A magical, enveloping place comes to life in the chaotic and fascinating streets of Paris, a place where the warmth of the home and the simplicity of the countryside are evoked by virtuous collections “made in France” and “made in Europe”, created in full respect for nature and people. The smiles of Liza and Kelly, the landlord, crown this atmosphere where the most refined beauty expressed in the authenticity of natural materials worked by the spirit of poetic craftsmen is perceived. A harmony, that of the Mezzanine boutique in rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, on the Rive Gauche, dedicated to sustainability, ethical and inclusive projects, a place full of wonders, small and large objects with a delicate and irresistible essence.
What was the spark that made you decide to create this business?
Mezzanine was born from our love of beautiful materials and craftsmanship. We both come from an artistic environment and were initiated to arts since we were little by our close circle. We have always had at heart the love for the handmade, the artisanal, and a philosophy of “slow living”, and that is something we wanted to transmit through our shop.
How important is it for you to take care of our Planet, offering sustainable objects in a period of time that is so crucial for our future ?
We actually met in a school of applied arts in Paris and both worked in fashion for a while. During our time there, we realized that this industry, the one of fabrics and decoration, was extremely polluting and generated a lot of waste. Adding to that, the chemicals with which clothes are often treated are not only bad for the environment itself, but also for our health. That’s why, it is of course very important for us to offer a more sustainable alternative in order to play our part in climate change and help in our own way to tend towards an ecofriendlier lifestyle.
Do you have a specific experience that made you become more aware of this ?
Kelly : I worked for some years in kids fashion and discovered all the chemical treatments used in the fabrics and through the production chain. Even if we have always been aware of these things, it was still a little bit differen witnessing it up close and I decided I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.
Liza : Having been able to grow up close to nature and share these eco friendly values with our families, opening Mezzanine then just seemed like the natural step to take.
Where do you produce your own line ?
Once we started thinking about upcycling for our linen and loungewear collections, we made the choice to work with a small atelier in the Paris region, that works with people in reintegration, to combine both the ecological side with a human-centered approach, which is also essential for us. This allows us to be 100% local for all our textile collections and avoid long trips, and therefore have the lowest possible carbon footprint. We wanted to do everything possible on our scale to produce more virtuously. It is a philosophy that we have also chosen to transcribe for the art of the table and our tableware collection. We wanted to promote local work, French of course but also European, because in Europe we have extraordinary know-how. We turned to craftsmen who mainly use raw materials and natural pigments for color. It was also very important for us to meet them, to interact with them, to have a feeling of closeness and trust. For our collection made in Portugal, for example, we collaborated with a small family workshop that works with ceramics using ancestral traditional techniques. This is also eco-responsibility, in the way that we go back to basics. For our olfactive universe, we wanted to make candles because it is an important part in creating a balance in an interior. But there again, the manufacture can be very polluting, so we chose to use only vegetable wax, and natural essences with a recycled cotton wick… Our candles do not come in boxes but are just packaged in a small piece of fabric furoshiki style.
Is it more expensive to produce in France ?
As we own a boutique that is not very large, it can sometimes seem more expensive, but we do not have all the shipping costs and transactions that we would encounter had we chosen to produce our collections overseas. It would’nt be sustainable for us, neither economically, nor ecologically, or even socially. By finding the right interlocutors, the right workshops and craftsmen around us, that we can pay a fair wage to, we realized it wasn’t impossible and that production would be cheaper than working with big companies.
What other lines do you have in the boutique and how did you find these sustainable realities?
Materials and craftsmanship are truly what is the most important for us. We like to share what we call our “coup de Coeur”, which are objects that we instantly fall in love with, because they are rare pieces that are truly in the Mezzanine spirit ; creating a cocoon at home, using mostly natural materials, offering work to genius craftsmen, involving the environment in a friendly manner, banning as much as possible plastic or using recycled… Because that is also very important for us, for our objects to have multiple uses. That we can divert them to keep them as long as possible. For example our candle furoshiki can then be used as a napkin… We want relationships with objects to remain deeply rooted and have several lives, several uses, and pieces that we never tire of.
Which kind of difficulties did you encounter to open the boutique ?
The shop wasn’t how you know it today… We had to get a lot of work done, and as you know, it always comes with its handful of contrarieties, but we worked hard to make it feel like a home and truly capture the essence of who we are and what we wanted to share through Mezzanine. And now, when we see our clients come and discover our windows and our interior and look extremely happy and satisfied we what we have to offer, we know it was worth it and can’t wait to keep going.
You talked about to create a natural space in the urbanity of the city and you did it with the shop but how much sustainable is your lifestyle?
We try our best to shop locally, which is one of the most important part each one can do… Whether it being for food, that we get at local markets and stick to the seasons for our produce, everyday utilities, and up to our clothes which are mostly thrifted or second hand and upcycled.