Caroline Belhumeur: On Trusting Your Vision

Paradigm Shifters is a series of interviews with a select group of women and men from eclectic walks of life. It will highlight unspoken, real life insights on how they have been able to turn weakness into strength. A naked soul point of view of how their breakdowns were really a preparation for breakthroughs. They are your quintessential Paradigm Shifters; internal shifts converted into genuine change.

Everything I have ever done has been focused on this underlying theme of shifting the paradigm because, "what we think determines what we feel and what we feel determines what we do." Hence why Empowered by You takes lingerie, which has traditionally been seen merely as a tool of seduction and redirected that energy as a tool of empowerment.

I hope from these stories you will look at your own situations, struggles and accomplishments through a different lens. At the very least you will be more equipped with real life tools to change your own paradigm. At the end of the day we are our own Alchemist turning the silver we were born with into the gold we are destined to become.

Caroline Belhumeur - Creative Director at Club Monaco

You came into Club Monaco with a new perspective, and there's a certain skillset needed when coming into an establishment and taking on an enhanced vision. What skillsets would you say were the most important to accomplish this vision?
I've always done things differently than everyone else -- questioning why things have to be a certain way and challenging conventional thinking -- so when I came to Club Monaco it was important for me to trust my instincts and have a strong point of view. Of course everyone on the team has a voice and I am open to how we can collaborate to enhance this vision, but I act as the filter. Being consistent in my ideas and not being afraid to stand behind them allowed me to elevate the designs and provide a clear vision for the team to rally behind.

Tell me about the Makers and Muses program. How did this program come about and what's exciting about it?
The design team and I were traveling around the globe gathering inspiration and as we visited different boutiques, we began to notice that the experience was a bit boring. We were only seeing one designer's bags, shoes, clothing. It's so much more interesting to go to a fabulous boutique and see an edited point of view -- one that the designer has really thought about. I wanted to bring that feeling to our customers, so we started working with artisans from around the world to share their products, which has become the Makers and Muse program. It gives us the opportunity to collaborate with interesting designers who share a genuine vision and it keeps us inspired.

Has there ever been a time where you saw something different and because you saw this difference it changed your life?
I don't think I've had one definitive moment, but I was always a bit of a rebel growing up. I wanted to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing. I'm still very much like this, but I've learned to channel that rebellion and passion into drive. I've really used this to guide the way I approach my life and my work. When I came to Club Monaco and saw that we were doing things a certain way, my instinct was to try something new. I find that I react better to people around me who do that too and I encourage it.

Have you ever had a breakdown to a breakthrough moment?
It wasn't really a breakdown moment -- I'm rather pragmatic and don't tend to get overwhelmed - but when I first came to Club Monaco I noticed the fabrics weren't quite right. They were very stiff and didn't feel luxurious. We turned around the approach to the collection, rolled up our sleeves and cleared the room. We got out all of the bins, sorted through fabrics, and starting creating new, elevated fits. It was instinct and a lot of hard work that lead to this breakthrough.

What's your vision for Club Monaco?
I want for Club Monaco to be engaging on many different levels. For example, there is this restaurant in Copenhagen called Noma whose owner, Renee, is a fan of Club Monaco and asked us to take over his restaurant. So during the month of March we brought the best of Club Monaco to his space; we had a flower market, we had coffee, we had curated books. It became a place where people would gather. This is what I see for Club Monaco -- providing a place where people can meet, exchange ideas and discover new things.

What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be known as someone who passionately cares about her work and family - and someone who is a laugh to hang out with!

There's something uniquely inspiring about talking to someone who has true passion for what they do. You get that when you talk with Caroline. With a focused vision and rebellious roots, she has proven to be a real force in her field. I'm definitely excited to see what she does next.