The Socialite Family is about interiors, but it’s also about people with inspiring life stories! Exciting stories, like that of Yasmine Bohéas, which are quite unlike any other. From Rennes to Barcelona to Toulouse, where she now lives with her family, this aesthete who “loves the beauty in everything” has worked hard to cultivate her insatiable curiosity. And this has always been the case. Raised by parents who gave her the “strength and perseverance” that characterises her today, the founder of the digital communications agency Bonjour La Smala seems to have lived a thousand lives and held down as many jobs! So many experiences which have helped her understand what really drives her, “bringing people together, creating links, motivating others and helping them to see the positive side in every little thing! ». A highly personal style – hers and her agency’s – that she happily shares on Instagram. The network where she shares her world, which, she writes, “reflects me and shows who I am: my roots, my tastes, the things that attract and inspire me” and which are evident in her home. In this house, which has been furnished and decorated little by little! Here, the entrepreneur and her husband give their eclectic and multifaceted lifestyle a chance to shine through. A clever mix of vintage and contemporary, punctuated by craftsman-made pieces and other, more imposing pieces and which testify to their love of materials, such as the bookcase in wood and cane made for them by the Crème Studio. A masterpiece that contributes to the wonderfully warm atmosphere of this home where playfulness, creativity and colour all have their place. Better still, they are encouraged!
Yasmine, can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m originally from Rennes. I left there at the age of 21 for Barcelona with the desire to explore new horizons and learn a new language. I met my husband there, and we had our first child. A few months later, we moved to Toulouse, and this is where we live now, in a house that suits us and where we feel comfortable. I am an aesthete; I love beauty in everything, which makes me an inquisitive person.
What is your background?
My apprenticeship in life, the most rewarding school of all! With my Management Science & Technology baccalaureate under my belt, I tried my hand at a foreign language college without much conviction to keep up with my girlfriends. I had no leader, no one who motivated me enough. I felt I needed attention to get there, encouragement. The mass approach doesn’t suit me. So I decided to enter the world of work with butterflies in my stomach, yet, at the same time, curiosity about what to expect. I soon earned a little money and left home, moving to Rennes. After that, I took a series of jobs as a sales assistant for various brands. It was a repetitive job but always in contact with people. I learned from all these experiences! Then I arrived in Barcelona. I continued my work in sales at Kookaï, after a fashion school there in merchandising. Then I became the visual merchandiser for the brand in Spain! I travelled around the country, and I loved it. This is where I started training teams in the rules of good merchandising. My creative vision was to the fore, and I loved what I did. I continued my training in this creative city a second time, thanks to my right to training. I went back to another fashion school for a one-year course in fashion journalism and social networking. The final project was to set up a blog, so I looked for a name and a concept. HOP3FULLY was born. It was a webzine that aimed to highlight emerging artists living in Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam. A blog in three languages governed by a team of writers who are all good friends. We went to meet them to get to know them and photograph them. I invested myself, body and soul in this medium; it fulfilled me. The network grew through events that we organised between the three capitals in unlikely places (a launderette, a tattoo parlour, a coffee shop, etc.). I was learning to create ‘moments’ from scratch. To do artistic direction, production, partnerships, press. I invested time and money to keep this small but growing project alive. I then realised that this is what I was made for: bringing people together to present the work of artists who caught my eye. I like to nurture creativity and find those people who deserve to be seen. I then opened an Instagram page dedicated to the project, which grew very quickly! I brought my friends into this. It’s what unites us, brings us closer to each other despite the distance. I realise now that this project has taught us a lot; it’s been like a diploma course for us.
How was Bonjour La Smala – your Instagram account – born?
Over the years, HOP3FULLY evolved as I tried to monetise it. We spent a lot of time on it, but no money came back. So I tried to set up an online concept store to sell products from Barcelona designers. Always with product descriptions linked to the history of the brand and its creators. Here again, I started on something new with a steep learning curve – opening an e-shop! (Laughs) I think it was too early for this phase of the project. I had a very artistically oriented audience, and I covered decoration, children and fashion. This audience had to be redirected into communication and this wasn’t easy. Then came the year I turned 28 and became pregnant with our first child. I carried on working but very quickly, the question of returning to France came up in our discussions. After a year of the shop and trying to sell as best I could, I decided to stop the project when I arrived in Toulouse to devote myself to my child. After a few months, I decided to learn to take photographs. I trained with a friend and practised at home, where I spend most of my time. My Instagram account became Bonjour la Smala, and it was first dedicated to the family, then to designers, decoration, travels and things I fell in love with. The more it grew, the more I emphasised creation and craftsmanship. I like to communicate, write, express myself through different media, and I decided to go all out by taking my own account as a case study. Demands on me as an influencer started coming in, and so did my first communication clients. I was lucky enough to have a luxury decorating brand as my first client to set up a strategy and prove myself!
Our home is a warm place where playfulness and creativity have their place.
Tell us about your upbringing. Where did you grow up – and how did you develop your taste?
My mother is from Brittany, and my father is Moroccan. I grew up with a lot of love and the bright eyes of my parents’ success in life. My father arrived in France at the age of 25 after growing up in the slums with his family. A hard life where resourcefulness was his only chance for a better life. He immediately found work in construction and began to earn a living. My mother worked very hard and did everything at once! We moved from a council estate to a house when I was 8 years old. They gave us everything we needed and gave me the strength and perseverance I have today. My taste for beauty developed in Barcelona. In this rich and artistic city, in contact with the various creative people I met there. I developed my eye through the exhibitions I organised, through the discoveries I made because I spent my time finding new artists, new creators. When I moved to Toulouse, I had the time and the desire to decorate the different spaces in the first apartment.
How did your taste for interior design and decoration come about?
Since I met my husband over 10 years ago. He works in decoration, a company that makes wall coverings, wallpapers, fabrics and other accessories. I saw the collections come and go from year to year, and that’s what made me move from pure art to decoration. To find brands and craftspeople! Today, most of my communication clients are in the decoration sector, which is the field I like to work in.
Your profession makes you an image expert. What is your relationship with your own, and with the world you share on social networks?
The social network Instagram, although it is much evolved, represents a space of expression for me. A place to foster reflections (like around the body, as I did with my photographic project “Cher Corps” (Dear Body) for two years), to share inspiring or committed posts. But it also allows me to expand my network and make new friendships. I feel good about myself. Enough to show my face to embody my brand. I’m okay with showing my personality by sharing my dances, and talking about my problems as well as my successes. Afterwards, of course, we choose what we publish. While not everything in life is smooth and rosy. So I’m an aesthete who likes authenticity on social networks! I’m also totally in tune with the world I share. It reflects me and brings out who I am: my origins, my tastes, what inspires me and attracts me.
Every day, you infuse it with a glimpse of your lifestyle. How would you define it?
An eclectic and multifaceted way of life. Like taking time to admire my surroundings, even the most familiar ones, dancing in the evening with my children to let go, having our friends over a good meal at home.
What inspirations and influences does it draw on?
I have a knack for marvelling at the smallest things, I always have my eyes wide open and glued to what is around me, so I don’t miss anything. What moves me first and foremost is the human element. Two years ago, I undertook a photographic project on women’s bodies. I love colours too. Whether in decoration, travel (even close to home) or fashion.
How did you design your house?
We bought the house as-is in 2018. We were looking for something around 130 m2, bright and quiet. It had to be an instant hit, which was the case with this one, which I visited without my husband, who was away at the time. It had just been renovated, all painted white with this beautiful concrete staircase. This was a great advantage as we were able to settle in with two small children immediately!
How have you arranged it?
The decoration was arranged step by step. We were helped first and foremost by our friend Céline Hervé from Crème Studio and started with the security, with the glass railings for the stairs and the pool. Then she worked on the masterpiece for the living room: the bookcase in wood and cane. Here, my husband’s wish was to have a cabinet to store all our books, his turntables and his vinyl records. A modern, unique and timeless piece of furniture mixing high-quality materials such as wood and cane, where I could arrange our belongings, including this portrait of Napoleon, which would bring a historical touch to the rest while challenging those who pass in front of it…a bit of a dichotomy. We are lucky enough to get along very well when it comes to decoration; we both like the same materials. This house blends the old with the new, with pieces by artisans – such as in the kitchen with plates by the ceramist Homere – and the tufted rug by Atelier Paolo in Jules’ room. The light fixture in the living room came from an antique dealer in Berlin.
What does it say about you?
How comfortable we are here and how much it reflects us both! It is a warm place where playfulness and creativity have their place. Each room transports us to a different world while forming this cohesive whole at the end. This house is the cocoon where every day our children grow and flourish before our eyes.
Each room transports us to a different world while forming this cohesive whole at the end.
Colour seems to have a special significance for you. Why is that?
Yes, colour is vital! All the ones we have chosen give us a different feeling: peace, joy, good humour. We add it everywhere in small touches with objects, pictures, and also on larger surfaces such as the paintings chosen for the children’s rooms and the recently renovated bathrooms with Moroccan zellige tiles. I, for one, am a colour hunter. Everywhere I go, I photograph it, I wear it. When I need energy, I put on colour in a nail varnish, lipstick or shoes. As trivial as it may seem, it helps me to keep a positive mindset!
You live in Toulouse. How does the city inspire you on an everyday basis?
It is a city that inspires by its beauty, its popular side. Here life is relaxed, and everyone lives outside! It is a creative place where many entrepreneurs start up and help each other. We feel at home here as a family, and it’s located in a wonderful region where it’s good to escape every weekend to the sea or to the mountains!
Can you tell us your favourite places to go?
I’d love to! As the culture of eating well comes first, here are a few addresses that we love! The best crêperie in town (Bretonne oblige!), Les Crêpes de Benoît. For a sophisticated style of cuisine in an almost secret address, Les Planeurs. For a healthy lunch or delicious brunch, Canopée Coffee House and Baba Canteen. For the little ones, a hot concept store hairdresser, Maison Chaton. For women who love fashion, Shop Martine. For yoga in an inspiring location, Studio Malabar Princess or Studio Rita. And finally, for decoration, the Terra Rosa boutique!
What does The Socialite Family mean to you?
A blast of inspiration! I love the diversity of the interiors you see on The Socialite Family. It gives a lot of ideas for decoration, but it also shows the very different backgrounds of creative people. It’s as beautiful to look at as it is interesting to read. Thank you for the great work you all do!
Where will we find you in the coming months?
I’m launching my online course for creative entrepreneurs who want to adapt their strategy in line with the new digital era. The idea is to focus on quality content to get themselves known and be able to sell via Instagram. Its name? INSTACOOL.
This house is the cocoon where every day our children grow and flourish before our eyes.
Photography: Eve Campestrini – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily