The Medium Rules Episode 10: The Amazing Journey – Christiane Lemieux, Reimagining Home Design in a Digitally Native World

The Medium Rules Episode 10: The Amazing Journey – Christiane Lemieux, Reimagining Home Design in a Digitally Native World

“It’s interior ‘design.’  It’s not called interior ‘great chair.'” – Christiane Lemieux

On this episode of The Medium Rules, host Alan Baldachin sits down with Christiane Lemieux, founder and CEO of The Inside, the direct-to-consumer home furnishings brand focused on made-to-order, customizable, affordable furniture with a high design, contemporary aesthetic.  Prior to starting The Inside, Christiane founded the extremely popular home furnishings/lifestyle brand Dwell Studios, sold to Wayfair in 2013. 

Alan and Christiane engage in an entertaining, informative and lively conversation in which they go deep under the hood of the current online retail environment for home furnishings, covering logistics, media, customer acquisition and design.  Christiane also walks through the highs and lows of her 20+ year career as a design entrepreneur, author and philanthropist, including her start as a curator for the landmark 90’s home furnishings brand Portico, through the founding of Dwell and its sale to Wayfair, her time at Wayfair and lessons learned, and finally to the launch of The Inside in 2016 in collaboration with Kirsten Green and the team at Forerunner Ventures.  Christiane also talks about her new book project on entrepreneurship and what makes entrepreneurs tick.

We hope you’ll tune in, listen and watch this great conversation.

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Transcript:

Alan BALDACHIN: From the HBA podcast studio in New York City, welcome to The Medium Rules. I am Alan Baldachin. I’m delighted to be joined today in the HBA podcast studio by Christiane Lemieux. Christiane is probably best known as the founder and CEO of the extremely popular home furnishings lifestyle brand DwellStudios, sold to Wayfair in 2013. Christiane’s new startup is The Inside, a direct-to-consumer home furnishings brand focused on customizable, affordable furniture with a high design contemporary aesthetic. Christiane is also the founder and CEO of the digital textile printing company Cloth and Co, she is an author and has been a judge on Ellen’s design challenge on HGTV. HGTV—let me try and say that. Putting it all together in a 20 plus year career as a design entrepreneur, Christiane has pretty much done at all. Christiane, thanks very much for being on The Medium Rules.

Christiane LEMIEUX: Thanks for having me.

BALDACHIN: And looking forward to a great conversation.

LEMIEUX: Yeah.

BALDACHIN: So what did I leave out in your bio? You’re also a philanthropist, you’re working on a new book. What else do you have going on?

LEMIEUX: I mean, I think you’ve got it all there; author…

BALDACHIN: I’ve captured it?

LEMIEUX: Author, designer, entrepreneur.

BALDACHIN: Okay.

LEMIEUX: That’s pretty much sums it up.

BALDACHIN: And you’re an active philanthropist and you’re involved in…

LEMIEUX: I’m an active philanthropist, yes. I’m on the board of a nonprofit called “Every Mother Counts,” which takes up quite a bit of my time. We travel around the world, and it’s a maternal and child advocacy. So 98% of maternal deaths are preventable, and it’s the pretty easy, you know, way to really impact in a grassroots ways mothers and families all over the world.

BALDACHIN: Okay.

LEMIEUX: And you know for me, a lot of the places that were active are places that I have manufactured historically so it’s kind of closing the karmic loop. I feel like I’m giving back to places that have given tremendous amount to me.

BALDACHIN: Not to mention I’m sure what you bring to the table there in terms of your background and experience of management, entrepreneurship, development would be pretty appreciated by that organization.

LEMIEUX: It’s a privilege to do it.

BALDACHIN: That’s amazing. Okay. Well, let’s just a little bit of bio, sort of stepping back. You’re from Ottawa, Ontario.

LEMIEUX: I’m from Ottawa.

BALDACHIN: Where I spent a freezing cold year in 1994.

LEMIEUX: Still freezing cold.

BALDACHIN: It’sabout the coldest place ever.

LEMIEUX: I’m told it’s the coldest capital in the world.

BALDACHIN: I’ve heard that too. And in fact, when I was living there in January 1994, my car did not start the entire month. It was that cold, which I’m sure…And, it was plugged into a block heater.

LEMIEUX: It doesn’t matter.

BALDACHIN: Exactly. And then you are at Queens where I was as well.

LEMIEUX: Yeah.

LEMIEUX: And you did art history there?

LEMIEUX: I did art history, yeah.

BALDACHIN: And that sort of formed your aesthetic how?

LEMIEUX: Well, I wanted to go directly to design school but I had very academic parents who told me that I had to get an undergraduate degree, a BA of some variety as you know “something to fall back on” which I don’t know that an art history degree is something to fall back on.

BALDACHIN: It’s not a law degree exactly but, yeah, we’ll take it.

LEMIEUX: Exactly but I’ll take it. I think that you know they weren’t wrong about the fundamentals about learning how to write and learning how to research and learning how to, you know, put your thoughts together in a coherent way. I mean it did teach me a lot, and I also think that the undergrad experience is very fun so there’s that aspect to it too. And design, I went from there to Parsons which was way more rigorous and you know, a 24/7 kind of immersion into design. I don’t know, you know, looking back, I don’t know that I would have been ready for that right out of high school so I think it was probably the right decision.

BALDACHIN: Did the art history degree kind of deepen your critical faculty when it comes to design?

LEMIEUX: For sure. Yeah. Because I mean the historical part of it, art history is everything from design history to political science. It’s all wrapped up into a visual interpretation of history so it was very helpful from that perspective.

BALDACHIN: And then you found yourself at Portico?

LEMIEUX: Then I found…So after I graduated from Parsons—this is another Canadian story—a very good Canadian friend of mine…

BALDACHIN: Miranda.

LEMIEUX: Miranda Abrams had married Douglass Abrams who was a venture capitalist. He had bought this furniture company called Portico, and essentially was like, “What do I do with it?” I want to start creating product and I didn’t know what I was doing but I realized that I could take the sort of fashion slant and bring it into home. And so I was there for less than a year because the product started to resonate and I thought to myself “Wow, there’s an opportunity for me to do this by myself,” and so I left Portico and I started DwellStudio.

BALDACHIN: So at Portico, what were you doing there? Were you designing the pieces?

BALDACHIN: Yeah, designing and I think the critical piece for me was I was sourcing. So Douglas put me on a plane to Asia and I started—this is in 1999 so I mean pretty early on and I met with all the factories and I realized there’s a lot of potential and you know, we’re talking, yeah, it’s close to 20 years next year so not a lot of people were in market doing this at that point and so the ability to take what we were designing at Portico and have it manufactured in Asia and get the kind of margins that Douglas wanted was really interesting. And also it was a relationship thing. I mean once I had the relationships and they saw the quality of design, a lot of these guys were willing to – guys and girls – were willing to take a chance on working with me.

BALDACHIN: So Portico, you know it’s an interesting for me, kind of a landmark brand in a way. I mean it really was a destination home store.

LEMIEUX: It was the first home concept store, I think.

BALDACHIN: And when you say “home concept store” what do you mean?

LEMIEUX: I mean multi-brand point of view curated…There wasn’t a lot of that. And that’s become sort of ubiquitous now but there wasn’t a lot of that in 1999/2000.

BALDACHIN: So I’m sort of thinking back, I guess that’s right, I mean if you were going to buy furniture in the 90s, putting aside Portico, you were doing what? You were going to Ethan Allen, you were going to Bloomingdale’s, you were going to these mass furniture warehouse stores, you weren’t going to a boutique so that’s was a pretty interesting insight. And Doug started that or how did that?

LEMIEUX: He bought it from somebody else.

BALDACHIN: But then to sort of turn the dial?

LEMIEUX: Turned the dial and opened up other stores and you know, did all kinds of pretty interesting things. But it was cross category which I think was unusual. Like I think he went to buy furniture at a furniture store but you couldn’t walk into a concept store like that and buy furniture and textiles…

BALDACHIN: A candle.

LEMIEUX: …And a candle and a soap and all those things.

BALDACHIN: And a book about design.

LEMIEUX: And a book. And I think…

BALDACHIN: Furniture and something aspirational.

LEMIEUX: Exactly. And I think it paved the way for a lot of this kind of “lifestyle” around home.

BALDACHIN: Well, I mean, let’s put it this way. It’s hard to imagine, let’s say even West Home without Portico.

LEMIEUX: Yeah.

BALDACHIN: And I, you know, anecdotally, I remember in the 90s what if, if I would ever go down to SoHo, I would always find myself stopping in to that Portico store they had and just hanging out. It just felt good.

LEMIEUX: I think that’s right. I think that’s what the behavior was. And I think that the insight there for me was that if you couldn’t afford, you know, the $12,000 mohair sofa, you could still walk away with a really great soap that was exclusive to the store and feel like you would experience…

BALDACHIN: You participated.

LEMIEUX: Yeah, exactly.

BALDACHIN: And so then that led to DwellStudio, which, you know, by way of my introduction to Dwell, whenever I mentioned to people today this week, this month that we’re sitting down to tape this podcast, the reaction to DwellStudio is still extremely immediate, iconic. Like people remember the patterns, people remember the textiles. You really move the needle there in terms of design. Did that… Let’s talk about Dwell. How did that get started? Tell me a little bit about that story.

LEMIEUX: I think it’s like all of it is fairly organic, but it’s just, you know, I was designing textiles for Portico and I put them on the floor and they really resonated. And so when I realized there was product market fit there, you know, for me it was about me doing it myself on my own terms. And so I left Portico to start DwellStudio out of my apartment by myself, and I’m at that point, there was no venture capital or private equity or all these things. This is really a post… I mean a lot of ways that just wasn’t accessible.

BALDACHIN: Not for the home category.

LEMIEUX: No.

BALDACHIN: There were venture-backed companies, but they were tech companies.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. Not for a kid who just graduated from Parsons School of Design. I mean, no one was going to write me a million dollar check. And I think largely that kind of entrepreneurial climate just was about to happen but it hadn’t quite happened. And I think a pretty interesting start and then, you know, 2008 happened, but I think it’s all post the economic crisis that that really became institutionalized in the way that it is today.

BALDACHIN: So, was DwellStudio, did it ever get venture funding? Did you bootstrap it?

LEMIEUX: So I bootstrapped it. So how we did it was I was designing, but then I started to do private label. So my first customer or client was Crate and Barrel, so did Crate and Barrel, then did walmart.com, and then did Room and Board. So designing product for all these other companies under their name white label. Then my biggest customer was Loblaws. So in the first year, you know, that was my first million dollar PL, was doing product development and actually shipping to Canadian stores,

BALDACHIN: But with Loblaws doing home? Loblaws by the way, for people who don’t know is—I know of it as the biggest sort of supermarket grocery brand in Canada, but it was doing home back in the nineties?

LEMIEUX: It was; under Joseph Mimran who did have Joe Fresh.

BALDACHIN: Oh, Joe.

LEMIEUX: So Joe was running their design and development…

BALDACHIN: And he’s a Club Monaco guy, really.

LEMIEUX: He’s the Club Monaco guy. He bought Club Monaco from Alfred Sung and so knew a lot about product development. And so I started to work with Loblaws and we started shipping product, and I was using my vendor base in Asia that I had met through…It’s all in a, like literally in a 12 month period too, that’s how quickly it happened. And that really was— that ended up being our venture capital arm.

BALDACHIN: Meaning that cashflow was able to allow you to grow, scale, do different things. Basically create your own label on your own?

LEMIEUX: Yes. It was my internal venture capital.

BALDACHIN: What were, looking back on Dwell, I mean, you know, the recession happened, you guys kind of made it through that.

BALDACHIN: Well, I mean so we were hit with September 11th like right out of the gate and then like, you know, day one. So our inflection points were when we launched the baby and kids line, it was just really when the light bulb went off. And so that was in 2004, and then by 2007 we were Dwellstudio. We did a secondary brand Dwellstudio for Target. And I think that’s largely how we made it through the recession because we were in Target between 7 and 11. And then we left Target, went up market, opened the store in Wooster and that is sort of when, you know, the business model became apparent to me. I was either going to have to raise a tremendous amount of capital, rollout stores, catalogs, do all that or think about a different way.

And at that point, you know, having been in the business for 10 years and understanding inventory and cash flow and design cycles, it really became apparent to me that all of this was going to go online at some point in the very near future. We were online a little bit with Dwellstudio, but it wasn’t a significant part of our business.

BALDACHIN: And you’re seeing this around 2011/2012, you’re starting to see this beginnings of what we now think about as direct-to- consumer, Amazon taking over. What were some of those bubbling signs to you? Like what were some canary in the coalmine there of that this was coming down the pipe?

LEMIEUX: There were so many. I mean, just because we, you know, just the proliferation of inspiration and media online and seeing how that ecosystem was starting to coalesce, and understanding that for the… I sat down with Ben from Pinterest, which when he was launching it and he was talking about building community, and I realized like all of this was going to happen online, and the business that I had built as much as I loved it was not going to be the business of the future, if that makes sense.

BALDACHIN: Did you at that time think about basically devoting more of the resources of Dwell to being an online company or was that just too big a pivot to kind of contemplate?

LEMIEUX: No it wasn’t that. The problem was twofold though too because once you get into furniture there, there’s two things; it also becomes a logistics company, so not only was the sort of mindshare moving online, but also as we got into these larger categories, a lot of it came around logistics and so I had to ask myself like, “Do you want to run a logistics company?” Which is essentially I think at scale what some of these online platforms are right, especially they’re selling furniture, you are effectively running a logistics company.

BALDACHIN: The very designy front end and media business on the side.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. But the thing is a lot of them, like that’s the holy grail. So if you can ship efficiently, that’s where you get a ton of the margin and if you can’t that’s where you’ll just bleed out. And so to me it was like, I don’t want to run it, I’m not…Not only do I not want to run a logistics business, I’m just not equipped to do that. So do I want to spend my time, you know, my valuable time negotiating shipping rates?

BALDACHIN: And custom and compliance.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. And then like last mile experience and everything that’s around that. I mean I did, I spent a lot of time with Doug Mac and some of the last mile horror stories…

BALDACHIN: One Kings Lane.

LEMIEUX: Yeah, One Kings Lane. Some of those last mile horror stories were enough to like, it’s just not what I do. I think as an entrepreneur, you have to understand what you can do well and what you can’t do well.

BALDACHIN: Well, you know, what’s interesting, and this is a good segue into the next part of your journey, which is Wayfair, but I’m One Kings Lane and I think Wayfair were flying high and really troughed and have really now come back—really both those companies.

LEMIEUX: They both have.

BALDACHIN: And it may be the case, I’d be interested in your point of view, particularly vice v Wayfair, which…Well, let me step back and say Dwell ultimately sold to Wayfair in 2013 as I said in the intro.

LEMIEUX: Yes. And largely because I still believe they have the best back end in this business and they understand. Niraj understands – I mean not only does he look like he’s a phenomenal CEO, but he also understands the logistics of this in an incredibly deep way. And I think he understands how to move product to people, and that’s a huge part of this business because I will say this to my team all the time, like you can design the most beautiful dining table in the world. Dining tables are especially hard to move around, and if you can get into somebody’s house without it being dinged up or scratched, there’s no point in doing it. There’s just no point.

BALDACHIN: So how did, let’s say the Wayfairs and the One Kings Lane and these home  brands make the transition to being sort of digitally native and online and quicker turnaround times. What was that trough and recovery like, let’s say at wayfair where you joined as EVP?

LEMIEUX: Executive creative director.

BALDACHIN: Executive creative director. So you really would have seen, I think that transition and that kind of adjustment that they made to become so successful as they are now. How did they have that, so to speak?

LEMIEUX: So both of them were digitally native, which is I think really important…

BALDACHIN: To begin with, I guess?

LEMIEUX: Yeah. So I would call that ecommerce 1.0. Because they were both there in the beginning digitally native brands, so working from that base. But I also think they had to live through like mass shift on online. And when that mass shift online happened, I mean Wayfair and One Kings Lane proved to us that consumers were willing to buy a product that the industry said they would never buy online, online.

So it was a massive mindshare and shifting into the digital because if you think about the customer journey, especially now, if I am going to decorate my kid’s bedroom, I will largely start with a Google search, right? And it’ll be I’ll look at images, I’ll, I’ll go onto different media sites and get inspiration there. And transactionally, if I find the thing that I want, I’m going to buy it online largely. I mean even in 2012, and that’s not even that long ago, five years ago, that wasn’t necessarily the case. And so that’s why they’re prime for such huge success, is that they were there and they waited through this huge transition and now people are willing to buy every single category online. In fact, you know, if they behave like I behave, like if that’s my assumption that I never want to walk into another store, that’s not how I want to spend my time. And if I can browse online after hours when I’m not…I don’t want to spend my weekends browsing in stores. If I can do it between 9 and 11 at night from my home, I’m much more willing to do that. I’m much more willing to transact that way.

BALDACHIN: I still like the retail experience. It’s just totally for a different purpose in many ways. It’s more experiential. It’s almost serving… And I want to come…

LEMIEUX: It’s an entertainment.

BALDACHIN: Yes. It’s almost like what the media piece is doing for the brand is the retail experiential is sort of a cousin to that.

LEMIEUX: But you have to be very thoughtful about how you structure your retail, right? Because a lot of the old store models, like the big huge department store where you’re bombarded with an uncurated assortment of product is kind of the commiserate to some sort of badly merchandise platform scenario online. So it has to be everything. If it’s going to entertain you, it has to be really well.

BALDACHIN: We’ll come back to that because I think that’s relevant for what we’ll talk about. So let’s talk about The Inside a little bit. Oh, well let me back up, but let me ask you about Wayfair. So you left in 2017?

LEMIEUX: I left in 2016.

BALDACHIN: Why did you decide to leave? Was it a burning desire to…? I don’t want to over characterize it, but did you want to sort of have another startup you wanted to do or you just wanted a break?

LEMIEUX: No. I had a whole bunch of startup ideas. I mean, I learned a tremendous amount while I was there. It was really a huge immersion in ecommerce, and so with DwellStudio, part of it was design, part of it was retail, part of it was digital, part of it was catalog, like direct mail. It was all these little things. I mean, being at Wayfair with probably best in class people from their CMO to the entire team. I’m talking about great hiring. I just learned much that I realized that there were ways I could take what I did, utilize what I learned there, and come up with a different model.

BALDACHIN: Okay. And you’ve done it before.

LEMIEUX: And I did before.

BALDACHIN: So you had the confidence and you had the wherewithal. Okay.

LEMIEUX: And I’m also like, at the end of the day, I’m very, very curious and I’m a problem solver. So if there’s ways to radically change things, I’ll execute.

BALDACHIN: Which is sort of a cross to bear. So it was a glutton for punishment. You decide to do another startup.

LEMIEUX: I know, which is insane.

BALDACHIN: So tell me about partnering with Four Runner, getting started, what that pitch look like. So, it’s 2016. You’re back to the drawing board.

LEMIEUX: So I spent about a year and a half after I left kind of setting up the supply chain, which I would’ve needed to execute this business, which is an inventory list business. So, you know, talking to my old vendors and some of the people that I work with, finding new ones, we’re constantly finding new ones. We’re constantly refining the supply chain.

BALDACHIN: So doing research before you launched the startup, before you got funded?

LEMIEUX: Yeah. Putting all the backend together before.

BALDACHIN: Was that in your mind, “Let me make sure I can figure this out?”

LEMIEUX: Oh yeah. I’m not taking money unless I can figure it out. Canadians don’t recklessly take money. That’s the other thing. They just don’t. So I put together the supply chain.

BALDACHIN: And maybe break that down for me. I think that’s sort of pretty interesting. What did you connect there?

LEMIEUX: I mean, so I realized that technology and manufacturing had gotten to a place where I could utilize all of these interesting things like 3D modeling technology and digital printing, 3D printing, like all of these things and so it was carefully setting up a supply chain that utilized all of those things.

BALDACHIN: Were you doing deals at the time pre, let’s say, incorporating The Inside?

LEMIEUX: Yeah.

BALDACHIN: So you were actually going out and saying “I’m doing this. You’re going to be my…What are our terms?”

LEMIEUX: What is it like hold hands with me and all this? Yes. So doing it and just making it sure that I wasn’t getting ahead of myself

BALDACHIN: Because you had a very specific idea of what you wanted to do it?

LEMIEUX: Very specific.

BALDACHIN: And you’re wanting to make sure you could do it?

LEMIEUX: Mm-hmm.

BALDACHIN: Which was what? What was that key insight that you were trying to kind of kick the tires on?

LEMIEUX: I think so essentially virtually manufacturing.

BALDACHIN: What do you mean by that?

LEMIEUX: So I mean like, you know, coming up with the design, using 3D modeling to create whatever it is and being able to output it.

BALDACHIN: Okay. Outputting it meaning manufacturer…

LEMIEUX: Manufacturing.

BALDACHIN: And that manufacturing has done where, is done in the US?

LEMIEUX: In the US. And now we have several. We have probably five key manufacturing firms.

BALDACHIN: Okay. And then they’re not owned by you, obviously?

LEMIEUX: These are just third party manufacturers.

BALDACHIN: You were doing a lot of route work at the time?

LEMIEUX: Yeah.

BALDACHIN: You were running around and sort of meeting with manufacturers, meeting with designers, meeting with 3D…

LEMIEUX: Yeah.

BALDACHIN: Who does your 3D stuff for you?

LEMIEUX: So we have a team in Eastern Europe. Because it’s also one of those things. It’s equal parts art and science. And I needed to find the people that can execute on the art part.

BALDACHIN: Where in Eastern Europe. And how did you find them? Or is that a trade secret?

LEMIEUX: It’s all a secret sauce. [Laughing]

BALDACHIN: I take it back. Don‘t worry, no one will listen to this. [Laughing]

LEMIEUX: Yeah. It’s all secret sauce.

BALDACHIN: Yeah. Fair enough. Fair enough.

LEMIEUX: Very hard to replicate, very proprietary. We’re building all kinds of software to automate some of the things that we’re doing. So, you know, it’s funny I said this to Duff when we first started, “This time around, I’m not building a home company. I’m building a technology company that happens to make home product,” but that’s the whole secret to digitally native companies. What they’re doing is they’re making some of these more cumbersome analog businesses frictionless online and that’s re largely driven by building the right technology.

BALDACHIN: But you still are a home business front-end design…?

LEMIEUX: Yes.

BALDACHIN: …In your bones, right? In other words, somebody didn’t have a feel for home category.

LEMIEUX: It would be very difficult. And also in order to get… Because if you didn’t have a feel for a home category and you were moving home product, I would be competing directly with Amazon or Wayfair or Overstock, and at that point…

BALDACHIN: That’s a losing proposition.

LEMIEUX: That’s a terrible, horrible losing proposition, that’s for sure. Because there isn’t enough room in the market for 10 of those.

BALDACHIN: And you can’t out-data those guys either.

LEMIEUX: I can’t out-logistics them, I can’t out-customer require them. But what I can do is I can out-design then.

BALDACHIN: Yes, exactly. And you can out-instinct them.

LEMIEUX: I can out-instinct them. I can out-beautify them.

BALDACHIN: That to me is incredible insight. And so speaking of The Inside, now that’s your pitch?

LEMIEUX: It’s interior design. It’s not interior, you know, give me a great chair that is in a whare house in two days.

BALDACHIN: It’s not in here.

LEMIEUX: No, it’s not, it’s not.

BALDACHIN: So that’s your pitch? Your pitch for the Inside is so customizable…

LEMIEUX: So I’m just gonna say how I ended up at Four Runner, is that a good friend of mine from Queens worked at Soros on the technology…

BALDACHIN: Who’s that?

LEMIEUX: His name is Andy Wang. And he said to me, “Do you know Kiersten Green?” I said, “No.” He said, “You’ve got to meet her.” So I went out to San Francisco and I wasn’t going to raise money at that point, and I mean, she’s incredible.

BALDACHIN: She’s just sort of made her mark on direct to consumer.

LEMIEUX: Absolutely. Her instincts are flawless.

BALDACHIN: And so you were incubated there. You’re part of their studio, is that right?

LEMIEUX: Yes.

BALDACHIN: What was that experience like? What did that involve? Was that a good experience? It sounds like it was.

LEMIEUX: Amazing. I mean, her whole team is incredible and their instinct for direct to consumer is spot on.

BALDACHIN: And so did you kind of, if you will second there for x number of months, what was that sort of thing?

LEMIEUX: No, I never did. I never left New York. It was a lot of direct feedback. I mean, she’s helpful all the way down to like a micro level. She really understands UX and what the customer journey is online and how transactionally to get somewhere. I think we’re still—I’m still, you know, whatever a year into it, synthesizing the how much information that woman has. She’s amazing.

BALDACHIN: And did they—just from a deal perspective, did they give you resources?

LEMIEUX: Yeah. Oh yeah. I think that’s one of the things I didn’t understand…

BALDACHIN: So are they common on the cap table, if I can ask? So they are in effect like a cofounder, that’s their studio model. It’s a fairly.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. She is in effect like a cofounder.

BALDACHIN: Because that’s been a very successful. I mean, statistically studios startups do better. So clearly that immersion, that incentive, that alignment is working.

LEMIEUX: It’s not only that. Then you’re part of an ecosystem where there’s a whole bunch of other founders who have done some of the things that you’ve done. I mean, even down into as granular as like what should we do for healthcare for our employees? Because one, you know, a company is equal parts, the sort of internal workings and the kind of culture you put together, the people you hire, the values you have. I mean that’s just as important as the product output. And so being part of like a thought leadership is what I think she’s sort of, you know, is responsible for her. And having the rest of the Four Runner portfolio and now Layer who is amazing too. So having some of these, you know, being part of these ecosystems, you have access to all the other founders that are in ecommerce, you know, digitally native brands now.

BALDACHIN: You know, it’s amazing the extent to which so much of the success of any business, but certainly in early stage, even in this business, even in our law firm business is keeping balls in the air so that everyone has what they need to have, whether it be healthcare, whether it be, you know, just every logistic detail. Sort of like keeping a household in the air. Like somebody has got to think about getting groceries, somebody’s got to have dinner ready. Somebody’s got to have the kids…Those elements can sink a company if you don’t have the right team.

LEMIEUX: Absolutely. And also you have to be thinking about that. I mean, I’m about to be in New York in the same way as in San Francisco because the talent…There’s a talent shortage, I mean that’s the biggest problem now and the talent’s going to be eaten up by the company is like, you know, like Facebook and Google who have incredible benefits, who are feeding their employees all day long. I mean, you know, the stories around at Air B&B are legendary, you know, like full hot lunches every day just in order to keep the talent. So you have to really think about… And I don’t think that’s necessarily the case even five years ago. And especially engineers and things like that. So like our whole engineering team is offshore because I can’t pay the same thing. And especially now that Amazon’s coming into town, I can’t pay what Amazon pays for their employees. Although I did poach a very good employee from Amazon.

BALDACHIN: Nicely done. Kudos.

LEMIEUX: I told him I’m going to take all my employees from there.

BALDACHIN: Yeah. I just think you know, when I think about the successful startup CEO, it’s sort of like, to me, you know, and I use this analogy, it’s like an NFL Quarterback. It’s a very rare mix of skills and talents. You’ve got to have the creativity, you’ve got to have the leadership skills, you’ve got to have the drive, and you’ve got to be organized to keep the trains running on time. Not one of those can fall down.

LEMIEUX: You also have to hire into your weaknesses very fast.

BALDACHIN: Which is much easier said than done. Much easier said than done to recognize those weaknesses, to find the right people, to have the right people be motivated, happy. Not have stuff going on in their lives that sinks the ship so they start not showing up. It’s very tough.

LEMIEUX: My 2.0 takeaway is that the first time around I try to do everything, and largely because it was such a scrappy startup. The second time around I’m trying to get people that are much smarter than me into my business as quickly as possible.

BALDACHIN: And you’re much more established and in and you’ve got somewhat of a, so to speak, unfair advantage given all you’ve accomplished so you generally would expect…

LEMIEUX: But I don’t think it matters anymore because I think that the playing field gets leveled so often now that…

BALDACHIN: That your game is up here, but your game has to be up here. That’s table stakes.

LEMIEUX: It has to be. You just have to keep going because everything, the way people market gets. The businesses that are very successful, that digitally native businesses that just predate ours by five years, you know, their customer acquisition costs weren’t the same because they got to use Google and Facebook and a bunch of different platforms and a completely different way that we do. That’s not an option for us. It’s too expensive. So we have to be very crafty. So you can’t even hand the playbook off because it gets rewritten for you on a yearly…Monthly basis.

BALDACHIN: So talk about the Inside a little bit more in terms of well a couple of things, you know, how would you identify your customer and sort of your…One of the things I think that’s interesting about The Inside that you’ve talked about is how you are—and I think it’s pretty disruptive is sort of blurring the lines or taking advantage maybe of capitalizing on and pushing for the blurred lines between trade and consumer. That’s one key element about The Inside. So what, what does that mean to you when I say that? What your insight there? I guess.

LEMIEUX: I think my insight is the following, that I think largely the trade is changing very quickly because consumers have so much access to information. So it used to be trade secrets, you know, trade vendors and that’s all going away. So at the end of the day, I think that the trade is looking for a frictionless experience to get product to their consumer, but the consumer, it’s not like you can buy something from baker and your consumer’s not going to know how much it costs. It used to be there was a whole, you know, secret, magical mystery around trade. And the problem with the availability of information is that that mystery is gone. And so I think the trade was a huge part of our—what I want to do is service her first, how can I make her or his job easier? And how can I help them transition into this new world where the value that they bring is in their design and less in their secret sources?

BALDACHIN: In their secret sources, exactly.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. And so I think largely they’re going to become much more like professional services, so paid by the hour, they’re going to take advantage of their discount. The problem is the consumer now knows they have a discount. So they want that to be reflected in what they see on the statement. They don’t want this nebulous money to go somewhere else. And so customers…Also, access to the trade. I mean, everybody wants their house to be Pinterest worthy now whether you have a $10,000,000 budget or a $10,000 budget. So there’s a lot more market for the trade to. And so allowing them to expand. And then as a result there’s a lot more trade because Americans are wanting interior design services. They want their homes to be beautiful. They spent 10 years watching HGTV, they spent five years…

BALDACHIN: And Instagram.

LEMIEUX: Yeah, Instagram, they spent five years pinning their favorite product and I think it’s just wide open now.

BALDACHIN: So in comes The Inside to say… So, you’re sort of fusing trade and consumer.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. I’m going to digitize the trade experience, and allow designers across the country to access to a design center experience but digitally.

BALDACHIN: And is the key to that hack, so to speak, that fusion, that disruption from your perspective, the customization, is it the…What are the elements of that?

LEMIEUX: I think a lot of it is the customization. I think in a lot of it is bringing designer, you know, I mean really expensive looks to a supply chain that is much less expensive. It’s also we’re drop shipping so we get rid of the whole white glove thing. I mean, I don’t know that that’s going to be forever, but for right now it’s a big part of our business. So if you’re moving into your apartment in New York, you don’t have to schedule… Nobody wants to sit around waiting for their sofa to beat it. It gets delivered to your doorman or to your door and there’s minimal assembly and you have something that’s really, you know, that is personalIzed to you, that has fabrics on it that you would find in a design center. And at a price point that you would find at a mid level or lower a retail store,

BALDACHIN: How are you guys handling, let’s say, returns damaged goods given the customization? What’s that look like?

LEMIEUX: Because we largely, I mean they’re quite small and we take them back.

BALDACHIN: You just take them back and that’s the answer?

LEMIEUX: And we donate them. So there’s the philanthropy part of this business too.

BALDACHIN: How is that a sort of tracking? Is it about what you expected?

LEMIEUX: It’s about what we expected. It’s pretty industry standards and that’s…

BALDACHIN: It’s sort of tracking that sort of whatever the standard is. Okay. The other I think aspect of The Inside, which is certainly a characteristic of direct to consumer is the emphasis on doing media. And I thought you said something that was really interesting in something I listened to a podcast or a Youtube video, um, and you were talking about how you really can’t—how media allows your customers to feel like they’re part of the brand and that they participate in the brand. What kind of media are you guys doing and how do you see that going forward?

LEMIEUX: I mean, we’re trying everything. So we have a magazine which we write for and publish content. We are starting to syndicate some of that content. We do Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, I mean sort of everything, because you have to meet the customer where he or she is and sometimes that’s right there on Instagram and sometimes it’s not. And so sometimes we’re in the house forum next, we’re playing with Reddit right now. I mean with everything because there’s a lot of customers for this product in this country. It’s huge. Andwe’ve got to just find them where they are. And so much of the interior design experiences educational, right? So if you want life hacks and you don’t want to hire somebody from Home Polish or Havenly or one of these design platforms and you want to figure it out yourself, I mean the behavior is you can go into these forums, whether it’s on House or on Reddit or wherever else and you can start asking questions and those questions will get answered. And so if we can educate people and answer their questions and then provide them with product, then we can help them create the spaces of their dreams.

BALDACHIN: Are you guys doing any influence marketing? Have you started any of that?

LEMIEUX: We’re testing it.

BALDACHIN: Okay. What’s your take on influence marketing?

LEMIEUX: I think it works really well in certain categories. This is a different category because it’s one thing to get a lipstick and try it on or unbox… This is not really an unboxing kind of situation, nor is it something that says disposable as a lipstick, like if we’re going to send an influencer a sofa, we want to make sure that that’s what they want. So it’s a slightly different

BALDACHIN: It’s trickier.

LEMIEUX: And also even if they have a headboard of ours, like they want to make sure everything’s styled really beautifully before they take a picture and give us UGC. So it’s like a different thing. It’s a much more considered purchase. Our influencer strategy is more around collaborating with people and producing product with their designs.

LEMIEUX: So this is really your collaborator a kind of take on partnering.

LEMIEUX: Yes. On partnering.

BALDACHIN: You guys have designers.

LEMIEUX: We’re asking them to wrap our product. We’re asking them to create their own.

BALDACHIN: Which is to create their own designs and their own pieces.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. And then speak authentically to their communities because I think it’s all about authenticity. When I look at some of my favorite influencers who now do nothing but sell their feeds, I’m less inclined to be influenced by them. So I think it’s like a tricky thing.

BALDACHIN: Yeah. Yeah. We actually did it. We taped, I think a pretty interesting podcast about that and really about influencer marketing, and really the theme is authenticity. You can’t have people stepping out of who they are. It just won’t be interesting.

LEMIEUX: It won’t.

BALDACHIN: It won’t do. It won’t get any traction.

LEMIEUX: Some of my favorite home personalities start to sell fridges or vacuum cleaners, it becomes much less, you know, you can kill your brand very quick.

BALDACHIN: Yeah. Yeah. You can sort of see right through it. People don’t want that. What’s your take on the competition? You’ve got obviously the big boys. You’ve got Amazon entering the home space in a big way. Obviously you’ve got Wayfair, you’ve got the West Elms, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barns, and then you’ve got the online only guys like Floyd, etc. Where do you guys sit? How do you see that shaking out? What do you have to run fastest on in the next, let’s say, 12 to 18 months? How are you thinking about those guys?

LEMIEUX: So we really think about it from a perspective of design. I think a lot of the D to C companies that started with us or before us are largely solving for convenience. So it’s like, how do I get my, you know, I mean, I think Amazon’s largely solving for convenience right now. Not to say that – I mean, I have no doubt they will nail this, but I think it’s like how do I get a chair into my apartment in two days. We’re not solving for convenience. We’re kind of next level where I believe the real business is. It’s like I have this new place and I want it to be beautiful and reflect me and here are my options and this is a custom option which doesn’t exist anywhere else.

BALDACHIN: That’s really interesting. And you know, it’s so intuitive to say where we think we’re going to win is based on design and here I am, Christiane Lemieux, you know, heavily, you know, very, very rich resume with respect to that. You are a designer and that’s how you’re going to win. Makes sense.

LEMIEUX: Because I say this all the time, “It’s called interior design.”

BALDACHIN: Yeah.

LEMIEUX: “It’s not called interior great chair.”

BALDACHIN: Yeah. And the stuff looks beautiful. So it really does. That’s very compelling. Very, very, very interesting.

LEMIEUX: I mean, to me it has to be dead simple.

BALDACHIN: Yeah. That’s the through line.In terms of…And we talked a little bit about that at the beginning about the experiential component retail. I know at one point, and I think no longer, maybe you can tell us why, you had a physical space, a showroom, collaboration compound.

LEMIEUX: Yes.

BALDACHIN: You’re not doing that anymore. Is that something that you’re interested in restarting? Because I thought that was actually pretty interesting what you were doing.

LEMIEUX: It was great. It just required somebody to manage it, like an office manager, and that’s just not what we want to spend money on right now. I think we could easily do it all over again. I mean, there are also structural issues with the building we were in that was largely the problem that they had nonfunctioning elevator and we were on the sixth floor, so it ended up…

BALDACHIN: That would affect your cause.

LEMIEUX: It ended up being like a sixth floor walkup. So not only did it hurt the cause, the underlying cause, also my employees wanted nothing to do with it.

BALDACHIN: They were hating it.

LEMIEUX: We couldn’t get our seamless deliveries ever. So when things are too good to be true, especially from a real estate perspective, they are too good to be true. So yeah, would we do it? But now we’re in a shared workspace. So they take care of the printer and the front desk and the concierge and the water and everything, and it allows us to focus. I mean, I sort of can’t get over it and I can’t understand now why anybody would ever have a traditional office—just because we’re so flexible. I mean we literally – and Duff was laughing with us—we were like, “We can’t do this. This is unsustainable.” We broke our lease on a Friday and we’re in our shared workspace on a Monday and that was it.

BALDACHIN: Amazing.

LEMIEUX: And that is part of the underlying thesis of how the world as changed is because of cloud computing. We no longer have a server room, so it’s a bunch of people on a laptop and it was so easy for us to just pick up and leave.

BALDACHIN: Which is something that you actually evangelize about, which is sort of this work-home…?

LEMIEUX: I evangelized about it. Because I also realize, you know, especially when you’re a scrappy startup, you have to go where the talent is. And so I can, you know, I have somebody in Turkey who is working for me and people in Eastern Europe and I have one of my favorite textile designers upstate and I’m going all over the place, in Vermont. So it really is very efficient. It works very well.

BALDACHIN: Would you come back to retail? Is that something that is on the drawing board or on the roadmap for you guys to have?

LEMIEUX: Oh, for sure. But experiential retail, like exactly what you’re talking about. So I imagine retail for us looks like a design studio.

BALDACHIN: Yeah. Yeah. What do you think about the retail as a service business, the Neighborhood Good to the world. Is that something that you guys might take advantage of?

LEMIEUX: We’re in Neighborhood Goods.

BALDACHIN: Oh, you guys are in Neighborhood Goods. Oh, okay. I thought I did all my research, but clearly I missed that. And how’s that working?

LEMIEUX: I think it’s great so far. I mean…

BALDACHIN: And they’re a Four Runner company, aren’t they?

LEMIEUX: They are.

BALDACHIN: So there’s a nice relationship right there that comes into the ecosystem.

LEMIEUX: So my co-founder just went to Texas to open the first store.

BALDACHIN: Oh really?

LEMIEUX: Yeah.

BALDACHIN: Okay. Wow. That’s where the only one is?

LEMIEUX: That’s the only one, correct.

BALDACHIN: Okay. And overall you’re happy with how The Inside’s doing? I mean, I’m sure there are massive challenges but sort of doing what you hoped it would do and sort of getting the trades interested and you’re seeing sort of that kind of take off.

LEMIEUX: Yes, yes. I mean, I think the biggest challenge to any kind of startup now, especially in the consumer space is mindshare because there’s so much, you know, we’re bombarded every second with a, you know, largely like a one skew company, you know, you’ll see whether it’s a vitamin or something, I mean constantly on places like Instagram, so it’s getting consumer mindshare. What we’re doing is not a one skew industry, it’s not a one skew business. So really trying to be thoughtful. Our biggest challenge oftentimes is saying to everybody, “That’s not who we are. We’re trying to do something. We’re trying to change the way in industry thinks. We’re not at one skew company.”

BALDACHIN: Do you have…You’ve built up an impressive team, which I’d be interested to hear just some thoughts on, in terms of building that team. Is there anyone on that team that is like you, that is a design first person in addition obviously to your entrepreneurial chops, you know, as we discussed, you’re really a design mindset person.

LEMIEUX: Yes. We have a creative director who works with me who thinks about nothing but design and merchandising, product assortment.

BALDACHIN: How’s that collaboration going between you and that guy personally?

LEMIEUX: I’ve known her for years, so she helped me research my last book and she’s a design historian, so it’s going very well.

BALDACHIN: That’s great.

LEMIEUX: And also, it’s a matter of trust, you know, I can let her run with some of the things that I can’t focus on a day to day basis, which is something I learned the hard way with my last company. You really have to— as a CEO, you have to get out of the weeds. If you’re stuck in the weeds, the company doesn’t go anywhere. So my job is to think five years ahead and make sure that I’m constantly structuring the whole setup for success,

BALDACHIN: Which is much easier said than done much. You just have to have a great team and you have to also be able to let go.

LEMIEUX: Which is also very hard, but I’m doing it this time. That’s like my mantra everyday. Let it go.

BALDACHIN: I’d like to take some lessons from you on that because I cannot do it.

LEMIEUX: You have to.

BALDACHIN: You’re working on a new book. We’ve mentioned Duff’s named, Duff McDonald, your, I guess coauthor. Duff is a pretty well known prolific business writer. You would characterize it as a business book. It’s a book about entrepreneurialism?

LEMIEUX: Yes, it is a business book. There are no pictures of furniture or interiors for that matter.

BALDACHIN: Throw a few in. Mean, give the people what they want. [Laughing]

LEMIEUX: It is not a coffee table book. [Laughing]

BALDACHIN: What are you guys tackling together here in terms of, you know, obviously there’s a lot of books about entrepreneurs. Is it how to, is it a lessons learned?

LEMIEUX: It is all of those things. And so basically the underlying premise is that because of a few sort of underlying macro things, I think the financial crisis being one of them, you know, cloud computing being another, the advent of Amazon in a very big way being another. The way startups think an act is very different now than even five years ago. I mean, cloud computing is, that’s the reason I could leave my office on a Friday and be in a coworking space on Monday. It’s because everything is, you know, financial services, for us, design, everything is in the cloud and so it allows us to be very nimble. It also allows us to work with people in places that we never would have been able to work with before because now there’s all these platforms that allow us to do that, even if it’s just Google Hangouts.

So taking all of that and sort of putting it into the, I guess mental blender, it just looks very different now than it did, especially for me from my vantage point of having started a business a good 12 years ago or not even 18 years ago, and then having built it in kind of a slow, methodical way, which is how you had to build businesses back then because there wasn’t the visibility of the internet, and then spending some time at Wayfair and understanding, you know, just from a marketing perspective and a pure ecommerce perspective what that looks like, and then what entrepreneurs are faced with now and how they’re solving those problems. And I think largely where we are today is going to be very indicative of what the future looks like versus where I was the first time around.

BALDACHIN: So what are some of the traits that you would pull out of that to be successful? I mean, you’ve been successful both in analog world and digitally native world. What are some of those traits that you would point to? Is it openmindedness? Is it curiosity? Is it quick study?

LEMIEUX: Yes. Openmindedness, curiosity, a creative problem solving which comes up over and over and over again. It is the ability to pivot constantly, which is the word I hate, but you end up having to do that because you know what if…This is on a dime too, because if Instagram changes an algorithm and all of a sudden…

BALDACHIN: Cut your losses.

LEMIEUX: You’ve got to have like a million balls in the air, as you say, like side hustles all over the place because what we’re really doing is testing into every channel because nobody can hand you the playbook now, right? As an entrepreneur, it’s not like you can read a book that was written 10 years ago and it’s going to help you figure out how to get your business off the ground. Now you have to write your own playbook and that’s a very different…

BALDACHIN: You got to be willing to experiment.

LEMIEUX: You hvae to iterate, iterate, iterate, and you have to be really nimble and you have to, you know, like all these things that I thought were so corny, you know, failing fast, but it’s true now. I mean, you really have to…

BALDACHIN: Things are moving 20 times faster.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. You have to try. If it doesn’t work, you just move on, like cut and run. And I think that’s a huge part of that. And you have to not be afraid of change at all, like you really have to embrace change. You have to go looking for it.

BALDACHIN: And I think you’ve got to be very media centric as well.

LEMIEUX: You have to be very media centric.

BALDACHIN: And identifying the traits of a CEO is going to be successful there. What are those traits? Is that somebody who’s got experience media? Is that somebody who just from a personality perspective can put themselves out there? I mean, you know, we actually did a podcast on direct to consumer; we were talking a lot about Quip and you know, Simon Enever, the CEO is their spokesman. He is their guy.

LEMIEUX: But you know, I mean you have to be because it’s authenticity too.

BALDACHIN: You’ve got to be authentic?

LEMIEUX: You have to be authentic. You can’t hand your brand off to somebody else. I mean, it used to be you gotta have a celebrity spokesperson. That’s meaningless now. You could collaborate. And I think that’s called…A collaborative is a very big part of it. I think a successful CEO also has to know what they know and really assemble a great team, have it be really collaborative. I think that the sort of standing in the boss’ office and expecting everybody to be…

BALDACHIN: To run around and get things done.

LEMIEUX: Doesn’t work anymore. It doesn’t work.

BALDACHIN: When can we expect this book to hit stores?

LEMIEUX: October of 2019.

BALDACHIN: Okay. So you’ve got your work cut out for you.

LEMIEUX: Oh, we’re deep into it.

BALDACHIN: Yeah. To the grindstone.

LEMIEUX: Yeah.

BALDACHIN: What kinds of people are you meeting and interviewing? Are you sticking with tech? Are you going just broad, broad, broad?

LEMIEUX: Broad, broad. So for example, yesterday we talked to a fin tech company, I mean everything, everything from even to people who built their businesses on QVC or HSN. So really understanding…but at its core, all of these businesses have a digital component now because they have to. I mean, people are saying that traditional publishing is dead and, you know, everything is shifting to digital platforms; they just are. So even the most traditional businesses, the ones that are going to succeed are digitally savvy.

BALDACHIN: Sounds really interesting. I mean, good luck with that. That’s a huge project to take on, but worthy, and I’m sure you’re learning as you go. That’s actually kind of a nice way to cheat.

LEMIEUX: I had no idea, but it’s a super secret way to cheat because I’m getting, you know, every company…

BALDACHIN: I’m cheating now. I mean, I do this. It’s the same idea, you know, the amount that I absorb talking to the people that come on. It’s a similar idea. I mean, you’ve got that side hustle benefit. That’s amazing. What do you think would be next for you? I mean, can you imagineive years out, 10 years out writing, teaching, more businesses?

LEMIEUX: I think, I mean, you know, I wish I could tell you about the meeting I had before this one. I would say that I think investing would be very interesting. Setting up now that I know what I know and I think yeah, teaching, I think writing, I think all of the, I mean all of that, it’s so…Because I think it’s all of this is foundational builds on top of itself and so if you’re willing to be very open minded and experiment and pivot and put yourself out there and succeed and fail and fail mostly, you gain a lot of experience.

BALDACHIN: Have you done any investing in early stage?

LEMIEUX: Yes. I have.

BALDACHIN: Okay. How’s it going so far?

LEMIEUX: But for me, I would invest in what I understand. And so the consumer experience and you know, especially the reason I think that Kiersten has been so successful is that, you know, a lot of this is purchased by women. So, you know, whether it’s fashion or beauty or a lot of the things…

BALDACHIN: Home, I guess to certain extent?

LEMIEUX: Absolutely. So, you know, coming from that perspective, I think it, you know, because you are the customer and once you’re the customer and then you understand the business fundamentals, it gets a lot easier to make smart bets.

BALDACHIN: Do you ever see yourself moving back to Canada or are you a lifer here in New York, do you think?

LEMIEUX: I don’t know that I’ll move back to Canada, but I could see myself going to Europe for a while. Would you moved back to Canada?

BALDACHIN: I would, particularly what’s going on here now these days, that might drive me back before sooner than I would’ve thought, but you know, it’s of course the grass is always greener, but things just seemed so much more relaxed up there whenever I’m up there; less conflict.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. They are. I just want to be everywhere though, because my parents live in Paris part of the year and that’s kind of great and it’s just…

BALDACHIN: Well, of course and who you are and what you do, that’s such a perfect place too.

LEMIEUX: I have to go where the inspiration is. I think it’s also, I believe that’s how our kids are going to experience the world too, because if you think about it, part of the reason for the Inside is because people are moving much more. Apparently the stat is people will move seven times in the first 15 years of their post college career. It may be New York, it maybe Beijing, it maybe Dubai. So it’s not…It’s so much more global experience. We heard some crazy stat that people will have 29 jobs in their life. Our kids have a lot of that is side hustles because they may, you know, you are a lawyer and a podcast host and for all I know you can be an Ebay seller and have an incredibly influential Instagram account. You know, that you can have…I mean, I have four jobs currently. I’m writing two books. I run a startup and I have a legacy licensing business

BALDACHIN: That is the new way.

LEMIEUX: It is the new way. And also, I know we talked about, this is something that’s near and dear to Duff’s heart, but the sort of gig economy, I mean, I don’t know t— we had some stat by 2023 that 50 percent of jobs are going to be self created. So that’s half the population is an entrepreneur.

BALDACHIN: Yeah, it’s sort of incredible to think how different it is a today than it was 20 years ago, let’s say. You know, you pretty much had a job. That was it. He didn’t think about all these other things. You weren’t thinking about your social media, you weren’t thinking about doing media, you weren’t thinking about really pretty much anything else other than what was right in front of you and your family.

LEMIEUX: Right. So you get a job, you buy a house, you stay there and you retire. I mean that’s why…

BALDACHIN: Shop at Bloomingdale’s.

LEMIEUX: Exactly. So think about our world. You used to buy your home, decorator at once and now that’s why it’s such an interesting category, and that’s why all these big players are going after it, it’s because you may move five times and you’re gonna probably want to redecorate your space every time.

BALDACHIN: Yeah. And price point’s got to be key there too.

LEMIEUX: Price point is key.

BALDACHIN: Well, listen on that note Christiane, I want to thank you. This has been fantastic. I hope you’ll come back…

LEMIEUX: I will come back.

BALDACHIN: And give us an update on how the Inside’s doing and maybe when the book comes out.

LEMIEUX: When the book comes out, you’ll have to have Duff on.

BALDACHIN:  Yeah. We’ll have you and Duff on to talk about that.

LEMIEUX: We’ll talk about… I mean, there’s some pretty interesting key learnings there.

BALDACHIN: Yes. Sounds great. Okay, good. Well, thanks Christiane.

LEMIEUX: Thank you.

BALDACHIN: My pleasure.

LEMIEUX: Yeah. Likewise.

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