If you want to trust someone with your wardrobe, make it a fashion buyer who has spent years sourcing the best pieces from Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, and Stella McCartney.
Coralie François decided to make a career switch when she struggled to find her favourite labels in Dubai. Using her knowledge of the industry and flair for spotting emerging talent, she has brought her avant-garde vision to the city through concept store Maison Clad.
From quirky prints and bohemian dresses, to evening-ready pieces, Maison Clad is here to deliver every-day chic to your doorstep within four-hours, or you can stop by one of its three boutique spaces located in The Courtyard, Vida Downtown and Westin Marina.
Originally from Belgium and living in Dubai with her husband and daughter, François talks us through her vision and the challenges she faced setting up the business four years ago.
What was your favourite subject at school?
History of Art.
What was your first job?
Within the French brand Agnes B. Very well known in Europe and Asia, especially Japan. I started for them as product manager and buyer, for several ready to wear and accessories ranges.
What inspired you to launch Maison Clad?
I started in Dubai as a fashion buyer for three famous luxury brands. We had weekly market visits in the malls and were closely looking at the competitive landscape. This is when I realised that the UAE consumers had little choice between fast fashion and luxury brands. Maison Clad was born to offer the UAE women a qualitative choice between fast fashion and luxury. Our motto is to give them fashion pieces they will get complimented on.
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What are the key elements of your role?
It’s a 360 role. From accounting to selling, to even delivering to clients’ house.
Talk us through your daily routine.
The day kicks off with a family hug with our 22-month daughter Bianca in bed. Then we always have a healthy breakfast with organic nuts, seeds, cereals and fruits as well as a black coffee. After, I head to one of our boutiques to meet and get to know our clients. The sales team is left to handle all of the boutiques so I can spend time with clients in their homes with our BOX concept – a tailor-made selection of clothes and brands based on their wishes and habits. In the evening we have a walk within Downtown or Business Bay canal with our daughter.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Trust yourself. Fight for your ideas, no one will do it for you. On the opposite, some people will try to make you fail.
Which fashion brands can we find in your work wardrobe?
Maison Clad for clothing and I am a Gucci addict for the accessories.
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What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
We only face the limits we have created ourselves. This helps me to roll up my sleeves every time, especially in tough situations.
And what is the worst?
Follow a business plan. Even after spending years in business school, I always end up trusting my instincts and simply dare to take action. Common sense and courage have more impact on your success than a business plan.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Opening a boutique in 48 hours!
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