Parisian Living

Expat Entrepreneurs in Paris: La Chambre Paris

by Ali Postma
Left: A man and woman stand diagonally facing the camera, smiling. Right: A white children's bedroom is pictured, there are colored porcupines on the bed spread, children's books by the window and stuffed animals in a hamper.
La Chambre

HiP Paris loves stories from expats who have made new lives for themselves in Paris. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and finding work is daunting enough, let alone starting your own business! But that’s exactly what Ian and Alison from French bed linen company La Chambre Paris have done. We recently spoke to American-born Alison about life in the City of Light.

A children's bedroom is pictured, with one light blue wall and one white. The bedspread features large colorful images including a carousel and a hot air balloon.
La Chambre

Where are you from originally and what brought you to Paris? 

I am originally from Boston, Massachusetts. Ian is originally from Nottingham in the UK. In 2011, we were living in London and found ourselves hungry for adventure. We negotiated with each of our employers to do a three-month move to our respective French offices. We packed everything and put eight duffel bags on the Eurostar. We never looked back.

The legs of a child dressed in pyjamas, standing on a white bed spread. There is another child sitting on the bed in the background, slightly out of focus, he is reading a book.
La Chambre

What inspired you to create La Chambre Paris

When my mother came to visit us in Paris, Ian went to a large department store to find some nice bed sheets to put on the guest bed. He found the shopping experience stressful from start to finish—the sheets were expensive, customer service was atrocious, and there was a no-return policy.

Left: A modern bedroom is pictured, the bed sheets are bright white and the wall behind it is light blue. On the bed there is a tray with a tea pot and mugs. Right: A children's bedroom is pictured, with one light blue wall and one white. The bedspread features large colorful images including a carousel and a hot air balloon.
La Chambre

Firm believers that the bedroom is a sanctuary, we were motivated to find an alternative. Our own bed linens were mediocre and good French bed linens were out of our price range. We kept asking ourselves, “Why does it have to be this way?” 

A child is jumping on a bed, in a children's bedroom. Only their calves and feet are visible, with some books resting by the window in the background, and a white bedspread with large colorful images on it.
La Chambre

In the US, new e-commerce businesses had begun selling high-quality bed linens for accessible prices. We visited factories in Turkey, Israel, and Portugal to learn what goes into making the best bed linens. By cutting out the middleman and going direct to consumer, we found that the same could be done for the French market. 

What are your must-sees for first-time visitors to Paris? 

A child is sitting on the edge of a bed, with a beige guitar in his hands.
La Chambre

Paris is best explored by foot. Get up before sunrise and walk along the Seine and stand on Pont Louis-Philippe to watch the colors change on the river. Walk through the Marais and take in the sights and sounds of the cafés setting up for the day. Take an espresso at the counter of a bistro and watch the different people coming in and see a real Parisian morning unfold.

Then walk up to the Jardin du Palais-Royale before walking through the Tuileries up to the Musée de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s “Water Lilies.” Walk to Les Deux Magots to have lunch, and people watch. Walk to Jardin du Luxembourg and sit and read a book in the afternoon light. Finish the day by picking up a bottle of wine, a fresh baguette, and cheese and walk down to the Seine to watch the sunset. 

Left: A man and woman are lying on a bed, with only their heads and arms visible. The bedroom is white, with light shining through the large windows behind them. Right: The same bed and room, but a woman's legs are seen hanging off the bed.
La Chambre

What is your favorite place in France and why? 

There’s still so much of France that we want explore. 

Paris is an obvious favorite. It’s our home and where we’ve chosen to build a family. We also love Normandy, its rugged coastline, gorgeous light, and beautiful country lanes. Most school vacations will find us renting a house as close to the water as we can get, wrapping our kids in warm waterproof clothes, and taking them to play on the beach. 

A child is lying down on a bed, with their legs up against the wall. The child is holding a stuffed animal, and the bed spread is white with large colorful images such as the Eiffel Tower. Right: The same bed is pictured without the child lying on it.
La Chambre

How did you and your family manage the lockdowns in Paris? 

I think we managed like a lot of other people. We were grateful to be healthy. But homeschooling three children while trying to run a start-up in a small Paris apartment certainly had its challenges. 

Left: A man, three young children and a dog are on a bed, climbing on one another and playing. Right: A children's room is pictured. One wall is decorated with wallpaper that has plants and a small monkey. The bedspread is white with large colorful images of horses, and there is a stuffed bear on top of the bed.
La Chambre

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your business? 

In some ways, this is the ideal time to launch an online business because many people prefer to avoid stores. On the other hand, there’s a fair bit of economic uncertainty so it’s hard for any business owner when people are nervous about spending money. 

Left: Two children are seen through a grid window, playing on top of a white bed spread in a white room Right: A children's bed is pictured. The bed spread is white with large colorful images. An open book is resting on top of the bed.
La Chambre

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs or people who want to move to Paris? 

A mentor of ours once told us that the primary job of an entrepreneur is to solve problems. So far, we’ve found that to be true. As a start-up, we’ve learned that it’s imperative to build a strong team or capable partners and then learn how to delegate effectively. There’s just not enough hours in the day to get everything done otherwise. 

Left: A white bed is pictured with a tray on top. On the tray, there is a plate with toast, a mug filled with coffee and an open container of jam. An arm is visible, reaching for the cup of coffee. Right: A woman is lying on an unmade bed, with her legs hanging off the balcony.
La Chambre

Advice for people who want to move to Paris; Learn the language as quickly as you can, and find a community of people in France who have already experienced the challenges that you will face in setting up and growing your business. 

What are your hopes and goals for the future? 

Left: A chil is lying down in a white bed, reading a book with the title "Nous!" The pillows behind him are white, with small blue porcupines on them. Right: The same image from a different angle. The child's face is visible and he is pointing to a page in the book.
La Chambre

To continue to be present and focused on supporting our children as they tackle the challenges of growing up. To continue to accelerate our business growth, especially our new children’s range

Left: A white bedspread is pictured with a small blue image of a dinosaur cuddled up and the words "Au Dodo". A child's feet are visible in the corner of the photo, as they are curled up sleeping. Right: The same image from a different angle, this time the child's face is visible while he appears to be sleeping.
La Chambre

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Written by Ali Postma for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates. 

Written By

Ali Postma

Ali is from Melbourne, Australia, where she studied Art History and Art Curatorship at university and worked in various art galleries. Passionate about all things arts and culture, she loves French film, Nordic noir, photography, street art and architecture. Addicted to pain au chocolat, Ali is fulfilling her dream of living in Paris. View Ali Postma's Website

2 comments on “Expat Entrepreneurs in Paris: La Chambre Paris

I love your blog. I am planning a three months staying next year. Hopefully by then this Covid situation is gone. I am a 65 years young woman that enjoys life to the fullest. I am a Real Estate Agent in California and in Nevada. I lived in Paris for a month back in 2000 and went again for vacation. I always said before retiring I want to live in Paris for at least three months learn the language better and explore all the country and other places close by. JI need an advice where to look for an apartment that is safe and fun for me. I have Saint Germain or Le Marais as first option. I will really appreciate your advice. Merci beaucoup.

Hi Carmen. Exciting news! Paris is a wonderful city in all areas. It is hard to recommend one area specifically as we are all different. You will, of course like the Marais and St Germain. Let me know if you want to to make an intro to someone who can help find you a place potentially. All the best, Erica

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