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Justine Rouch

Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Justine Rouch

Founded by Justine Rouch, who was previously CEO of Luxury Fashion House Roland Mouret, and CFO at Adidas. La Pochette is a luxury sustainable lifestyle company, designing bags and accessories for the way people live and move today. During a given day, you could be going to the office, meeting a colleague for a coffee, taking a spin class, flying to New York on a business trip, taking a dip in the pool, or joining friends for dinner. Combining intelligent design with super functionality, every item is carefully considered to be the best fit for your lifestyle. 

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

Having spent twenty years in the sports and luxury fashion world, I saw the huge rise in the athleisure market. However, accessories were usually overlooked.  They were either functional or attractive, but rarely both.  So, I decided to create a brand that would cater to both, and La Pochette was born

We design bags and accessories for the way people live and move today. During a given day, you could be going to the office, meeting a colleague for a coffee, taking a spinning class, flying to New York on a business trip, taking a dip in the pool, or joining friends for dinner. 

How did the idea come to you for the company?

I would often avoid working out during the day, as it meant having to carry a heavy gym bag, as well as a handbag and laptop. Who wants to look like a packhorse on the tube?!? The light bulb moment came was in a changing room after a sweaty spin class. I didn’t need a gym bag!!  All I needed was a bag to put my clean or sweaty kit in, and a few post class essentials like moisturiser. Everything else was provided. Cleats, towels, hairdryers, deodorant, shampoo, shower gel. Most studios and gyms at the time provided a plastic bag for dirty kit, but I knew this wasn’t the solution, (not only from an environmental point of view, but who wants a plastic bag in their Celine handbag?!?). When I spoke to friends, they agreed that it was a great idea, and requested that if I found one, could I buy one for them too! I went on a search to find a suitable bag and realised it didn’t exist!  So I decided to make one myself and La Pochette was born.

How did you achieve awareness?

I believe you need a multi-faceted approach, including sales distribution channels, digital marketing, PR, PPC, and SEO.  They all need to work in tandem with each other.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

We are self-funded but will be looking for funding later this year.

What are the key successes?

I strongly believe in getting the sales distribution right from day one.  This meant getting into the best gyms/boutiques and department stores.  Being stocked in places like Third Space, and Selfridges following our first meeting was huge, and validation about what we had created.  Another key win has been the press support from places such as Vogue, GQ and Conde Nast.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

The pandemic, like for lots of other businesses, has been the major challenge.  Our strap line used to be “Let’s Go Anywhere.”  Whether that was to the gym, office, or beach. Unfortunately, during lockdown, nobody was going anywhere! We made the decision early on during the first wave that although we wouldn’t try and sell products, that we would continue to have a dialogue with our audience.  They were used to us talking about the latest studio that had opened, the new class they should try, or ways they could relax.  The conversation turned to what online classes to try, podcasts to listen to whilst out on a walk, or meditation apps to help alleviate stress.

For years people spoke about wanting more of a work/life balance with the flexibility to be able to work both from the office and remotely. Of course, successive lockdowns proved that this was possible.  La Pochette’s brand ethos has always been about being able to get as much as you can out of your day, and as we transition to a hybrid lifestyle, the ability to “pack up your day” has become even more relevant. Thankfully La Pochette have the products to be able to do this effortlessly.

Although the pandemic was incredibly difficult for la Pochette, I believe we are now in a much stronger position and have solidified what we represent as a brand.

What are your plans now/for the future?

The future is incredibly exciting. We are launching new products this year that we have been working on since before the pandemic.

In addition to new products, we are also expanding internationally.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

Life as an entrepreneur, can be extremely difficult.  There are many high and lots of lows. There are times when you will question your sanity, and why you decided to take this path.  However, if you are doing something that you are truly passionate about, there can be nothing more rewarding.

Can you share your top tip for entrepreneurial success?

Surround yourself with amazing people, continue to learn and trust your instincts.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Don’t count the days. Make the days count.

They told me I couldn’t, that’s why I did.

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?

https://lapochette.co https://www.instagram.com/lapochettelife/?hl=en