If her name sounds familiar there’s good reason. Joyce Azria is the daughter of BCBG founder Max Azria, one of fashion’s most notable and recognized designers. As an employee of the family business since age 18 and a creative director since 2009, Joyce had any fashionista’s dream job, but she couldn’t ignore a nagging sense that she had her own unique perspective to offer the fashion industry.
So, earlier this year, Joyce launched her own label, AVEC LES FILLES (French for “With the Girls”), a clothing line that combines aspirational design with affordable pricing, created specifically with the millennial shopper in mind. It’s currently being offered at more than 200 Macy’s stores nationwide, as well as at a brand-new Los Angeles flagship store.
Our verdict? Given her lifelong exposure to the fashion industry, her track record at BCBG–Joyce launched the business’s successful offshoot BCBGeneration–and how obsessed we are with her first collection for AVEC LES FILLES, she might just become the most successful Azria yet.
Here, we’re chatting with Joyce about growing up Azria, breaking out on her own, balancing entrepreneurship with motherhood (she’s a mom of five), and more.
How did growing up in a famous fashion family shape your style?
We weren’t always a famous fashion family and I think it was really more the transition from our homeland, culture and roots over to a more fast paced lux life that shaped my style. When we arrived to LA from Paris, we left behind our family and culture in exchange for the Hollywood sign, sunny days and American spirit with hope in our right pocket and optimism in our eyes. My personal style is a statement of who I am– it mixes my roots, nostalgia of French style and North African culture with COMFORT.
What made you want to start your own line as opposed to continue to work for your family brand?
Working for my family made me who I am today but as a Creative Director who was always storytelling a brand story that wasn’t mine some days felt uninspired. I knew that telling my customers story through my voice could bring about a new and inspired tale…
How would you describe the style of AVEC LES FILLES?
French and nostalgic meets inspired and American spirited.
How did you come up with the concept?
It was a dream that played over and over in my mind– it was not a concept I painted but one that was so evidently missing from the marketplace that it thrilled me to bring it to life. The concept is a sort of nod to my French, Tunisian upbringing and roots and how they were influenced by my childhood move to an optimistic and exciting America.
What the difference between owning your own clothing line and working for one?
It’s about being able to build versus redecorating someone else’s home.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
You can’t stop. You must be relentless. When life gives you a problem it also gives you the solution but the trick is to never ever ever lose HOPE.
You’re also a mom. Has that impacted your career decisions at all? And if so, how?
Being a mom of five changed the way I approach everything in my life. It has pushed me constantly to be the person I want to be and gives me something amazing to go out and fight for everyday. On some days, it also stains my cute outfit before I walk out the door and reminds me I am not in control of anything. My kids absolutely impacted my decision to start AVEC LES FILLES. In fact, I did so 8 months pregnant with my daughter, it’s as if it gave me the courage to go out and make things happen.
What’ the biggest thing your struggle with when it comes to balancing your business and your family?
I am blessed to have a faith that allows me to practice Shabbat. A day of rest and family, food and spiritual recharge. This is how I balance it all. I work to no end but when Shabbat comes everyone knows the phone turns off and I am mama lama, nothing can break that.
What is the most helpful resource you have as a working mom?
To have my husband be my true life and work partner. He’s an amazing coach, someone to share my thoughts with and tell bedtime stories alongside. We laugh, build, create and do everything together. He’s my secret weapon!
Do you find you have more or less flexibility when working for yourself?
Less. End of story. Everything rolls up to you and nothing moves into the future without you. It’s beautiful, but that’s the fact.
What do you find to be the lifestyle difference between being an entrepreneur and working for someone else?
It really is about who you are and how important the work life balance is for you. But regardless of if it’s your business or not that balance is about boundaries or lack of boundaries. A woman one told me a table with a few legs is more sturdy that a table with one, basically you have to build pillars in your life, friendships, work, hobbies etc. The more you have the taller and straighter you stand.
What’s your advice to other moms who want to launch a business?
You will never regret doing it. Whether it does or doesn’t succeed, just make sure you learn something and stay positive. Also, always make sure the reasons you want to have your own business work with other responsibilities you have and that the intentions and work stays pure and from a good place.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
“Joyce slow down” I always was one to have the next idea and move from one thing to another quickly and somewhere I learned that sticking to something you love and slowing yourself down allows you to ultimately run in the direction of your goals.
Shop our Favorite Pieces from Aves Les Filles here: