• Juno House

Louise, Founder & Designer, Bonenfant Atelier

Updated: Nov 8

Louise Bonenfant



Neighborhood: Eixample (store in Gótico)

Hometown/ country:

Barcelona


Company and Role:

Founder and designer at Bonenfant Atelier


Industry:

Fashion, leather accessories


Tell us about your business, and what makes it special to you?

We designed a local business. It means we imagine, create, test, manufacture and sell our products in our flagship store. We decided to show off the manufacturing process because it is a specific savoir faire we are proud of and that our customers like to see.



Tell us about the defining moment that propelled you to start your business, or follow your dreams.

I started to learn about sewing when I was a child, I still have one of my first "works" it is a boat, I was 7 years old! I grew up with artist parents, they taught me that it is possible to design our lives as we want them to be. I studied nutrition so I have a "safe" background to turn back to a regular job if needed but I always tended to develop personal projects while working or studying.The day I graduated, I was sharing my first website of up-cycled leather bags (www.leave-or-use.fr). In 2013 at 24 years old I lost my best friend, after that I decided to learn a language, see new horizons, focus on my personal needs and it naturally brought me back to leather working. Here in Barcelona I worked in leather industry and it gave me a vision of a real business from the inside. Working there produced the trust I needed and the courage to decide it was the appropriate moment to dedicate 100% of my energy to my own project. Three years after moving to Barcelona I opened my own store & workshop, it became a kind of lab were I designed the business plan and brand "Bonenfant Atelier".



What problem is your business solving? Why is this personal to you?

I feel cheated when restaurants claim a "homemade dessert" when they were actually mixing two pots on a plate. The same thing happens when looking for a fair trade wardrobe, I am never trust what I read on tags. We live in a society of abundance, we have more things than we really want. We need experiences, real connections and stories to tell. That´s why I decided to show how we manufacture our bags, how a leather workshop looks and play-up fact that our products are 100% handcrafted here, by our hands. Our store is my best answer to the fashion industry lies, we will make a custom belt, right in front of them with high quality leather. Nothing hidden, a real connection and they will talk about the experience they lived that produced the very same item which they will wear for a long time.


Tell us how you stay inspired as an entrepreneur.

I keep listening to business stories. Not exclusively in my sector, any story can feed me!


Tell us about a defining career milestone or job that impacted your personal trajectory.

My last job was definitely the starting point to my entrepreneurship. I did a lot of different tasks. I represented the brand twice in a huge event in France, saw leather factories in Morocco, worked B2B with big companies and B2C in the store, representing the same brand. I learned a lot during those three years. I gained confidence doing all those tasks and working with so many different people.


Tell us about a woman who inspired you.

I like to follow the work of @lisagachet, her brand @makemylemonade because she is my age, I started following her work when she was sharing on her DIY blog. It was really handmade, it felt accessible and now she employs around 20 people. She made her dreams happen, collaborating with good people and making her work properly all the way.


Do you feel you've mastered work/life balance? What could be improved or what would you like to work on?

It is something you achieve day by day. We have to work on it all the time! Because my personal life is so different from yesterday to tomorrow, it is a balance and I always keep in mind, the most important is to enjoy the road.


How do you release and unwind?

It can be playing piano, practicing beach volleyball, meeting friends or playing with my kid! Playing seems to be my key word here!


What's the next big step for your business?

I want to maximize the potential of my online store.


Is there a quote/mantra that guides you?

"Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present." Albert Camus


Social handle/ website:

www.bonenfant-atelier.com

@bonenfant_atelier



 
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