There is something extraordinarily powerful about seeing together so many crafts made by women. Even more if coming from different countries of the world, with styles, artistic research, sectors that differ from each other only in form because in substance they transmit a common and luminous essence, a potential that permeates everyone’s life. FAM, femmes autour du monde, translated “women from all over the world”, is a project that has left me enchanted by the versatility and high quality of the products offered, beautiful, colorful, narrators of a production process made of respect for nature, dedication, and love. Furthermore, the social vocation here is strong. Every three months, 2% of sales are donated to associations to support the poorest women. Now the support is for La Maison de Marthe et Marie a non-profit association founded in 2010 by a midwife that helps pregnant women in difficulty by offering them shared accommodation, an innovative low-rent housing solution.I met the founder of FAM Made by women in her boutique in Paris over a steaming hot herbal tea. Smiles, heart-to-heart sharing, reflections on the path taken on the difficulties that an entrepreneur may encounter on her journey and on the advice that experience inevitably brings to sprout.
What is the path that led you to open this business?
When I lived in Bogota, I founded my first business at 25 years old, an interior design store where we designed customized furniture and decorations which were then made by skilled local craftsmen. The contact with the clients analyzing their needs is something I’ve always loved. I then moved to Madrid where I continue my studies. Some years after moving to Paris with my husband, I decided to create my own business again, a platform to promote women designers from all over the world, spreading the beauty of the creations that I had fallen in love with and giving these artists the opportunity to show their work. It is difficult to be able to carry on one’s professional career when one is a designer, an artist… And with this project I wanted to convey how important and determined it is for us women to be united and collaborate with each other. For now, there are 32 designers from all over the world that makes part of this project.
How did you come to open a boutique?
The idea of FAM, Made By Women at the beginning in 2018 was materialized in an online platform because I wanted to have enough time to balance with my family. Afterwards, I started making pop ups stores in the Marais district two times per year. I saw that people liked the products and little by little the business grew and so did the circle of designers I proposed. In 2021 after the Covid and the lowering of rental prices I was lucky enough to find this place, perfect to start my first permanent store in Paris.
How do you choose the designers you propose?
I try to create a balance between the various sectors and styles that I propose. At the same time everything is determined by my personal taste. These are all products that have a beautiful story, good material, respectful of nature. It’s a place that talks about what I love.
Next to each product is described the origin of the product, the history of who made it, the supply chain. What added value does all this bring?
I know most the designers personally, I’m aware of the realization process each product. People really like to see alongside what they buy the description of what happened behind the scenes, that whole process invisible to the eye but crucial part of each product. It’s incredible to see how rewarding it is to know that behind a business there is a soul, a creative process, a story.
Could you tell me the story of some of the products on display here?
I could start with Melissa Herman, a fashion designer born in Mexico now living in Paris. She makes headbands, hair bands using discarded fabrics from luxury brands, therefore very high-quality materials as well as new fabrics. Her creations are beautiful. Another project, KOBA, She uses recycled cotton ropes to make multipurpose containers. The product is durable and enriched with colorful and bright sewing stitches. I love this project. Then we have this designer, Gisela Cisternas who makes jewelry with Açaí seeds, a fruit from the Amazon. In addition to being very light, the seed absorbs the color in an extraordinary way. I find them very beautiful and pleasant to wear. Then we have the 100% wool trivets made in Katmandu by Aveva. They are very resistant. You can find also the colorful recycled plastic bags from Handed By, beautiful project. And The Vegan Atelier, project created by Anais Jean Louis, 100% natural handmade soaps.
Do you have any advice for women who want to start their own business?
If you want to make your own project, go for it. Go ahead and give it a try because if you don’t you are going to regret it. There will be some problems to solve along the way, it won’t be an easy road but if you have a clear goal, you will always find a solution. I recommend not stopping at small problems but always looking ahead and finding the step-by-step solution from a broader perspective. I think it is also important to be open to being supported and have the attitude to always learn. We can confront each other and draw on the experience of those who have already achieved certain things. Then of course each one builds its own unique path but being inspired is important.
How do you manage to organize everything? Your business, family, taking care of yourself…?
I think that when you build your own project, your dream, you should make your priorities clear. A tip: every day when you wake up make a list with what you think is important to accomplish that day. Once the day is over, if you haven’t managed to do everything, put those things back for the next day and so on until you succeed. We are all wonderful women, and we can accomplish anything we want, but if we decide to do a thousand things a day we risk exhausting ourselves before arriving to the goal, is important to channel that energy and prioritize. And it is also important not to seek perfection. We are beautiful just as we are. Our imperfections make us human.
40 Rue Saint-Placide, 75006 Paris, France
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 11:00 to 19:00 Saturday 10:30 to 19:00