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CHAT ROOM | Marie Soudre-Richard

The founder of Little Fashion Gallery, Marie Soudre-Richard is the visionary behind the wildly successful LFG web site that offers a highly-edited, sophisticated array of apparel, accessories, toys and home goods for children. Part fashion magazine, part e-tail site, LFG recently launched a Juniors section and a brick-and-mortar “showroom boutique” in Paris. Below, Soudre-Richard discusses her expanding empire, her must-have items for back-to-school and life as a working mom with two young sons.

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Can you sum up Little Fashion Gallery in three words? 
Innovative, fashion-forward and ambitious.

I just learned that in addition to your online store you also have a boutique. How’s it going?
Yes, we opened a showroom/boutique over a year ago. We show design and furniture pieces and do private shopping sessions for our VIP customers. It also includes a book shop and we have over 200 books. The locals come by to look for small gifts or to just look around. We’re located in a courtyard so it’s quite discreet– even though we get around 10 people on average per day and sometimes more during peak times!

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Your shop is known for its well-edited childrenswear. How do you select your brands? 
We have a style and we ensure that the brands are in line with our positioning (understated luxury/high-end with an edge) and that they complement each other. I wanted LFG to be a brand in itself to ensure that we are a communication platform for the brands we sell. Some brands like Chloé and Little Marc Jacobs feel safe in our environment. Newer brands know they can find a place where they will be promoted. We always launch brands that we believe in and have a long term approach – one third of our brands are exclusive to LFG. We work with them on special development products to ensure that we answer our clients’ needs and always nourish their fashion or design cravings.

Which Fall 10 collections are your favorites? Finger in the Nose because I have two sons. If I had two girls, I would probably have given you another brand!

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Who is the LFG spokesmodel, we’ve seen him grow up in the last four years? That is my son, Paul. It just happened because I wanted to separate our ad visuals from our fashion shots. The ad visuals supports LFG, as a brand and the photo shoots highlight the brands we carry on the site. When I met Patrick Swirc, the photographer, he liked Paul’s funny faces, glasses and crossed eyes.

Tell us about your children? Have they developed their own individual style yet? Paul will be five in December. He loves brown tones, red and white, which he says is his favorite color. He likes when I wear pink outfits (I don’t wear that color often) because I am a girl! Jacques is not quite two months. I love him in Lili & The Funky Boys and Album di Famiglia. These are by far my favorites. They have the best fits for babies and are practical yet possess a strong style.

Where do you shop for your kids’ clothing? LFG, of course and Bonpoint.

What are your favorite items in your sons’ wardrobes? Their used jeans and white tees. I am a minimalist girl. For me, I love A.P.C., Acne and Alexander Wang.

What are their favorite outfits? Comfy outfits, of course! Paul’s favorite piece is a Zef cashmere sweater.

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What are the must-have items for the back-to-school season? Finger in the Nose jeans and puffy jackets; Petit Bateau underwear; a key piece from Chloé or Little Marc Jacobs; and a good pair of shoes from Start-rite or Pépé.

You’ve just launched Medium Fashion Gallery, a shop for Juniors. How did that come about?  Actually Medium Fashion Gallery is for young adults. The style is very consistent with LFG’s style with an edge – a Scandinavian feel. For me, young adults covers a larger target – we find that our client ranges from 15 to 25 and even goes up to 30. They have the buying power to buy Acne or A.P.C.

Little Fashion Gallery also gives trend guidance to customers with Clara’s Style Report and now Little Fashion Book. How did that concept begin? Can we expect more features like this?
Yes, every week we bring new content. This was our approach from the start and we were the first web site to do this mixing of fashion and design.

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How did you keep busy before Little Fashion Gallery? I was the marketing director for Coty Prestige. They do fragrance licenses for brands like Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Joop! and Davidoff in the UK.

What’s your day-to-day role at Little Fashion Gallery? 
I am the founder of LFG. I ensure that the business goes in the right direction in keeping with our strategy and vision–a vision that hasn’t changed since the launch to offer a great shopping experience and the best selection of brands. I am in charge of managing a team of 15 people within different departments–style, marketing, customer service, IT and logistics.

In addition to our retail activity with LFG, we edit a magazine (18,000 print run) each season by working with various artists and freelancers. We manage other brands’ online businesses like Bonpoint in Europe and the United States and GAS, a women’s jewelry brand. These brands have outsourced their business to us (design and development of the site, marketing, logistics and customer service). Our business is doubling year after year, as well as the team. At the moment, I have 15 people in France and five in the United States.

When you’re not on Little Fashion Gallery duty where do you hang with your kids?  Parks and our country house. I go outside all the time, even with Jacques who was born a month ago! I love to see Paul run. When we’re not outside, we love to hang out inside in our pajamas on Sunday mornings. Paul is a sleeper. He can stay in bad until 11 on the weekends which is not bad for a four year old!

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