Starting an upmarket clothing line for children is a gamble not many fashion designers take but for French designer Stéphanie Lemaire, it paid off.
Lemaire, the founder and CEO of Château de sable, started by exhibiting her small, but growing collection at trade fairs in Singapore before opening her first shop at Tanglin Mall in 2001, in the heart of the city-state's shopping district.
After 15 years, Lemaire now owns four stores in Singapore and Paris and operates another 20 with franchise partners around the world. The company manufacturers approximately 300,000 pieces of clothing each year.
"There is a need in this market," Lemaire, told CNBC's "Managing Asia." "You can do so many things, from baby, girl, boy...it's really fun," she added.
Despite her success, the early days were tough.
"It was a tiny shop, like 65 square meters," she said, describing her first store. "I didn't want to invest too much but I wanted to do a shop." Exhibiting at fairs about four times a month was not enough to run a business.
On the first day at her shop, she made 3,200 Singapore dollars ($2,274.10) by selling around 100 pieces of clothing.
For the first two years, the designer made each piece of clothing on a sewing machine at her home, before finding her first manufacturer in Malaysia.