The M Dash

Live with purpose.


Meet the Team: Co-Founder Narie Foster of MM.LaFleur

January 10, 2013

“I was raised by scientists who served math problems with dinner. Imagine their surprise when I announced I was ‘going into fashion.'” Narie Foster’s journey to the fashion industry was unconventional at best. Trained in solving complex systems, the would-be engineer had her sights set on a career at NASA before discovering the most intriguing puzzles involved people and business strategy.

Narie Foster

 

After a bit of soul searching, Narie became a management consultant, and met MM. LaFleur founder-to-be Sarah LaFleur on her first travel case. “Sarah and I would eat three meals together, four days a week and get lost in PowerPoint and Excel at 2:00 in the morning… I remember one early flight, us griping about packing and the lack of airplane-to-client-meeting clothes, and Sarah turned to me and said, ‘Someone really should make a better work dress.’ At the time, I laughed and casually agreed. Fast forward a few years and I was not shocked to hear from Sarah that she was going to do it.”

Narie acknowledges she was quick to accept Sarah’s offer to join the team. “We didn’t even know what my role was going to be and yet it didn’t matter…Sarah has a vision that pulls you in.”

Having logged long hours at the behest of her corporate clients, Narie was ready for a change. In the corporate world, “our deliverable was an idea, a deck, some suggestions.” What thrilled her about the opportunity with MM.LAFLEUR was the idea of creating a physical product. “All those things we used to say we wanted on those 6:00 a.m. flights, we can create ourselves.”

Narie Foster

As the head of operations for MM.LaFleur, Narie navigates tasks that range from the minute (wordsmithing the latest customer message) to the major (inventory planning and fulfillment optimization). She also plays an integral role in creating the products themselves—anything from sourcing custom belt buckles and care labels to overseeing quality control at the factories. “There is no such thing as typical. Nothing is repetitive,” she says. “The number of steps and pieces involved in one dress might rival that of a space ship.”

Narie’s most recent coup is the launch of mmlafleur.com, a task, she says, that was only possible with the help of her talented team. “[The website is] the same as the dresses: a seemingly endless number of people and pieces need to come together to form a cohesive product… [These people] have wowed me time and again. I loved fitting the pieces together: the design, the copy, the programming, the photography. Our team are the real musicians and I got to play the role of conductor.”

When asked what she is most excited about for the future, Narie doesn’t skip a beat in her answer:

“The data crunching! We’re itching to get our products out to everyone. After focusing for so long on perfecting the dresses and the site, we can’t wait to share them, see the responses, and improve, which we hope to do in the nerdiest way possible.”

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