Founded on the French idea of savoir vivre (‘knowing how to live’) by Prosper & Martine Assouline, ASSOULINE produces books in collaboration with the world’s foremost designers, photographers, artists and architects. As beautifully presented as they are thought-provoking, they’re the perfect addition to any coffee table.
We spoke to Alexandre Assouline, Chief of Operations, Brand & Strategy at the brand to find out how to drive Assouline to the next stage and what the secret to maintaining superlative quality is.
What do the first 30 mins of your day look like- your morning routine?
I wake up at 6:30 and prepare my suit for the day and train on an elliptical machine for 30 minutes every morning. I like to take the subway to our office in uptown. I arrive at the office early to connect with our teams in Europe and Asia.
Can you define the DNA of ASSOULINE and has it remained the same since the outset?
Assouline is a luxury brand about culture and we focus on coffee table books on art, design, architecture, most recently travel. We’re developing organically by expanding into a lot of new product categories while still maintaining the original focus.
What made you decide to join the family business and were you interested in this from a young age?
I’ve been lucky enough to have been surrounded by an immense appreciation for culture at a very young age – it’s something that my parents engrained in me. From identifying the beauty in art, history, to lifestyles from all around the world, it was quite clear that I was developing a passion for it. It is because of this influence that I was driven to join the family business and strive to contribute to it long-term. I came back to Assouline full-time in 2016 where my parents offered me a leading role, in which I have been able to test myself professionally in helping to develop the brand.
How does your role drive the business forward and what have been the clear goals to date?
My role is at the centre of the business where I lead the departments to achieve a cohesive strategy to develop our company’s goals and distributions worldwide. I oversee operations, brand, and strategy. The goal is to place ourselves as the leading luxury publishing house and a lifestyle brand.
What have been the biggest challenges to date and how did you overcome them?
Today, mostly the shortage of paper worldwide, but we are in an important growth and development period for the brand. The growing pains are always a bit challenging but looking at the big picture, it’ challenges that you learn from that makes the business grow and strengthen.
Which ASSOULINE books are on your personal coffee table?
Paris Chic – I have this book displayed on my coffee table, it is opened on a page where you can see a picture of my brother, my mother and myself featured in the book. I also have our Assouline branded objects and candles on my coffee table as well.
The brand is perfect for gifting- which book would you recommend that would be well received by anyone?
From what I’ve heard, the Formula 1 book that we launched last year has been an incredible gift. Personally, my favourites remain the Travel Collection, where we recently launched Dubai Wonder and Greek Islands.
Have you had any mentors to date and what knowledge did they impart?
I’ve had many to date that have helped me immensely in distinct periods of time throughout my career. One notable mention is when I first started running the digital department, Prosper taught me the ropes and I’m incredibly grateful for his help and knowledge. I have replicated this knowledge when mentoring other department heads that I have overseen throughout my journey at Assouline.
How do you maintain clarity in your life and work practice?
The line is always blurred when you work in a family business, especially when all your direct family are involved. But I have to say, it’s thrilling to always talk about ideas, solving problems and develop a beautiful brand together that is designed to impact and inspire so many people.
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