Living Your Style: Interview with Florence Donné

Interview Florence Donne Ringthebelle 
People who elevate daily life to the art de vivre. Who dare to dream. Who bet on their intuiton. Who seek natural beauty. Who teach by example. Who live unabashedly authentic. Who dive into their passion, heart first. These are the change makers and action takers, but, most of all, the dreamers who make the world more beautiful in the process. Awe-inspiring individuals and visionary souls have always been my biggest motivator. These are the beautiful people. Florence Donné is one of them.

More than that, Florence has the talent to bring other beautiful people together on RingTheBelle, and invites her audience into their homes and explores their universe, from interiors to fashion, from beauty to culture, from work to travel destinations. A universe that it’s at a simple click away. But more than a functional source of inspiration, more than a singular shopping experience, more than a Story Store, RingTheBelle is a Story Store with a soul. It nurtures the idea of being inspired by individuals who, besides seemingly holding their own little secret about a well-lived life, lead through personality, having found a strong sense of self and identity. And that’s the most important thing you can take away from RingTheBelle.

Florence recently opened up to Classiq about reinventing her professional life by inventing her dream job, life in Paris, and intentional living.

“Transform the routine into rituals, make the present moment
as pleasant as possible, and know the little things that give us happiness so as not to expect from life only great joys.”

Interview Florence Donne 
A long-time reader of mine, living in Paris, introduced me to RingTheBelle and I was immediately hooked. Soon after, I featured Gaëlle Pelletier, as I truly related to her dressing style. I haven’t talked much about fashion on my blog lately, as it is the personal style of the people I admire that I pay attention to, precisely because it is something global that permeats every aspect of one’s life. And that was the case with Gaëlle. I titled the article “Living Your Style”, which is also how I would describe the message you want to transmit through your website. What is the story behind the premier Story Store?
I admire people that can transform their day-to-day lives into a real “art de vivre”. Ringthebelle is an expression of those convictions and passions. I dreamt, without finding it, of a place where products would be forgotten in favor of universes: the ones which truly inspire us. Ringthebelle tells the stories of women and men, who – thanks to their personalities – freely express trends and styles.

We share, through words and photos (Delphine Jouandeau, a great photographer, has gone all the way with me from the beginning), the inner self of my guests, their passions, their interiors, their styles, their favorite addresses, each are an expression of their inspiring lifestyle, which becomes available in a click for a reinvented shopping experience. I love seeing how people translate fashions and trends and reinterpret in their own way the era. Ringthebelle is the first StoryStore.

Could you tell me a little bit about your background and what made you change directions and do something on your own?
I worked in a PR agency for 15 years. Dealing with clients like PUMA, WRANGLER, MARTINI or PIPER HEIDSIECK. I really liked the variety of tasks, managing a team and the creativity.
After my maternity leave, I wanted to «reshuffle the cards». To reinvent my professional life by creating a more tailored job and by giving a personal twist to my job.

What advice would you give someone with their own idea or dream?
Listen to their intuitions and inner voice and not listen too much to others. And I often think of this phrasing of Pierre Soulages that I find so right: “It’s what I do that teaches me what I’m looking for”. It is necessary to give life to his dreams even if the reality is quite different.
Interview Florence Donne 
We live in a hectic world and more and more people are trying to go back to basics, to find a balance, to live mindfully. Your guests on RingTheBelle seem to have this common talent for transforming their day-to-day lives into joie de vivre. What does beautiful living mean to you?
To transform the routine into rituals, to make the present moment as pleasant as possible, and to know the little things that give us happiness so as not to expect from life only great joys. Knowing how to provoke things rather than wait for them is essential.

The people you profile share their style essentials, work, passions and cultural interests, and, most importantly, they open the doors to their homes and invite you in their universe. And you can tell a lot from someone’s home. Is it difficult to establish that kind of trustworthy rapport in order for them to open up about their private lives?
No, because every time a new rapport is made, it is a common desire that we embark on this adventure. There are two days of shooting and hours spent discussing together. So, it’s better to share the desire! And then I think that my guests know that the look on them will always be benevolent. There is an immediate confidence that is created. Without that, a reportage would not be possible.

What would you like your home to say about you when someone visits for the very first time?
That it translates to the kind of person that I am and that it makes you want to linger there and come back!

What inspires you daily?
I find my inspiration on the street, during my trips or from the people I meet. Also and mostly from Instagram, it gives the chance to discover amazingly inspiring people, with great eye and sensitivity.

Is there anyone in particular, famous or not, you look up to?
I love the incredible talent of Kelly Wearstler. She is an amazing interior designer and her very personal fashion sensitivity pleases me. She mixes and associates various styles with freedom and originality.
Interview Florence Donne 
There is a fascination with the French women that is unparalleled. Why do French, and especially Parisian women intrigue us so much? Do French women really hold the key and have the answers to style and beauty? Is there really such a thing as a „je ne sais quoi”?
Frankly, difficult to answer as a Parisian, but I guess there is something true in that since everyone says so (she smiles).

I think that this is a form of freedom that the French and the Parisians, in particular, maintain with fashion, beauty, seduction, life in general. It frees itself perhaps more easily from rules and conventions.

Could you share a French girl’s natural beauty trick?
Let your hair dry in the open air. A hairstyle too primed ages you instantly in my opinion.

You feel your best dressed in:
Pants, flat shoes, feminine top and my long and loose hair.

One favourite thing to do in Paris and which you would miss if you lived anywhere else in the world:
As I live in the area, I love walking through the Palais-Royal gardens, having lunch at one of its terraces in the Summer or taking a short break in one of its cafés. I would miss the beauty of the City. Its past, its culture. Also, the fact that, even if it’s a capital, it is still human-sized. I do everything on my bike or by walking.

How would you describe a typical day of yours in Paris?
As often as I can I start my day with some training: some cardio in my club or Pilates near home. Each day is different and I love it that way. It can be either a shooting day with my photographer, Delphine Jouandeau, writing, meeting with young entrepreneurs like me to share our adventures …
I try to have lunch with my son Joseph several times a week. It’s our little happiness together! I stop working at 7 pm to spent the rest of the evening with him. Once he is in bed, I get back to work until my husband gets home. That’s one of the pleasures of entrepreneurship: the day is never over! But I manage to take real breaks by going to shows or exhibitions in the evening or by having dinner with friends.

You wish people appreciated more:
Delicacy and good manners.

A daily pleasure:
Lunch with my son.

Where would we find you when not working?
In a museum, a gallery, at the Bon Marché or in a cafe in the gardens of the Palais Royal, the most beautiful place in Paris.

Latest book you’re read/ latest film you’ve watched/ latest song (music) you’ve been listening to on repeat:
Late Bloomers by Catherine Taret / Mr. Gaga / Woman by Rhye.

Words you live by:
“It’s time to live the life you imagined.” (Henri James)

What makes you happy at the end of the day?
Find my son, my husband or someone I love and share a glass of wine; by making my world … my favourite occupation!

You can keep up with all the stories of Florence’s guests on RingTheBelle or on Instagram (@ringthebelle_storystore).

photos: Delphine Jouandeau

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