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Q&A Josée Richard, Forty Luxe The Label

Author: Josée Richard (BA'17)

Posted on Jan 25, 2021

Category: UNB Fredericton , Young Alumni


Since graduating from UNB Fredericton in 2017, young alumna Josée Richard (BA'17) followed her love for fashion, health and fitness. In August 2020, she launched Forty Luxe the Label, an online leisurewear brand. Here, she shares more about her inspiration behind the clothing line, what it's been like as a new entrepreneur and her future hopes for the business.

 

Tell us a little bit about Forty Luxe, your products and your target audience.

Forty Luxe is a leisurewear (and soon-to-be swimwear) brand that is targeted for women aged 18-35. I am 25 and my goal is to relate to women in a similar stage of their life and provide confidence-boosting pieces that this group will appreciate. The brand name itself encompasses what I am trying to offer. Let me break it down for you. Forty is a number with a couple significances, starting with a French saying my father uses that always intrigued me. The saying is “pas barré a quarante” which translates to “not locked at forty” – referencing the speed limit. In a literal sense, the saying means not sticking to the speed limit but in a more figurative sense, it means that there is nothing that can stop whoever in what they want. Of course this saying could be said more light-heartedly than what I’m going for, but my whole idea is to inspire others to push above their limits, seek growth, and pursue their dreams. “Luxe” came into the name not only for it’s reference to luxurious wear, but for another relation to the word 40. Lux is a unit of illuminance and it so happens that the amount of light showing at the time of sunset or sunrise is either 40 or 400 lux. The name goes full circle. What better time to re-address your dreams and become better every single day than at the beginning and end of the day?

How did your entrepreneurial career get started?

My entrepreneurial career began in 2020. I took advantage of resources in the community through Economic Development of Saint John and created a business plan, once I narrowed in on my idea. My business officially launched in August 2020 and has been a positive experience since.

Were you always passionate about starting your own business?

It didn’t occur to me to start my own business until post-graduation three years ago. Shortly after graduating from UNB with a degree in psychology, I found myself at a 9-5 job that most would consider a valuable career. After a brief time of embracing such a secure position, I started to feel unfulfilled. Unfulfilled to the point where it was difficult to envision a life not working for myself. Without fully yet believing I would follow the entrepreneurial route, I remember sharing some ideas with co-workers and close connections. My very first idea was an active wear brand, ironically. Then it veered to many avenues of becoming self-employed related to health and fitness, as these are my passions. I actually took on an online health coaching opportunity for just over a year that allowed me to explore the realm of self-employment a bit further.

What inspired you to launch Forty Luxe?

What inspired me most about starting Forty Luxe was genuinely the growing belief that I had more to offer. I have a fueling passion for wellness, creativity, confidence, growth, positivity and it felt uncomfortable keeping it bundled inside. These are the things I wanted to express through my leisurewear brand. In expressing my values through my brand, I also get inspired by the idea that by taking this path, I may encourage other women to pursue an unusual route too!

How does it feel to see your brand being supported in just the first few months of business?

Having my brand supported so sincerely by the community has been wild and honestly more powerful than I expected. I feel more and more inspired everyday and that partially comes down to the continuous support of people around me that are helping me keep sight on my goals for this brand.

How do you hope Forty Luxe will grow or evolve in the future?

As much as I am targeting my local audience currently and loving every bit of it, I do plan to reach other areas of the country. As mentioned, I plan to introduce swimwear in the near future, so that is another opportunity to offer something different and grow this community of like-minded individuals.

To you, why is it important to support fellow local businesses?

Supporting local means so much more to me now than ever, and not only from my new business venture with Forty Luxe. With the pandemic this year, it has shed light on the importance of shopping local from an economical perspective. I also actually started working for a local clothing boutique, Lordon, in the earlier part of last year and it has become so evident to me that when supporting local, you are supporting a dream. As I shared, I was not fulfilled at an office job and I am most-likely not the only person who feels a deep desire to work for themselves and share their passions as an entrepreneur. By supporting these individuals in the community, you’re helping them live their dream life and that will only encourage others to follow their dreams as well. It’s a chain reaction that ultimately leads people to living their best life. Supporting female entrepreneurs is a whole other story. It is so powerful to see women flourish in this field, and I feel pride in being a part of the movement. Let’s keep it going!

How has your UNB experience positively influenced you in your life and career?

Looking back on my UNB experience, I have a lot of positive thoughts. That stage of my life was very growth-oriented in the sense of developing from a young girl lacking confidence to a woman with the skills to lead a meaningful life. My time at UNB may look different than most as I was completely unsure of my future, career-wise – but it most definitely helped me learn work ethic and develop into who I am today.

As a local, female entrepreneur, what advice would you lend to UNB students or fellow young alumni interested in starting their own venture?

My advice would be to listen to your heart and to never settle for a life you feel displeased with. If you know deep down that you want to pursue something in your life, I encourage you to go for it before you feel ready. The “perfect time” to put yourself out there will not come, so what I encourage you to do is to make imperfect action. I could’ve easily told myself that I could not become an entrepreneur because I did not have a business degree, but instead, I let go of the feeling that I was under-qualified. I decided to start before knowing all the answers and grow from there. That is what I’m continuing to live by and most definitely recommend for any other goal-getter out there.