Last Summer, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to travel to Paris on a study abroad-type program through my school. Through this program we had the chance to meet many different people who work in the fashion industry in Paris. This allowed for an amazing/awe-inspiring trip. Some of the things we did were: We visited a fashion forecasting House called Promostyl; we went to see Gaspard Yurkievich, Hommes Winter 2010 show; we met the designer of Jamin Puech handbags; we visited an artificial flower atelier Ets Legeron, who hand makes flowers for almost every high-end label; we visited Ets Pery and met the owner who creates and makes jewels for famous jewelers; we did a butt load of sightseeing, and so much more.
During one of our appointments we visited a new concept store called, Merci. What makes Merci so incredible is that all of the profits are donated to a co-op in Madagascar that supports young women. The founders Marie-France and Bernard Cohen, own a very successful children’s clothing line called Bonpoint. The line did extremely well. Once they sold the line, they decided to put their wealth to a good cause. They wanted to create a concept store that allowed them to continue to do what they love (work in fashion) but also do something that benefitted a good cause.
Unlike most shops in Paris, which are very small, cluttered, and claustrophobic, Merci is very open and airy. The entrance looks you are entering the front door of a house. It even has a fiat parked in the front yard! Once inside, the store opens up into a huge room with high ceilings and sky lights that illuminate the interior. The open space creates a lofty yet homey atmosphere. It has three floors with a room dedicated to each category of products.
It truly is a lifestyle shop. As you wander from room to room you will find: men’s, women’s, children’s fashions, furniture, home goods, office supplies, hardware, decor, an art gallery, a restaurant, ice cream shop, a flower shop, an Annick Goutal laboratory to create your own fragranes, and a coffee shop that sells second hand books. Honestly, what else could you need? Yet, somehow they were able to do all of this without creating a cluttered environment.
My favorite room was the charity books section. In one corner of the store there is a coffee shop that doubles as a library/book store. You can read a book while sipping a latte or purchase one for future use. All of the books have been donated so you could find a book in almost any language.
The best part is prices are actually reasonable. You can find anything from low end designers to high end, like YSL and Stella McCartney. In addition, Merci collaborates with high-end to designers to offer their goods at more affordable prices. This allows them to sell stylish items at lower prices while still making a profit to donate to Madagascar.
So next time you find yourself in Paris, you MUST check out Merci @ 111 boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris. On that note, I wish I was back in Paris right now! More stories later…
In the meantime, check out more pictures of Merci below.