My Life’s Work | Martine Assouline, CEO, Maison Assouline

In this regular series, we meet a Walpole member to discover what makes them tick, how they define success, and what keeps them awake at night. This week Martine Assouline, CEO, Maison Assouline.

Martine finished high-school at 17 years old, studied law at university for three years and then went on to serve as Communications Director for various luxury and fashion brands. In 1994 she founded publishing house Assouline with her husband, Prosper.

What does British luxury mean to you?
Quality. Charming men, cars and horses.

What’s your vision for Maison Assouline?
My focus continues to be developing the most chic and interesting books available. Books are the best accessories for interiors and food for the mind.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To be doing what I love in life and to be sharing both my personal and professional life with family.

How do you define success?
To be featured on the cover of Vanity Fair.

What’s your greatest extravagance?
To stop and rest.

What do you like most about your job?
Being alone and immersing myself in music to work a new book project.

Encountering people who do not understand books. Thankfully it doesn’t happen very often.

What has been your greatest regret?
Starting a company without any idea of what it takes to run business.

What’s the best business idea you have ever had?
Involving my two boys in the business. They are young, smart and so full of passion.

What was your big break?
Suzy Menkes wrote a full feature in her New York Times Fashion & Style column on Asssouline just four years after we founded the company.

What is your guiding principle?
Always do your best.

Which living person do you most admire?
Catherine Deneuve, she is such a free spirit.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

What keeps you awake at night?
Encounters with toxic people.

What do you most value in your friends?
Empathy and understanding.

In a parallel life, what would you be doing?
A singer.

What piece of advice would you give someone entering the luxury industry now?
Know your product, your market, and your cash flow!