If you ever stumble upon Maisonette, you’ll find yourself instantly transported to a whimsical land of unique finds. With its fashion-forward apparel, trendy toys and dreamlike bedroom décor, the children’s shop is anything but mainstream.
When its founders Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza Roccia left their jobs at Vogue, they were determined to create a shopping solution that curated boutique finds for their kids. Now, nearly two years since its launch, Maisonette lets you easily shop high-quality clothing, toy and baby gear brands all in one place. But if you ask the moms what’s been their biggest career accomplishment to date, it’s establishing their “family-first” culture at work. Learn more about the mompreneurs and their brainchild boutique in our chat below.
What pushed you both to leave your jobs at Vogue and start Maisonette?
LMR: Shortly after Sylvana and I became moms, we realized there was a huge gap in the online children's market. We would spend hours and hours late into the night on dozens of children’s websites, searching for the things we needed for our kids. We realized that this market was incredibly fragmented and inefficient to shop, particularly in a world that offers an online one-stop-shop for almost everything else you need in your adult life—whether it be groceries, kitchen supplies or products for your pets. We knew we had to create a centralized and curated shopping solution for parents. Maisonette is the first marketplace to exclusively aggregate high-quality, stylish children’s brands from around the world, across all categories and at every price point.
How have your experiences as mothers shaped Maisonette?
LMR: Maisonette is a labor of love, and so is being a mother! We are both mothers of three, so we work to keep Maisonette curated with items we absolutely love and would buy for our children. We are also a family-first company, so it’s not out of the ordinary to see minis running around from time to time or coloring in our kids’ play area. We keep our office very kid-friendly. Family comes first, always!
What have the early days of Maisonette been like?
SWD: As a working mom, juggling the work-life balance is always the largest challenge. Start-up days are long, but we always knew we wanted to create a family culture at Maisonette. We really feel that when you give your employees autonomy and ownership over their own work-life balance, they come to work with so much more focus and energy. We’ve come a long way in a year and a half but we’ll continue to keep this pillar paramount to our company culture.
Do your kids have favorite items from the shop?
LMR: I will definitely be purchasing one of the Schoenhut pianos this holiday season. They’re classic!
What's something you've learned about yourself since becoming a mother?
SWD: I've learned to appreciate my own mother and every other mother in the world, because it truly is the hardest job. It's also the most fulfilling.
Do you have a favorite parenting hack?
SWD: My hack is taking my kids out to restaurants pretty frequently. It teaches them to try new foods and practice good manners, but also lets you have a meal you enjoy. You're not just sitting around the dining room table eating leftover mac and cheese!
What about your most epic #MomFail?
SWD: I forgot to renew my daughter's enrollment for school, so for a week she didn't have a school to go to! I didn't tell my husband until I knew she was back in. It was horrible!
What's your guilty mom pleasure?
LMR: Definitely a sweet stash. At the office we have a drawer reserved just for chocolate, and I don't know what I would do without it. We have to refill it every three days!
Any advice for working moms?
LMR: Don't be afraid to talk about the challenges of motherhood and balancing a busy career with family, friends or even colleagues! It takes a village.
Published December 2018
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