April 15th, 2020
I was born and raised in the countryside on Quebec, in Canada, from a badass feminist and creative mother and brilliant merchant father. I was encouraged to be a free thinker and to put my talents to use at a very young age. My mom’s career dream was to be a fashion designer but she didn’t get the right socio-economic situation to help materialize her ambitions. In her spare time, she would create head turning clothing for the entire family. I spent a large portion of my childhood crafting in her seamstress studio. I spent the other part shadowing my father at the family-owned hardware store where he would patiently teach me the importance of organized spreadsheets on inventory and sales. We were in the 70s back then — all data was entered and calculated manually!
What really stuck with me are life lessons on the value of a flawless customer experience to build customer loyalty. I saw myself going into entrepreneurship at a very young age. According to my mother, I made it clear to the entire family that I would be a fashion designer by the age of four.
I worked for 18 years as a lingerie designer for other brands before launching my own. That is a long time! While launching my label has always been the ultimate goal, I knew I had so much to learn about: retail, the customer experience, marketing, and finance. I am a perfectionist and came to the realization I would never “feel” ready. So in 2016, I decided to make the jump and left an amazing leadership position part of the L Brands group. My career back then was rewarding in the sense that I had great creative influence on the product, a brilliant team and fantastic collaborators, but I felt I had a greater responsibility. The responsibility that goes beyond designing and actually helping people see their unique beauty by breaking the unhealthy standards imposed by a long time male led industry.
A good fit starts with quality components and materials to properly enhance the silhouette. For decades, we asked women to have the perfect body to fit into ideal clothes. Obviously, it should be the other way around. We need well-made lingerie that enhance the body.
My designs standout by the attention to a 360-degree construction. Unlike commercial brands, I don’t design products that look good on a hanger or would make a good front view shot on e-commerce platforms. I design for the wearer to look fabulous and feel confident from all angles.
I knew I was on the right track when we started receiving customers reviews — amazingly positive feedback on the product without even asking for it. Our biggest marketing initiative has been, and remains, working with influencers to help present our products in untouched pictures on people of all body types. I remember crying of joy the first time I saw and read an Instagram post from an actual customer explaining how wearing our lingerie made her feel beautiful and strong. That is the real pay. That is why I am doing this.
I remember crying of joy the first time I saw and read an Instagram post from an actual customer explaining how wearing our lingerie made her feel beautiful and strong.
The biggest change from working in a large corporation to leading my own small business has been to accept that there is no "typical day" and that my schedule could remain chaotic for few years. I tend to prioritize working with my staff in the morning so everybody is empowered to do their part. I also make sure to allocate time daily on my calendar to be creative. This is essential to my “joie de vivre.” (Zest for life.)
I believe that having a sense of style relates to having a defined personality—taking a stance, having a voice and being true to ourselves. This is the total opposite of blending in. I absolutely base Monique Morin off my personal tastes. I like very feminine and delicate materials paired with a strong structure. I would describe it as a bold refined aesthetic. My style as a designer came naturally. I design from my core and the creativity is fed by my interaction with the world.
My personal wardrobe style evolves and changes according to my mood. The only consistent element is that I mix very feminine material such lace, fine jersey with bold statement accessories. I am pretty casual at the moment, especially with the current social distancing.
My favorite top is a white cotton tee with gorgeous wrap waist detail from Modern Citizen.
Currently I am mostly wearing our very soft Caress bralette and high waist Caress Brief to sleep — I must admit I’m also wearing them during the lately as I have been working from home.
Sustainability is a complicated issue and topic, especially in lingerie where there are so many technical components needed to build a bra. It makes the end product difficult to recycle as recycling requires separation of fibers. Our approach to sustainability needs to be global. We need to know where and how components are produced, how they are transported and how wastes are treated. It is encouraging to see the retail community joining forces in finding real solutions and not just using the sustainable angle as a marketing bate to make customers feel less guilty about consumption.
One collection I am particularly proud of is our Caress, made of modal — a plant-based fabric that requires ten times less water than cotton to produce.
We have a “buy just what you need approach” to avoid waste from the manufacturing cycle to inventory. We also use dead stock material which is left in quantities too small to be of interest to large retailers. When possible, we use pre-dyed components to reduce water pollution. One collection I am particularly proud of is our Caress, made of modal — a plant-based fabric that requires ten times less water than cotton to produce.
This is not going to make me popular among other retailers, but I think acquiring a product as a customer remains being part of generating waste. I think the real solution is to buy fewer things but better products that will last longer. Buy less. Buy better.