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viva vivre!

It is nearly 15 years since the debut of Vivre, the international brainchild of Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti. A Swiss native, known New Yorker and businesswoman, Eva took e-retailing to a new level with vivre.com, the online home of Vivre. Through a catalog and internationally curated selection, Vivre doesn’t follow trends. If anything, it avoids them. Known for offering highly edited collections, its offerings originate from far-flung cities, both established and rising designers, and even some limited edition items. With a background in financial services and a curious sense of individuality, Eva has maintained her place in the world of fashion by basically, keeping it real. The two of us (having co-incedentally just returned from separate business in the Middle East) caught up recently in New York. Eva was generous with her time and  not only offered her inspirations, but what truly motivates her. Here’s the scoop:

How do you continue to keep Vivre fresh and relevant?

Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti: Vivre is all about authenticity and a life of collecting. Fulfilling the desire for individuality is my life’s goal. By maintaining a strong global point of view, one that’s focused on discovery is what keeps us fresh and interesting. I’m intrigued by artistry, and I look for pieces that have an intrinsic value of quality, whimsy or fun. What makes something interesting and unique is the story behind the object—it’s inspiration and originality. I don’t gravitate towards pieces that lack substance. I’m not into logos, the “IT” factor, or something that’s “in your face” for the sake of shock value. I care about the “WOW” and the “WHY.” Our collection is about people, places and global treasures that have purpose, and it’s meticulously edited to include pieces that are to be acquired over time, and that you will love more tomorrow than you do today.

Describe the Vivre client.

EJL: Our clients are self-confident women and men who celebrate their individuality. They have a great eye for the unique and an adventurous spirit. They are travelers and collectors who are constantly searching for unusual pieces that complement their treasures and personal sense of style. They know what they want and they like to mix it up.

How do you attract international brands and vendors to the U.S. marketplace?

EJL: Vivre is international. We have a strong global point of view. Our distinct vision allows us to provide an experience that exceeds just shopping. Vivre is about the journey of discovery. We set out to inspire you by bringing objects to life, and we do so by telling the story behind them. Through our detailed product descriptions, vibrant editorial features, engaging interviews and more, we offer artisans—from around the world—a unique platform to express and celebrate their unique talent. Our highly curated collections and passion for originality and discovery is what continues to attract artists, brands and customers.

How has your experience in the world of finance transitioned to life at Vivre?

EJL: Beginning my career in the world of finance was a natural fit for me. I grew up in a family of business. I graduated with a degree in Economics and Political Science. What else was I going to do? I had to get a job—the right job—so I joined the investment banking firm Lazard Frères in the mergers and acquisitions department. The experience proved invaluable. I worked with an incredibly brilliant and talented group of people who never stopped. I learned what hard work meant. And I realized what I was missing—creative freedom. So, armed with nothing but passion, and a love for design and the world, I jumped into Vivre. I believe that ignorance is a powerful instigator and that limitations live only in our minds. I thought, I can do this. I have entrepreneurship in my blood. I’ve always had a creative side. I love a challenge. I approach life at Vivre with the same mind for business as I did at Lazard—just with complete freedom of expression and limitless inspiration. I think there’s an artist in all of us—and finding it is only a matter of opening your eyes.

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