COURTNEY KATES // MAISON DU SOIR
Maison Du Soir is an L.A.-based luxury sleep and loungewear collection designed for the women whose fashion sense doesn’t get left at the front door. Each MDS garment is crafted with practicality and silhouette in mind and that the transition from day to night should be seamless and that sleepwear should echo your daywear style.
How did you come up with the concept behind Maison du Soir?
Maison Du Soir was born sometime after I purchased my first quality, matching set of sleepwear. I was a VP of Merchandising and Design working a high stress job, settling into my 32 years and really coming to understand how to treat myself well and own the powerful female role I was playing.
That first set was purchased after looking into my sleepwear drawer and thinking, “I have to get my pajama game together.” How can I be sleeping in pink plaid flannel, old tees and sweats when I’m using my hard earned money on Helmut Lang leggings, Maje blouses and a splurge on great shoes here and there? How does a holy tee and random flannels with ties that don’t really function, make me feel better after working grueling hours?
When I slipped on that first set, I looked better which made me feel better and consequently helped me sleep better. I was hooked and wanted more. I had money to spend and after looking online and heading to some favorite department stores, I realized there was not much out there that I really liked. I’m not a lace and bows girl, lingerie is uncomfortable and most of the classic sets that are somewhat affordable have wide legs and boxy tops. Being in the fashion industry, I didn’t understand why it seemed the sleepwear market wasn’t paying attention to our changing needs and trends. Everything seemed dated, boxy or cheesy sexy. The wheels started spinning as I envisioned what would be so much cuter to sleep in and became obsessed with so many designs in my head. Maison Du Soir took flight and I haven’t turned back since.
Once you knew you wanted to launch Maison du Soir what steps did you take to make that a reality?
Launching Maison Du Soir was so exciting mainly because it was the blissful beginning stages — like when you have a new boyfriend! The work was intense. I kept my VP job and worked on my obsession at nights and on the weekends. It was all-consuming. I basically worked two jobs for a year and a half. There was constant defeat in the beginning — people not supporting the idea, vendors not wanting to work with someone new, lawyers who charge way too much — but I made my way through it. I developed a business plan, set aside some money, went through the proper legal channels, made a calendar, and did my research. I worked and worked and worked, every weekend and every night.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
I’ve learned so many lessons I don’t even know where start. The lesson I actually learned well before (that prompted me to start MDS) was that even if you have tons of money and resources, you are still going to be a mess at times and make mistakes. You have to tackle them head on, learn from them, be humble, and keep going. What’s essential to know is that nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. Making mistakes doesn’t mean it strikes against you. If you present a consistent brand image, that’s all people will see and remember. They don’t know that you just miscalculated your fabric yields and you are 60 yards short. You resolve it before they know and you deliver, no matter what.
What has surprised you about starting & running this business?
I think the coolest thing that has surprised me is there is always an up after the down. It just somehow happens that way and it keeps you going, sometimes surviving on fumes.
Do you have a daily routine or certain rituals you do?
Just recently I added some rituals because for the past two years my health has come last. I now start my day with hot water, coconut oil, and lemon. Of course there’s coffee after that. I’m trying to bring meditation back into my life and taking supplements catered specifically to my needs. I handle every aspect of the business. Keeping the machine running well is crucial. Getting sick is not an option. Continue reading…