Lisa, could you introduce yourself, please?
I am the founder and artistic director of the Make My Lemonade brand. I’ve been living in Paris for 14 years; originally, I’m from Bordeaux. I think that when I’ve lived in the capital for as long as I’ve lived in Bordeaux, it will be time for me to move to another city!
For those who don’t know, please introduce us to Make My Lemonade.
Make My Lemonade is a ready-to-wear brand that you can buy like a traditional clothing brand, but our customers can also elect to have the sewing pattern for the piece that catches their eye from the collection. This means they can repeat the piece ad infinitum. Since the summer of 2020, it has also been possible to hire Make My Lemonade pieces through our hire platform, Frida. This whole story began in 2012, with a Do it Yourself blog that I was keeping on a regular basis. It was a bit like my decompression chamber and creative outlet. I was lucky enough to build an audience very quickly and to be able to leave my job to create content full-time, organise workshops and take on set design for brands. These three years of blogging have allowed me to meet a great community that has inspired me to create my own unique and colourful adventure. Today, more than ever, we are working on smaller collections with fewer products, really concentrating in-depth on the choice of natural and/or recycled materials and of uniquely European manufacture. Our desire is to produce less but better, even if this is going against the current trend of hyper-growth. We really want to make sense and to educate our community by consuming differently. We would like to encourage new customers to hire their clothes so that they can not only have a rotating wardrobe that no longer lies dormant in cupboards and drawers but also to encourage them to pre-order their clothing. For us, this means producing only items that have been purchased. As well as being a virtuous model for the company’s economy, it’s a great way to communicate the true value of our products and to make people understand that doing things well takes time. Clearly, this has a positive impact on the environment because we don’t overproduce, and we don’t create dead stock.
Why did you choose this name? Is it a nod to your philosophy of life?
The story begins with my aunt who, when I arrived in Paris 14 years ago, told me one very depressing day “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. I hadn’t really understood what that meant. And then I realised that when I wasn’t in good spirits and didn’t get out of the house, I made things! I needed to create to feel better. And one day, I understood! I was turning bad vibes into something creative, and it felt good! I was making my “lemonade”.
What is the fashion style, the spirit that you want to offer through your brand?
The idea behind Make My Lemonade was to offer a cheerful, exciting and unusual wardrobe! With very strong values such as fashion made in Europe which is original, but above all, accessible. By being our one and only distributor, this was possible, but it’s a daily challenge. Especially trying to do better with each collection to dress more and more body shapes and sizes (for the moment from 34 to 48) and trying to be as responsible as possible in terms of social and environmental issues. It’s a bold gamble, and it galvanises the whole team. The word impossible is not in our vocabulary!
How did you come up with the idea of developing – and continuing to develop – the DIY side?
Do It Yourself is our signature, and it’s important to us to keep the option of choosing to create our own pieces. More than ever, we see it as a cleaner alternative that we are keen to retain. We are in favour of our community having the choice to buy, create or hire Make My Lemonade clothing. For the past five years, we’ve had a community of highly committed and creative “makers” that continues to grow. It also makes us very proud that we are giving women the desire to “make”.
What new perspectives are you eager to explore?
It’s all fantasy at the moment, but I would love to create a Make My Lemonade perfume and decoration range! But we have so much to do to develop our current range before then, that I’m keeping this project in the back of my mind.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I like to say that inspiration is everywhere, but I must admit I find inspiration in vintage items, in the discussions I have with women around me, in old books (the Forney library is a gem for that) and also, I have to say, on Instagram!
During the lockdown, I decided to create clouds on the wall of my living room. I had painted the wall in sky blue back in March (...) I needed to break free, and that's how it happened.
Do you go more for small designers, young brands, or antique treasures?
I’m a leboncoin fan! As I told you, everything in my living room is second-hand. I also love to bring back small objects from my travels, in particular illustrations by local artists.
Where does this love of colour come from?
I really don’t know. I often associate an emotion, an idea or an encounter with a colour. I always have. A bright colour can put me in a good mood! If I could, I would re-paint regularly because I feel that the colours around me – whether in decoration or clothing – affect me.
What sort of atmosphere did you want to create in your apartment?
I’ve never thought about that. I wanted it to suit me and to feel good. Even though it might seem a bit busy! I make it a point of honour not to bring in a piece of furniture without either giving away or selling a piece I already have.
Which was your favourite room to create?
The little Marie Antoinette bedroom. I’m so glad that I’m lucky enough to have this little room I’ve covered entirely with Herbier wallpaper from Paper Mint Paris. The light is soft. Once the doors are closed, I can really concentrate, having a room of my own to think and design in. It’s a real luxury and a chance that I am grateful for every time I go in there!
Photography: Valerio Gerani – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily