This Is Our Story
I’ve always had a keen desire to create a brand that celebrates independent design, creativity, fine craftsmanship and the designers who devote themselves to their art.
You might ask why?
I was born and raised in Turkey. After college, I worked in apparel factories in Turkey as a Textile Engineer. I was deeply moved by that experience. The factories manufactured clothing for well-known European & American retailers (those you shop from probably every day) but the working conditions for garment workers were very harsh. It wasn’t unusual for a 14 year-old girl to put in 70 to 80 hours a week on a very hot (or cold) factory floor. And that is when I realized that cheap fashion and home goods, always come at the cost of quality, originality and fair working conditions.
Even though it has been more than a decade since I’ve worked in the fashion industry, I still closely follow industry news. Whenever I would read about factory workers dying in collapsed buildings, fires etc. while manufacturing products for big retailers, it would make me pause and wonder how I could be part of a change - a change that shift consumers’ thoughts towards ethical manufacturing, original design and learning more about where products come from and how they are made.
Last September, I took a leap of faith and started the process. Penelope Fisher whom I met years ago when I was serving on a nonprofit board in Memphis joined the team soon after. We launched Lesouque in July, 2015.
Why is Lesouque different?
We meticulously scout the globe for independent designers and curate a collection that reflects our personal aesthetic. We won’t sell anything we wouldn’t want to purchase for ourselves. We are committed to finding chic, modern and original pieces.. We also look at the quality of pieces and how they are made because delivering exceptional quality and ethically made products is our brand essence.
We’ve just started this journey. There is no question in our minds that we will learn from our customers and evolve over time. But one thing we know will stay consistent is our responsibility to be a socially conscious consumer brand and consumer.
What does Lesouque mean?
In the early stages of the idea, we were brainstorming names and I had a flashback to one of my fondest childhood memory. Growing up in Turkey, Saturdays meant spending hours strolling through the streets of the ‘Souk’ and shopping from local farmers, artisans and makers of clothing, jewelry, scarves... I truly enjoyed that experience. So a Souk is similar to a neighborhood farmers market just much, much, bigger and more encompassing.
I felt like Le Souk (French for The Bazaar) was a perfect name because we wanted to evoke a feeling of traveling around the world, strolling through a Souk, but from the comfort of your couch.
Of course, LeSouk.com wasn’t available so we ended up improvising and Lesouque was born.
Why do we give a portion of Lesouque's proceeds to girls’ education?
You can read about our giving efforts on this page. But here is the short story.
There are over 62 million girls out of school because they are girls. That fact breaks my heart. The education gender gap between girls and boys is an enormous global issue. We live in a world where girls get shot or kidnapped because they want to go to school.
I am successful today because I grew up in a progressive environment in Turkey where I had access to a strong education. But many girls in most part of the world don’t have that kind of access.
Supporting girl’s education is near and dear to my heart. I want Lesouque to be part of the cause, it fits well with both the brand’s socially consciousness and my personal efforts with the cause.
Thanks for taking the time to read our story. Hope you will join us and be part of the change.
Gokben Yamandag, Founder of Lesouque