FOUNDER FEATURE: NOÉMIE BLANCHARD AND ISABELLE ALIX
Sometimes it takes a transatlantic trip to find your business. Such was the case for Noémie Blanchard and Isabelle Alix, founders of Offtrack. Parisians by birth and breeding, Noémie and Isabelle didn’t meet until both had moved to New York. Their initial “our friends said we should meet” glass of wine evolved into a friendship, and then a business, as they discussed their mutual love of fashion as well as their derision for certain aspects of luxury branding.
The decision to create and sell affordable, washable leather leggings was influenced by their histories. Noémie had worked in merchandising and product development in leather goods and accessories for Givenchy, Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton. Isabelle attended Emlyon Business School and worked for Isabel Marant.
In establishing Offtrack, Noémie and Isabelle knew they wanted to do one thing and do it well. They also knew they wanted to do luxury differently. Specifically, they wanted to source their leathers ethically, with attention to economic and social impact. Producing their leggings locally is a second pillar of their mission to run a different kind of company. Making luxury affordable and meeting socially responsible operational goals means selling direct to consumer, which is the third piece of Offtrack’s business model.
Perhaps appropriately for purveyors of leather goods, Offtrack was bootstrapped with $10000. This was intentional. Isabelle told WWD, “I think by doing one thing right and taking your time, you don’t crash yourself. You’re here for a longer time.”