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Top retailer and mother of three, Amy Lassalle, has been so successful with her debut boutique Le Marchand d’Etoiles that she opened her second location in July, this time in Paris’ bohemian chic Marais district. Focusing on the soft, beautiful things that truly provide a child with “sweet dreams”, the star of the boutique is the children’s nightwear collection, which includes pyjamas and nightdresses, t-shirts, bodysuits, underwear, and slippers as well as bedding for newborns and young children.
“Working with children’s wear is such a pleasure” says Lassalle. “Parents, children, and people seeking gifts, especially for newborns, make the environment so positive and fun.”
And positive and fun is exactly the tone of Lassalle’s boutique. Stylishly decorated with hip furnishings, chic wallpaper, and exciting colors, a bright orange chair with a children’s mannequin and a matching dresser are the eye-catching items visible through the glass door and window. Pajamas are strewn across each chair, just as if it were a real child’s room. Upon the dresser lies a Moses basket with a baby mannequin dressed in a liberty print with a pajama and baby slippers inside. On either side of the dresser and the wallpapered wall are floor-to-ceiling mirrors. On the right, there are 4 cube racks, separated by an antique ladder, each arranged by color and theme artfully displaying books, CD’s, slippers, lamps, nightlights and decorative pillows.
Beyond her business sense, Lassalle’s expertise and instincts have always included understanding body shapes, personal style, and mixing fashion and practicality. Having three children helped guide her experience into the children’s fashion world. “The collection has a wide appeal because the themes are fresh, in front of fashion trends and absolutely charming,” says Lassalle.
Le Marchand d’Etoiles (The Star Merchant, in English) certainly has a wide appeal, as well as a lot of charm. Perfumes, broaches, and magic wands made with the line’s fabrics lie at the end of the store. On the wall to the left is an antique display case showcasing new, exclusive-to-the-store skin care products, including baby oil, soaps, perfumes, lotions and bath gel as well a decorative candles. The stores also feature such other nighttime fare including books/CDs (French, English, Spanish), custom beds and stuffed animals.
The store design is meant to be inviting and comfortable and the collection is very accessible and enticing to both parents and children. With experience in Los Angeles, New York and Paris, she paid her dues and learned her trade, opening and managing key stores for such prestigious companies as Kenzo, Barbara Bui, Fendi, Bonpoint, Kenneth Cole and Max Azria. “I really enjoy having stores in areas that have a wide variety of clients, both local and foreign, because the collections have such a wide appeal and it’s just more fun spreading the word far and wide that children’s nightwear can be fashionable! That is definitely part of the collections rapid success!”
Continuing to discover the large Marais store, the visit continues. Between the large mirrors and the counter there is a U-shaped staircase which leads to a installation bedroom space displaying an antique blue-green baby crib, various lamps and three more orange chairs with pajamas strewn over them. On the right there are three low racks displaying the most recently-passed season’s pieces at promotional prices..
Everything, from the clothing to the accessories, is made from materials carefully selected to provide ultimate comfort and cosiness for sleeptime, with a sense of style and sweetness. While some pieces are pure pattern, others offer sweet quips. The winter ’07 and ’08 collection features themes with girl and boy robots, polka dots and round stickers in warm tones and chic color combinations.
As if the store was not engaging enough, Lassalle is adding a play area with books, coloring pencils and paper to keep children entertained while their parents are shopping.
Lassalle is an American-turned-Parisian, fluent in French, a boon for English-speakers who flocked to her original boutique located in the 7th arr. from nearby hotels for gifts to take home. She opened the first Le Marchand d’Etoiles in September 2006, attributing much of her success to understanding and providing excellent customer service, expected by Americans and appreciated by her large French clientele as well. Unparalleled customer service is a key philosophy of her business, and is carried through by her salespeople (they may not all speak fluent English like Lassalle, but great service crosses all language barriers).
- Le Marchand d’Etoiles is the brainchild of three mothers and professionals who work in the fashion industry. Dorothee, the visionary, has created successful children’s collections for different high-end clothing companies; Elsa, the fashionista, is the primary designer and textiles expert; and Valerie brings her wild graphics to the line.
- The collection is comprised of five groups that vary from cotton jersey to modern and refined prints, with unexpected color combinations.
- Sizes are from 0-10 years old. It is carried by 60 retailers in Japan – including Takashimaya, and 20 other prestigious stores throughout the rest of the world.