In 1991, Nicole Houques created Coté Bastide, a branded collection of lifestyle items inspired by life in Aix-en-Provence. Twenty-five years later, Frédéric and Shirin Fekkai have embraced her vision, refurbishing the brand with a new name – “Bastide” – and a fresh line of 46 locally sourced, natural products. While Frédéric was inspired by the extraordinary artisanship and the terrain of their home, Shirin spotted the necessity for healthy products safe for family-use.
The perfect combination of both ideas, Bastide immerses its consumers in the magnificence of the Provence, combining its finest, hand-curated ingredients with a true savoir-faire and a timeless elegance.
BWB met with the glamorous couple to learn more about their beautiful line.
For starting your new business, Bastide
Shirin: We were inspired by the soft pace of life in Provence, the way people live, cook, paint, eat, decorate and garden… and, of course, their effortless beauty.
Frédéric: The people in Provence have an effortless beauty. I call it “slow beauty.” It comes from the Provence way of life, eating and drinking organic fruits and vegetables, taking time to do things, to enjoy life, family, and friends. It comes from taking the time to care for themselves.
How to be an effective leader
Frédéric: First of all, an effective leader must have a compelling story. You need to be authentic, trustworthy and have integrity. I also believe that you need treat everyone with respect and you need to be able to motivate and take care of your team. I always push myself to delegate and give authority to others as much as possible.
How to stay creative
Shirin: It’s important to get enough sleep, absorb the sunshine, do yoga, and have a good sense of humor.
YOUR CITY :Aix-en-Provence
What you love most
Shirin: The town carrousel and eating nutella crepes with the kids.
Go-to lunch place
Shirin: Le Chastel, on 2 Rue Portalis, Aix-en-Provence.
Morning beauty routine
Shirin: I drink a glass of water, do ten sun salutations to wake up the body, take a two-minute shower and then I usually double cleanse, starting with a gentle cleanser that won’t over-dry my skin. I then follow with a hydrating floral water to remove any remaining make-up or impurities. During the day I do not like to wear make up on my skin, but I always wear eyeliner, mascara, and lip balm.
Frédéric: Working at Bastide, I am so lucky to be able to dress casually. Having said that, I am French so it’s always casual chic! It’s all about the beautiful fabrics and the cut, not the brand.
Frédéric: I enjoy sitting by the fireplace and reading a story to the children. I am also trying to meditate as much as possible.
Shirin: In the winter, I love a massage by the fire, a good book and dark chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat. On summer nights, I imagine a game of pétanque and then dinner on our terrace with family, friends, and some nice rosé.
Must-have skincare products
Shirin: I have a Nutritive Lip Balm by Sisley in every one of my bags and pockets. I also adore the Bastide Corps-a-Corps Body Cream for my perpetually dry hands, elbows, and feet. We also travel a lot between Aix and New York, and I always, always fly with a super hydrating floral mist that we have developed. It’s not on the market yet, but I take our lab samples with me everywhere.
Favorite makeup products
Frédéric: Bastide Ambre Maquis.
Shirin: Bastide Rose Olivier.
Best-sellers for the body or home
Frédéric: We want to bring the scents and ingredients from beautiful Provence into people’s homes. For now, the best sellers are the Rose Olivier Eau de Toilette and the Miel de Lavande Artisanal Hand Wash. We are looking forward to launching our skin care collection, inspired by the ancient rituals of French women and made with naturally potent, non-toxic ingredients from Provence.