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How Aurélie Bidermann Turned a Charm Bracelet Into a Global Business

With her first Stateside store now open in New York, the Parisian designer opens up about her first big break, and why she chose Manhattan over Los Angeles. At least to start.

One of my first posts for Fashionista was an ode to Aurélie Bidermann's Do Brasil. A half-decade later, the fancy friendship bracelet is still a personal favorite. It was, of course, a favorite of many others, as was the rest of Parisian designer's bohemian luxe -- but not crushingly so -- collection. Often, the mark of success for a established-but-still-new brand is a standalone store. In 2012, Bidermann opened her first shop on Paris's Left Bank. And last week, she unlocked the doors at 265 Lafayette Street in New York City. On the eve of the opening, I spoke with Bidermann about the new store, and a bit about what it took to get her there. 

Congrats on the opening! Before we talk about the New York shop, though, I'd love to hear a little about how you got your start. 

I’m never sure about the year I started. But the first collection I designed in India. I came back with my jewelry, and I was very lucky because Sarah [Andelman] from Colette saw it through a friend and bought it all right away. I had no more jewelry! In the beginning, the DNA was more about lucky charms, mother of pearl, fabric strings, gold with stones. In 2008, there was a big turn. Our office of two people turned into eight people, and then 10. Today we’re 30 people, and I’m not even finished hiring for the year.

What happened in 2008 that changed everything? 

I launched the Do Brasil and the Lace collections, which both became popular internationally. Before, I was really only in France. 

What do you think it is about those two collections that worked -- and still works -- so well? 

With Do Brasil, I think it’s because it’s fun and full of color. People want happy jewelry. The lace pieces are very delicate--there's something mysterious about them. I started by dipping real lace in gold, but now we laser cut gold for the same effect so that we can produce more pieces. And they're sturdier.

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In 2012, you opened your first Paris store. And now, New York. Tell me a little bit about the concept for the SoHo location. 

With the French one, I wanted it to feel like a living room in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. Everything is very white with turquoise and yellow. Like a sunny day. For New York, the idea was the same era, but with a West Coast feeling. There's turquoise and yellow, but coral too. It’s loft-like. I commissioned the artist REMED, who is French but lives in Madrid, to create a mural in front of the store. Because it’s Lafayette Street, I wanted to do something edgy and cool. 

How else is the New York store different from the Paris outpost? 

You'll find every piece that's available in the Paris store, but also exclusive pieces made especially for New York. 

You mention being inspired by the West Coast. I'm sure you have a big customer base out in Los Angeles -- why not open your first U.S. store there? 

First of all, I love New York. I spend a lot of time here. And I have a lot of clients in New York. My big focus right now is to build the American business. U.S. sales on my website have been really amazing. So it felt right to start here. My New York clients have great energy. They're not afraid of a strong look. Or having a point of view. They're strong women.