Article first published in Forbes Monaco July/August 2021 issue.
Over two decades, Sabrina Monte-Carlo has opened five showrooms in Monaco but her new e-shop for designer tableware has made her an international name in home accessories.
Sabrina Monteleone-Oeino was in the middle of decorating her apartment terrace when she was faced with an abysmal selection of plastic patio chairs. A search for glamorous outdoor furniture led her to discover a niche market and, at the age of 30, she decided to open a designer fashion-meets home accessories store. In 1999, the daughter of a tailor and a seamstress launched her fi rst Sabrina Monte-Carlo showroom.
“We started with one store, then moved to a big three-story showroom on avenue Princesse Grace,” explains Monteleone-Oeino. “It took a lot of work but was an overnight success. Soon after yacht and villa clients started asking me for tableware, curtains and indoor furniture,” says the Monegasque, who started with one assistant and today has a team of 40 at fi ve stores in Monaco and one in Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat. It is a family aff air. “Sophie, my sister, oversees the furniture department and large yacht projects. My daughter Manola takes care of interior design projects and created the Kids department, whereas my other daughter Carla oversees our brand image and tableware collaborations.”
The interior designer, who has decorated over 150 of the world’s largest yachts, says her clientele is a local and international mix “all with very diff erent personalities and tastes, which makes our job so interesting.” Monteleone-Oeino puts her success down to one rule: a happy client. “It is very important to remember that we are a retailer, not a design business.”
Still she fi nds time for strategic develop ment. The entrepreneur opened the emblematic Arts de La Table and Lalique showroom on boulevard des Moulins. Last year, she expanded with a fabric and curtains shop and then, in October, opened a children’s store (also on boulevard des Moulins) with a variety of toys and accessories, from furniture and fabrics to bed and bath linens, for newborns to 12-year-olds.
She launched an e-shop for tableware and accessories—the “net-à-porter” of decoration— in 2019 and says backgammon boards and coff ee table books are online bestsellers.
“It has been really fun to see where customers are ordering from—the U.S., Russia, Switzerland and even Australia.”
Large crystal pieces by Lalique (a Mermaids Vase By Terry Rodgers & Lalique 2020 Black Crystal will set you back €4,900) or Christofl e silver (a K+T Silver-Plated Two-Bottle Champagne Cooler Bucket costs €1,360) are also hot items. Monteleone-Oeino adds, “We are defi nitely seeing a trend toward cozier materials and lighter colors, palettes of whites, off -whites and bone.”