Last week, I was lucky enough to reunite with all of my closest girlfriends at BA&SH Nolita for an evening of shopping and cocktails. This womenswear collection, originating in Paris, now has stores rapidly popping up all over the US. It started with two best friends who wanted to make beautiful things, and they are doing just that, with the most stunning jeweled sweaters, chiffon dresses, and fitted jackets. What’s even better, is that the line is accessible, although I’m still trying to figure out how they make such high quality product at an affordable price. Everything in the store is geared for friends shopping together and having a fun experience, right down to the photo booth in the dressing room! The store itself is beautiful, open, airy and inviting, so I suggest everyone go for a visit to try out this new, innovative shopping experience.
Editor’s note: This interview was conducted with Sarah Benady, CEO of BA&SH North America.
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
We just launched ba&sh in the U.S. last year! The brand has been around for 15 years in France and Europe though. Our founders, Barbara & Sharon, were best friends who had just had their second children and had a vision of bringing to life their dream wardrobe. There’s still a lot of work to be done in NYC and North America broadly, but that’s why I’m so excited about launching here – I see this as a huge opportunity to transform ba&sh into a global lifestyle brand.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
What differentiates ba&sh – and why I joined – is that it’s a truly authentic brand. I grew up shopping ba&sh in Paris: it’s a brand that feels like a close friend because of the warmth, inclusivity and generosity our founders Barbara & Sharon have instilled. I know I can always go to ba&sh to find a quality piece that makes me feel beautiful – from formal dresses for weddings to casual weekend wear to work essentials. Every experience at a ba&sh store (and we have 200+ now around the world!) is designed to make the customer feel good and leave with positive, happy vibes. We’re fortunate to have formed very close connections with our customers, and continue to with each new market opening.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
ba&sh is able to offer the best of all worlds for fashion, in my opinion: beautiful, accessible luxury pieces that are made to flatter and last (and unique, with our many custom prints and styles); exceptional retail experiences – from our magical store teams and customer service to our newest conceptual store in Nolita; that je ne sais quoi of the Parisian allure that is indescribable and undeniable.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
We’re seeking to bring the ba&sh values of friendship, generosity and feeling good in everything we do. First of all, we try to make pieces that make them feel good, that flatter different body shapes, and that are made to last. Our quality is truly exceptional – luxury level but accessible price points. We also seek to provide positive impact beyond the clothing, by offering top-notch customer service – and, with our newest store in Nolita, providing a community gathering place for them. In our Nolita store, we offer French classes, monthly dinners to gather our customers – many of them quite influential women – together, as well as a Dream Closet where every Friday women can come borrow ba&sh iconic pieces for the weekend for free.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love so many things about my job but my favorite is seeing our small but mighty U.S. team work together to take on this challenge of launching in a new market, and seeing how close everyone becomes as a result.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
I’m obsessed with Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca… I try to escape there for much-needed massages and facials once in awhile.
How do you benefit mamas?
Our founders, Barbara & Sharon, founded ba&sh when they were moms of two small children each, and have always made motherhood a priority – both internally and externally. Internally, we have an incredible culture of support for women who are pregnant and moms in general: Barbara & Sharon are the first ones to encourage women to take more time off for maternity leave and not come back until they are fully ready! They always say, “if you’re happy in your personal life, you’ll do well in your professional life.” Externally, we’ve sought to make ba&sh a friendly and accessible place for moms. For example, in our Nolita store, we created a children’s play area in the fitting room, complete with toys, books, and a custom ba&sh coloring book our designers created. We’ve had so many moms express their appreciation for little details like this.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
There’s been so many memorable times but it’s always extra special for me when a customer shares how they wore ba&sh to a special occasion and how meaningful the experience was as a result. For example – I remember one client in Miami bought a new ba&sh outfit for a job interview, felt amazing in it and really killed her interview, and then came back to our store to tell us that! We also have so many clients wear ba&sh to weddings, and even a few brides wear ba&sh. A few have shared photos with us after, and those are always so touching to see.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field.
My older sister also works in fashion and is someone I’ve always admired. She runs ad campaigns for fashion brands, opened an eco lodge in the middle of nowhere in Brazil and is also raising two baby girls between France and Brazil. I respect her incredibly, turn to her for advice frequently and feel so lucky to have her in my life.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
I've seen too many people around me wait for "one day" to finally be happy… always thinking that their life will be better when they’re married, when they have a baby, when the children grow up, when they get more vacations, etc... but happiness is something you can decide to choose everyday. In fact, it’s usually the simplest moments of life that make you feel the most happy, in my experience.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
My incredible nanny! She’s the best and is the biggest time-saver, life-saver, sanity-saver. I could never do all that I do without her. Also, I see how much my daughter loves her and it makes me so happy.