Ever since my days of binge watching Gossip Girl, I have to admit, I’ve been a Ladurée addict (my favorite are the Vanilla macarons). But, aside from their mouthwatering treats, walking into Ladurée and unwrapping one of their beautifully decorated pastel colored boxes is truly a magical experience. So as an avid visitor, I had to wonder, what goes on behind the scenes at one of my favorite companies?
I was thrilled to speak with Elisabeth Holder, Co-President of Laduree US and learn more about her career. As Co-President, she is in charge of the brand’s North American business development, partnerships, and operations. Before joining the family business of Groupe Holder (Laduree’s parent company) in 2004, Holder began her career working in the fashion industry for luxury brands such as Hermes and Ralph Lauren, just to name a few. Here, Holder sheds some light on her career and gives us her best advice for Making it in Manhattan.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in this field?
I was born in it, it is just part of my DNA.
2. What college did you attend and what did you study?
Business College, I wanted a general education, specializing in Marketing.
3. When did you land your first internship and where was it?
It was in France in the fashion business; I was a salesperson in the trendiest store of my city, I was 16, I spent all my salary in the store!
4. What was the most valuable thing you learned from your first internship?
Never wait around doing nothing, be sure that every detail is perfect and that the store has to be so clean that you could eat off of the floor!
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone about to begin a summer internship?
“Until you know a lot, you should speak a little bit”
6. Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
Monsieur Jean-Louis Dumas for his creativity and his limit-less ideas, and my father, of course “nothing replaces tenacity.”
7. What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
Not being prepared enough for a meeting.
8. What was the first job you landed out of college?
Celio, the French J.Crew, as a buying assistant. I have learned how to negotiate (I loved it) and follow an idea to the realization, it was amazing.
9. What did you wear to your first interview?
I don’t remember but I imagine it was a black suit - chic and classic.
10. What is one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate for your company? Integrity and a sparkling eye.
11. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Listen to your instincts.
12. The fashion industry has changed so much in the past few years, what’s the best advice you would give for staying ahead of the curve?
Just be yourself and respect your own values.
13. I’m sure there is no such thing as a typical day at Laduree, but what does a day usually look like for you?
Dropping off my boys, a call with Paris on my way back, walking through the restaurant and the kitchen, the lab, work with my husband on the new openings, or thinking about the future menu, checking the social media, lunch time (tasting products and saying hello to the clients), meeting people to stay aware about … everything! The most important, going home to kiss my kids and check their homework.
14. After holding positions at fashion brands such as Hermes and Ralph Lauren, what prompted you to make the switch to the family business?
I wanted to learn the family business from the inside, it is such a challenge but so amazing, there is no limit to your dreams, and of course the happiness to be sharing it with your loved ones.
15. What is your favorite part of working at such a well-known and loved company like Laduree?
Sharing the value, knowhow, lifestyle, history of “la maison”…