Marnie Legrand owns and operates NYC jewelry boutique Gas Bijoux, a charming, St. Tropex-inspired jewelry collection of silver and gold jewelry with a special emphasis on whimsical and feminine charms. The main designer, André Gas, is actually headquartered in France, but Marnie is the eyes and ears for Gas Bijoux on this side of the Atlantic. Fluent in French, Spanish, and English, the 34-year-old mother of one does all of the creative and visual work for the boutique, like buying and merchandising, while her hubby handles the business end. The line, which is wildly popular among Latina celebs, is reasonably priced, ranging from $60 to $200 and sometimes more. Latina.com chatted with the lovely dominicana to find out more....
Gas Bijoux is a French jewelry company, but you're Dominican, right?
Yes, born in Santo Domingo. The designer, André, is from Marseilles in the South of France. He's also the godfather of my daughter, so Gas Bijoux is really like a family business. The brand has been in the U.S. for four years.
Can you describe what the Gas Bijoux collection looks like?
It’s costume jewelry, which means that it's basically super-fun, eye-catching pieces that get a conversation at a dinner party started. In terms of influences, it’s very St. Tropez...very jet set with a little ethnic touch, but not too much. We’re big on charms, huge on Santeria symbols, crosses and Fatima hens—those are the little hens with the finger up. An enormous piece for us is a wish bracelet that comes on a cord...if you go to St. Tropez in the summertime, everybody's wearing them!
Tell us how you got into jewelry.
I used to have an accessories store in St. Barths, and André is a very old family friend. I’ve personally been wearing André's pieces for ages, and I would receive so many compliments from people about that I ended up talking with him about how we could extend the business in America. Now I’m his eye on this side of the Atlantic, pitching ideas and working on some of the design. I test drive every new piece that comes out.
Is it true that Eva Longoria Parker wears the line?
Yes. And Jennifer Lopez is wearing one of our most popular earrings on the cover of her album. Shakira owns half of the jewelry in our store.
You run your business with you husband, Pascal Legrand. How did you meet him?
I went on summer vacation to St. Barths for only four days, and I happened to meet Pascal there. It was love at first sight. We got married a year later, and then we also decided to be business partners. It’s nice, but it’s also unusual because lots of couples don’t survive working together.
What’s the secret?
It’s very easy to cross the boundary, be about work, work, work and then not take time to work on the relationship. We’re really husband and wife, first and foremost. Once I close the store and he closes the office, that’s it, we become a family. No more money, no more bills, no more orders.
Gas Bijoux is located at 238 Mott Street, New York, NY, (212) 334-7290