“It was my friend’s baby clothes collection that inspired me to become an entrepreneur. She showed me it was possible to combine work and family life. I had the support of my husband, Arnaud De Montille, from day 1. A glass of wine to brainstorm for the name. Arnaud said “Merci”, I said “Maman.” Merci Maman was born! Baby #3 made me surround myself with talented people: I hired my 1st employee. Baby #4 on the way, I had to employ a 4th person. Then the family stopped growing but the company continued growing at a fast rate. Being a mother empowered me: it became such a big success that my husband joined me! He quit his job in the City and joined the company as employee #6.
Believe me… mothers make GREAT entrepreneurs!
I became a mum and an expert multi-tasker simultaneously. Being a mum forced me to ask for help as I had little time available: I found my illustrator while talking to a friend, my graphic designer from school as our boys were in the same class, I did my first Xmas fair in a school invited by a friend from the parish, my photographer was her husband, etc. I created my own community and supportive network.
As with my children, I have learnt how to be more patient with my team and trust the people around me. When you trust your team, just like your kids, you make them grow, be responsible, be autonomous. They are “in charge” of the business as much as you are. Mothers have empathy for others and an understanding for human beings, which every business in the world needs!
The word ‘maman’ is in the name of my business! Our tag line is “Celebrating Motherhood” as we design jewellery mainly for mums and celebrate the special bond between loved ones.
Now Merci Maman employs 25 people in London and Paris. Two amazing royal milestones: the Duchess of Cambridge spotted wearing a Merci Maman necklace and Her Majesty The Queen who will reward us with the Queen’s Award at Buckingham Palace in a month time. Such an incredible journey from my little family house in Fulham!”