When we heard about an online store that curates slow fashion with the sleek aesthetic and values we relate to, our curiosity could only be triggered. When we learnt that the two founders of The Minimalist Directory were from Montreal, our hometown, with two intriguing backgrounds, we could only be inspired.
Some stories are truly empowering. Vanessa and Sarah’s are one of them. We met with these two ladies and talked about life decisions, career paths, creativity process and obviously, style. During the process we discovered that you can start your career in health services and eventually become the founder of a highly coveted fashion store online. We also confirmed that creativity is a process fueled by a myriad of elements that surrounds you, and that in the end, everything is possible. Inspiring, right?
Who are you? Tell us a bit about you and your background…
The collaboration between the two of us started 2 years ago. Vanessa was studying health services but has always been more of a creative person. She attended the launch party of the 8th issue of Flanelle Magazine, founded by Sarah and this is where it all began.
Vanessa: During the night I told her that I wanted to join her within the magazine, and that was the first of many more collaborations. I left my job at the hospital, started to work at Sid Lee and then co-founded The Minimalist Directory (TMD) . So my typical day goes like this: Flanelle in the morning, work during the day, TMD by night, sleep and repeat! When you are a creative person you need to take risk and go with the flow and that’s what I did.
Sarah: Yes, our days are pretty similar actually, but instead of working full time I work as a photographer part-time, and I am currently finishing my Bachelors in marketing & communications. I’ve fallen into photography and fashion for a while now, way before I started Flanelle. I’ve always loved drawing, painting, creating things, but I also love other aspects of having a business: PR, marketing, managing, and working on your very own ideas. It stimulates me and makes me happy to work. I think that’s the feeling everyone should have when waking up.
Describe your creative process. How do your best ideas come to life?
Vanessa: The fuel of my creativity comes mostly from the people around me, I’m glad of being surrounded by such inspiring people. I won’t lie… Instagram helps too! The rawer it is the more inspired I get. That’s why I have a strong interest in basics and the quality of the fabrics. La Garconne must be one of my favorite designer. I’m really into minimalisme but I get a lot inspired my more eclectic people like Monika Tatalovic. My favorite hobbies always change, I like to try a lot of stuff ! For the moment it’s painting.
Sarah: I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I do, ideas pop… My favorite brand right now would be THISISNON. They have some amazing pieces that I’ll be wearing for a lifetime. My hobbies besides my many projects, are pretty simple: great meals, good restaurants, movies, painting…
What are the values driving the project? Which brands to you work with?
Sarah: I actually knew and worn most of the brands from TMD. The quality and the designer’s touch is felt throughout the products. More and more people want to buy quality instead of quantity, and we simply felt that there had to be a place where all those items came together: for clothing, skincare, jewelry or even for your walls in your home.
Vanessa: We were always complaining about the quality of the clothes we bought. So we wanted to regroup all of the brands that we thought was worth buying. It was important to us to help women buy smartly.
What gave birth to TMD?
Sarah: I love my lazy mornings (laughs) and the idea of the store came from a dream. Literally. At some point, I told Vanessa about it and we realized it would be the perfect way to start a dream project together with our shared values and fashion styles.
Tell us about the journey of launching the e-store.
Vanessa & Sarah: It’s not an easy task! From building the website, fixing bugs, taking pictures, launching the e-store to setting up shipment, every detail is important. We are 150% dedicated to this project.
How do you curate and approach brands you wish to work with?
Vanessa & Sarah: Some brands come to us and some of them, we already knew. We discover and source new brands from different platforms or websites and we always analyse if their products fit with our philosophy. We love to discover independent brands mostly because these designers are as passionate as we are.
What are the cities that reflect the most TMD vision?
Sarah: Love this question, but it’s so hard to answer… I’d say it’s between Paris and Santorini. Paris for its timeless fashion and Santorini for its rustic yet luxurious white buildings with great ocean-views.
How do you see the future of the e-store?
Vanessa & Sarah: Eventually we’d like to be able to present/gather unique and unmatched brands that share our values and our aspirations. We’d like to become a benchmark for conscious shopping.
What are you favorite pieces ?
Vanessa: That’s a difficult question, because every piece in the store is carefully hand-picked by us. But if I had to choose one… I’d choose the Mathilde earring (named after my niece)… and the Suki sweater since it’s getting cold in Montreal and it’s incredibly comfy with the Zoe body oil to stay hydrated ( it’s smell so good).
Sarah: I have my white marble phone case with me at all times, so that’s a must. I think the exfoliating scrub is simply magic and leaves you with such a soft skin. For clothing, you can never go wrong with the Alexa Shirt in black.
What to include in my suitcase from TMD for my next trip?
Vanessa & Sarah: Definitely the Noah and Zoe combo for your skincare. Ina earrings for day and night jewelry. Swimsuit No1 for the beach and the white marble phone case. For your day outfit, the Sadie Camisole will highlight any casual combination. Night out outfit : Camille Slip Dress and Kaia Kimono if it’s cold. Pair this with your favorite shoes and that’s it! Don’t forget your toothbrush and makeup too.
More information: www.minimalistdirectory.com
Photo credits: The Minimalist Directory