We recently got a chance to catch up with the founders of Fairejour, an online store that features carefully curated clothing, accessories, home & personal care goods from independent, up-and-coming makers from all over North America and Europe.
Talking with Alex Kirmse and Lianna Shen, the husband-and-wife team behind Las Vegas-based Fairejour.com, gave us a nice glimpse into what it really means to pursue a dream and crafting a life out of your true passions.
Read on and get to know more about this creative and incredibly passionate duo…
You both had stable corporate gigs before starting Fairejour. What were some of your deciding factors in taking that leap of faith and leaving the 9 to 5 life?
Lianna: Working in the corporate world was a wonderful experience, and we are still close with many of our ex-colleagues. Alex was in the same company for eight years and felt it was time for a change. He just had an entrepreneurial itch that couldn’t be ignored. I was always an entrepreneur at the companies I worked for.
Leaving the corporate world and starting our own businesses was a very natural step. We were very lucky in that we have complementary skill sets. Alex is an engineer, I was a product manager, and we're both well versed in business, user experience, e-commerce and technology in general.
Ultimately, the biggest deciding factor was that we wanted to build our dream life – and we believe the only way to truly do that is to work for yourself.
Lianna: We are explorers at heart. After a few weeks in the same city, we get antsy and have to get on a plane. Part of what we love about visiting new places is the discovery: The places; the smells; the food, art, and the people. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I like to sneak in a bit of shopping here and there.
So we decided to do what we love and try and make a living out of it. We launched Fairejour with the intention of celebrating beautiful things made by extraordinary people from all corners of the world (or at least North America and Europe so far).
What does the name mean?
Lianna: We focused in on the experience we wanted our customers to have. When they discover Fairejour, or receive a product in the mail, we hope it makes their day. “Faire jour” is a literal translation of “make day” in French. Fairejour is a totally made up word that sounds pretty.
Ironically, we have quite a few designers from Montreal, so people often assume we are French-Canadian. We aren’t – I’m from Calgary, Alberta, and Alex is from Berlin, Germany.
How do you discover the talented makers you sell on Fairejour?
Lianna: We are on the road approximately 60% of the time, and are always looking for hidden neighborhoods that house local secrets and gems. We’ve been known to spend long days on foot and subway, scouring shops and collecting samples. Now that we are more established, designers also approach us through word of mouth, and through their designer friends and other contacts. It has been easier to find makers without taking trips (though it’s not quite as fun!).
Out of all the places you have traveled together, which was the most inspiring?
Alex: A few years ago we went to Israel for a friend’s wedding. We often travel to Europe, within North America, and Asia, but this was our first time going to the Middle East together. We were a bit outside our comfort zones, which made it exhilarating. We took a sherut (shared taxi) from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and explored all quarters of the old city. It was exciting, challenging, and wonderful all at once.
Your style in 3 words:
Lianna: Eclectic, comfortable, down-to-earth.
Alex: Normcore. No flash.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Lianna: I’m inspired by brave, honest people who pursue their passions and make the world more beautiful.
Alex: Friends, family, ideas and dreams.
Favorite record to jam out to while working:
Lianna: This is going to be scary: We like to work in silence. I’m on the phone a lot.
What does your ideal day off look like?
Lianna: An early wakeup to maximize the day. Yoga on the patio. A big enough breakfast so that we can skip lunch. Backpacks on with comfortable shoes. No cars – only buses, trains and subways. No destination in particular. Exploration. Dinner at a delightful place that we just happen to stumble upon. Feeling exhausted at the end of the day in the best of ways.
Coffee or tea?
Lianna: For me, tea at the moment because I’m pregnant but once this baby comes out, I’m back on that coffee train!
Alex: I enjoy experimenting with my coffee. My newest technique is to ground the beans right before brewing and wetting the filter before using. I swear it comes out better!
>> Visit fairejour.com and explore thoughtfully picked, independent goods by talented, passionate designers-- lovingly curated right here in Las Vegas by Lianna & Alex!