Talk Shop with Haley Boyd, Founder of Marais

By Katelan Cunningham · September 20, 2017

Haley Boyd left art school in 2009 to launch Marais. Her LA-based shoe brand has seen several style evolutions and so has she. Her own Instagram account has become a feed of style inspiration and we can't wait welcome her for our September Talk Shop. 

Read more from Haley below. If you’re in LA, RSVP to Talk Shop Thursday, September 21.

What’s the story behind the name Marais? 

It's my favorite neighborhood in Paris!

When you left school, you came up with a business plan for Marais. What did that look like? 

The mission of Marais USA has always been to make simple design accessible. I wanted to design colorful, understated wardrobe staples.

What are some brands that you look up to when working on new ideas for Marais? 

Oddly, the first two that come to mind are beauty brands Rodin and Glossier! Each has honed an incredibly specific aesthetic and a very edited range of essential products. I also admire both founders (Linda Rodin and Emily Weiss) for their personal style and rogue way of pioneering a new way of doing things that challenge outdated industry standards. 

 Talk Shop with Haley Boyd, Founder of Marais
 Talk Shop with Haley Boyd, Founder of Marais

Some founders use their brand Instagram as their personal account as well. When did you decide to start building your own persona independent of your brand? 

The Marais USA Instagram account is curated to express what the brand stands for. My personal account is really different. It's a depiction of my every day life. You see how I wear Marais USA shoes and where I go in them, but you also see other fashion brands I love, what I cook for dinner, and how I'm feeling about the political climate and current events. I didn't set out to create a following, but it's nice to have a voice, however small, to talk about things I care about and share how the products I design are part of my every day life.

There seems to be a new fashion niche that’s forming — somewhere between luxury runway and casual fast fashion. Do you feel that? How do you see Marais evolving with e-commerce? 

Totally! We are seeing more and more people wanting to know where the products they are buying are made, who is making them, and what materials are used to do so. When people want to know about that process, fast or disposable fashion is pretty hard to stomach. Since luxury runway is not realistic for most shoppers, brands like Marais that are ethically made and reasonably priced, are attracting informed shoppers.

The other big shift is that through social media, brands have a lot more visibility and the ability to find and connect directly with a customer base (instead of relying on retailers to play that middle man role). That has opened the doors for a lot of smaller brands to launch successfully. It has also created the opportunity to start brands that completely bypass the traditional wholesale to retail framework and instead rely entirely on ecommerce. About 95% of our business is direct to consumer now, which is an intentional shift that has streamlined our operations and changed the way I design the collection (compared to when we relied heavily on our wholesale business). I'll talk about this more at the event. See you there!

Come talk shop with Haley Boyd. It's Free! RSVP here.

When: Thursday, September 21. Talk is at 7 p.m. Wine, cheese, and mingling at 6:30. Feel free to come early and check out our HQ!

Where: 3828 S Santa Fe Ave, Vernon, CA 90058

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