Portrait: Christiane Lemieux, DwellStudio
"The Dwell Belle"
Susan Dickenson -- Home Accents Today, 12/1/2011 2:00:00 AM
CHRISTIANE LEMIEUX is good at introductions. Her first was Dwell Home Furnishings textiles and bedding, in 2000. In 2004, she introduced her DwellBaby line of soft goods for tots, followed soon after by DwellKids and DwellTable. In 2007,DwellStudio as the home brand for everything Dwell.
In 2008, the brand went national with the highly successful DwellStudio for Target launch of bedding and accessories. Lemieux's next major introduction was in 2010 with DwellStudio's fabric line for Robert Allen. She also opened a DwellStudio retail shop-in-shop at ABC Carpet & Home that year.
In 2011 there was the book, her first - Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design, published in March by Clarkson Potter. In April, DwellStudio made its foray into furniture with an upholstery collection for Precedent, and introduced a 70-SKU collection of modern decorative accessories with Global Views. At the Fall 2011 High Point Market, products from all the DwellStudio categories and brand partners, including selections from an expanded furniture collection, were showcased together for the first time in a new showroom in IHFC Interhall.
In addition to running the business, Lemieux actively blogs and tweets to 16,000 followers, is planning a new retail venture for this spring, and continues to create - "You can look for us in the lighting category next; lighting is a real passion for me so I'm very excited about it," she told Home Accents Today. The company is currently experiencing double-digit growth with some categories "seeing triple," and a board of directors was just named. Somehow, she manages to do it all while sharing parenting and pet responsibilities with her husband and business partner, Joshua Young.
How do you fit it all in, especially with two young children? There is not a lot of down time but I know there will be a time for that later. We are in growth mode both at the office and home so I am going to maximize both! Sleep is how I unwind. Early to bed is what keeps me going.
For you personally, what was it like to see the DwellStudio collections all together in one showroom this past market? It was pretty incredible for me - we've been working toward showcasing the entire DwellStudio look for years. We want to give our customers all the tools to create our eclectic interiors, and this show was a huge step in that direction. I was very happy with it, but of course am now thinking of ways to make it even better!
DwellStudio has come a long way in a short amount of time. To what do you attribute the company's success? Our obsession with quality. Often design gets compromised for quality or the other way around, but we have never allowed that. At the end of the day, our success is simple: We over-deliver on our product.
Do you have many DwellStudio products in your own home? Of course! To name a few: My kids can't bathe without their hooded towels; my bedding is DwellStudio (always rotating designs), and I have several of our furniture pieces in my living room.
Where did you grow up? Ottawa, Canada
Education: Art history degree from Queen's University, Kingston, Canada; graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York with a degree in fashion design
Background: Fabric assistant for Isaac Mizrahi; design, development and merchandising for The Gap; design director at N.Y.-based Portico.
Where do you live now? SoHo, New York City
What did you want to be when you were growing up? A designer. And a spy.
How did you earn your very first paycheck? As a counselor-in-training at summer camp. I think I made $20.
What are you reading right now? A giant stack of back issues of The New Yorker.
Your secret indulgence: Playing hookie from work on a weekday and hitting the galleries. I just saw the DeKooning exhibit at MoMA the other day. It really inspired me for next season. The color palettes are amazing.
Complete the sentence "I wish I knew how to..." Practice medicine.
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