Marion Rebate is the founder and CEO of Parisian athleisure brand Ernest Leoty. Marion is a designer whose love for ballet, led her to her passion for costumes then to the archives where she discovered the heritage corsetry of Leoty.
Her collections are modern with a subtle reference to french tailoring, with clean lines including activewear, cotton tracksuits, merino wool leggings and jumpers – perfect for life in 2020. Here Marion talks to 35 Thousand about taking her life in to her own hands, the things that keep her up at night and the ways in which 2020 has changed her outlook on life.
Describe yourself in 3 words…
“Passionate, driven, dreamy…”
Tell us about your work…
“I am the founder of Ernest Leoty, an activewear brand. We bring chic into activewear. We work with best in class patternmakers and factories to create beautiful clothing. We sell mainly online on our website ernestleoty.com. I am the founder and CEO. That means I oversee creative, as well as the day to day running of the business. My days are very varied, and never a minute to be bored! I work with a team of 5 and some external partners also. We are a small start-up, actively growing.”
Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?
“A mix between kitchen table, my work office that is an old studio, and a spare room. I am a nomad.”
What parts of your work give you energy?
“I just love seeing the brand grow, and seeing other people input their passion and vision into it, and the brand taking on a life of its own. Whether it is a photographer, our amazing designer, our team and partners. I love the creative side of it, even though I have a business background.”
What parts of your work drain you?
“All the admin, and dealing with problems: the warehouse, carriers, tax, accounting, all of the paperwork basically!”
Most pivotal point of your career so far?
“When I quit my 10 year career in banking to launch Ernest Leoty, an athleisure brand. It was always my dream to be an entrepreneur, and to do something creative. I wanted to go to art school but studied maths. Taking your life into your own hands is very empowering. I have also massively grown as a person since.”
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…
“Someone once told me, it’s fine to do mistakes, just give it your best. I think that is very true. You will never regret trying something, you will regret having being passive.”
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?
“Yes, I have a family, and a lot of close friends. I am the type of person people call when they need advice. We are also getting a dog which I am super excited about. My hobbies were yoga and travelling, but I haven’t had a lot of that recently.”
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…
“Pre pandemic, I used to travel a lot. I live in London but would go every week to Paris. I would go for dinners, meet new people all the time, go to the gym. I love travelling so would do as much of that as possible.”
Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?
“Professionally, the Corona crisis was an accelerator of our digital transition. We went from a mainly wholesale brand to mainly digital, selling through our own website.
Personally, other than the short term changes, it perhaps made me more grounded and brought me closer to my family.”
What, if anything, keeps you up at night?
Our Instagram account was just hacked – that kept me up at night. Otherwise, the financial viability of the business to be honest. And keeping my team happy.
What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?
“I would say mostly walks in the parks, talking on the phone, Netflix, a glass of wine, long baths…
I have also “cocooned” my house by buying some items I always wanted to buy but never got round to doing: lamps, cushions, a new table etc”
What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?
“I think it is just accepting the way things are. There is nothing we can do about it. Going to the park for walks, speaking to friends I had lost touch with on the phone. Because I was more at home, I had more time to reconnect. With regards to family,spending more time at home with them has made us closer actually, I really enjoyed that part.”
How has 2020 changed your outlook on life?
“Yes, it has shown me not to take anything for granted, and to really appreciate freedom, and ability to travel. Also has shown me how quickly things can change. Finally, it has made me appreciate more my home and family, and how to enjoy the small things.”
Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?
“Truth is, I can’t wait But I will only do it when I feel it is safe. We are going to Switzerland for Xmas, but wont be going out of the house really.
But I am dreaming of summer holidays, yoga retreats, going to see my family in NY, Sri Lanka and many other projects that I can’t wait to do again.”
Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…’
My Malin + Goetz lipbalm
My lancome hand cream
My phone & keys
At the moment – some Aesop hand gel
What are your WFH saviours?
“My Amazon Alexa for music, Clippers coffee, Dyptique candles, fresh flowers and walking in Hyde Park in London.”
Describe your style?
“I would like to say classic, sexy, and comfortable, like Ernest Leoty.”
Name your 5 essential items of clothing
“I live in our black corset leggings – they are my daily go-to piece. I also love my white J-Crew “Essential” T-Shirt and our Bertille trousers which are made in the Hermes knitwear factory. I would also say a navy Stella McCartney blazer and black Roger Vivier pumps.”
How do you see your business in two years from now?
“I see it much bigger, more established, with lots of new product lines including swim, homewear, accessories. I see a bigger team and US expansion also. I am so excited about what is to come!”
What’s your go to mantra or life motto?
““Everything will be ok” I guess, or “Let go”. They are both about the fact that you need to accept that you have a destiny and things are meant to happen the way they unfold, for the best.”