It’s one of the oldest and most culturally ingrained stereotypes: Women love to shop. It even may have had some basis in truth, fair or not, when women were less able to pursue their own careers. But it’s not always true these days. This editor, for one, is excited to see a company offering a professional “uniform” for women–an option men have had for ages.
The fashion company MM.Lafleur, whose founders were recently interviewed in another post we shared, is bucking the stereotype and their business is thriving. Shopping is still wonderful for all of you who love it–but for women who are a little less enthusiastic about shopping, or who just want to streamline professional decision making, this is a welcome option.
fastcompany.com – “I’m so sick of the stereotype that all women are shopping-obsessed,” Sarah LaFleur, the 32-year-old cofounder of the workwear brand MM.LaFleur, tells Fast Company.
After college, LaFleur spent several years working in management consulting and private equity, where she needed a rotation of crisp, smart work clothes. But she had neither the time nor the inclination to shop for them. In her few free moments, the last thing she wanted to do was browse for blazers online or at a boutique. “For some women, buying clothes is just not a priority for one reason or another, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t care about good style or looking elegant,” she says.
LaFleur believed that there were many other female executives who felt like she did. So three years ago, she decided to do something radical. She started an online company called MM.LaFleur that challenged two deep-seated beliefs of the fashion industry: that women love the shopping experience, and want to buy trendy clothes.
She partnered with Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer at Zac Posen, to create a line of classic shift dresses, pencil skirts, and blouses in muted colors that would appeal to working women of all ages. Together, they spent hours ensuring that each outfit was tailored to fit a wide range of women’s bodies. And with a third cofounder, Narie Foster, who headed up operations, they invented a system of selling these outfits to busy professional women without requiring them to spend any time shopping.