French interior and upholstery by Sophie Bailly
For the 10th time since 2013, Tacks and Fabrics will be part of a unique pop-up event dedicated to the French Art de Vivre, promoting French artists and designers. This Spring, the pop-up will be held in Princeton for 2 days, gathering a brand new team of exhibitors for an event referring to Provence! Sophie Bailly-Soulier, owner of Tacks and Fabrics is one of the cofounders of these events and event manager of “Dream of Provence”. She explains the story of Oh-la-la!
“Living from my craft was a dream I’ve kept in my mind for more than 10 years while working as marketing-communication manager in France” confesses Sophie, owner of Tacks and Fabrics LLC, a small business dedicated to traditional upholstery and redesign she created few months after she established in Princeton NJ. “Expatriation takes you out of your comfort zone, so why not doing the “big jump” and experiencing a new professional life, as an independent craft-wo-man”.
But working from her home based studio gave her a limited exposure to promote and develop her services to the local market. “The idea of creating a pop-up event was born from discussions we had with other French creative people willing to launch their business on an “unknown territory”. No better experience than meeting your potential customers to know how they judge your work while you better understand their expectations”, says Sophie whose background in the marketing field helped her to position herself on the niche of “traditional upholstery”. Regarding reupholstery, Sophie very fast realized that few upholsterers work the “French traditional way” using natural stuffing like horse hair and coir, meticulously hand stitched, resulting in a long lasting refection…and for Sophie “Antique furniture deserve the best!” She was taught the Art of Upholstery in Orléans, City of Jeanne d’Arc and later in Jouy-en-Josas close to Versailles, taking all possible workshops to improve her skills. But she is proud to claim she is 70% autodidacte with 15 years of practice.
Oh-la-la! an incubator for talents to grow!
To create the encounter with the public, Sophie, her close friend Corinne and few other exhibitors launched their first private sales Oh-la-la! in 2013 at Corinne’s studio, located in Princeton Riverside neighborhood. The first clientele was naturally the French community, very supportive and curious to discover hidden talents. For Sophie and Corinne, Oh-la-la! is a place for expatriate spouses to explore a possible way into the Arts and Crafts field, most of the time after a first professional experience left behind the move. Event after event, Oh-la-la! has welcomed many new artists and craftspeople and has played as an incubator and realtime customer survey.
From private to public sales
In 2015, Oh-la-la! decided to open its doors to the general public. “I guess American customers might have been intimidated entering a home-based event where most of the chats were held in French!” explains Sophie. Opening Oh-la-la! to everyone is a choice the organizers do not regret. Since November 2015, 3 editions have been held in Hopewell Station, a very cosy and well known space for artsy events. The clientele became much more international and the exposure tripled with a communication plan and a growing returning visitors.
Back to Princeton in May 2017
To celebrate its 10th edition, Oh-la-la! is back in Princeton May 5th and 6th at All Saints Church. The list of exhibitors is 50% new, with always with 100% French made products.
Tacks and Fabric, who s is the main organizer of the event, will carry regional products from Provence (linens, Marseille soaps, herbs…) and will be surrounded by a little more than ten other designers, artists and small businesses.
16 All Saints church- Princeton NJ, 08540
Friday, May 5th, 2pm-7pm
Saturday, May 6th, 10am-6pm