In the highly discerning world of luxury interiors, global designers and homeowners are always trying to source the most beautiful fabrics and furnishings to create the ultimate living environments. The de Le Cuona luxury fabric brand has built a global reputation at the forefront of this industry, producing some of the finest fabrics on the planet.
LoA met with the inspirational founder of the brand that carries her name, Bernie de Le Cuona, to find out more about this fascinating luxury business.
What does your company do?
de Le Cuona started 25 years ago with a fascination for fabric and a vision to break into a global luxury market. Today we are represented all over the world with showrooms in New York, in London’s Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour and a new flagship showroom about to open on the prestigious Pimlico Road. Our Head Office is in Royal Windsor.
We work with the best craftsmen and artisans in Europe to produce a collection of elegant, natural fibre fabrics, specializing in linen – anything from delicate sheers to heavy tactile linens with a gutsy and raw handle, plus fine cashmere, alpaca, velvet and our famous wool paisley.
We also have a home collection that has expanded from our signature cushion collection to incorporate valuable items of furniture, exclusive bed and table linen and luxurious throws.
"We work with the best craftsmen and artisans in Europe to produce a collection of elegant, natural fibre fabrics, specializing in linen."
What inspired you to start your company?
I studied architectural design in South Africa and when I found myself in the UK, I was excited by the prospect of creating beautiful things for interiors and grew the company from scratch.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
If you are discerning and appreciate fine products with provenance and want something unique, we believe de Le Cuona is the right choice for you.
Tell us a little about your team
We have a very diverse and dedicated team of all ages and from all cultures and backgrounds. These people share my passion and vision for de Le Cuona.
"I studied architectural design in South Africa and when I found myself in the UK, I was excited by the prospect of creating beautiful things for interiors and grew the company from scratch."
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My father was not an entrepreneur, but he gave me the passion for travel, exploration and adventure. I wanted to be my own boss, create something to excel at. I do find the business part as exciting as the creative.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I am excited to open a flagship showroom in Pimlico and I have great plans for opening further spaces in America.
I am looking forward to developing a furniture collection for Pimlico. I want to further strengthen our position globally and invest in people to grow the team.
"Being an entrepreneur gives me an opportunity to make a difference and perhaps help change the world for the better."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Doing something well. Achieving something to be proud of. I think nothing is impossible if you have a clear vision and happy team supporting you.
Being an entrepreneur gives me an opportunity to make a difference and perhaps help change the world for the better.
At the moment, we have a number of charity projects. One, which we recently successfully promoted, was for the Marine Conservation Society and called Artist Retreat. Another is recycling, where we turned discontinued fabrics or offcuts into tote bags, which were sold for charity.
On a personal note, de Le Cuona gives me the chance to travel and I always enjoy going to the Bush in Africa to be amongst wildlife and nature where I find so much inspiration for my collections.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
I think the main advice is to stay persistent, no matter what.
Know in your heart there is always a way to succeed. There is always a way to make things work.
If you truly believe in yourself and your idea, then your business will work.
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Why LoA loves it….
The global luxury market is notoriously difficult to penetrate, but one brand that is truly making its mark and building a great reputation for itself is de Le Cuona, thanks to its visionary founder, Bernie de Le Cuona. Tapping into a growing interest in beautiful natural fabrics that have a provenance and great artisan backstory, she has found a real niche for her expanding global business, not to mention an enviable and influential client base. This is a brand on the rise, and one to watch over the next few years in the world of luxury interior design. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa