Pirouette is a dress company created by two busy moms on a mission to save women like us time and energy so they can focus on the most important parts of their lives. Their pieces are classic, stylish and sustainable with the goal of being able to take your look from the office, to dinner or to an evening event without needing to bring a change of clothes.
We chatted with co-founders Melissa Lorenzo-Hervé and Kate Bally about how they created the perfect day-to-night dress, why Connecticut has been the most popular state for their dresses so far… and as busy moms who also have “day jobs,” how they juggle it all!
Tell us a little bit about Pirouette and your inspiration for creating the brand.
Melissa Lorenzo-Hervé (MLH): The brand came about from the idea that women deserve the same versatility and multi-purpose functionality that men’s classic dress shirts provide, with the desire to develop an elevated, feminine alternative to the traditional suit.
Kate Bally (KB): Melissa and I looked at the market for professional women and petite women, and we knew we could do better. We wanted to offer women versatility and ease with styles that allow them to own every room. Women working hard to raise families and/or embark on successful careers are our inspiration.
Taking your look from the office to the evening can be tough for women; how does Pirouette help simplify that?
KB: Pirouette offers versatile pieces with top-notch construction that look great in various settings. For example, our Marisa dress includes a removable silk top and a hidden zipper above the left knee to transform one’s look from day to night.
MLH: It’s thanks to thoughtful design elements like those that women can style our dresses for different occasions and environments. We develop every dress with the priority that it has to look as great at work as it does at an event after work.
How has Pirouette helped simplify how you get dressed every day?
MLH: It’s helped me (and our customers) think about how we can make the most of whatever we put on that morning so that we don’t have to schlep another outfit with us to work. A change of shoes or jewelry should be all you need to take your look from day to night.
KB: We want women to look in their closet and know that they will look the part with their Pirouette dress. Our pieces are for desk, date, and everything in between.
What’s been the best thing about launching Pirouette?
MLH: For me the best thing so far has been proving through repeated sales that there’s market demand for these types of high-end, multi-purpose dresses, and seeing women in different parts of the world buy them!
KB: Scratching that itch to create and build a business is an experience for which I’ll always be grateful. It has been a thrill to build this brand with Melissa. I’ve learned new skills, found new confidence, and forged a lasting relationship with a wonderful business partner.
Tell us about your pop-up shop in Stamford!
KB: It’s so exciting! We are thrilled to open our first-ever pop-up location at 95 Bedford Street for all of July. You can see, feel, and try on all of our styles, colors, and sizes in one place, and the store looks amazing! Plus we’ve partnered with two more women entrepreneurs, Rebecca Allen shoes and Jenny Casey, an incredible Brooklyn-based artist, to offer their creations at our pop-up.
MLH: It’s a dream come true! And it’s so poignant that our first pop-up would be in Connecticut because it’s the state where we’ve sold the most dresses to date, from online orders and early trunk shows. We feel beyond lucky to finally have such a wonderful physical location where we can meet and interact with more of our audience, collect their feedback, and help them find the perfect wear-everywhere dress.
Why did you choose Stamford for your first pop-up?
KB: Stamford had an appealing offer to bring life, color, and retail commerce to Bedford Street at an accessible price for a young start-up like Pirouette. I was thrilled to hear about the opportunity, and we jumped on it as soon as we could.
MLH: Stamford’s demographic overlaps nicely with the Pirouette woman; she’s busy, driven, style-conscious, and wants to choose well instead of often. We couldn’t have found a better city in which to host our first pop-up.
Kate, you live in Stamford. What brought you here?
KB: I moved to Connecticut to clerk for a federal district judge after law school. Stamford was a wonderful choice because of the convenience of the train when I began working in NYC, but also because it has so much to offer from amazing restaurants, beautiful housing options, and lovely public spaces.
What do you like about living in Stamford?
KB: I like the convenience of Stamford for NYC commuters, the energy of the city, the restaurant options, and all of the amazing things happening in the city. There are yoga classes in Harbor Point, movie nights in Mill River Park, and farmer’s markets on Bedford. There’s always something going on!
You’re both moms; how many kids do you have and what are their ages?
MLH: My daughter Rebecca is 11 and my son Matthias is 8. She’s an impressive ballerina and competitive gymnast with a passion for fashion (like her mami). Her brother is a soccer star who readily admits he has “too much energy,” so he’s always up for playing any sport that involves a ball.
KB: My son Mason is 7. He’s a charmer and a comedian who wants to be an architect when he grows up. He knows mommy is a lawyer who also sells dresses.
What are your favorite activities to do with your kids?
KB: My favorite things to do with Mason are swim and paint outside.
MLH: Mine are to watch and photograph them jumping ocean waves, and seeing them during their gymnastics meets and soccer matches. Those are all moments of unbridled joy.
You’re both very busy running Pirouette, working day jobs, and juggling kids. How do you manage it all?
KB: Delicately! I’m happiest when I’m busy, and I enjoy the juggle. There are always a lot of moving pieces, but I try to spend my time on the train commute regrouping and reorganizing. Thank goodness for texts, emails, and occasional remote working!
MLH: To be honest, it involves minimal sleep and making the most of every minute. That means loads of multitasking like conference calls while driving the kids to school, listening to startup/marketing podcasts in the shower, and catching up on the news during workouts. It helps to batch daily tasks and get work done while the kids are in bed, but every now and then a true break is necessary to avoid burnout.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you need some “me time”?
KB: When you have two jobs, your “me” time is often “the other job” time, and I get a lot enjoyment out of Pirouette.
MLH: I tend to ignore any need for “me time,” but when things start to feel a bit overwhelming, I’ll meet up with a friend for drinks or indulge in a long texting session with my bestie since she’s so wise and hilarious.
What is your advice for other working moms?
MLH: Find a way to make the week less burdensome. It benefits everyone if the kids can help out with any little chores like emptying the dishwasher or packing their school snacks. We tend to take on everything ourselves and miss opportunities where others can lend a hand. But once we allow for more help at home, life becomes easier. Also (and this is key): hire a housekeeper as soon as possible!
KB: Chin up! It’s rough out there, but your child is benefitting all the time from your hard work. It’s such a gift to show your child the value of hard work and financial independence. It’s one thing to say women can do anything, but it’s even better to show them how.