Clare Vivier - Santa Monica Studio



Clare started Clare V. when she noticed a need for functional yet fashionable laptop cases. Her designs marry classic French glamour with the cool/minimalist L.A. vibe, which is a perfect representation of Clare’s own distinct aesthetic. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

When you have a child like I do, you never have a normal day because you can’t predict what will happen as the day progresses. On an ideal day, I’d wake up at 6:30 and have an espresso. Then I’d take my dog Paco for a walk and get my son Oscar and myself ready to get out the door by 7:45, and at work by 8. I’d be in the office from 8-6 and never leave. Home around 6:30 or 7 and usually out to dinner at around 8, and if not, eating at home with my family.

What parts of your work do you love?

I love the people I work with and coming to work every day. I love my job, getting to work in fashion and making beautiful things that I get to see people wear and enjoy. And I love traveling for work because I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to really wonderful and exciting places and meet the most amazing people.

Clare V - Santa Monica Studio

What parts of your work/business do you dislike?

I wouldn’t say that I necessarily dislike these parts of the business but things that don’t come as naturally to me are the business and finance side of things. All of the administrative parts of being a CEO of a company like human resources and accounting are more challenging.

What things do you have to do that you didn’t realize going into Clare V.?

It’s not that I didn’t realize it, but as Clare V. has grown, different aspects of the job have come up, like being a CEO, having to have a budget, hiring new people, employee relations, and those types of things. I’ve never been a CEO of a company before this and it’s my first time ever building a company, so all of the responsibility that goes into that position.

What are some interesting things people probably don’t know behind the scenes of Clare V.?

I think most people don’t know that our warehouse is in-house and that every single bag and item that we sell is not only made in L.A., but comes through our warehouse once it’s completed to be quality checked and then shipped out from here, so we can physically have eyes on every piece that goes out. I think that’s something that is really unique.

Clare V - Santa Monica - Inspiration Board

What type of calendar do you keep?

We’re on the regular fashion calendar with new releases coming every Spring, Pre-Fall, Fall, and Holiday.

How do you plan out your calendar?

The various different parts of the business have different calendars: production, design, PR & Marketing, and my personal calendar, which isn’t really personal, but my own meeting schedule. For all of those things, I get a lot of help making sure all of the calendars are synched and work well together. And I get reminders for everything.

How do you organize and tackle your to-do list?

When I get to the studio early in the morning, it’s quite nice. When I come in at 8 no one else is there yet so I get a lot done because no one is interrupting me. We have an open floorplan in the studio, which has the benefit of allowing us to all work together and talk to one another throughout the day, but it also leads to a lot of interruptions, which can be a challenge for me when I’m trying to finish a task. But I get reminders over and over again and keep a running list in my moleskine notebook.

Clare V - Santa Monica Studio

How do you attack your never-ending email? Do you have a certain strategy you use?

I’m constantly on email. The thing that I try to remember is to try and respond immediately, because once you think you’re going to get back to it, you never do – or it is likely you never will. I learned something great from Antoinette, the owner of our first factory. She was very proactive and whenever an issue would arise, she’d get up and tend to it right then and I learned so much from that about addressing things right as they arise to fix them as soon as possible. That’s how I learned to really get shit done.

What is your process and/or work strategy? Anything that you have found that works for you?

One of my work strategies, especially early on, was to say “yes” to everything. I think that was a really important strategy for me because I felt that with every experience I was going to gain knowledge and make connections and meet people. And I think personal connections are so extremely important. It’s changed over time only insofar as we can no longer say “yes” to everything because we have limits on production and manpower. But I still think that’s a great philosophy to have in business, to be open and positive to new experiences.

Do you have any rituals or routines you do?

I don’t have any rituals or routines because my schedule changes so often, but my days tend to be bookended by an espresso in the morning and a glass of red wine at night.

Clare Vivier - Santa Monica Studio

How do you GSD at home?

I have a lot of help. My husband helps a lot. You really just need a lot of help, especially if you work a lot. My husband cooks and does most of the grocery shopping these days. We also have a housekeeper so that when I come home, I don’t have to do laundry and I can just spend time with my family and relax — and for that I’m very grateful.

What books, websites, posts and other resources have you found helpful or have changed your life?

The only thing I read religiously is “Corner Office” in the New York Times business section. But what I think is the most important, which is not a book or website, is building a community around you, finding people that you can talk to about your experience, who understand where you are in your business and can identify with you. It’s just important and helpful so that you can get some feedback and help because it’s just too hard to do it all on your own. So it’s best to have some kind of community that you create around you.

Nuggets of advice you’ve been given that have stuck?

The most important thing that my father instilled in me was that I can do anything I want to do and that there was nothing holding me back. I’ve also followed the advice to not try to follow any trends but to design with my own vision. And I can’t remember who first told me, but just to have your own, singular vision and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Clare V - Santa Monica - Inspiration Board

Any other information about how you GSD, please share?

I like being in Los Angeles because so many people have the Hollywood production attitude, which is actually just to get shit done and make it happen — it’s really the mantra that makes Hollywood tick. And if you’ve ever worked in production, it’s the attitude that anything can be done, so just make it happen. That’s why I don’t ever like to hear the word “no” from anyone that works at CV, because I feel like where there’s a will there’s a way, and I just like to have that attitude to make things happen.

Would love to know what Apps, Websites, Programs, Gadgets etc. you use.

I’m not a big app person. I really just use Instagram, my Kindle app, my Fly Delta app, my podcast app because I’m constantly listening to podcasts when I’m on walks, and I’ve started using Postmates, which I can foresee myself continuing to use. I’m really happy with my iPhone6, especially the image quality, and I’m never without my Beats by Dre headphones on a flight. For sites and such, I go to WWD, Business of Fashion and Net-a-Porter most.


Photos of Clare by Amanda Marsallis

GSD (get shit done): A weekly column featuring busy business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and CEOs and how they get shit done. Meg also writes articles with helpful ways to get shit done. Tell us how you GSD on twitter by tagging #GSDgetshitdone and @megbiram.