I was abroad and just 19 years old when the idea of starting a project centered around the art of living in Provence crossed my mind for the very first time.
Since then, I have never stopped dreaming of bringing my project to life. I have always been driven by the desire to create something on my own. But for a while, life had different plans for me. I held a senior position for many years, for which I had the opportunity to travel.
During one of my business trips, I brought gift sets to offer to clients that I had designed with an assortment of typical products from Provence, including a lavender sachet I had sewn myself. It amazed me that the clients were focused exclusively on the lavender sachets!
It was shortly after returning from this trip that I decided to settle in Nyons, in Provence, where I was born and grew up, while continuing to hold onto my position.
That is when the desire to take painting lessons came back to my mind. I talked about it to a friend, and she introduced me to Laure, a painter living in Provence. It was a defining moment: Our painting sessions gave birth to a beautiful friendship and allowed L’AUGUSTE Provence to see the light of day in 2019.
Through my painting lessons, plus the desire to create and our love for this beautiful region, and maybe also my business trip, an idea was born, a new concept I presented to Laure: making sachets of lavender with a watercolor representing a landscape of Provence printed on each of them. And the sachets would be placed in matching boxes for an elegant, unique, refined look. All the while, we would adopt a local and sustainable approach, with products focused on well-being because these are values dear to us. Everything made sense: a beautiful collaboration combining our respective skills — Laure’s artistic talent and the sewing skills I had acquired many years earlier from my mother.
I soon decided to leave my job, which had become increasingly stressful, to devote myself exclusively to the development of our brand.
It was not easy to decide to leave a stable job. But from the very beginning, I believed in this wonderful project, especially as it allowed me to dedicate myself to developing my own brand and creations.
When we began to think about the name of our brand, I suggested “Auguste” to Laure because it was my maternal grandfather’s name.
He was a basket maker and was a tower of strength for me, a role model when I was young. I wanted not only to honor his memory but also wanted him to be a source of strength to me in this venture, allowing me to create something from scratch, to dare to realize my dream. Laure loved the idea and told me the story of her maternal grandfather. He was a draftsman and an illustrator and, amazingly, was also named Auguste.
Nothing further was needed; and thus, L’AUGUSTE Provence was born.
What’s more, I could not have dreamed of a better environment in which to work. Our painting and sewing studios are nestled among olive trees, in a large stone shed (a “cabanon”), with Laure’s studio on the ground floor and my sewing studio upstairs. I love that the two aspects of what we do — the art and craft of the creative process — exist side by side. The place is full of light, with a view of the garden, the olive trees and the surrounding hills. And the fragrance emanating from the bags full of lavender that are stored in the corner of the workshop is just fantastic. Add to that the sound of flowing water in the pond on the terrace, and you can picture the idyllic setting that inspires us to be creative.
For our very first watercolor, we wanted it to represent a typical Provencal landscape around us. Laure painted a stone shed nestled in the heart of a lavender field with Mont Ventoux (nicknamed “the giant of Provence”) in the background.
Mont Ventoux is a famous mountain that dominates Provence because of its height of more than 6,200 feet.
Our creative process always starts with us exchanging ideas for the watercolors.
Because the common thread of our creations is Provence, with its landscapes, colors and light, we discuss the landscape we should showcase. Then we focus on the color palette, the composition and the placement of each element — because the watercolor will be printed onto the fabric.
This step takes time, and often multiple sketches are needed before we arrive at the desired result.
This process of starting with an idea, which Laure then brings to life on paper, is fascinating, and it always astonishes me to see her watercolors for the first time.
Once we are satisfied with the result, the watercolors are printed on natural fabrics in a French workshop. Then comes the stage when we make our sachets meticulously by hand. We cut the fabric, position the two parts of each sachet (front and back) in order to highlight the watercolor to the fullest extent possible once the sachet is sewn, and also take care that each one is the right size to fit in its box. Then we fill each sachet by hand with organic lavender, which we source from local growers. The final seam closes the sachet with a ribbon bearing our brand’s name. Finally, we tie all the loose threads together by hand to complete our creation.
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
— Vivian Greene
As for the boxes, they are printed locally in Provence and then assembled in our studio.
Traditionally, sachets are made with lavandin, which has a strong and heady smell due to the presence of camphor. Instead, we have created lavender sachets centered on a well-being approach containing nothing but organic lavender. Lavender is recognizable by its delicate and round perfume (major perfumers use it). Our lavender sachets facilitate overall well-being, helping reduce stress and contributing to relaxation and calm. They are a perfect accompaniment to our daily lives.
All we have to do is to keep a sachet handy, squeeze it and take a few deep breaths.
Our lavender sachets are unique in many ways and awaken all the senses. Each lavender sachet, nestled in its matching box, is a refined and unique accessory. These sachets can literally transport us to the heart of Provence, where both the divine smell and the design enchant us and invite us to relax.
It is such a joy for us to be able to share this art of living with our Provence-loving clients around the world, thanks to our online boutique and also shops and renowned art centers in the South of France. We also collaborate with luxury hotels for whom we create tailor-made products. And with customers who want a one-of-a-kind welcome gift for their wedding, a memorable corporate gift and much more.
Since we created our very first lavender sachet, now our signature product, we have continued to regularly add new creations, including new watercolors, to our repertoire.
Ideas race through our minds, and our creativity is limitless. I hope that this is just the beginning of L’AUGUSTE Provence’s creative adventure and that we can continue to delight our clients for a long time to come, allowing them to immerse themselves in the beauty of Provence wherever they may be.