Today is a really important day for me.
Today I am very happy to introduce Atelier Doré.
This change is something I’ve been thinking about for years. For an obvious reason, first of all. Garance Doré isn’t just me anymore, it’s a whole team working in the studio (there are twelve of us right now) – our creative workshop and place of inspiration.
Atelier Doré grew very simply and naturally based on the people we met and our needs along the way. It started a few years ago with Tim, my first assistant. That’s when I started to understand that unity is what makes us strong, and working alone, despite all the great things about it, can very quickly turn into a prison of stress that destroys your creativity.
I started out calling it the Studio, as a little nod to the fact that it all started in my tiny studio in Paris.
Then one day, I met Emily who had just finished Journalism school and we understood each other immediately. I remember saying to myself, the day I interviewed her, “Either this girl is completely unrealistic and thinks she can do it all, or she’s going to change my life.” I’ll tell you our full story soon.
After that, without even realizing it, we started laying the foundation for what made Atelier Doré what it is today.
First of all, we’ve chosen to surround ourselves with people who inspire us, make us laugh, and people we can trust, because we’re not the type to micro-manage. Except for training them at the beginning, if needed. I never really look at someone’s resume very closely. What I look at is the energy and enthusiasm the person brings with them. Besides that, we’ve always wanted our workplace to feel like a home – a place where we feel as comfortable as possible physically, and most importantly, mentally.
A few bad experiences helped us realize – to make beautiful things, you have to surround yourself with people who are beautiful inside.
Very soon, our number one rule was to ban bitchyness, which I saw a bit too often in fashion offices. Cliques, gossip, superiority, all the things that bring people down and eat up all the good energy. Sometimes with Emily, we just talk about energy. If we feel like the energy of one of our collaborators (whether it’s an employee, a client, or a partner) isn’t there, we say it’s probably time to make some changes.
We also want to avoid victimization. I’ve always given my employees the means and ability to grow and change. If something isn’t working, it’s up to them to suggest solutions, which I am happy to accept. Do we need another intern? Do we need to change techniques? Change a habit? I know that just like human beings, companies can develop habits that hold them back and sometimes it can be hard to let go of those habits.
It’s important to keep questioning them, and to stay open and keep the conversation going.
From that basis, our team began to grow. Alex came to help us develop our approach to fashion, and after a few wonderful years, we felt the energy start to dip, and Brie came to replace her. Erik arrived shortly after that. I adored him right away, and even though he wasn’t ready to replace me yet, I told myself it was worth giving him a chance and teaching him. Today he still works with us, but he’s also developing his freelance work, because beautiful relationships are also about freedom. The team has continued to grow since.
Little by little, our vision and technique started coming together. We continued to hire people based on feeling. And our activities expanded thanks to a team we love, who stick by me, even with my craziest ideas. And believe me, I have plenty.
I might be the most difficult boss to follow, but I’ve always loved collaborating, helping people grow, and letting them teach me things. I’ve never been motivated by money as an end in itself. What excites me are new possibilities, telling stories, inspiring dreams, and talking about what it means to be a woman today.
And being that woman myself, with no embellishments. Being complex, curious, engaged, and not afraid to support other people.
It’s something we’ve always done with a lot of passion, and that’s at the heart of the stories we tell. Introducing you to women (and a few men) who inspire us, whether they are totally unknown or superstars. Now that formula has become popular in a lot of other places too, and I think that’s great.
But it’s also great to take ownership of it, and be a little pretentious for a second or two.
My team and I started, innovated, and inspired a lot of things.
Obviously, I didn’t start street style, but I did bring a softer, more intimate perspective to it. Not differentiating between celebrities and the girl next to you. To me, they have the exact same emotional and editorial value. Not thinking about fashion as something reserved for models. Introducing women of all sizes and all ages without making a big deal out of it (“Look, she’s plus size!” That approach never seemed very elegant to me). A few years ago, when I had the idea to start doing career interviews, which are now one of the most read sections on the blog, no one was ever talking about women at work. I wanted to show the substance of the women around me, and to give insight into the working world that seems so complicated when you’re young and don’t know anyone.
I went through that phase, and it was so difficult – I wasn’t ever able to find any information on working women in magazines, they were all actresses! But now, everyone talks about women and their careers.
But we never thought to ourselves, “How can we do something new?”
The only questions I ask regularly are: “What are we talking about right now? What do we want to read right now? What are the stories we’re telling each other?” Not what we imagine you’d want.
Because the moment when we start differentiating between “us” and “you” is the moment when we start handing out lukewarm ideas, and being condescending. I know my readers are my friends. We could meet up in a café and share all kinds of things. I’m not better or more interesting, and I’m often less educated, actually. I know this, because I’ve met so many of you, and every time, I would have been able to spend hours with you. A whole world of friends with interesting things to teach me. The dream, the reality. But I’ll come back to that later.
I never look at my stats. I don’t care. I measure my success in whether I find what we’re doing beautiful and inspiring. And that’s the kind of rebel mindset I try to inspire in my teams (and they love it.)
Atelier Doré has no investors and has never taken any loans. We are our own boss. We only have ourselves to answer to.
Emily, who started as my assistant, is now my COO, and she’ll talk to you soon about a few numbers (thank god someone can read numbers around here), because we definitely should share that with you.
Yes, Emily has become my COO. Because believing in empowering women means putting our trust in them, and starts by seeing the potential in women around us.
Atelier Doré is also all the women we introduce you to every day, and we love watching how those women grow. You’ve seen and understood by now, we are loyal. We like long love stories. The women who pose for us are part of our family. We love them and so often, they show they love us too.
We work with them whenever we can, we invite them to come see us, we support them. And once again, there’s no difference between them, you, or us. Sisters ;)
That’s why we’ve given ourselves the means to pursue new ambitions this year. Thanks to two new recruits, Audrey and Caitlin, and with Alison’s help, we’re developing ideas to bring all of these wonderful people together in new ways. For example, what would you say to a trip to Morocco with me and a few of our favorite artists and consultants for a workshop where you could discover and develop your creativity? That’s the type of thing I’ve been dreaming about for years and I never had the time to develop it until now.
Thanks to Atelier Doré, it’s all going to happen, and a lot more beyond that. We’ll tell you more in the next few weeks.
Atelier Doré is also, of course, our collaboration with brands, something we started a few years ago, and again, we’re so happy to see how loyal those partnerships have been. Thanks to them, we’re exploring uncharted territory and we’re able to present all of that to you here, for free, in just one click.
Because even though garancedore.com is changing names, the story and the people behind it have never changed. It’s us, it’s you, it’s not just me, Garance.
Our editorial content will continue to evolve, inspire you, irritate you (sometimes, sorry!), teach you things, make you laugh, and surprise you. We will also continue to offer you posters, and new products (beautiful things that respect the environment) will be added. I will still be the one in charge of my Instagram feed, and the Atelier Doré feeds will tell you about everything we’re working on, what’s on our minds, and the amazing people we’re meeting.
We have a lot of dreams to make come true – trips, creative workshops, encounters, and maybe one day, a space where we can meet (with the Atelier on the second floor and a cafe-boutique-meeting place on the ground floor, wouldn’t that be amazing?) and it was time for me to celebrate our growth and honor all the work and love behind what we do with this new name, Atelier Doré.
To me, our new logo, which we’re unveiling today, represents all of that. I find it chic, interesting, joyful. It changes colors like you change shirts. It’s a little bit French, like us.
So thank you, to all of you, first of all, for supporting us and loving us for so many years (we love you too! And can’t wait to meet you!) And to all of the women who make this site, who pose for us, and tell us their stories. And finally to my team of amazing women, Alison, Natalie, Audrey, Caitlin, Carie, Brie, Tori, Pia, Brittany, Vanessa, and of course, Emily, and all of our wonderful interns (we even have a guy!)
The site is brand new, so don’t hesitate to send us your feedback. Every time we relaunch, there are lots of little bugs, which is normal, but again, the great thing is, we can trust Colorz, whom we’ve been working with since the beginning (we told you we were loyal!) (annoying but loyal, haha) to fix it quickly and to do a great job.
Lots of big hugs and kisses!
Translated by Andrea Perdue