With amazing style, a phenomenal work ethic, and an inspiring knack for innovation, it's no wonder that Ferebee Taube (who's worked as a brand consultant for Vogue, Theory, Chloé, and more) and Eleanor Ylvisaker (she co-founded Earnest Sewn) have been at the top of the fashion game for years. But as their new luxury styling site, Feyt, continues to find the "bookmarks" bar on the browsers of high-end shoppers (and R29 editors!) everywhere, we figured it was time to find out more.
So, we tapped the co-founders for their favorite places in NYC and spent a day trailing the ladies
on the town. Sure enough, we found that the duo is dripping in just as much chicness as their site. Bonus: They happen to be down-to-earth and hilarious, plus they've managed to find the perfect balance between industry events and motherhood. Want to pick their brains for career advice and find out their glam go-tos? Hang around The Smile long enough and you might just be able to strike up a convo over a nice bibb lettuce salad. Or you could just click through our exclusive photo shoot and interview
Photographed by Bek Andersen
What advice do you have for friends who are considering building a business together? Are there any challenges or happy surprises that
you didn't anticipate?
Ferebee: "First, I think it’s important to really know the person you are going into
business with, almost as well as you know yourself. Eleanor and I knew each
other for eight years before coming up with our business plan. It’s important to have compatible personalities and full trust and
respect for each other. It also helps, in regards to our type of business, that we
happen to have the exact same style!
Eleanor: "One thing that has made our professional relationship so easy is that our life
and lifestyle is very similar. This is by no means a requirement for a business
relationship, but it has made negotiating our time a lot easier, since we both have
similar schedules and demands. We also have a strong work ethic and have been
able to divide and conquer really well. It's important, especially at the start when
there is so much ground to cover, to know your strengths and weaknesses, and
respect each others process. So far it's actually been really easy and just made us
even better friends."
On Eleanor: Cacharel blouse, Willow blouse, Ay Not Dead x Opening Ceremony skirt, Balenciaga shoes.
On Ferebee: Isabel Marant top, Alexander Wang skirt, Celine shoes, Chanel watch.
The window of one of the girls' favorite restaurants, Balthazar.
How do you balance motherhood with being an entrepreneur?
F: "It’s not easy, but I find being both a mother and an entrepreneur the most
gratifying combination I could imagine, though there is always a level of
compromise. When I am with my kids, I make a point to be fully engaged (no
typing away on the iPhone!), and I devote every second of my weekends to my
kids. During the week, I am always home in time for their dinner and bedtime,
and the good thing about having my own business is that I can slip away for their doctor appointments, birthday parties, and other things I couldn’t imagine
missing out on…however, without fail, this means I put in another four hours of
work every night once they go to bed. No more leisurely nights of watching
TV for me…such is the life of a startup! But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Luckily, Eleanor and I are in the same boat, so we are actually quite productive at
midnight every night!
E: "The key is scheduling your time well, and having the support staff in place to
free you up for the higher-level business growth strategy decisions. We always
talk about how having this business gives us the balance that in turn makes us
better moms. If you manage your time efficiently by dedicating time to your
children and to work, it's possible to get it all done. It's extremely busy, but we
both have personalities that thrive on that."
What are your go-to menu items at Balthazar?
F&E: "We often share an
eggs Florentine at Balthazar for breakfast, and have either the Chicken Paillard
or steak Frites for lunch. At the bakery, we are both addicted to the hot ginger
tea…being so close to our office, we literally get one every day!"
Who is FEYT’s audience? What type of woman will use Feyt?
F & E: "FEYT’s audience is the modern luxury female shopper. The mission
of FEYT is to simplify the online shopping experience in the luxury market.
We want to answer the search problem by giving our members personalized
recommendations, catered to their personal profile. Therefore our service really
appeals to fashionable women, who don't have the time or the desire to spend
endless hours scouring the web, but want expert advice and recommendations
that work for them. As the next generation of younger, tech-savvy shoppers age
into the luxury market, we anticipate the majority of our growth coming from our
social platforms as well as our signature interactive 'closet,' which is a few weeks
away from launch."
On Eleanor: Theyskens' Theory blazer, Sandro romper, Balenciaga shoes.
On Ferebee: Vineet Bahl top, Alexander Wang shorts, Celine sandals.
Ferebee checks out the goods at Karkula, one of the ladies' go-to boutiques.
Tell us about Karkula and what you love about it?
F: "Karkula is one of my favorite furniture stores, because it carries an eclectic mix
of international designers. They sell modern furnishings with an emphasis on
How would you describe your interior design style and is it different
from your wardrobe style?
F: "I actually think they go hand in hand. With interiors, I prefer mid-century and modern design, with pops of
color. I also prefer contemporary art over more traditional art. I tend to dress
similarly…I like modern clothes, and often add pops of color in my wardrobe.
E: I also feel like my design aesthetic mimics my wardrobe. My favorite design
store is BDDW, which sources the most beautiful traditional material and crafts
it into sleek contemporary furniture. It’s classic yet modern, which is how I tend
to dress. There is a sense of timelessness and quality, above following passing
Where else do you go on date nights/ to find inspiration/ to shop?
F: "On date nights, my husband and I have recently started going back to Lil’
Frankies in the East Village, and we often go to Brooklyn to try new restaurants.
For shopping, I love Kirna Zabete, Isabel Marant, Opening Ceremony, and
Barneys. And, to find inspiration, I am often on Pinterest or searching Tumblr,
reading European fashion magazines, or simply walking around near our offices
on lower Lafayette Street."
E: "My husband and I have a few favorite spots that we rarely deviate from….Bar
Pitti, Il Bucco, and Omen in our Soho neighborhood, Marlow & Sons, Romans,
and Rucola in Brooklyn, and on occasion we will try a new place if we have
heard great things. Aside from all the favorite stores Ferebee mentioned, I also
love 45RPM in Soho, the Balenciaga store in Chelsea, and the new Celine store
uptown. And one of my all time favorite stores for shopping and inspiration is
Colette in Paris. For inspiration I love scouring street style blogs, especially
Tommy Ton and Mr. Newton. But mostly, I am inspired by all my best girl
friends ( who I have grown up with in New York), searching for the perfect pair of
vintage Levi’s with and obsessing over the latest issue of Vogue."
Tell us about 3x1 and why you love it?
E: "My old partner from Earnest Sewn, Scott Morrison, started 3x1, so I know first
hand the passion and dedication that is behind this store. In my opinion there is
no better denim brand in the world right now and I find the store exquisite. I love
the modern clean aesthetic and the fact that you can watch the tailors sew your
custom jeans as you wait. It is really a special and unique retail experience."
3x1 pants, Cacharel top, Balenciaga shoes.
Several 3x1 samples.
What rules of thumb do you maintain when curating your own closet?
What are your must-have pieces…(And is there anything you need to cut back on?)
F: "I try to only buy things that will last, and I won’t be sick of in one season.
Nothing too trendy. And it’s important to remain true to your personal
style…only buy things that you are comfortable in. Must-have pieces for me are
my old Balenciaga leather jacket, a Celine bag, T by Alexander Wangs T- shirts,
and lots of jeans. Because I work in a creative, casual environment, I tend to buy
lots of separates, and not many dresses.
E: "Having been a part of two denim companies, I actually do think I may have
too many jeans. But I cannot bear to get rid of any of them. Each pair feels like
a postcard from my past and reminds me of a specific time in my life. I am way
too nostalgic to let any go! The most important rule in fashion is to not be overly
trend driven. Stick to what works for you. Own your style, and interpret the
changing fashions within that sensibility. My must-haves are a pair of 3x1 skinny
jeans, my Alaia boots, my large worn in brown leather PS1 bag, my Margiela
high-tops, The Row leather pants, Isabel Marant t-shirts, and a Rag & Bone
oversized soft white button down shirt."
Is there any current style you just won't wear?
F: "I’m not so into frills and ruffles."
E: "As badly as I want to be that girl who can rock a cherry red lip, I just cannot
pull it off. I’m sure I will continue to try, but it’s never made it outside the
The girls play with unique wares from 3x1.
Ferebee: 3x1 sample skirt, Alexander Wang t-shirt.
What was the initial spark of inspiration for FEYT?
F & E: "We were looking at what was missing in the fashion realm online and
we felt that there was no real personal styling advice and customization for
users. Luxury fashion e-commerce has been around for over 10 years, but the
search aspect of the experience hasn't seen real innovation. People often talk
about 'discovery' when it comes to personal style, but online, the discovery — or
search experience — hasn't evolved. You have to know what you are looking for.
We think women should be able to experience great style without having to go
through all of the work of discovery. That's always been where our talent lies — we
know how to discover clothes and mix them together in such a way to create real
style. And that's what our technology will do for women. Our focus is shifting
from search based purchases to suggestion based purchases, capitalizing on the
commercial potential of recommending things people didn't even know they
Ferebee and Eleanor head for a bite to eat at downtown hot spot The Smile.
On Eleanor: Alexander Wang top, Current/Elliot jeans, Soludos x Opening Ceremony shoes, Raeni sunglasses, Proenza Schouler bag.
On Ferebee: Clover Canyon top, T-Bags shorts, Celine bag, Celine sunglasses, Chanel watch.
How would you describe your personal style?
F: "I think of my personal style as modern and eclectic. I like mixing designers
and price points…I never wear head-to-toe of any one designer."
What are your go-to menu items at The Smile?
F & E: "We both love the Chicken and Avocado bibb lettuce salad,
as well as the ricotta toast and the minted sugar snap peas."
How do you describe your personal style?
E: "I would describe my style as classic casual, but modern."
You've both been killing it in the fashion industry for quite a while —
what's been the biggest lesson you wish you knew when you started
F & E: "A lot of people get into fashion because they are intrigued by the glamour,
and then are disappointed by the hard work, long hours, little pay, and grunt
work once the initial novelty wears off. Luckily, for both of us, fashion is a true
passion and love, which it must be, to build a real career in an industry that can
be both tough and amazingly inspiring at once."
Where do you see FEYT in three months? Three years?
F & E: "In 3 months, FEYT will be fully launched, offering customized
recommendations for users. In three years, we plan to expand the business beyond
just womenswear, into areas such as art and interiors, and possibly hold our own
inventory and set up designer collaborations."