Aussih is one of those places that we would all like to have in our town. Better still: in our immediate neighbourhood. Aussih can be found where its founders, Jessie Hessmann and Audrey Colombani, live. Two women from Marseille, positively fizzing with energy and enthusiasm. As surprising as it may seem, Aussih is not their first joint project. Besides having each kept their respective jobs, the duo also manages the Maison Madeleine decoration brand. Plain or two-tone fringed cushions, arranged and scattered according to their mood around these 250 m2 dedicated to beauty. That is one of the only things that doesn’t change in this boutique, where they make it a point of honour to change the displays completely almost every week and 70% of the selection every three months. Why go to all this trouble? Does anyone notice the difference? The residents of the 7th arrondissement do, yes. With the advent of online sales, the owners want their “family store” to be a welcoming place to meet and, relax and converse, and where service is personalised, up to and including delivery. Sometimes they make deliveries themselves! Understanding better the needs and desires of their customers (and their children!) are real priorities. To get to know them, Jessie and Audrey added La Cantine d’Aussih to the site. The gourmet spot for lunch or snack break. The menu is short, the produce is fresh, and some associations – such as that with the chef Ludovic Turac, from Une Table, au Sud – have been extremely fruitful. A genuine asset in the art of living that has transformed the former print works at 9, rue Chateaubriand into a hybrid venue, an ambassador for a city, as well as an establishment as innovative as it is timeless.
Aussih, 9 rue Chateaubriand,13007 Marseille. Shop opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-7pm. Café and tea room opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm.
Audrey, Jessie: who were you before you became co-founders of Aussih?
We met through our husbands, who have been friends since they were children. We share a passion for decoration, and two years ago, we set about creating a decoration brand, Maison Madeleine. In France, we manufacture indoor and outdoor cushions as well as custom-made furniture.
Why did you decide to create this concept together?
We decided to create a new world together because, beyond our brand, we wanted to share things, and to meet and reunite people in a real living space that is for the whole family. The funny thing is that the way we complement each other has made this place unique and quite hybrid. Our two personalities are very different. One is “fire” (Audrey), and the other is “water” (Jessie). Nowadays, we couldn’t imagine not working together. We’re a truly great duo! Our teamwork is a real asset.
How do you organise tasks between the two of you?
We learn every day because it’s still new to us. We’ve done everything gradually, playing to our personalities and our affinities with particular fields. We really work together on the whole brand selection aspect. We are looking for lots of creators and brands via social networks. We also do furniture shows like the one in Stockholm, and then Audrey loves hunting for treasures wherever she goes. She also takes care of everything to do with management and accounting. Jessie is more focused on communication and events.
We decided to create a new world together because, beyond our brand, we wanted to share things, and to meet and reunite people in a real living space that is for the whole family.
How did you decide to take the plunge? What did you want the Aussih concept to bring to Marseille?
Marseille, our city, we love it, and we feel so good here! The quality of life here is incomparable with the sun, the sea and incredible food… more and more people are settling here. It is a city that is constantly evolving and that we find is still quite limited in terms of shopping, and places to meet and exchange ideas. Antoine and Rodolphe, our husbands, have always encouraged us to succeed in this project, which we’ve developed as a result of our travels.
With Antoine, we prefer the northern capitals, such as Berlin or Stockholm. The art of living, of drinking coffee in the shops because it’s so cold there is wonderful!
Rodolphe and I are sensitive to more distant and seaside-oriented destinations, because Rodolphe has a passion for surfing that we now share as a family! This takes us off to more and more inspiring places each time. Bali, Australia, Brazil, and even Portugal.
In general, whether in the north or further south, we met and shared our encounters and discoveries, always noticing the same thing: that there was no comparable, atypical and unique place in Marseille where the whole family could congregate.
What can we find in your shop?
We like to choose different, innovative and not very widely distributed brands, and we often find them by looking on Instagram. It’s a fabulous tool for that! At Aussih, you can come and discover Studio Hausen or Gassien Paris shelves, lights from the designers François Bazin and Haos, wall decorations by Vanska, Casa Cubista tableware, leather goods from designer Le Sellier and leather mittens from Toasties. There are Japanese foolscap sheets from Kinto, Rains raincoats and luggage, Couleur chanvre household linen, Rive Droite Paris creations, Olli Ella children’s suitcases, FLATOUTbear blankets from Australia, Mako moulds (a souvenir of our childhood) and that’s not all… there are books on cookery, architecture and cars and by famous names such as Gubi, VerPan and Gervasoni.
Audrey regularly makes a unique selection of vintage treasures that she finds during her travels or through her contacts. These are objects, signed or not, that carry us through time without ever going out of style. That’s how Aussih is too. Once it’s sold, it’s gone!
Since we opened in December 2018, the shop has been in a state of continuous change. Every week you discover a new place, a new selection, a new layout. People come back and tell us that it’s incredible, that everything has changed, and that they discover new things every time! We always want to be on the move. For example, in the weeks before Father’s Day, we prepared a selection of original accessories at affordable prices. It was a resounding success, and within a few days we were close to running out of leather key rings, handmade in France and personalised. With Aussih, we want to continue to offer a wide range of furniture and accessories with gift ideas for everyone. So we admit it’s a lot of work in brand research and stock management, but that’s also what’s attractive and exciting!
To give you an idea, we renew 70% of our selection every three months. Whatever is sold is replaced by something else, another model or another brand.
Every week you discover a new place, a new selection, a new layout. People come back and tell us that it's incredible, that everything has changed, and that they discover new things every time!
Why did you add a restaurant to it? Tell us about it, its menus, its chefs…
The restaurant is an integral part of the place. It’s a canteen and tea room, open all day from Tuesday to Saturday, and therefore an opportunity to connect people. That’s what gives the shop its soul. A cuisine that says conviviality, joviality, family, sharing. All these are the values we want to convey at Aussih. We come here to have lunch alone or with friends, with family or for business. There is a large, quiet terrace, which is sunny every lunchtime as well as a space inside with a counter where you can sit and eat in front of the chefs who are cooking! It’s a vibrant place, where chefs change regularly. At the moment, Anita and Jeff form a very amiable duo who prepare delicious homemade meals. There’s a salad and a sandwich of the day, but also a pasta dish or a fish depending on the selection in the market. And let’s not forget the delicious chocolate cakes, the red fruit tarts with their mascarpone and whipped cream, as well as the iced tea…
Which item from our brand – The Socialite Family – would be best suited to fit in?
Are you committed to products created in Marseille?
There are some incredible talents here! We regularly welcome designers from Marseille with whom we collaborate in terms of proposals for products for the shop and events too. Recently, we organised an aperitif event where the shop remained open featuring, notably: Kokomo, ceramics made by Manon, a young woman from Marseille. Jewellery from Mon précieux, Maison La Couronne and Fab 07. Balinese inspired creations from the designers at Atipikat. The leather goods manufacturer, Sellerie Georges, the craftsman who does everything himself in the traditional way and who works with Merci and Le Bon marché, among others.
What do you think a shop should bring to its customers today?
A shop is above all a place for exchange and sharing. A pleasant place for a moment of discussion and discovery. A place where you feel good, where you can get advice and help, and where you can see and touch things. With Audrey and Nina, our shop manager, we assist our customers, and we make deliveries ourselves to ensure that they go smoothly. We also work a lot with individuals in order to find out about their world, understand their needs and then advise them as best we can. It’s the same with the architects. This is really an area that we want to develop so we can always be in contact with people and provide them with a personalised service that they will never find on the Internet.
If Aussih were to entrust The Socialite Family with its ideal city-guide to Marseille, what would it contain?
Regarding the shops: Jogging, Maison Empereur, Fifi Turin fleas and the Marseille flea markets. The restaurants: Épicerie Idéal, Il Canaleto, Le Cercle des Nageurs, Au Bord de l’Eau, Le Belge, and for an aperitif, L’Abbaye. Finally, when it comes to hotels, the one rightly named Les Bords de Mer.
Photography: Eve Campestrini – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily