Lauren Nouchi makes “fur” you can feel good about. Her company, Apparis, is a cruelty-free faux fur brand most known for its bold colors and prints–which recently collaborated with DVF for a capsule collection. The co-founder and creative director started the vegan fashion label when she was just 24 (!) after leaving her job at Saint Laurent in Paris, and now spends her busy days focusing on photoshoots, design, social media, and other creative channels of the business. So how did Lauren launch a successful label at such a young age? She details her career journey, and how she built her company, below.

What was your first job out of college? How did you get it? Did you have a connection?

My first job was as the Client Advisor at the Louis Vuitton store in Boston. I had just graduated from business school and wanted to pursue a career in luxury retail. I did not have any connections, I just stopped by the store and chatted with the store manager; I think being French helped! I always loved retail and this job really helped me better understand the importance of storytelling and craftsmanship. 

What was your college major? Did you feel like your major was necessary for the field you wanted to work in?

I double majored in global business and marketing. I took some entrepreneurship classes as well, as I knew I would become an entrepreneur at some point in my career. I think studying global business was really key for me when it comes to understanding the basics of international business. Marketing was a great field to study, as it has helped me to understand consumers’ needs, wants, and buying behaviors. 

What internships did you do prior to your first job?

I was raised in a retail environment. Both of my parents own and run women’s clothing boutiques in the South of France, and prior my first job, every summer break I would go back home to France, and work at one of my parents’ clothing stores. I believe that growing up in this environment, and being influenced by my parents’ hard work and passion for their businesses allowed me to develop my strong sense of fashion and determination to succeed.

How did you land your current job? What were the steps you took? 

From growing up in a retail environment to moving at the age of 17 to another part of the world, I believe that it is my own personal path that landed me my current job and ultimately pushed me to start my own business. I did not follow specific or conventional steps to get there but ultimately I followed my dreams and stayed determined. Listen to yourself and never doubt your gut feelings. 

What was the best/worst piece of advice you ever received?

Best: Have a path but allow yourself to be flexible. As an entrepreneur, it is key to keep sight of your vision or dream but be ok with changes on the way to fulfill it. 

Worst: That I needed more experience before starting my own business. (And I am glad I did not listen to it.)

Is there any part of your role that our readers would be surprised to know?

Before starting at Apparis, I never used to wear colors. Now my brand is known for its colorful faux fur coats and I love each one of our bold colors!