Every betch knows that @TheCoveteur is one of the greatest instagrams around for looking at all things chic. So we interviewed the co-founder of the famous 'gram (and website) about how she built an internet empire, an amazing clothing brand, and other fun things.
What's your story (where’d you grow up, what did you think you were going to do while you were in school, what made you start this business)
I grew up in Richmond Hill, Ontario – just north of Toronto in Canada – aka the burbs. I was predicting the trends ever since I was a little kid. I went to Palm Springs and fell in love with turquoise from the locals. My mom thought I was nuts and the next thing you know everyone was wearing turquoise. In high school I thought wrestling boots were a cool thing to wear. Six months later ELLE puts out a trend page about wrestling boots. It was always innate within me, without feeling like I had to try too hard. Def in high school I dressed way different. Crazy cargo pants, paperboy caps, tons of bangles etc. Everyone knew I was way out there and fashion was my calling!
My grandmother and great grandmother have a sick sense of style. Always polished prim and proper – they are principessas and fashion is all my grandmother cares for. She is always telling me what 'they are wearing' and a hot topic of discussion is hem lines. Always.
What have been some of your biggest challenges in running a business?
Managing people that are so close to me in age is definitely a challenge. Being a #girlboss in general is quite tough. But it comes with the territory and gets easier as you go.
Tell us about your new clothing line.
It all started when I designed tops made of my grandmothers vintage scarves when I was in university. I saw Mischa Barton at H&M in Toronto, in the OC heyday, and asked her to wear a top. She got photographed in one and then Holt Renfrew in Toronto picked up the line while I was working there in personal shopping. I learned a ton working there and seeing the line on the floor. I later moved to nyc to work for Alex White at W magazine and returned the line in 2008.
Three years after giving birth to The Coveteur, I have relaunched erinkleinberg for Fall/Winter 2014. The collection stays true to its roots of comfort meets luxe and has many easy everyday wearable pieces with a hint of cool. This season I am really focusing on all of the small details: Riri zippers, french seams, the execution is really important to me. I hand quality control each piece in Canada where the clothing is made. It sounds cheesy but its kind of like as I am growing up, the collection is growing up too with some more interesting silhouettes, unique fabrications, and there is actually some color! I am married to heather grey and wear black all of the time, but am slowly moving into color, some red/black ginghams, and gold/red tarnished sequins are part of the line. I have also delved into creating some tailored jackets this season, which I enjoyed immensely and felt like a natural progression.
I have been lucky enough to have explored around 400 of the worlds chicest tastemakers closets, and I feel like I have seen first hand how real women like to curate their wardrobes. My takeaways are that women want to live edited. They want to look at their closet and have it feel manageable. Or at least have a closet stocked with goods, but have a rack in their bedroom of their edits. This is the area I want to be in. It's the pieces that girls die for on the daily. Know they can't leave home without for a week, and are their go to when they don't know what to wear. The staples. I always found that these stylemakers loved loved loved and were so proud of their Designer brocade desert landscape pencil skirt, or their sample sale designer hand knit sweater purchase, but at the end of the day the clothing they cannot wait to put on once we photograph them – that is what I am targeting. Without fail these ladies always always rip off their photo shoot clothes and grab that grey wholly cashmere vneck or that loose cardi and jeans. I love that.
The vibe is very laid back, easy going. I think the EK girl pays attention to fashion, but it doesn't dictate her life. She is into art, culture, and fashion falls into that. She definitely does not put much thought into what she wears kind of throws it on and knows it looks good with no effort. I'd say a bit of a mutt between a Parisian cool girl and a downtown NYC it girl. Definitely never has done up hair or much makeup, its really about an effortless chic. I love when things are just raw natural and unpolished. This has always been reflected in my lookbooks- Harley Newton, Vanesa Traina, Theo Richards, Irina Lazareanu, Annabelle Dexter Jones, and most recently – Giorgia Tordini, Italian consultant, Grazia contributor and all around stunner. She showed up on set and basically didn't need hair and makeup cause she just, you know, #wokeuplikedis and had the most rad accessories, so it made my job very easy. The clothing looked awesome on her and it really felt like we were in her home with all of her personal clothes.
What's the most embarrassing or funny story from your job?
When I worked as an assistant to Alex White in the W Mag days, she had me buy underwear for George Clooney and hand deliver it to his room at the Plaza Athenee. MEDIUM, ladies!!!!!! Needless to say it was quite awkward. During another shoot for the W Magazine cover, Alex wanted Hilary Swank to be doused with oily water during the shot, so literally peeling a skintight Donna Karan gown of her greased up naked body was also a bit awkward.
With The Coveteur, there have been plenty of “Oh sh*t!” moments. I mean, we are digging around peoples closets, underwear drawers, etc. Accidents are bound to happen… and we're not talking like missing flights, lost passports and whatnot. Read: broken vases, the occasional spill here & there, a couple of scratched up rental cars (the valet did it, we swear!), ripped seams, clogged toilets, celebrity chase downs, etc. It was all part of the fun, and the Coveteurs were always great sports about everything and we came out with some hysterical stories that we still laugh and joke about with them. There was also the time my skirt zipper broke while we were Coveteuring Genevieve Jones and Theophilus london. My partner-in-crime Stacie had to come in the bathroom and attempt to re-pin me up. We were shvitzing like crazy, it was the dead of summer. All in all it was not chic:) Needless to say, the pin was not the best solution and I was busting out of everywhere. (Sorry Theo!)
What is your favorite summer '14 trend?
Pearls. Everywhere. Up the ear, down the finger, on clothing, on Dior tribal earrings. Pearls in every crevice! Also, loving every second of my new Samsung Galaxy 5s. It is the ultimate accessory.
Who is the funniest celebrity you've met?
I absolutely adored Coveteuring Hugh Hefner. He is my style icon. I am constantly wearing jodphurs, silk robes and pants, velvet slippers; pajama dressing is a huge staple for me. A$ap Rocky is amazing too. I've worked with him several times – the best was at OVO Fest (Drake's Annual shindig here in Toronto). He hunted down my husband so he could tell him what a winner he pulled in. Wink wink, nudge, nudge. I also loved meeting Tom Ford at The Carlyle while prepping for the Met Gala; he waited for the elevator for a good 5 minutes in a full 3 piece suit, aviators in tow, and did not check his phone once. Just stood in silence. It was classic.
What websites do you read / instagrams do you think are really good besides your own? Betches (duh!), The Fat Jewish, Youdidnoteatthat, Donalddrawbertson, Soojmooj… the list goes on.
What's your advice for female entrepreneurs trying to get their shit together?
You must eat sleep breathe and live your brand. Know your brand and why it will be successful. Don't stray from your main goal, and don't try and alter it to be like others. Work hard and be nice to people. What comes around goes around 🙂
What are the best and worst parts of working for yourself?
Everyone thinks that because I work for myself I can get up at noon, when in reality I am up before my lawyer hubby around 7 trying to catch up on emails before the day starts! At the beginning you get to work from home in your jammies, so that is glam. But my problem is anytime I open my little macbook air, it is always about work. There is always more you can do, more people you can reach out to, more pimping to be done. So I essentially work 24 hours a day.
What's the best perk of your job?
Seeing my work on beautiful young women. A few weeks ago Lena Dunham grammed a pic of herself in my coat captioning – 'An Erin Kleinberg coat makes this bag lady feel like a lady lady'. I mean……sheer epicness.
Do blondes really have more fun?
Canada’s like, really cold sometimes. How do you cope? physically, emotionally, and fashionably?
I escape to Palm Springs as much as I possibly can. My grandparents owned a home there forever, and I've been going there every Christmas since I was a kid. I recently got married there as well:) It is my special place. The air is clearer up there! This winter I will be doing everything I can to go back to the Four Seasons in Lanai, Hawaii again soon too…..
Do you have any pets? Do you dress them up?
Don't have any pets of my own to dress up, but I am currently creating some custom couture pieces for my fave pooches, the Beckerman Sisters' pomeranians! Coming soon ladies!
What's your biggest pet peeve in life? What about in social media?
I loathe cream cheese. I have a full on fear of it. I know, it's beyond odd. Also, square toe shoes on men. Insta pet peeve – I mean, are are you really that #blessed?
Tell us a funny story.
During my shoot with Khloe Kardashian, I discovered a little Erin Kleinberg section in her closet of some of my archival pieces. She said she was a huge fan. Was a rad moment. There was also the time that Miranda Kerr took my Zoe Chicco necklace right off my neck during a shoot! She just had to have it.