Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Sabrina Cassis and Charlotte Ella Piché, two inspiring independent businesswomen who occasionally combine their lingerie and jewelry companies to offer ladies in Montreal must-attend events and experiences…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
S: I curate a lingerie website called Alice Kass. My goal is to show girls that lingerie can be worn in a casual way, even as part of your outfit; it doesn’t have to be a tool for seduction. It’s about girls buying lingerie for themselves, and feeling good about it.
C: I’m basically a medieval viking warrior princess that loves to play with fire. Also known as a silversmith. I make jewelry under the name Deux Lions.
S: Together, Alice Kass and Deux Lions bring these concepts to life. We each have our separate businesses but we team up every chance we get. We work on most of our photo editorials together as well as every single event. We both love event planning and visual merchandising ,so whether at our pop-up shops or private parties, we focus on creating a unique and enticing atmosphere through decor and layout and interact closely with our guests. We’re very inclusive and we want everyone to leave Alice Kass + Deux Lions events feeling happy, confident and part of a community of cool girls. We really like supporting women entrepreneurs and artists, which is where our hashtag #girlgangmtl comes from.
C: Sabrina and I are very similar but have our differences, creating a nice balance and support system. We have separate brand images but make sure they always complement each other, which can be seen in our merchandising. We like to joke that Alice Kass is the independent femme fatale that dresses in black, and Deux Lions the free spirited moonchild that dresses in light pastel colours. Women have many layers and personalities, and so we try to capture as many as we genuinely can.
We’ve also been lucky enough to have been supported by established women entrepreneurs like Kim Lallouz from Miss Pret-a-Manger, as well as Brit and Ashlinn from Barbarella, so we think it’s important to return the favour.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
S: I was a luxury womenswear buyer at SSENSE for a few years but buying wasn’t creative enough for me. I’ve also always known I was an entrepreneur so when I quit my job, doing my own thing just felt like the natural next step. Although I had mostly worked in clothing, I chose lingerie because there is a huge gap in that market. None of the girls I know identify with the Victoria’s Secret Angels or feel like dressing up in boudoir, luxury or dominatrix-style lingerie. We want chill, wearable pieces that still make us feel like ourselves but that are better quality than generic brands. I decided I needed to bring a fashion edge to a market saturated with pretty cheesy stuff by gathering all the awesome brands out there in one spot.
C: I’ve always been into bohemian and free-spirited 70s fashion, dressing in vintage clothes and making “jewelry” out of leather cords and feathers. Later, I got accepted to a fashion school in L.A., but my father convinced me to pay my dues and study business at McGill. I graduated and moved to New York where I was an apprentice under an amazing Russian master named Leo (he called me Sharlota; said Charlotte was a boy’s name). Meanwhile, I also interned at Pamela Love NYC, one of my favourite Brooklyn-based jewelry designers. I then came back home to Montreal to launch Deux Lions and got a bright studio in the Mile End.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
C: Our first event, the launch of both our brands. Staring at Sabrina in her big beautiful blue eyes as we cheered our glasses of wine from across the room, in disbelief that people actually showed up. We had decided early on to collaborate with other female artists and entrepreneurs, and had a vernissage as well as a live art show by Ivy Rotchin. We had also made a video that played on a loop on different screens, incorporating the different disciplines involved. My beautiful mermaid Maddielonglegz was DJing, the wonderful co-owners of Rack Galerie, Magali and Ariane were behind the bar, and it was just filled with all sorts of inspiring young women. We strive on collaboration and are very excited about what we are working on now, a Gypsy Caravan pop up shop we will be having for the whole month of October at Barbarella.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Curating pop-up shop/art shows around the world, broadening our girl gang to the international level, and uncovering new inspirations for Deux Lions jewelry and Alice Kass lingerie anywhere and everywhere along the way. Finding a way to incorporate traveling into our work is something that has always been a great source of inspiration. That’s the plan for the next five years – in 20 maybe we’ll have boyfriends!
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
S: Just put yourself out there. Try a ton of different things. Make your own rules. Stay positive. Trust yourself.
C: Always surround yourself with people that inspire you or are more knowledgeable than you.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
S: Every year I participate in the Logis-Rose Virginie charity event. They are an organization that help women in difficulty. Both Deux Lions and Alice Kass put a lot of emphasis on supporting our local community and women in general.
C: This October, we will be collaborating with the girls at Barbarella to raise funds for breast cancer research. We are renting out their St Henri storefront for the whole month and curating a pop-up shop that will have tons of special events alongside local emerging brands.
7. What does the word notable mean to you?
Being the best version of yourself.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Bethleem xxx is filled with crazy people and we love it. They have amazing food and drinks… Beaver sings sometimes and his mystical voice is awesome.
We also are sort of addicted to Satay Brothers. Not only are the pork buns and papaya salad insanely delicious, but the boys who work there will never let you leave without a smile on your face.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser?
C: BBC, Vice, Studded Hearts (I’m trying to state cool things but really it’s my Gmail).
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
C: I don’t really know, I only follow things that involve baby animals.
S: I really like Cleowade because she writes poetry that has a very positive outlook on things. It’s very refreshing. Otherwise I am quite inspired by visuals and mostly follow magazines and photographers such as Tamara Lichtenstein, Goodbye Jane, Live Fast and C-Heads magazine, etc.
4. What’s your favourite cocktail?
C: Jameson on the rocks (wait, is that a cocktail??)
S: Not much of a cocktail drinker but I do love the Chia Fresca at Mal Nécessaire with coconut water, chia seeds and Thai basil. Curing your hangover while you create it.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
C: The smell of someone else’s BBQ in the air…
S: Not being in L.A.
6. What would be your last meal? And don’t hold back…
C: There would need to be bread involved. And wine, and cheese… and maybe a sandwich.
S: Super fresh sashimi and sushi and octopus salad and a side of steak tartare with a giant poutine. Yeah, lots of wine with that.
C: Can I add a poutine too?
7. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
S: Wearing bras as tops.
C: Flicking warm water on the back of someone’s neck and making a sneezing sound