From Finance to Fashion: MM.LaFleur
Today I was able to attend an event hosted by United Women in Business Foundation a nonprofit whose mission is to foster professional success through education among all women. Through educational programming, mentorship, and community service events, UWIB helps their members excel in business despite the challenges and inequalities that women face in the business world. They host a diverse amount of events to create a network of women who can help and grow with each other. Tonight’s event was no different, UWIB partnered with fashion designer Sarah LaFleur creator of MM.LaFleur to share her story on how she went from working in finance to creating a clothing company.
When I first walked into the showroom of MM.LeFleur I immediately noticed two things, the very fashionable dress called “The Annabel” and the big poster that said “Live with purpose, dress with ease.” The slogan on the poster was the perfect description of the clothing that MM.LeFleur produces. Sarah LaFleur partnered with luxury designer Miyako Nakamura to create a line of clothing that authentically represents women. From the boardroom to the cubicle, MM.LeFleur was created with all women in mind. Not just women who only rip the runway, but women who wake up everyday at 6am and have to be to work at 8am (we still want to look cute too).
All the women who attended the event gathered in the showroom to hear Sarah speak on how MM.LaFleur came to be. With a background in finance Sarah was not satisfied with her past job and wanted more, she decided to start a fashion line to help professional women look amazing. How many times have you went shopping for “work clothes” and felt like the kid who has to wear uniform to school everyday? (Raises hand) Sarah knew that women wanted more options when choosing professional attire and MM.LaFleur was born.
Sarah opened up her offices to UWIB members and answered questions, we learned a lot about starting a business from scratch, and all the hard work that goes into maintaining a brand. Sarah had no prior fashion industry experience before creating her clothing company, Sarah quit her job and became a tutor by night and managed her company by day. Everything Sarah knows about the fashion industry she taught herself, she did however insist that if we were interested in getting into fashion and don’t have industry knowledge we should partner with someone who does. Sarah and her team did a trunk show for friends and that was one of the company’s first events. Since MM.LaFleur is an e-commerce site they do pop up stores which is great because shoppers get a chance to see and feel the clothes.
Now for the clothing, since I was actually able to touch and feel the clothing I can share my honest opinion. I personally loved the clothing it was professional but had personality. I know the clothing is for work but the dresses in particular could be worn to work and to an after work (a hot date) event because they are not boring. The jewelry is very small and dainty which is a good thing because less is always more especially in the professional world. The clothing itself is good quality, you can always tell when you touch clothing if it is poor quality (my grandmother taught me that). The showroom itself gives off a good energy, the staff is super nice and answers all of your questions (they remind you of your friends). All in all my time at MM.LaFluer was a great experience, part of what makes the clothing so special is that is was designed with me in mind.
What I learned?
Be clear about your brand and what you want it to represent
You can quit your day job and go after your passion (but you must plan)
You don’t have to be a pro in an area to begin (but you need to find someone who is a pro in the field that you are interested in and possibly team up with them).
When you are authentic customers know, and they look for authentic brands, and they stick with them.
Grey stockings make your legs look thinner lol
MM is Sarah’s mother’s nickname, add that with Sarah’s last name and you get MM.LaFleur
Thank you to Sarah and her entire team for hosting a very informative event. And a special thank you to United Women In Business Foundation for inviting me! Please make sure you check out MM.LaFleur as well as United Women in Business Foundation !