Revae Schneider is one busy woman! She runs her own cocktail crafting and bar conceirge business, Femme du Coupe, has her own product line, Le Sirop, just launched a fabulous blog, Drink Fashionably, and always finds time for a perfectly applied ruby red lip. We recently caught up with Revae for a tour of her charming studio apartment, the inside scoop on all of her business ventures, and of course a couple hangover tips…
Tell us about your brilliant business Femme du Coupe?
Femme du Coupe, my cheeky little baby, started out as what I expected to be a part time side business in October of 2011. I launched it without honestly knowing what I was getting myself into, but three years later, we’re still very much alive and kicking! I started the business with the intention of providing home shopping services for the home bar, showing people how to make a few cocktails, and then just showing people the appropriate things for whatever event they had coming up. Someone then suggested that I teach a cocktail class or two to generate interest in what I was doing. I didn’t think much of it, but quickly realized that the personal shopping side of things was going to be a bit harder for people to understand and that classes caught on much more quickly.
Currently, I primarily teach cocktail classes focused on showing easy ways to make cocktails at home. We tend to do a lot of bachelorette parties, corporate events, and girls nights out since it’s a fun way to socialize with a little liquid lubrication greasing the wheels! I also provide mixology catering, making fabulous drinks that come to you versus you having to go to a bar to get a great drink for an event. Lastly, if you’ve been to Siena Tavern off of Kinzie and Dearborn in Chicago, you may have had a cocktail, or hopefully three, that I developed the recipe for! So it’s really a multifaceted business along with a product line that I’m working on and my new blog, Drink Fashionably!
Side note: If you’ want to mix a couple cocktails with Revae (and seriously- who doesn’t?!) may we suggest this fabulous event coming up next week!
Where did the idea for Femme du Coupe come from?
That’s kind of a funny story or at least I think it is! Back in May/June of 2011, I had just helped open Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar and finally found some free time in my schedule to attempt a normal social life and date. I had gone on I think three or four dates with this guy, who also popped by the bar a few times to have a drink and say hi! He eventually said to me, “I just moved into this new condo! You make such great drinks, could you help me shop for my bar and show me how to make a few good drinks at home?!” That’s when the light bulb went on for me. Prior to being behind the bar, I worked as a fashion stylist and personal shopper, I just figured why couldn’t I do the same thing I used to do with people’s closets but just for their bars? I said to him, “That’s brilliant, I could make a business out of that!” He didn’t agree. We never went out again but that’s really how I got the idea to start the business. It’s really amazing how one person can really change your life.
Truly a lesson learned there.
One of the many things we love about you business is your branding, and we’re loving that even your apartment appears to be “on brand”, is this intentional? How would you describe your aesthetic and how has it developed along with your business?
You’re so sweet! I think the name has a lot to do with it. Femme du Coupe, means ladies cup in French and the coupe glass (the traditional champagne saucer) is said to have been styled after Marie Antoinette’s breast, so it’s a little cheeky and provocative but feminine at the same time sort of like me once you get to know me.
When we sat down to do all of the branding we sat in my apartment and looked at all the things I had around and talked about all of the things I love, which may be why my place feels so reflective of the branding. I just felt like at the time if it reflected me, that people might connect with it along with what I was doing. Initially I was so in love with the 20’s art deco feel but it was just on the verge of all of the Speakeasy/Gatsby explosion into mainstream culture, which was not intentional. As we are approaching our 3rd year, we are now moving away from that vintage/speakeasy sort of a feel into a more elegant, modern, yet classic aesthetic that is reflective of girls and women just like you and me, who want to throw a really lovely party and get a little boozy while doing it!
This is one of the most brilliant uses of space we’ve ever seen! Any advice you’d like to share with others looking to make the most out of a studio apartment?
Be sneaky! Find things that are out of the ordinary that speak to you but are also conducive to space conservation. I have an old ice chest that I use for storage and a bar, an old bakers rack that now serves as a glass and punch bowl rack. I have four cocktail tables that have the tops hiding behind my couch, the stands underneath the couch. You’d never know I could host a party of 20 ppl on an hour’s notice if you just walked in unannounced.
So, about entertaining in a studio apartment… What’s the best gathering you’ve had here?
Truly and sadly enough, I personally don’t have tons of time to host parties myself but nearly everything in my place is mobile so I can always move things around depending on who wants to come over and pregame before going out. I collect vintage punch bowls and pitchers which make cocktails really easy for a sizeable group.
What essentials does every home bar need?
Besides booze? Fresh lemon and limes. Always stick to fresh and if you have pre bottled lemon and lime juice, get rid of it. Gross. As far as alcohol, I always recommend a few basics, vodka, gin, bourbon, tequila, rum, and scotch for your base spirits, Campari or Aperol, St Germain, and either Cointreau or Grand Marnier, not triple sec, for liqueurs. Plus a few bottles of Le Sirop won’t hurt the cause.
Where do you find all of your amazing barware? (carts, glasses, tools, etc?)
Most of my glassware is vintage and I go to the ends of my gas tank to find them. Anytime I go on a road trip, I stop at every mom and pop antique store I see a sign on the side of the highway for. Sometimes I walk out empty handed but a lot of the times I find some real gems you’d never find in the city. Barware, I recommend Cocktail Kingdom. They have some really cool bar equipment that you can’t really find in stores.
What’s your take on art? Where do you find art for your home?
Art is a new found fascination for me. I had a lot of Ikea stock photography that I sort of inherited when I moved here. I pretty much left everything I had in Miami when I moved here and just started anew. I think my favorite pieces right now are my pineapples by Jen Ramos. I love that the money is going to a good cause but they’re kind of reflective of my personality and where I am right now in life. Colorful, sweet,
and full of love! I also really love the 1926 alcohol prescription from Ashland Ave in Chicago. A little french photography and inspirational sayings in there as well that mostly have come from Etsy just kind of complete the package.
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome having your own business?
I don’t think I’ve truly overcome that hurdle yet. I started the business from every penny I had to my name and it’s been such a blessing, but now it’s taking the company from just me, into a real business and growing and expanding. I’ve tried a few different things but I think timing is everything so I’m trying to figure out the best way as one person. On a side note, I’m looking to take on a business partner for any Femmes out there interested in operations!
We’ve recently been inspired reading about your health/fitness initiative! What is the secret to enjoying yourself (and a few cocktails) while taking care of your body?
More than anything making time for yourself is half of the battle and the second is finding something you love. While my business is cocktails, a lot of people drink socially for work, entertainment, etc, I’m no different. It was really hard when I started the business for me to want to take time away from the business for personal needs but after 2 years of working myself to the bone, I realized that that was just as unhealthy as it was to not find the time. You are a really important part your business and if you are burned out and not doing things to clear your head, it really becomes an issue. If you want your business to thrive, you also willing to give yourself that time outside of the office.
What’s been the best moment of your career to date?
It’s really not a public moment but I get the most joy out of former class attendees who see me out or something and come up just to tell me they now still drink gin or whiskey because of the cocktails they tried in my class. That’s what I take the most pride in.
What’s your favorite cocktail?
It kind of depends on my mood but an Old Fashioned is my go-to cocktail. I never thought I’d be a whiskey fanatic but I’m always surprised at what curve balls life throws my way! For summer, I’m really enjoying a little gin, lime, honey, thyme, and pear liqueur with just a hint of soda water!
Okay, seriously… What’s the best hangover cure??
WATER! Drink water while you’re boozing and you’ll thank yourself the next day. My rule of thumb is a glass of water per cocktail. I can’t drink coconut water due to food allergies now but that was my next best solution.
[Photos By Hallie Duesenberg]