Image by Adrian Mesko
Elise Pioch is the Woman behind Maison Balzac a house of playful hand made objects for everyday life. Her perfumed candles and delicate objects like vases, oil burners and carafes have gained a following for their bright and joy evoking designs.
Working with makers and perfumers in Australia, France, Japan and Mongolia, each piece is born from intuition and childhood nostalgia and is a relationship between Elise and her makers.
Hi Elise! Welcome to the Woman Of Series! Can you tell us what it is you create?
Hello, thanks for welcoming me!! I create objects for the home that make everyday life amusing. I imagine playful, colourful or unexpected shapes and fragrances; each of these things tell the story of a happy childhood in the south of France.
When did you start Maison Balzac? What inspired you to go down this path?
I started MB in 2012 without knowing that I was also pregnant! So I created two life changing entities at the same time. Aged 36 I had this urge to tell my own stories and style, to express my voice and to sprinkle happiness into everybody's life. I had no expectations other than telling a story and exploring product design after working in fashion for 12 years.
Talk us through your creative process. How do you reach your signature style?
My creative process is extremely organic, tactile and visual. It is mainly based on intuition and my own drawings. I am inspired by the interior and lifestyle of my grandmother and mother (Jeanine and Nadine Balzac) as I remember through my inner child's eyes (that takes us back to the 70's, 80's and 90's kind of interiors). They had an incredible sense of balance and fun which I aim to pour over every collection.
I also like to revive my memories by visiting antique stores, flea markets and auction houses' catalogues from France. I send my drawings to the makers and they know exactly how to proceed because we have worked together for 8 years now. My favourite part is to actually find and connect with makers. Each of them specialise in her/his field (glass blowing, marble shaping, incense making, perfume blending...) using their hands, nose and instinct, we bounce back ideas to get to the best possible object and it works every time!
What is your favourite piece you’ve created? Why
My favourite creation so far is our marble snail/incense holder because it is hand made in France by artists Claire and Howard but also because it is an eccentric piece of useful design. But asking me to choose a favourite piece is like asking to choose a favourite child! I have such a big family now :)
What single tool or strategy have you found invaluable to your business so far?
The strategy I have found the most useful to my business so far is to be kind, genuine and dreaming at all times.
What (and who) is involved in the process of bringing your pieces to life?
Each piece is a relationship between myself and the maker. I design it and we discuss a way to make it a reality. The process can take hours or years but I rarely give up.
What is your big hope and dream for your work?
My big hope and dream is to bring a smile on people's faces as they open their purchase or gift their MB object. Also I hope to build a successful, joyful and generous business that my daughter Loulou can continue to feed with her own dreams.
What are your top 3 superpowers?
- my imagination
- the love I received from my family and that I am able to give unconditionally
- my tenacity
We’re all about women inspiring women. Who inspires you?
My biggest source of female inspiration comes from my grandmother, my mother and strong figures like Coco Chanel, Gala Dali, Frida Khalo, Charlotte Perriand and legends like Faye Toogood, Sabine Marcelis, Doctor Lisa Cooper and so many more....
What advice would you impart on the next generation of women, and women in
business? My advice to the next generation of women in or out of business is to help each other out, to demonstrate empathy and to celebrate individual differences and voices.