Behind the Design
Questions and Answers with our Founder Carla MARTIN :
Q : How did you decide to create your brand ?
Carla MARTIN : The truth is I like handbags. Carrying beautiful bags make me feel empowered and confident. My entire adventure has started out of necessity. A few years ago, I needed a new handbag. I was looking for something distinctive, something that would make me stand out and fit my personality. My husband suggested as joke, that if I could not find the right handbag, I should create one. I was hooked on this idea, as I have always been in love with leather. From that moment I started to visit tanneries to learn and understand this noble material while surrounding myself with amazingly skilled artisans to make my ideas and design come true. Thus JEANNE.CHAVANY was born.
Q: Why did you choose a different name than yours?
CM : JEANNE • CHAVANY is my pseudonym, since I wanted to make a clear differentiation between the brand and myself.
Q: What is the motto of the brand?
CM: “Simplicity Is An ART”
Q: Describe JEANNE • CHAVANY in three words.
CM : It is a “cocktail” of Passion, Craftsmanship and Ethics.
Q: How would you position yourselves?
CM: JEANNE • CHAVANY aims to celebrate the contemporary business woman by creating accessories to give her confidence and strength to overcome any challenge.
We are a niche brand dedicated to ladies who seek quality, exclusiveness and wish to differentiate themselves to stand out. We are positioned as a slow fashion label – we do not follow trends but endless beauty- our products are timeless and here to stay.
Q: Where are you based?
CM : We are based in Lyon, a wonderful city. It is the capital of gastronomy, the nest of French silk and crafts- definitely a place to visit.
Q: Where are your products made?
CM: We are proud to say that from design, to leather and production everything is 100% Made in FRANCE, in our workshop near Lyon.
Q: What was the very first piece you designed?
CM : The very first piece I created was Miss JADE handbag. My entire journey has started thanks to this; which by the way has become our iconic bag. I invite you to read the inspiration behind it, on its page.
Q: What elements do you make sure to include in all pieces?
CM: The most important elements we include in each product is quality and passion.
Quality down to the tiniest detail is our main focus. It starts with the selection of the finest hides from traditional French tanneries, which we travel to select them personally. No compromise is allowed from this point on.
Passion: Our artisans put their heart and fingerprint into each product, therefore the client will be able to buy a piece of JEANNE • CHAVANY’s philosophy and values.
Q: What do you think of exotic leather?
CM : There is so much beauty, character and elegance in exotic leather. It requires a specific know-how. Artisans are trained for several years to be able to work it properly, as one mistake in cutting or sewing could ruin the entire skin. We pay lot of attention in sourcing it from France, from places that guarantee good treatment of the animals and have the CITES certification.
Q: Which is your favorite skin?
CM: Without hesitation I would say “Lizard” is one of them. Firstly because it stands out for exclusiveness, boldness elegance and it is sexy as well. Secondly because it incorporates the main characteristics of JEANNE.CHAVANY’s woman.
Q: Which is your favorite colour?
CM : Undoubtedly it is Taupe, because it is an incredibly versatile colour, subtle, chic, and authentic, as well very French.
Q: How would you describe JEANNE.CHAVANY Woman?
CM: She is bold, yet has her feet on the ground. She is a woman of action. She is an entrepreneur with an optimistic attitude to transform challenges into success. And all at once she is elegant, feminine, confident and empowered.
Q: How about your style?
CM : JEANNE • CHAVANY’ style is an expression of silence discretion which relies on understanding the quality and details. The main line we follow is subtlety and minimalism. Our products are designed with simplicity and elegance in mind. They are the ultimate expression of refinement and timelessness.
Q: If you could make your customers feel ONE emotion what it would be?
CM: PRIDE. Our biggest accomplishment would be to make our customers feel proud of wearing our products, proud to be part of our Family.
Q: Where your products can be purchased?
CM : Made to order is perfect for those searching for unique products. We deliberately limited the supply on the market, for this reason our products are not distributed in shops.
A limited selection of our products can be purchased directly on our e-shop, or pre-order by filling the form or send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For our Londoners customers we have partnered with the exclusive STOWERS Bespoke for a limited selection of products, available at their showroom: 13 Savile Row, Mayfair, London W1S 3NE.
Q: Why JEANNE • CHAVANY is special in a few words?
CM: Customers are part of our family, we talk to each other. And this human contact makes us a human brand.
Q: What is your receipt for success?
CM : Creating a business is a silent and constant progress. Self-improvement and self-discipline are crucial. But it is also very important to constantly learn from mentors and other entrepreneurs.
Q: What is your main strength?
CM: I love this quote by George Lucas: “Your focus determines your reality”.
Q: Which causes do you support?
CM : We support two causes which are very dear to me. One is the Inspirational Woman Campaign which has for purpose uniting women and making their voices heard.
The second one is Eduction. We feel very honored and proud to have joined forces with the NGO Professors Without Borders founded by HRH Princess Tessy from Luxembourg. We designed a pen case called “New Beginnings” by the community of PROWIBO and 10% on each sale will be donated to support empowerment in schools.
Q: What message you would like to pass?
CM: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started” Mark Twain and then keep going.
It took me lot of passion, tenacity and determination to create the brand I have dreamt of. Heartfelt thank you to those who have believed in and supported me.