As one of the online world's very first haberdashery e-shops, Cousette sells a wide range of patterns and fabrics, along with all the basics you need for making your sewing and crafty DIY projects come true. Every product is hand-selected by Cécilia, fashion stylist and driving force behind Cousette. She’s responsible for putting the Cousette selection together, which she does by creating the perfect mix of her personal favourites and on-trend items. Cousette got started in 2009 as a joint initiative with Laurent, Cécilia's partner and computer master.
In 2009, Cousette was one of the very first e-shops around to sell fabric online and success soon followed. Loads of haberdashery shops had disappeared from the cities, and that meant there was a strong demand for e-shops like Cousette's. It wasn’t long before the warehouse it started out in became too small to handle the rapidly burgeoning number of bolts of fabric. These days, Cousette is one of the most successful haberdashery e-shops in France (and far beyond). It’s a singular story with a unique team, a combo that Fibre Mood can never get enough of!
We give Cécilia the chance to tell all in this Fibre Mood interview!
Cousette has been around for 10 years now. How did you come up with the idea to start Cousette a decade ago?
After 10 years of being a stylist, new dreams and ambitions emerged. What’s more, the birth of my first little one gave me – like so many of us – the courage to set out on a new adventure. I adore fashion, but was confronted, at the time, with the fact that the job market for amateur sewists was incredibly limited. That's why I tried to incorporate my ‘fashion perspective’ into the DIY world, using it to carefully select trendy fabrics of the highest quality.
In comparison with other sewing companies – what is it that makes Cousette so special?
It’s trickier to stand out today than it was around 10 years ago. Like I said before, each fabric is selected with care. Any fabric you see on our website is something I genuinely like. My decisions will never come from a purely commercial perspective. To my mind, it’s something you're bound to notice in everything we do here at Cousette.
How would you describe Cousette in 3 words? What springs to mind first?
Human adventure... that's only two. To begin with, Cousette is a fantastic team! Every day I look forward to working with them and I thank my lucky stars for that. These folks make the adventure possible!
Where does the inspiration come from for your fabric designs?
There are a hundred and one things that can start the ball rolling, from a vintage garment, to a film, to a fabulous colour combination, etc. I take in what the world throws at me and find my inspiration there!
Where did your inspiration come from when you were designing the fabric for Fibre Mood's Charlotte dress?
I'm head-over-heels for floral prints and wanted to design something sunny and fresh for your spring edition.
You were already busy with an online fabric shop – what made you decide to start your own collection?
I studied design and ever since Cousette was founded, my dream has always been to develop my own fabric collections. We launched our very first exclusive prints in 2015.
What’s the biggest challenge your business has faced to date?
There are so many! You've constantly got to be everything: be creative, but strict and analytical too, and you’re never allowed to be discouraged by problems and the little disappointments that come your way. However, the biggest challenge of all is to reserve some time and space for yourself, so that your work – no matter how fun it is – doesn’t suck up all your time.
Cousette is a warm team: do you think it’s important to be surrounded by passionate people?
This team energises and inspires me, which means that the heart of who we are is always reflected in our collections too. I hope that we succeed at sharing that team spirit in our work as well.
Do you sew much in your spare time?
Unfortunately, I haven’t got a lot of free time to speak of. It’s not that easy to find the time to get behind my sewing machine (probably sounds totally familiar to lots of people), but I do try whenever my schedule allows.
What are your favourite garments to make?
Blouses and skirts remain my favourite projects. I usually go for stuff that I can sew relatively quickly. That way they aren’t lying around for too long.
What items and fabrics should always be present in any sewing shop?
When it comes to small items, the list is far too long. There’s a host of things that belong in the ‘must’ category. As far as fabrics go, I'd say:
- linen, from washed to classic, is always a good choice.
- Liberty fabrics are timeless and always amazing quality.
- Cotton, poplins of voile work nicely as basics.
- And viscose prints with serious wow-appeal have to be part of your stock.
Imagine that from now on, you’re only allowed to use one kind of fabric.
I really love viscose because I can use it for dresses, blouses and skirts. The softness and the way viscose glides through your fingers feels divine. What's more, this material gives the colour in prints a boost. We work closely with manufacturers to reduce the fabric's environmental impact, since it unfortunately consumes tons of water.
To close, in the 10 years that Cousette has been around, we’re 100% convinced that you've got a great anecdote to share with us.
It's absolutely true! Anecdotes are something we’ve got in spades! That’s why I’d like to turn the clock back to the very beginning, back to that tiny room without windows or heating, where my partner and I would process the orders every day. Today Cousette has made it possible for us to move from the Paris region to a gorgeous studio with an unbeatable team. I’d like to close with a heartfelt thank you to those who made it all possible.