Pillow Talk: Margaux

Alexa Buckley and Sarah Pierson are the co-founders of Margaux - a beautiful, handcrafted line of classic ballet flats and heels. With a mission to "meet the demands of modern life," Margaux marries luxurious design with functionality. As Alexa and Sarah explain below, these are the 'comfortable' shoes you wear to work and the 'pretty' shoes you leave on for work. Based in New York City, Margaux offers a custom shopping experience online (including made-to-measure options!) and their inspiring #onthegaux blog, which we definitely recommend checking out. Read below to learn more about Alexa and Sarah and the next time you're on the go be sure to visit their newly opened brick-and-mortar flagship store on Bleecker Street in NYC or seasonal pop-up locations in Palm Beach, Nantucket and Boston. 

1. Why do you love what you do? 

Sarah: Where to begin? Alexa and I are so lucky to have the opportunity to create and build Margaux for many reasons. Most importantly, I get to work every day with my best friend. We've known each other for nearly ten years now and have been inseparable since we first met our freshman year of college. Starting and running a business is a constant roller coaster: There are extraordinary highs and lows, which can occur within the span of an hour. To have a support system, a friend, and a true partner through it all makes a great difference. The beauty of loving your work, too, is that the lines between life and work blur. "Work" never feels like work, and it blends so fluidly into "life." I once heard a fabulous entrepreneur speak about finding balance between the two that there is no right balance: Rather, she said, "It's a beautiful hustle." 

To echo Sarah, I would add that I love what I do because there is nothing more energizing than building something. The highs and lows are constant - but the satisfaction and excitement that results from seeing an idea (whether it be a product or web functionality, to a new team or entire retail strategy) start from simply that, into its fully fleshed (many times iterated) form is what inspires me, excites me, and makes every day fun. The greatest part, however, is working with my best friend. She is my other (better?) half - and I couldn't imagine navigating this crazy ride any other way. It is a never-ending hustle, and to have a friend, a confidant, and the most solid partner through it all makes it a beautiful one too.

2. How did you get to where you are now?

Sarah: This adventure began our senior year of college, when Alexa and I were set to go in a completely different, and albeit more traditional route: We had signed on to jobs in finance and consulting and were plotting our careers in the corporate world when we began to talk about a pain point that felt all too familiar. Why was it that women had to do that terrible shoe-shuffle, wearing comfortable shoes to get where they were going and then changing into their "pretty" shoes when they arrived? We wondered why we had to constantly choose between style and comfort, and struggled to find shoes that effortlessly offered both. Over the next few months leading up to graduation, we took trips to New York to meet with advisors and build out our vision for the brand. Then, graduation rolled around and we faced the (slightly terrifying) decision of whether to jump and pursue the idea, or walk away and head toward those jobs we had all along counted on taking. After hearing Sheryl Sandberg - our commencement speaker - pose the question, What would you do if you weren't afraid?, we decided to take the leap and move to New York. I'll let Alexa take the story from here... 

Alexa: Weeks after Sheryl's inspiring speech (and our subsequent "aha" moment) we moved to New York, found a two-person windowless office in Soho, and dove in. The first step was hiring a team of experts across the board - from packaging design to digital marketing - that could help us realize the vision we had for this beautiful, modern brand anchored in a thoughtful, heritage feel. From there we traveled to Spain to secure our factory and build out our supply chain, raised our first round of funding, and built our site in time for our launch in May of 2015... and then, it really began! But most importantly, we've gotten to where we are today because of the incredible extended family - from advisors and mentors to investors and team members - that have we've assembled over the course of the past three years. We've been the beneficiaries of countless words of wisdom, but one of my very favorites was something that we were told just before launching the brand as two bright eyed twenty-two year old's, which was that, "you don't have to be an expert in exactly what you want to do, you just need to be willing to work hard enough to figure it out".

3. Who are three of your style muses? 

Charlotte Rampling - Her effortless seventies style is just as chic today as it was then. 

Laura Vassar Brock of Brock Collection - There's a wonderful wave of talented female designers that's emerged in the last few years, and among my personal favorites is Brock Collection. Think retro-inspired denim paired with romantic florals, intricate constructions, and breezy voile fabrics.

Cleo Wade - This poet-turned-millennial-guru is a style icon in her own right: She dresses with exuberance, mixing bold prints and colors with high and low pieces. 

Alexa:  Our endlessly talented Creative Director, Sam Traina, the ever-inspiring Caroline Issa, and - last but certainly not least - Lauren Santo Domingo.

4. What is your next travel destination?

Sarah: I'm headed to Patmos - a remote Greek island where I've spent my last few summer trips - in August. With our days moving at what seems like a faster and faster pace, there's no better antidote than a few days (quite literally) off the grid. I put away my phone and my computer as there's hardly any cell service, let alone Wifi, and spend my days reading, swimming, and exploring the island. Patmos also has a few incredible jewelry stores that carry pieces made by artisans in Athens and other islands featuring traditional bright Greek gold, rough cut stones, and hand-wrought details. I've made it something of a tradition to add a new piece to my collection each time I visit the island.

Alexa: This summer I'm traveling to Switzerland to spend a week off the grid hiking with my family. We began this tradition of venturing into the Alps several summers ago, and though I'm no by a means a mountain woman, it has become my most cherished memory (and the week I spend all year looking forward to) with my family. There is no other place in the world where I feel more unplugged and relaxed - and with a setting reminiscent of Sound of Music, alongside endless delicious fresh food, it is my favorite week of the year.

5. What is currently on your bedside table?

Sarah: My latest read, I Love Capitalism by Ken Langone, founder of The Home Depot; Heart Talk by Cleo Wade; a sandalwood candle from Maison Louis Marie; a matchbox from the French bistro Lafayette in SoHo; and a hand-painted jewelry dish I brought back from the Marrakech souks.

Alexa: A silk eye mask (for the mornings when I need that extra 20 minutes), a glass carafe for water, three New Yorker magazines (I’m a few weeks behind…), and a porcelain dish for small jewelry. 


6. Tell us something that people may not know about you!

Sarah: I'm a college dropout, and a college graduate - But that's a story for another time! 

Alexa: I can speak Swahili!