Meet Our Founder
Our Founder Yesim Philip started L’Etoile Sport in 2012 and the brand has been steadily growing ever since. Over a decade later, Yesim’s vision for a brand that combines style and performance has never felt more relevant. Get to know Yesim and her journey from professional athlete to brand founder below:
What made you want to start L’Etoile in 2012?
So much of the tennis wear at the time was geared towards pro-athletes or very young women. I noticed that many of the cuts weren’t flattering, fabrics were flimsy or hemlines were too short. However, I knew that a lot of women play tennis as adults and they want to look great. Women are looking for styles they love and quality fabrics. So I decided to create a line that delivered both performance and style.
When you were putting together your first collection, what was your starting point?
For me, the quality and feel of the fabric is the most important. I don’t use polyester or fabrics that feel uncomfortable. Our fabrics don’t look or feel like typical performance wear and many are moisture wicking and include SPF. We often use a really incredible lace performance fabric from Brazil that has become our signature. In terms of style, I have always been inspired by vintage tennis wear and love combining those influences with current fabric technology.
That court to cocktails concept is an important one for L’Etoile. What inspired it?
I started my career as a professional basketball player in Turkey. And at the time, no one was making sportswear that you liked so much that you would want to wear off the court. So after a game, we would quickly change out of our uniforms and into our jeans and tops. I always believed in the idea that you can be a powerful athlete but also want to look great. L’Etoile was a way of merging that idea into clothes you can play in, but also wear for your daily life.
Tell us about your time as a professional basketball player. My aunt was a physical education teacher and was the force behind my initial interest in basketball. Then I fell in love with the sport and ended up playing professionally for many years. I have always identified as an athlete, The values that I developed there– integrity, teamwork, sportsmanship and healthy competition–have stayed with me.
What sports do you play now?
I love to be active. I play tennis, ski, run, and golf. I also play basketball with my kids all the time–I used to beat my middle son, but now I can’t! We’re a big sports family and love to watch sports as much as we love to play.
What advice for other founders who are thinking they might want to start a business?
If you find a niche in the market, you should go for it! It has to be an original idea though. In 2011, nobody was really doing elevated sportswear and I wanted to build something new. I also tell people to be patient and not expand too quickly. A lot of great things happen after five years.
You are launching your summer collection this month, what are your favorite pieces?
I’m really excited about the Mesh Zip Performance Polo. We have been able to make performance fabric super comfortable and chic. I love how versatile it is, you can wear it for tennis, golf or as a chic everyday shirt. Our new summer tennis dresses are incredible. They are all vintage-inspired and don’t look like anything else out there right now. I can’t wait to wear them.