The Proven Entrepreneur

S2:E10 | Annye Grande Founder of Etoile Luxury Handbags



Entrepreneur  Shares Fashion Secrets.




My Life as an Entrepreneur ad Founder of Etoile

I was born in Montreal, Canada and Etoile is French for the word Star. You’ll feel like a star when you carry an Etoile bag. Etoile is the most beautiful exquisite purse collection you will ever come across. I’m recording today from one of our New York City factories. I love to spend time with the product it’s a really great, happy place for me.

Tip – A successful entrepreneur has fun!

We build beautifully aesthetic pleasing bags that resonate well with a wide audience. Our DNA, or secret space is really in the intelligence of the bag. Our most popular bag contains a second bag, it’s totally convertible.

Tip – Many successful entrepreneurs design a product or service with one additional “stand-out” feature.

I’m the Creative Director for Etoile. I had the idea when I was travelling to see high-end buyers when I worked in high-end fashion. I needed to look the part yet be efficient and that’ how Etoile was born.

Tip – A successful entrepreneur solves a problem.


When I was a young girl, my mother had a flower shop. I don’t recall saying, I want to be just like my mom. In fact, I recall wanting to be the opposite of my mom and just being silly. I think in retrospect I can see that it certainly has shown me that it’s a possible. In some ways, I’ve turned into my mother – LOL. We sell direct to consumer and to luxury retailers. Selling to luxury retailers allowed us to quickly expand our footprint in different regions.

Tip – Alternative distribution channels for entrepreneurs can help you quickly grow geography and market share.


We started in 2018 and our first customer was a luxury store named Stanley Korshak in Dallas. Since that time we expanded it to e-com and to our own brick and mortar stores. I’m very, very strict on distribution. Brand equity is so important if you’re trying to build a great American luxury brand.

I went to college and studied business. I always had a calling for the fashion industry, and Montreal is a global hub of fashion. Out of college I went to work for an American luxury brand working on their Canadian marketing, sales and distribution. I did well enough that I was privileged to sit in a CEO walkthroughs and meetings. I learned so much at that and my next jobs. The second job I had total ownership of four brands. It was like being an entrepreneur with someone else’s money. My last job was all about product development and creative. I got to travel to Asia, to Europe, to visit factories, to understand how to maximize, yielding your fabrics all about manufacturing.

TIP – Many entrepreneurs learn their trade while employed for other Companies.


In my career I had, I touched so many different sides of the fashion industry that I thought, oh my God, I know everything. This start-up is going to be a breeze. I’ve learned so much more since starting Etoile. First, when we make mistakes. We acknowledge the mistake, fix it and move forward. There’s no need to dwell on mistakes, fix it and don’t do it again. The hardest lesson has been cashflow management. You cannot really be successful until you master the cash. As a young company, we’ve had to be very agile and be very lean operationally.

One of my expert mentors is Jay Rodgers. Jay has a deep knowledge and experience in different types of businesses. He has been very generous with his time in helping me and Etoile. There are times where I’ve called Jay and asked an equation, got an answer, slept on it and found out I disagreed. But the value of successful mentors is immense to your business growth.

Annye Grande, Founder Etoile

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