From banking to fashion

From banking to fashion

Five years ago, when Ariane Zagury and her husband were relocated to Hong Kong for work, she was disappointed at not finding designer labels that appealed to her fashion sense, despite Hong Kong's trendy vibes.

Leaving her banking career to get her feet wet in fashion, Ariane, 34, set up her first fashion concept store, Rue Madame. With her store, she has since introduced many European and US labels to the Hong Kong market to address the lack of fashionable and feminine, but wearable, labels available there.

In April this year, Ariane brought her label, together with French fashion brand, American Vintage to Singapore. Both stores are now located at Takashimaya Shopping Centre.

She tells us more about herself as a working woman and full-time mum.

AsiaOne Women: You're CEO and Founder of Rue Madame. Tell us about yourself - how did your interest in fashion begin, and what led you to found Rue Madame?

Ariane Zagury: I started my career in banking, namely at Credit Suisse and then Goldman Sachs in London.

In 2008, my husband and I relocated to Hong Kong. And I was immediately struck by the women's fashion sense and style, yet I was disappointed by the lack of fashionable, feminine and wearable designer brands on offer locally.

So, I decided to open my first concept store named "Rue Madame" and collaborating with my two partners Patricia and Nathalie Samson, who have had distinguished careers in the international fashion world, owning well-established concept stores in Paris.

AW: What can a shopper expect to see when she steps into the Rue Madame store in Singapore?

AZ: I wish to bring a truly Parisian selection, a fashion for real people and a unique pick of mine to Singapore, helping the customers to find the right balance between their own personalities and the latest styles from Paris.

AW: You're French. How did you become based in Hong Kong? Are you planning further expansion into Asia, with the debut of American Vintage in Singapore?

AZ: Love of Hong Kong and Singapore is already good! Of course we are always looking ahead but I believe in opportunities.

AW: Are you happy with your achievements as a working woman? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

AZ: Ok la….but I can always be better! My problem is that I don't know how far I want to go.

A lot of people are not born entrepreneurs, but when you get to become one, it feels so nice that you will want more of it. It's like an addiction. It's what happened to my husband and me.

AW: You're also a mother. What's your parenting philosophy, and how do you balance work and family?

AZ: It is ok to be imperfect!

I do too many things to make things perfect. As long as the family and especially my kids feel happy, I am pleased. Setting high standards is a good thing, but I see too many women scared of taking the plunge in case things are not perfect!

AW: What is a typical day like for you?

AZ: At 6:45am, I wake up with my kids. Then it's time for family breakfast and I send them to school.

Then my day in the office starts. I am often the first one and I like this time of the day - it is the only quiet time I get!

After that, it's off to meetings, working with my team, before I head back home for dinner and some time with my kids.

If I am still going strong, I will go out for the Thai boxing lesson! Then I typically work another couple of hours at night and finally go to sleep.

AW: Describe your own sense of style.

AZ: A feel good look that makes me feel self-confident, a casual yet chic look. I believe a look should be a mixture of inspirations, and I really don't like being overdressed and having a 'total' look.

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