Brown Butter euh no how about Black Butter
Often undermined by the media, Marseille is more radiant than ever just like the smiles of the young ladies, and in particular Adélaïde’s smile. She started off as a stylist and is today at the heart of the antique district with her Black Butter shop. A universe that consists of clothing, decorative items, magazines or delights from faraway … all orbiting a small cocoon cabin …
Hi Adélaïde, you opened Black Butter about 8 months ago. What made you want to combine in one place, clothing, house decorations, books and food?
I’m originally a stylist, and this place combines all my passions. I have not invented anything because there are plenty of shops that do that but I wanted to offer products that are not seen everywhere, which are quite rare, that come from different backgrounds, and at affordable prices.
You studied fashion design at the Chardon workshop in Paris, working for the press and some designers. What led you to take the plunge and start your own business?
I’d had this project in mind for a long time but in the fashion world if you do not have enough dough you don’t get anywhere. I did competitive exams. I brought out a collection. I did an internship graduation in Bali for a brand called Abirato. This brand was created by two French designers. I returned home after two years to produce a collection for my competitive exams. I wanted to mainly participate in the Festival of Hyères. I was preselected but I wasn’t a finalist. I tried three times, it really pissed me off. At the time I was in Paris and I really wanted to leave , so I told myself “I’ll setup my little shop in Marseille.”
I’m not from Paris. I am from Besançon. I am a country girl. In Paris, I missed having outdoor space and being surrounded by nature. I had some friends in Marseille that motivated me to come. I knew the city a little, the sea and scrubland. As soon as you want to move you can move. I said, “this is it!” And I moved.
How did you end up in a neighborhood for antique dealers?
To end up in the area for antiques was a bit by chance. At first I was not looking in that area I was looking more towards Opera. I had the opportunity to visit the premises. The deal was to purchase the walls, so it was much more interesting than a leasehold. I did not hesitate for a second because the place was great. I do not regret it at all. There are always new shops opening, decoration shops, grocery stores, it’s great. I do not regret Paris.
Why did you choose Black Butter as the shop name?
I wanted a name in connection with food because I am passionate about cooking. Do you want the official version or the real version?
The real version!
So you want the real version. After months and months of research I came across brown butter which means beurre noisette in French. When I said this to my friends they said, “if you do not know that brown butter means beurre noisette in French, it kind of sounds like something shitty … It was a bit disgusting actually. I had a friend who suggested “Black Butter “I found this name great. That’s when we stopped to look for a name. And we kept Black Butter! The official version is that I was looking for a name in connection with the same food. And I came across the name Black Butter which is a cider jam made on the island of Gersey.
You’ve collaborated with Myrtille Barre for decoration. How did you imagine / think what your shop would look like?
I absolutely wanted to have two things shop. It was to have neon and the cabin. Otherwise it’s Myrtille Barre who thought and designed the shop. Firstly we had to put a little bit of black in the shop. We developed a color code that we spread throughout the shop. The hut was made in one morning by some friends who came from Carcassonne. We made the small concrete markers and the table. We did a lot of things ourselves. It took a bit of time because we were all girls! It was the work of girls but in the end we could have almost worked on a building site!
What does this cabin mean to you?
I needed a little roof. Even if it is hollow and that I am not immune to the rain. I needed a little cocoon, not something that looks like a box. I think it’s my countryside, when we were young we made huts in the woods. Customers are also super happy.
What made you want to associate OLOW to your universe?
I remember how I found OLOW. Certainly on the Internet because I spend my days on it. Basically I am a stylist for men and suddenly I have more affinity for men’s clothes than clothes for women. I thought that OLOW was cool. The value for money is top notch. The printed t-shirts are really fun. At first I only tested the t-shirts. This summer I took a few more things such as shirts, jackets, and I think that next winter I will put a larger order in ;)!
Today in Marseille you are all set up. Can you tell us more about your plans for the future?
Soon I would like to add a small canteen next to Black Butter. Black Butter Canteen. I guess it will not be next year, mostly in the next three to four years if all goes well. From time to time I help expose artists those who want to be exposed and those who I like. Right now I’m working with Julie Robert a designer who weaves. Next month I’ll be doing an exhibition with designers called Super Cocktail who make posters and piñatas. The last evening event was a collaboration with the wedding dress designer Christina Sfez: True Romance. For this occasion we were treated to a great buffet directed by Nadia Sammut at Auberge La Fenière in Lourmarin, who make food without gluten and lactose. It was really good. So now we try to hold evening events quite regularly.
The image of Marseille is still too often undermined by the media. What would you say to improve the image of Marseille?
Whenever we hear of Marseille people aren’t really talking about Marseille. It is a city like any other, super cool. This is a very beautiful city. I took my whole family who were quite reluctant to see my new place of life and ultimately they love it! I took to many different places. Marseille has nothing to do with what we hear. Marseille is beautiful, cozy, we have the sea, we have the MuCEM restaurant, and people are cool. Well certainly they’re from Marseille but that’s what makes it a nice city!
You imported a lot of culinary specialties and at Olow we’re very greedy. Why don’t you talk about them?
In terms of food I try to have products that are not found necessarily in Marseille, like the Maison Dandoy biscuits that come from a biscuit factory in Brussels. I also have a few English and American groceries such as lucky charms, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Big Red chewing gum and all the fuss that goes with it. I also have a little bit of Club Mate which is a German sparkling drink that replaces the Red Bull and is completely natural. It made from a plant that comes from South America. It’s energizing, an antioxidant and has many virtues. This drink is consumed in Berlin during evenings with rum or vodka. Most people who buy Club Mate here are those who had a party in Berlin and who absolutely find it again. Usually I have Mast Brothers which is very nice chocolate that is made by two brothers in Brooklyn. It is very trendy, packaged in attractive wrapping paper. They’re victims of their success as they increased prices as well as the decline of the euro their chocolate has become a bit expensive … I have new chocolate that is called the Bahen & Co. which comes from Australia. It is made by a couple of farmers who live in the south of Perth in Margaret River. They only make dark chocolate but it is really yummy.
What little gem of music have you recently discovered?
Husband is a Marseilles group which is really great. Otherwise, currently in the shop I listen to a lot of Banks who is an American singer and Fyfe which is a mixture of electro rather unusual but I love it. There my two current favorite pieces.
Thank you to Adélaïde.
– P.L –