A coffee with Madeleine
Hi Madeleine! Welcome to the Lepelclub journal. We're super excited to have you here! Can you introduce yourself? We’d love to know a little more about you!
Hi Jill, so happy to be here! My name is Madeleine, I am 26 years old. I was born and raised in Copenhagen, but live in Mexico City with my boyfriend and business partner, Phillip.
You’ve founded your own brand, Havre Studio. Was it always your dream to start your own business?
Not at all! It never crossed my mind before Havre. I am unsure whether it's because I didn't see it as an option, or because I am not a stereotypical entrepreneur, in terms of being very risk averse, liking stability and being cynical. I have definitely worked on those aspects of myself, but I think the right idea had to come along before I was willing to challenge those aspects of myself. If I told younger Madeleine about what I was doing today, she would be super excited and happy, but I don't think it was something I even dreamed about.
Can you tell us a little more about your brand, and its core values?
I founded Havre Studio in 2019, which is a sustainable women's wear brand. We aim to create high quality effortless and timeless garments for women, which can be enjoyed for many years and eventually passed down to their daughters. We make our clothing from vintage men's suiting and vintage fabrics, so mainly from garments dating between the 1960's to 1990's.
How did the inspiration for Havre Studio come about initially, and how do you keep inspired each day?
Havre Studio was born by chance. I have always loved vintage, since being a little girl, and spent a lot of time at various flea markets and in my mother and grandmothers' closets. Havre Studio was born in 2019, when my boyfriend moved to Mexico City due to his work at the time. I was studying in Copenhagen, but relocated to Mexico City in August 2019 and was studying from there. I had one suitcase of clothes with me at the time and basically no savings. While Phillip was working, I had a lot of sudden free time on my hands in a new city with no friends and no job, so I spent a lot of time exploring different places. I stumbled across Sabino, an older gentleman, who sold men's blazers and suits on the side of the road. Being from Copenhagen, a mens oversized blazer is a staple in all girls' wardrobes, so I was instantly drawn to it. I then bought a blazer and took it to a seamstress, Lupita, who I had seen on my way to buying groceries. We developed a really lovely friendship and once or twice a week, I would buy coffee for us both and we would practice Spanish together and think of new ways to rework these blazers and suits. From then on some of my friends wanted them, and I opened an Instagram and began showcasing the pieces.
I find a lot of inspiration in the people we work with, but also taking care of myself and not losing myself in work and small picture things. I find a lot of inspiration in the vintage pieces themselves, and deconstructing them with our team. But I will say - I do not keep inspired every single day, sometimes it's just discipline and very long days of putting out fires. I do however find a purpose in my work every single day.
What’s been the most challenging part of starting your own label, and what’s been the most rewarding?
So many things have been challenging throughout Havre ! We are not a conventional brand, so alone just making enough pieces, making sure everything is quality checked and up to our standard has been a challenge, which I think we have gotten better at solving. When you are a small business it's everything from customer service, legal, HR, finance, etc., that is your area and your responsibility. So I definitely think I have learned a lot from this.
The most rewarding is definitely sending off packages to all over the world. We have customers in most countries, and sometimes our customers send pictures of random people on the streets in different cities wearing our totes, pieces, etc. The people we have worked with and are able to support is definitely also incredible, as well as creating some really amazing pieces.
Havre Studio is worn by many big names, such as Elsa Hosk and Emily Ratajkowski. How have you drawn such attention to your pieces?
I think I was very lucky, but I also had some pieces that were something people hadn't seen before, which was captivating to some celebrities and stylists. I was super optimistic and really believed in Havre, so from the time I had maybe 50 followers on IG I would DM people such as Elsa Hosk, etc., and was just really lucky that the pieces resonated with them, so much so that they were kind enough to share and tag Havre. We have never paid anyone to wear the pieces, and also do very limited gifting and loans. I think if you are lucky with the people who wear your pieces, it can spread like rings in water. If you also make pieces which you stand behind and you know are a good fit and high quality, people talk and share it with their communities.
What’s the best piece of advice, personal or professional, you’ve ever received?
What if everything works out better than you could ever imagine?
Here at Lepelclub, we love to relax with a coffee or a cocktail. When you’re not working, how do you unwind?
On my days off I like going for walks and going to my local vegetable market and cooking!
And finally, how do you hope to stir things up in the future?
I want to really change our clothing consumption and our approach to shopping, and push the boundaries of upcycling and our business model.