There's a Paris in Newark
What city comes to mind when thinking of elegance, grandeur and beauty? Hint: this city is located in France. What I’ve just described is obviously Paris… Love Paris Brand to be exact.
Paris Monagan is the Founder & CEO of Love Paris Brand, a fashion company that specializes in custom designer wear for both men & women, including accessories such as pocket squares and baby bibs. The designs coming from Love Paris Brand are both red carpet and museum worthy. The pieces are unique and cutting-edge. Her designs are re-defining the shapes and materials often used in fashion design.
Paris Monagan currently creates from her home located in Newark, NJ, however her journey did not start here. Paris grew up right outside of Chicago in the historic town of Oak Park. Being surrounded by the architecture and interior designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, Paris became fascinated with all forms of art.
At a young age she took an interest in watching her mother create garments from scratch. At the age of 12 Paris used her first sewing machine, and hasn't stopped since. Her first fashion show was in high school, followed by the design of her prom dress and ultimately the creation of her high school graduation dress.
Paris’ passion for creativity and fashion has manifested into her garnering fashion experience abroad by studying in London & France. Her passion ultimately led her to move from Chicago to Newark, NJ to get closer to the fashion capital, New York.
As a Lady Fashion Designer in an American Inner-City, Paris noticed the limited number of recreational activities for young women of color. This led her to create a fashion program at two local Newark High Schools, St. Benedict's Preparatory School and the Newark All-Girls Academy. Her programs teach youth how to sew, create and design.
I caught up with Paris for an interview about the everyday life of a modern day entrepreneur.
What grew your inspiration in fashion?
Paris: My inspiration for fashion arose from the environment around me. I’ve always been a creator since I can remember. My creativity grew and was able to cultivate while at school in London. In order for me to gain acceptance into UCCA, Rochester, in London, I had to create a functional, everyday item, out of unconventional materials. This pushed me to see the endless possibilities in the fashion world. So I would say my inspiration grew from fashion always allowing me to hone in on my creativity.
What was the hardest thing for you getting started?
Paris: The hardest thing for me getting started was learning everything business related. I focused primarily on my skill of creating and I totally miscalculated how difficult learning everything that goes into running a successful business: the expenses, the research, and the paperwork.
What does a typical day look like for you as a business owner?
Paris: I normally get some early morning reading in, then have to tend to my job as the Director of Food & Hospitality for the Leahy House at St. Benedict’s Prep. I then head to New York where I’m the lead women’s wear designer at Alexander Nash, one of New York City's premiere custom tailor shops. After finishing up there, I come back home and create for my brand. I then have to return to my duties for the Leahy House… dinner and study hall. Before getting some much needed sleep, I dabble with my website loveparisbrand.com.
What procedures do your clients go through when trying to acquire a custom piece?
Paris: Customers contact me through email, IG or my website page. Clients then schedule a date for fittings, and design ideas. It typically takes at least 3 fittings to complete the design process. I like to keep the entire process intimate; the clients are involved every step of the way. When I sit down with a client to create, my goal is to build a timeless piece that brings the best out of each client.
What challenges have you come across that you didn’t expect?
Paris: One challenge that I’ve come across is tax season! I don’t have an accountant, so you can imagine the tedious effort on my part to try and recollect all customer transactions and everything I’ve purchased for my business.
What advice would you tell your younger self?
Paris: RELAX! Your end goal will not happen overnight. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What do you think about the Newark Makerhood’s mission?
Paris: When I first heard of the Makerhoods mission, I immediately thought it was a brilliant idea. From my experience, many creators aren’t business savy. Makerhoods is beneficial, as they look to assist in areas many entrepreneurs struggle. I think it’s great that they will not only directly provide assistance, but will surround us within an entrepreneurial community so we can branch off and make connections.
What is your business goal for 2019?
Paris: Financial growth and sustainability are my goals for 2019. I am preparing to focus more on the artistic aspect of fashion, while my ready-to-wear items effortlessly sell themselves.
Anthony Smith, Community Outreach Coordinator
After graduating college and returning back to my hometown of Newark, NJ I became a member of the Newark Makerhoods team. This transformative experience put me in touch with many local entrepreneurs who are all in different business stages, ranging from established to upstart. Newark is a thriving city for talented creators. I'm here to share their stories and launch their business to the everyday public’s eye.