Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Anna Lecat, founder and CEO of Les Lunes, explains how this image represents her business.
Les Lunes creates ethically-made, stylish clothing for men and women from eco-friendly fabric sourced from bamboo. We're also known for ethically manufacturing goods in Shanghai that we design in Paris, and educating the public on why shopping slow fashion is so important.
As a busy business woman jet-setting everywhere, I was frustrated with my fashion choices. Women's business attire was either shapeless or constricting and uncomfortable. I wanted clothing that would work for me, not against me. I love the way French women always look so effortlessly elegant, and I wanted this look in fabric that felt like a caress. This was a void in women's lives, and I decided to fill it. From the beginning, the concept proved to be very challenging, which made me even more determined to do it.
I lived in Shanghai for almost 20 years working in branding, sourcing and manufacturing, and know the local culture there very well. I wanted to connect the talented seamstresses I'd worked with in Shanghai to the vision I'd had for clothing – an incredibly soft fabric that was ecologically friendly.
I wound up finding a jersey rayon sourced from bamboo and fell in love with the feel against the skin. I was so excited to get busy creating a comfortable and versatile clothing line for women, so I flew to Paris to find a designer that would give Les Lunes the effortless elegance French women are known for. Many designers told me it couldn't be done, that there was no way to make anything more than lounge wear out of jersey. And then I met Mélanie Viallon, who also saw this need in women's lives, and was up to the challenge of creating it. We're both very passionate about creating timeless pieces in an ethical and eco-friendly way, and it is a great joy to work together.
Because of my background in China, the Les Lunes team is passionate about dispelling the negative stigma surrounding "Made In China" that ultimately comes down to a lack of communication surrounding the reality of the history there. It's easy to label something good or bad, rather than taking time to learn the whole story, and we've found America hasn't learned the whole story.
China has an ancient culture of making excellent products and product innovation. The economic crisis of 1997 to 1998 blasted the door open for U.S. companies to produce cheaply in China, which is when producers were pressed to offer extreme low pricing and make products that had a short life expectancy. The savings had to come from somewhere, usually being lower grade materials and lowering operational costs, which led to poor treatment and compensation of employees, and lowering standards of facilities and safety.
At Les Lunes, we are very much a family, and all of our Shanghai team is local (no migrant workers). They're paid almost triple the market rate, and are members of the Paris and San Francisco Les Lunes family.
This photo represents the soft and strong of every woman. We are sexy, smart, fierce, and innately protective of our future. Les Lunes is, too. We will forever be committed to blending our passions together – making beautiful, sophisticated clothing and sharing our story so the world can perhaps shop differently.
Our biggest challenge is getting people to try on the clothes. Once we have them in the fitting room, our capture rate is very high. People think the bamboo jersey is going to be too clingy and not flatter their figure because this has been their experience until Les Lunes. Watching their face light up when they walk out of the fitting room looking and feeling amazing is why we keep pushing to create styles for everyone. We want Les Lunes to be the favorite garment in everyone's closet. The one you go to for that extra boost of confidence in your day.
I know many companies talk about customers first and excellent customer service, but this is the very foundation of our DNA. We are designing for our customers, we are listening to their needs, and every day we are learning how to do it better from the first draw of the pattern to the sales floor. We want to know their lives and give them comfort, support and something to smile about.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Fallon.