The Oppy staff is proud to continue a feature called “Stern Somebody,” telling the stories of remarkable classmates and how they became the exceptional people they are today.
Christian Blanchet is a second-year EMBA student at Stern. He has a B.S. in Business Management from the University of South Alabama, where he graduated as an NCAA Academic All-American in men’s golf. Over the past year, Christian launched a men’s swim and resort wear brand called Marèa Maréa. He found a partner his first year and leveraged the NYU network to help build it. I got the chance to sit down with Christian to discuss his exciting venture!
Where are you from? What did you do before Stern?
I’m originally from Gainesville, Florida. After graduating college, I played professional golf and managed a golf club in Alabama. Always having an interest in fashion and a love for New York, I decided to switch careers and make the move to Manhattan in 2013. Not having any connections in the fashion industry, I spent three months living on an air mattress with a random roommate from Craigslist, before finally landing a job at Macy’s. After two years working at Macy’s in various roles, I moved from the department store side to the brand side where I managed the wholesale business for brands such as Theory, Seven For All Mankind, and Mackage.
What made you choose Stern?
I chose Stern because of its location in the heart of New York City and because I felt it was the most entrepreneurial and diverse program out of the schools I applied to. I entered grad school knowing my end goal is to run and grow creative companies at the highest level, and I felt the network I would build at Stern would help propel me in that direction.
How do you feel about remote learning?
I’m neutral on remote learning. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my classmates despite the circumstances we find ourselves in on a day-to-day basis.
Tell me more about your brand, Marèa Maréa. How did you come up with it and what roles do you and your co-founder play?
Marèa Maréa is a men’s swim and resort wear brand created for the modern-day traveler. The ethos of the brand lies in the idea that when we travel, we grow as people–we become more present and more connected to cultures outside of our own. Our goal was to create apparel that would complement that experience.
From a biz school perspective, we looked at the current competition within the resort wear market and saw the opportunity to create a brand voice and a product that spoke to the traveler as opposed to the “vacationer.” With only a few legacy players dominating the men’s swimwear category, the opportunity to inject a more modern voice at an exclusive price point was something we had to take advantage of.
As co-founder, my focus is on production, design, and marketing, and my business partner, Pablo Mares (fellow NYU Stern EMBA), oversees the financial and fundraising side of the business.
We are launching with a pre-order for our swim short on March 13th at 7:00 PM ET. The Marèa Short is made of sustainable fabrics milled in Portugal and manufactured here in New York. We believe it’s the perfect combination of luxury materials and functional craftsmanship, something meant to be worn from the city to the sea and the moments in between.
What do you do in your free time?
I joke that I am in early retirement in terms of my golf game, but I do spend a lot of my free time photographing people around New York City. You can check out some shots from my street photography at www.christianblanchet.com. I also volunteer at New York Cares and Big Brothers & Big Sisters of America.
Thank you for zooming with me today and I look forward to following the success of your brand! Check out Christian and Pablo’s resort wear line, Marèa Maréa, available on March 13th!