Maison Guillemette has been adorning brides’ hair with tulle headwear, pearl combs, crowns of dried flowers, diamante brooches and headbands since it was founded in 2014. The French brand recently established itself in the United States, and is winning over clients with artisanal, French-made products, reasonable prices, and a boho-chic creative world.
Pauline Bignan is head of Maison Guillemette in the United States, and invited us into her New York showroom on the fourth floor of a building on the Upper West Side. The walls are decorated with a selection of accessories, including the Belle des Champs, a crown of dried flowers linked by an iridescent satin ribbon, and Riviera Ornament, a comb with some 40 pearls woven onto a white silk Mokuba ribbon.
“Our pieces are inspired by traditional wedding codes (white, pearls, veils) and the poetic world of ballet,” she says. “Visiting the showroom is important for young brides-to-be, who like to touch and try the accessories to see how they go with their dresses.”
The creations are sent to the United States from Paris by the brand’s founder, Guillemette Ménard, a former Chanel designer who also happens to be Pauline Bignan’s sister-in-law. The designer first shot to success in 2014 with Nœud Me Quitte Pas, a line of bracelets topped with a bow. “At the time, there were no specialized brands in the wedding accessories segment,” says Guillemette Ménard. “We filled the niche in the market.” Pauline Bignan joined the Parisian showroom a year and a half later, before moving to the United States last September.
The new collection comprises 47 accessories designed for young brides. While the two businesswomen have successfully diversified their offering, wedding purchases still make up half of their revenue. The brand’s pieces include the Rock brooch made with Swarovski crystals worn on the top of a backless dress or pinned to a headband, and the Cannes headband, which boasts pale pink organza rose petals. Both can be sported on a cocktail or wedding dress. “Our clients wear these accessories at their weddings, and in their day-to-day lives afterwards,” says Guillemette Ménard.
Less than a year after the opening of the New York showroom, Maison Guillemette is already making 8% of its total sales in the United States, and hopes to reach 15% by next year. The space on the Upper West Side only welcomes New Yorkers for now, but there are an increasing number of orders from the West Coast. Faced with their growing success, the duo are planning to move on from showrooms and open their first boutique in Paris in 2019.
=> French wedding professionals like planners, florists, caterers, dressmakers and jewelers have crossed the Atlantic to develop their businesses in the United States. Every week, discover in France-Amérque the profile of a French artisan who is involved in the U.S. wedding industry.