Aurélie Gisclon, Part I

June 13, 2019

Aurélie Gisclon, Part I

Aurélie Gisclon
Co-founder, Wibes
Location: Paris, France

As everyone knows, it's no easy feat launching a business, let alone doing so straight out of university, but that's exactly what Aurélie Gisclon did. What started as a university project received so much positive feedback that Aurélie and her boyfriend, Nicolas Raudrant, decided to just go for it and launch their brand, Wibes.

Aurélie and Nicolas met while studying at North Carolina State University. While Nicolas was born and raised in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire and Aurélie, in Nice, France, Aurélie grew up with her own memories of West Africa, where her father worked for over twenty years. Their common history with Côte d'Ivoire brought them together and has become part of the very DNA of Wibes, which reflects both their cultures and identities.

Together with Nicolas' childhood friend Julian Magne, who is now the brand's Creative Director, the trio designs eye-catching trainers with wax print details and bold colour combinations that are inspired by their personal backgrounds and experiences. Wibes trainers tell the story of multiculturalism and ethical commitments, which couldn't be more relevant in this day and age. Not only are the trainers eco-friendly and handmade, Wibes supports a day of school for a girl in need with every pair sold, through their nonprofit partner, the International Association of Women in Côte d'Ivoire.

While the learning curve of creating their own brand has been steep for Aurélie and the Wibes team, other brands can take a cue from the example they're setting with designs that are cultural celebrations, environmentally-friendly and socially responsible.

The Brand
The low down - about your brand, in your own words
Wibes is a brand of trainers that is authentic, high-quality, ethical and sustainable, with great touches of colours that are going to take you on all your adventures!
 
How would you say your brand reflects you?
In a few words, a story of multiculturalism and ethical commitments.
 
What motivated you to launch it and more than that, to make it sustainable?
Everything started with Nicolas and I, when we met in Raleigh, North Carolina, at North Carolina State University. We developed a school project and feedback was so good that we just said to ourselves, "Why not?" And now you know what came next!
Sustainability was obvious for us. After seeing how the fashion industry is and knowing that it's the second most polluting industry in the world, right after oil and gas, we knew we wanted to do things better by trying to reduce our impact on the planet and giving back to women in need.
It's About the Journey
The early days, how your career started
We started our careers at NC State University in Raleigh, NC and at SKEMA Business School. Everything started while being students, having an idea and trying to develop it as best as we could.
 
Comedy of errors - one day, I'll look back and laugh at this (which I can now)
There were so many errors that we made in the process, that we laugh at today. Some of them were: not taking the time to correctly explain our vision and what we wanted to a communications agency, and also, trusting people too quickly!
Blindside - what you didn't know and wish you had going into it
All the steps of creating a brand and a company! There are so many steps and we were not prepared to face them all. That's something we now know and we'd love to share! So you can avoid making useless mistakes or taking too much time.
 
What keeps you busy, what's currently on your plate?
We're really busy! We start with reading all our messages and emails while drinking our coffee and then doing all the different tasks from production, to design and logistics. We start our day at around 8am and often finish the day by 8pm or 9pm.
 
The best "advice" that you DIDN'T follow
To always be reasonable. Thankfully, we followed what our hearts told us to do instead.
...But Make It Fashion
Your first fashion memory and forever favourite fashion item/s
My first fashion memory is watching the Chanel runway shows and my favourite fashion item is a beautiful pair of white sneakers.
 
What do you like and dislike most about fashion?
I like the fact that fashion can be a way to express yourself and who you truly are. What I don't like is fast fashion and all the dark sides of the fashion industry - like the fact that it's the second most polluting industry in the world.
 
Who inspires you in life and in fashion?
Stella McCartney is one of them. She was the first one to take a great direction towards sustainable, cruelty-free fashion.

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Let's Get a Bit Personal
Full speed ahead - what keeps you going, what's next?
Wibes keeps me going! When we look back at where we started, we're very proud but when we look at what is waiting ahead, that keeps us 100% motivated! We have so much more to achieve, we're just getting started!
 
The milestones, the moments that make it all worth it
Every step that we've achieved! Every success that we've earned! All those moments make it all worth it - the work, the sacrifices. Doing it as a couple and as a team of three friends make it even more worth it! We're the only ones who understand what it means to achieve the success that we have - what it cost us, all the work and effort that we had to put in to reach this success. It makes it even more rewarding!
 
Words to live by
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." and "Education is the great engine of personal development." both from Nelson Mandela
 
The Dream
Taking Wibes to the next level and being recognised as a world changer and a sustainable brand, with a strong community around the globe.
 
At the end of the day...
We're proud of what we've achieved.
Continue reading Part II of Aurélie's feature here.
All media courtesy of Aurélie Gisclon and Wibes.

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