Photography: Tim Melideo
Alison and Gail are the sweet mother-daughter duo behind the fresh, feminine, and flirty lingerie shop, Faire Frou Frou. This cute store is both a chic Los Angeles boutique and an online shop with an adorable selection of the best in lingerie. Fitting with the French definition of the store’s title, each exquisite piece shows off the sexy side of a fashionable woman. Catching up with these lovely ladies who are following their hearts was inspiring, and we loved learning more about this fun family business just in time for Mother’s Day!
Why did you both decide to get into the lingerie business and how long ago did you launch Faire Frou Frou?
My mom & I launched Faire Frou Frou seven years ago with the intention of creating an inspiring destination for luxury lingerie. Essentially, we were finding beautiful lingerie in the high-end fashion magazines without any representation here in the U.S. We always knew we wanted to own a business together, and the idea of lingerie luckily just came to us at the right time. It seems as though the lingerie industry has exploded since we opened, so it was good timing!
We love the name “Faire Frou Frou.” Can you tell us the story behind it?
My mom came up with the name of the boutique during the time she was taking French lessons. We knew the word “frou-frou” described our vision, but it was my mom’s instructor who told us about the old phrase “faire du frou-frou.” She suggested we modernize it and make it what it is now. Essentially, the phrase means to show off your ruffles & frills or what’s underneath your petticoat. Amazingly, it applies very well to what we do at our store.
Congrats on being a mother and daughter-owned small business. What are your roles in the company?
My mom is the creative force behind the company in that she designed the store logo and the store interior. I am more on the business side in that I manage the boutique and most of the social media. We both participate in the buying process, which involves bi-annual trips to NYC and the occasional Paris lingerie tradeshow.
What are some of the challenges and benefits of working together?
Luckily, there aren’t too many challenges. The fact that we do get along so well is part of the reason we started a business together in the first place. We have similar taste, which makes most of our work together very easy. Probably the biggest benefit is working with someone you trust; there’s no worry of someone talking behind your back or stealing ideas. It’s all very open conversation–and lucky for me, I can vent to my mom more than I would to any other co-worker! We actually don’t work side-by-side each day, so fortunately, the challenges are limited. Probably the only time we argue is when I’m giving her instructions on how to use the computer.
What is a typical day at Faire Frou Frou?
A typical day at Faire Frou Frou involves helping our walk-in customers and processing our online orders. We usually start the day packaging online shipments, and spend the later part of the day adding new items (if there’s time) to the website. In between customers (or while they’re in the fitting room), we work on updates to our Facebook page, Pinterest, Tumblr, and our once-weekly blog post and e-newsletter. We also work on writing inventory orders pretty much every day. There’s always something that needs re-stocking or a new catalog containing goodies we can’t live without. It really helps my compulsive need to shop by shopping for the store so frequently!
Your boutique is so gorgeous! How did you come up with the design?
Thank you! I give most of the credit for the store decor to my mom. She sourced the beautiful French antiques and the store layout (it’s a narrow space, so she had to be creative!). Other than that, we both love finding inspiration in magazines and online. I remember it was the style of Lonny Magazine’s Michelle Adams that inspired our chevron floors. It was a Dita von Teese burlesque performance that inspired our chandelier, and it was our love of ballet that inspired the design of our silk & tulle dressing room curtains. The rest is just our personal style!
“An interior shot of the Faire Frou Frou dressing room, which includes an antique chair covered in pink satin with matching satin & tulle drapes. Of course a small sheepskin rug adds a fun finishing touch!”
“Boutique owners & mother-daughter due Gail & Alison Rubke playing around with the store’s pink marabou powder puffs. These are the same design that Faire Frou Frou customer Dita von Teese has used in her burlesque routines!”
For women looking to start a business with family, what advice would you give?
Make sure you go into business with a family member you completely trust, whose opinion you respect, and whose personality is compatible with yours. My mom and I have a good balance when dealing with given situations. I don’t think it would work out if both of us were too headstrong (that’s just me!) But at the root of it, go into business with a family member when you feel as though your relationship could only be stronger as a result.
What are your plans for Mother’s Day?
My mom and I already officially celebrated Mother’s Day last Sunday! We visited the beautiful grounds at the Huntington Library (near Pasadena, CA) and had a ladies lunch in the garden there. We got dressed up and took lots of pictures — our favorite things to do! I have two brothers, so all of us will be celebrating together this Sunday over lunch in Malibu. My mom has a favorite restaurant there that we’ve made a tradition of visiting on Mother’s Day. And, of course, there will be the usual cards and flowers to brighten the day as well!
What’s next for FFF?
Faire Frou Frou is continuously evolving, so there’s always something on the horizon, even if it’s small. We’re constantly discussing plans to update & improve our website (a major relaunch of the back end of our site happens in just two days, but that won’t be very obvious to customers). We’re already making plans for updates to the decor at our shop. Of course, there are constant inquiries as to when we may open a second boutique in NYC, so that’s in the back of our minds at the moment (anyone up for investing in us? lol!). On a smaller scale, we’re always so excited about the new group of designers we are bringing in for next season. In lingerie, there are only 2 seasons per year, and we take pride in being a launching ground for new talent. We’re also making plans for a complete overhaul of our blog; our goal is to create a more inspiring blogging experience that’s much more updated and interactive than the format we started with nearly six years ago (I’m pretty excited about this!). On any given day there’s a new project that we’re working on. Faire Frou Frou keeps us on our toes!
How do you sparkle?
I sparkle by constantly finding something to be inspired by! It’s so much fun finding a new inspiring designer for the store, a new outfit, inspiration for a new way to decorate my house, looking at pictures on Pinterest…all of these things keep me excited and looking forward to what’s ahead. You could say I literally sparkle, as I enjoy adding a healthy dose of sparkle to my daily wardrobe, whether it’s my glitter Miu Miu flats or my J. Crew sequin tops. Gotta love a girl that sparkles…that’s probably why everyone loves the Glitter Guide so much!