LIFE BRANDED….Christiane Lemieux
Modern. Visionary. Innovative.
The founder and Creative Director of Dwell Studio, Christiane Lemieux studied art history and fashion design before setting up shop in 1999. The Canadian native is inspired both by travel (most Canadians are; it's so cold up there they're always on the road in search of sun), literature, the art world, and anything and everything to do with design, from flea markets to estate sales, design magazines to reality television. Lemieux's most important role - also an endless source of inspiration - is that of mom: to Isabelle, William, and Jake, the big lumbering lab who commutes to the office with her every morning. Seeing the world through the eyes of her kids and attempting to balance adventures around the globe with stability at home has helped Lemieux refine and redefine what Dwell Studio stands for - and though juggling the roles of parent, spouse (she happens to be married to her business partner Josh), and working woman is a challenge, it's one she adores.
How did she start? Any entrepreneur who leaves a comfortable job to strike out on his or her own and fulfill his or her own goals and aspirations is taking a big risk. Now, imagine taking that risk, building a profitable company, then deciding to scale back and take a one third hit to annual revenue in order to refocus your business to fulfill another, truer vision.
That is what Christiane Lemieux, founder and creative director of Dwell Studio, did, and that risk paid off. She originally built her business by designing private-label textiles for national chain stores, such as Crate and Barrel and Bed Bath& Beyond. But Lemieux decided to “fire” a few private-label clients, focus on her name brand, and successfully market Dwell Studio to specialty shops across the country. Within two years of ramping up the Dwell Studio line of home furnishings and developing her uncompromising aesthetic, the buzz surrounding her company’s products helped Dwell Studio land an enormous deal with Target, which doubled the volume of their business in one year. Today, Target stores sell approximately 500 different Dwell Studio products in its1, 500 locations across the country and online.
Christiane created this business without a business background, like most passionate entrepreneurs. It’s the passion that drives the process. Christiane took a risk that many people wish for. Many times you simply wonder; How to get started? What would the company structure look like? Who’s my competition. Should I have a store front? These are many questions business owners struggle through. This is where a Life Branded can help. We are here to serve individuals and entrepreneurs with their first steps.
Our favorite quote from Christiane, “There are a lot of companies that try to market themselves in that way; but this is really a business that I started in my living room. The story is authentic, and that resonates with people. We are able to have a voice for our brand instead of our retailers providing the only voice to our customers. Plus, not only do people want to speak to the source directly, but they expect to be able to. Customers may interact with your storefront, but they still want to hear from the person behind the brand.”
Follow Christiane and Dwell Studio on their blog www.dwellstudio.com/blog