“Pelote de laine”
It means “ball of yarn” in French.
And it's crazy how often my clients use that expression in our sessions.
Not because they’re knitters, or obsessed with sweaters, or particularly manual.
But because unraveling their web of fears and desires feels a lot like untangling a jumbled ball of yarn.
You know what I mean, right? When you're searching desperately for that little thread at the beginning of the spool so that those tight intersections can start opening up and letting loose?
And when your fingers finally it everything starts to settled down —your shoulders relax, your eyes soften, your breath calms down. The relief and satisfaction is huge. At last, you can start getting on with your stuff!
I'm fascinated by the “pelote de laine” stories of everyday women who figure out how to loosen up their tangled web of interests and doubts and confidently put their ideas into action.
That's why I’d love to introduce you to Anne-Sophie Roquette, founder of the French fashion and accessories brand L’Atelier13, who found her career calling by listening to what her fingers were telling her as they worked through a real “pelote de laine.”
Read my interview below with this super inspiring women who went from corporate life to entrepreneurialism while raising three small kids below.
*On Friday January 25, 2019, I’ll be giving vision board workshop at Anne-Sophie’s showroom as part of her Inspirants community events for her clients. Click here to reserve your spot.
What inspired you to start making your own accessories considering the amount of work you already had going on (career, kids, etc)?
It all started while I had my young daughters. Being stuck at home for long nap hours and early nights, I had to get busy with something, and I found out that manual activities were a great satisfaction to me. It gave me the happy feeling of using my time with something productive.
How did you find the time to devote to that passion?
I really wonder now how I did find the time. I guess when something becomes your priority (for sanity or for pleasure), you always find the time! My days were really packed but I had that urge to make them even more, which, now that I think about it, and at the time where I try to take things and life slower, seems crazy to me.
I believe that I was in this age where being productive and making the most of every minute was the most important to me. I would never sop. As soon as the kids were in bed, I would work on a project. At the park watching the kids ? In the subway ? I started knitting before I was even sitting. Conference calling with lawyers ? A knitting project in my hands. I was doing something all the time. That's hilarious when you think about it !
When did you know that it was the right time to switch full-time into your new career?
It came as a conjonction of different moments. I never thought I would switch. I loved my job, and was fully aware of the ups and downs of launching a business, especially in the quite crowded fashion industry. So it took a while before I even envisioned it, at least a year.
By then, that little project had been flourishing and meeting some success, and at the same time I wanted to have my third child and some time to take care of her, and on top of it, the company I was working for was growing too much, evolving into something that I no longer felt connected to. I had turned 37 and felt it was now or never. So I allowed myself a two year break to have that baby and cherish every moment of her first years, and concentrate on working on my project. It's been 4 years now, and I don't regret any of it!
What fears or doubts did you have to overcome?
The main fear is that you leave something that you know and enjoy, for the unknown, the uncertainty, the unpredictability. That was my biggest concern. But once you realize that, if you want to go back to that job, two years from now, you'll still have that same back ground and experience, and be able to interview and find another job, everything seems much easier. I always decided to think that if things were going to turn bad, I would always be able to find a job. That's a great security.
Behind the clothes, the bags, the shoes — what does your brand represent to you?
My brand is really a concentration of what I like most in the way that I envision work. It embodies my values :
Work: Work with people that you are happy to work with, that you get to choose, whether they are interns or suppliers that you care for, that you help grow and help you grow.
Perseverance: Being an entrepreneur is not an piece of cake. Some days are harder than others. But I strongly believe that if you keep your vision in mind, no matter what path your days are following, you will end up achieving your goals.
Fulfillment and Happiness: I think you do things much better when you're happy to do them, preferably under the least pressure possible.
Balance: My business could develop faster, probably, but my life is full of many things, and I choose to devote some time for them all: my kids and their projects, my yoga practice, my husband and our well being as a couple (which involves spending time together, but also cooking good food ;-))
What do you want you clients to feel or experience in your creations?
I want them to feel comfortable and sexy, different but with a sense of belonging. I want them to dress in the morning and accessorize with no headache and always feel good no matter where they are, at school with the kids, at work, at a cocktail that same night.
What made you decide to launch the Inspirations series of workshops for your clients?
I noticed that most of my clients have the same aspirations and hopes as I do. Thinking about the way to balance our busy lives, find moments of joy and well-being, discover new things, in order to improve, become better moms, professionals, wives, friends... The community behind L'ATELIER 13 is eager to share and discover, know better, feel better, and I thought that a good way to serve that community was to bring that kind of value. I'm driven by what I feel like doing, and learning, and I really hope that it could interest more women, so I was very enthusiastic about bringing that value through my brand.
What piece in your collection means the most to you?
Probably the first one, the Cosi Bag, as it really launched the project. I came up with the design as I was sewing a dress. The top of that dress made me think of a bag, and I decided to test it out and found out that it was a very convenient one, and yet stylish. That I could make it with the fabrics I wanted and therefore really design it to match my style.
It was the bag that I could fold in my purse, and use when I stopped after work for grocery shopping. It was the bag that I could use to carry my kids stuff, no matter how many pieces there were to be carried (sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats, snacks...), that I could wash if necessary, in a word, my daily companion.
I started to make some for people who asked, and I believe I sew nearly a hundred, at night and on week-end, before I thought it could be smart to find a workshop that could help me out. This is how the venture started!
If you’d like to meet Anne-Sophie in person come join us on Friday, January 25th 2019 at her showroom where I’ll be giving a vision board workshop as part of her Inspirants evens series for her community . Click here to purchase your spot.