We sat down with the fabulous founder and curator of Maison Marche, Sarah Easley and questioned her about all things femme, fashion and the future of retail. And then we shopped!
The Kelli Chronicles (TKC): Tell us about founding Maison Marche!
Sarah Easley (SE): I owned a multi-brand luxury fashion Store in NYC for 17 years, I spent a lot of time working with brands and clients – but my favorite moments were always Saturdays in the store. In the last 5 years I saw the retail industry really changing and I wanted to find a new format for clients to discover independent brands. I was inspired to launch Maison Marché in 2018 to support these talented designers, introduce them to new markets, and resurrect the joy of shopping with friends.
TKC: Why did you decide to start Maison Marche?
SE: With fewer consumers going into brick-and-mortar retail stores, these stores cannot always afford to take a risk on emerging brands. Even web-savvy clients hesitate to buy unknown brands, as it’s impossible to know the fabric and fit. Sadly, I saw many talented brands going out of business. I love discovering and supported talented fashion designers and it is so rewarding seeing friends wearing my new favorite small brand from Venezuela! We love being known as a place to discover new creativity.
TKC: What is your favorite part about this company and how does it differ from some of your previous companies?
SE: My favorite part of Maison Marché is having an environment intimate enough to share the stories behind my partner brands. Our client cares how and where products are made. I also really love the simple joy of friends styling each other and weighing in on choices like we are all in one giant collective dream closet!
TKC: How do you think fashion and retail will change post-COVID?
SE: Right now the dream is for women to shop global fashion at a private home in their own neighborhood. Shopping can be overwhelming—there are too many choices. At a MaisonMarché event, even if there are 40 brands featured, the selection is customized for the guests. In curating, I avoid “vibe-redundancy,” meaning I offer one perfect brand for each fashion mood: tailored luxury coats and jackets, a dreamy, colorful prints brand, and so on. When a guest experiences the merchandise selection in an intimate, relaxed, home setting, it feels different. It feels relevant to their life. Also, the joy of shopping with your friends is everything! I believe it’s the ultimate authenticity.In June and July we did MaisonMarché by appointment at my own home. Ladies came in pairs and it was fantastic. Last week we held our 1st away game event since Covid and it was outdoors in the Hamptons. It was very well attended but easy to spread out and stay safe
TKC: What are some of the other experiences you offer? Digital styling options?
SE: Thank you for asking. YES! We do not suggest shopping for a new season until you have done a closet cleanse. Our stylists can do this virtually or in real life. It is such a nice re set. It is also a real way to learn about your habits and develop your own signature style.
TKC: What do you look for in the brands you carry?
SE: I choose unique, well made fashion that you cannot easily buy anywhere. I consider the lifestyle of the clients in the location and offer both every day and special pieces that I feel will both fit into their lives but also stretch their style a bit. We are looking for special, but real fashion. That piece you fall in love with AND will actually wear. We also try to offer all sustainable brands made by artisans. We are not 100 % because I too fall in love with fashion that does not always fit that ideal. But! We are a work in progress.
TKC: What are some of your must-haves right now?
SE: At the end of Summer I need a break from print and color. I am LOVING the core transition pieces from Karolina Zmarlak such as the navy belted jacket and her perfect side zip cropped pant. We have quite a few new tricks for Fall we are launching in the next 2 weeks!
TKC: Best style advice?
SE: Make it your own. Find those little edits to an outfit that make it feel like YOU. A headscarf, a crazy cuff, silver sneakers…And there can be 100 “yous” I love to be a fashion schizophrenic!
TKC: How would you describe your personal style?
SE: Ha fashion schizophrenic! Just kidding. I would say sophisticated-sporty! Non- formulaic?
TKC: How can someone become a host for a Maison Marche event? What are the requirements for having an event?
SE: Most of my hosts attend an event, see what it is all about first-hand and then ask to host one in their community. This is the best way. But honestly we welcome anyone who loves fashion and has a good group of enthusiastic friends who love to shop to reach out to us to explore the opportunity. Fashion@maisonmarche.com
TKC: What makes the Maison Marche experience so special?
SE: Bringing communities together to engage in creative activity. Styling is a creative skill you need every day 🙂 I am always very glad when all age groups come together at an event. The grandmothers with their daughters and their teen grandchildren is my ideal.