort of their own home.
French fad: society & passion
- In your opinion, why are French people so attracted by the Do It Yourself trend?
In my opinion, there are a number of reasons to explain this trend – applicable both to women and men in France.
First, there’s the ‘I made this’ appeal. It’s always rewarding to be able to say that the concrete light stand on the dresser was made by your own hands, rather than bought in a shop.
Secondly, Do It Yourself projects require a real know-how that can be shared amongst friends and family.
Then, there’s the Zen effect. Constantly glued to their screens, French people often have trouble disconnecting.
So, it’s an excellent way to disconnect yourself from everyday life and the stress it can cause.
In conclusion, I would say that French people appreciate the ‘Do It Yourself’ trend because they have a real desire to share their passions with other people.
Whether you’re watching a tutorial video on your computer or attending a small workshop, the common theme remains sharing and creativity.
This is exactly what I provide: a mutual exchange of shared passions.
What do you think of the Do It Yourself (DIY) trend? Have you taken part in any workshops? We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments in the box below.
All images © Marie Sanou
Translated by Beth Holding