While on our constant search of young leaders and creators, we stumbled upon two sisters, Natalie and Sarah, founders of We The Birds, a custom macaron shop rooted in fashion and lifestyle. We first met We The Birds at a local shop for a quick bite. Upon our meeting, we were struck by their uber cool style that effortlessly evoked international vibes. Sarah strolls in sporting pink hair, a denim fit, and jet black shades. Natalie is in all black, white sneakers, and a black dad cap. Immediately we thought to ourselves, where the hell are these girls from?
We wasted no time. "Where are you from?", asked our creative director. And that was it. The levees breached, the flood gates opened, and out spilled New Orleans, Maracaibo, Perth, Darwin, Houston, Singapore, Lafayette, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Thailand, Charleston and some others. Admittedly, envy sunk in. Don't get us wrong, Dallas is great but come on. Melbourne? Thailand? Singapore? We'll just pause here while you search for your passport.
It's not surprising, then, that We The Birds are globally influenced but also run their business in the same way. One thing that is really fascinating about them - and part of what's allowed them to stand out - is their unique approach at, well, let's be honest, a product that is always marketed the same way. All. The. Time. We The Birds however, have a fresh take on offering macarons rooted in their lifestyle. Two cups of fashion, two cups of international vibes, add baking skills and let sit in the oven for 20+ years. And you have We The Birds. Literally, everything they do is in good taste.
We introduce you to We The Birds
If Memory serves me, you two were born in New Orleans but you've lived just about everywhere. Take me down memory lane and how you finally made Dallas your home.
We had a pretty transient upbringing (moving over 17 times and living in countries like Singapore, Australia, Venezuela, France and Thailand). Because of our father's career we were constantly on the move -- at some point along the way, we started calling ourselves "the birds". So when we decided to start our business, WE THE BIRDS was an easy choice for our brand name.
S: Memory lane is a very windy and confusing road for us! LOL...but in summary, we moved a lot growing up (list below). I ended up in Dallas in 2010, when I graduated from college. I graduated with a double major in Studio Art and French and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Like most millennials who graduated during the recession, I moved in with my parents -- they happened to be living in Dallas at the time. My parents moved away 8 months after I moved in with them, but I stayed in Dallas since I had started working at Neiman Marcus. My boyfriend at the time (now husband), moved here and we began to build a life in Dallas. In 2015, Natalie moved here! that was when we decided to start WE THE BIRDS.
N: This is always a tough one for me to answer - does a bullet list suffice? After moving every year or two of my life, we moved to Singapore where I spent my "formative years" and lived there almost 4 years in middle and high school. We transferred to Lafayette where I finished high school, then I headed out west to Los Angeles for college. I transferred to College of Charleston my Junior year and graduated there. Houston for first two jobs then Dallas to finally reunite with Sarah and plant some "roots" (haha that part is a joke, but I am loving life in Dallas).
Of all the places you've lived, what city holds a special place in your heart?
S: Singapore - I was fortunate to spend my teenage (high-school) years there. It was the most multi-cultural, accepting place we have ever lived. I felt accepted and encouraged to be "me".
N: Singapore - For the first time, I was surrounded by people who related because we were all different. It was the most comfortable and "at home" I've ever felt. Cambodia comes in close second!
Natalie, you're vibrant, full of life, and your kindness is so genuine. We got that right? How would you describe yourself?
S: I'll take this one because I love talking about Natalie: Natalie is a multi-talented optimist who has a heart of gold. She is one of the most generous people I've ever known. She always lifts others up and genuinely wants to see everyone around her thrive. She is also extremely entertaining -- she's been my built-in comedic relief since 1990.
Sarah, you're rad and bad. Haha, how do you describe yourself?
N: Sarah is my rock. She is the most reliable and talented person I know. Reliable because there is nothing I fear she can't do! Talented because there is nothing she can't do or learn to do! She is driven and passionate about everything she does. While she is 100% rad and bad, she loves hard. Sarah is a force -- she doesn't break easily -- but she ALWAYS has the back of those she loves. She's been my #1 fan my whole life.
Before the birth of WE THE BIRDS, you both had full-time jobs and were killin' it in the 9-5. What happened?
S: I worked for Neiman Marcus corporate for the better part of my career (doing Web & Graphic Design for Cusp by Neiman Marcus). When Natalie moved to Dallas in early 2015, we decided to establish WE THE BIRDS (blog) as a creative outlet. At the time, I don't think either of us knew it would become our full-time job(s) but here we are, 2 years later, living and breathing all things WE THE BIRDS. Even though I am more fulfilled now than ever, I am really thankful for my time at corporate. I learned so much about work-flow processes and teamwork. I worked with some incredible people along the way and I'm grateful for the connections I made during my time there. And I always say this, but it's true -- being a creative, I really needed the structure of a corporate job to teach me how to actually get work done!
N: I always wanted to start something from nothing -- but the practical side of me steered me to gain steady, corporate experience first. I got my Bachelor's degree in International Business and worked in accounting and finance for four years. My down time was spent exploring business ideas, taking cooking classes, and attempting to master the art of macaron. It wasn't until I moved to Dallas in 2015 to start fresh and be closer to Sarah, that WE THE BIRDS (the blog) came to life! What started as a creative outlet for our love of fashion and French macarons, has bloomed into a full-fledged business. This was always the dream, but it didn't happen overnight.
You seem like the perfect duo. We're three sisters who know first-hand that working together isn't always a smooth sail. What are some of the challenges you face working together and does being sisters affect this in any way?
S: I would say, the fact that we are sisters and running a business together is the very thing that makes our lives both easy AND hard at the same time! working together is definitely not always easy...I'm pretty sure if you look up the definition of "sisters", you'll find the phrase "argue all the time." That being said, the fact that we are sisters means that we have an unbreakable bond -- at the end of the day, we know neither of us are actually going to leave the other. I wouldn't be in business with anyone else.
Natalie and I have very different (and complementary) skillsets. This makes us dynamic business partners. Natalie is stronger in the areas where I am weak...and vice versa. We have worked very hard to clearly define each of our roles in the business so that we know who is in charge of what! Also, we credit our therapists for keeping us sane ;)
N: Sarah and I know each other better than anyone, which is a good and bad thing. Most of our challenges stem from stress. At the end of the day, we both want the same thing, but for some reason lashing out at your sister is easier than effectively communicating on a bad day. We always say we are partners in life and business (Sarah is married FYI and her husband is an ALL STAR partner - but we have been each other's person through 17 moves). The one thing we never question is each other's passion and commitment to the business and love for each other. We work hard at finding resolutions in all arguments.
How did the idea of merging fashion and macarons come to life?
S: ORGANICALLY. We definitely did not start out by saying, "let's make a business that combines fashion + French macarons". When Nat moved to Dallas 2 years ago, we had not lived in the same city for over 10 years! So we wanted to do something to take advantage of this gift of time we had suddenly been given. We started WE THE BIRDS | Blog as a creative outlet. We both love fashion so that was an easy start. Natalie, being the gluten-free foodie that she is began mastering the art of making French macarons (because she loves to eat them) and started sharing pics of her macs on our blog. Before we knew it, people started asking us to make custom macarons. Thus WE THE BIRDS | Macarons was born.
Now you're in full operation and you've been working with major brands. How do you explain this shift? What was your tipping point?
S: Honestly, I think it just boils down to (nonstop) hard work, a clear vision and dedication to building our brand over the past 2 years! We have also noticed an uptick in partnerships since we hit over 10k followers on Instagram.
N: Ha! I still feel like we are barely getting started. That being said, we both believe that business is about relationships and we attribute a lot of our growth to our customers and partners ( as well as our interval WTB team). We are grateful for every partner/customer and no job is too small (or big for that matter).
I was thinking of the many ways WE THE BIRDS inspires us. I narrowed it down to two words. One of them was drive. The other was passion. And they go together: driven by passion. Thoughts?
N: That's incredibly nice to hear. We both feel an insane amount of drive and passion for what we do and what we are creating each and every day. We laugh about it (often after a week with little sleep) and remind ourselves we are putting in the work now for the long-term. What's funny is that we always describe our dad as incredibly driven and our mom, passionate. Maybe it's genetic :)
Who inspires you?
Style-wise: I love Kate Moss.
Work-wise: my dad, he taught us that hard work always pays off.
Life-wise: Charlotte, our younger sister - she is easily the coolest and knows exactly who she is.
N: Everyone. I always feel invigorated when I meet someone new and learn something new. Big businesses inspire me as well. I always think about how they probably started small. It fascinates me to think about all the hard work that led to their success and growth.
With so much passionate drive in what you do, how do you make time for other areas in your personal lives? And what do you do on your time off?
S: I won't lie, I am struggling with making time for anything other than work lately. My husband is probably the most patient and selfless person I've ever known. He supports me unconditionally, so when I have a free moment I try to dedicate my attention to him. I like to play dominoes (and my new favorite game, Rummikub) with anyone who will play with me. Truth be told, I love nothing more than sitting on my balcony, smoking cigarettes and getting into a deep conversation with another person.
N: Oh...Well, luckily Sarah and I have incredibly supportive friends and beaus. We are surrounded by people who believe in us and allow for us to work around the clock even if it means less quality time. We are both aware that we need breaks. We take turns going on mini vacations and dedicate time for "date nights" and "girls nights" and the like.
You probably know by now that McCoy Road is all about spending time wisely, hence the tag #timewellspent. What does time well spent mean to you?
S: Omg this hashtag could not be more relevant to me right now! Before WE THE BIRDS, I pretty much spent my time doing meaningless, mind-numbing activities and spent an absurd amount of time/energy trying to escape the monotony of the day to day. Nowadays, I actually don't find pleasure in watching tv or drinking alcohol (the way I once did), instead I just want to be productive and clear-headed. Time feels so much more valuable to me now...and wasted time feels like the greatest tragedy...ever.
N: First of all, I LOVE that motto and it's probably why I feel so inspired by McCoy Road and obsessed with your watches. Time well spent means being intentional for me. When I am intentional with my time and energy spent, I feel the most fulfilled and at peace in my life. Racing against the clock is the opposite of #timewellspent to me.
If you had 5 more hours in a day, what would you do?
S: I should say 'meditate or journal" (even though I would probably just work more). My therapist is constantly telling me to stop 'doing' and just 'be'. Clearly I don't have a problem with 'doing'...I need to work on just 'being'.
N: Run, stretch, pray and just be still for an hour or so. Oh and sleep another hour! I am highly hyperactive and the only holistic coping mechanism I've learned is to run and be quiet in prayer.
Natalie: Dear younger self...
N: "Focus on one sport (track), practice with discipline, and dedicate yourself to being the best that you can at it."
Sarah: Dear younger self...
S: It's okay that you aren't into sports...
A piece of advice for aspiring young entrepreneurs:
S: Just start! One thing I know for sure - you simply won't get anywhere if you do nothing. So do.
N: Keep doing it. You will need to practice what you do to gain courage to overcome fear and confidence to bring your idea to the next level.
Order custom French macarons at wethebirdsmacarons.com