Alexandra and Alison Chemla swap business and fashion advice.
When Alexandra Chemla graduated from Brown University in 2009, she landed what many art world hopefuls would consider a dream job: a gig as a gallery assistant at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, in New York. But Chemla, now 28, quickly became frustrated by the antiquated binder system that the gallery used to showcase works to perspective buyers. The daughter of an entrepreneur—her father, Alexandre Chemla, founded the billion-dollar luxury-travel empire Altour—she knew just what to do when struck by the feeling that “there’s gotta be a better way.” And so she developed ArtBinder, a digital app that is revolutionizing the way galleries show their inventory. While the art and business industries have responded with enthusiasm—Chemla counts megadealers David Zwirner and Barbara Gladstone as clients, and she recently scored expansion funds from the investor Leon Black and from Index Ventures, which has financed sites like Net-a-Porter and 1stDibs—her younger sister Alison had a slightly different take. “When Alex first told us about her app idea, I was definitely surprised, because I was always the computer person in our family,” says the 26-year-old. “But after watching her succeed, I knew I could do my own thing.” Her own thing, the fine-jewelry line Alison Lou, has also proved to be a hit, having earned a following with celebrities like Rihanna and Jemima Kirke. The sisters, both native New Yorkers, live in the same building, where closet raids often mix with chats about business strategy. “It’s great having someone to talk to about the struggles of starting a business—but also someone to celebrate the successes with,” Alexandra says. No word yet on what to expect from their youngest sister, Lili, who graduated from Bard College this past spring, but, Alexandra says, “give it a year.”