People 29 November 2018
For fashion-forward parents, finding stylish clothing for their kids can be a hassle. No one wants to drag their little ones around a mall in a desperate search for chic options. That might not even exist in that particular place. Maisonette is here to solve that pesky problem and make the lives of parents a whole lot easier. Rather than going on a long shopping excursion, diaper bag in hand, Maisonette provides an online shopping experience that allows parents to stay at home as they sift through a myriad of luxury clothing brands. Why not dress your kids to impress, too?
Luisana Roccia and Sylvana Durrett are the masterminds behind Maisonette; both Vogue veterans and doting moms. They were inspired to create Maisonette by their own difficulties scouring the stores and the internet for brands that would meet their expectations when it comes to properly attiring their children. “We had this light-bulb moment when we were talking about how hard it was to shop for our children and said, 'Why isn't there a platform exclusively for stylish kids clothing and accessories?'" Durrett explains, and their business was born (probably with a satin dress or classy overalls on).
“It's a chore to shop for your children in a world where there's every convenience online for you as an adult. When you have kids, it's just not the same experience. We wanted to solve this problem for parents." -Durrett
Offering up high-quality brands is not all Maisonette does, Roccia and Durrett's site has an editorial section too, called “Le Scoop." It is brimming with children-centric tips and insightful articles that foster a community of parents with one major goal in mind: to find only the very best for their kids.
When asked about naming the company, Roccia revealed the pair have always admired French style, especially that of women. “Something about their elevated simplicity is so chic," she says.
“As a woman, it's difficult to walk into a room full of men and ask for money month after month like we had to for our Series A fundraising round. That being said, we fully believe in what we are building and would do anything to make sure it's successful"
Durrett spoke about her favorite brands that are on her website; “Right now I'm in love with Age of Innocence, a shoe brand based in London," she says. “Their shoes are so timeless and classic yet modern. They are perfect for the Holidays!" Soon RS Barcelona will be featured on Maisonette; this is one of their brands that will branch out of the clothing sphere and into the realm of chic furniture for kids to enjoy, like foosball and ping pong tables.
Next for the busy moms in business is a new feature on their site. Since the long-awaited holiday season is coming up, they've launched “Petite Profile." Yes, it's as cute as it sounds. The petite rugrats in their customer's lives can get personalized profiles to ensure only the best outfits are suggested.
“We're also excited for Maisonette's holiday pop-up in New York City," Durrett adds. “It will be open from 11/16–12/24! The pop-up will feature a range of family-friendly activities to make the holiday shopping season more fun."
So to all the parents out there, instead of being plagued with unceasing stress this holiday season, take to Maisonette and let its magic do the work.
In many ways I am a shining example of the American Dream. I was born in Hungary during the Communist era, and my family fled to Israel before coming to the U.S. in pursuit of freedom and safety. When we arrived, I was just a young, shy girl who couldn't speak English. After my childhood in Hungary, New York City was a marvel; I couldn't believe that such a lively, rich place existed. Even a simple thing like going to the market and seeing all the bright, colorful produce and having so many choices was new to me. I'll never take that for granted. I think it's where my love affair with color truly began.
One thing I had was a strong work ethic. I worked hard in school, to learn English, and at jobs including my first job at Dairy Queen -- which I loved! Ice cream is easily my favorite food. From there, I moved into the garment district where my brother-in-law's family had a business. During this time, I was able to see how a business was run and began to hone in on my eye for aesthetics and willingness to work hard at any task I was given.
Eventually, my brother-in-law bought a dental supply company in Los Angeles and asked me to join him. LA, a place with 365-days of sunshine. How could I say no? The company started as Odontorium Products Inc. During the acrylic movement of the 1980s, we realized that nail technicians were buying our product, and that the same components used for dentures were used for artificial nails. We saw a potential opening in the market, and we seized it. OPI began dropping off the "rubber band special" at every salon on Ventura Blvd. in Los Angeles. A jar of powder, liquid and primer – rubber-banded together – became the OPI Traditional Acrylic System and was a huge hit, giving OPI its start in the professional nail industry. It was 1981 when OPI first opened its doors. I couldn't have predicted our success, but I knew that hard work and faith in myself would be key in transforming a new business into a company with global reach.
When we started OPI, what we were doing was something new. Before OPI came on the scene, the generic, utilitarian nail polish names already on the market – like Red No. 4, Pink No. 2 – were completely forgettable. We rebranded the category with catchy names that we knew women could relate to and would remember. The industry was stale and boring, so we made it more fun and sexy. We started creating color collections. I carefully developed 30 groundbreaking colors for the debut collection -- many of which are still beloved bestsellers today, including Malaga Wine, Alpine Snow and Kyoto Pearl.
There is no other nail color brand in the world that touches the totality of industries the way OPI does.
With deep roots in Tinseltown, we eventually started collaborating with Hollywood. Our decision to collaborate with the entertainment industry also propelled OPI forward in another way, ultimately leading us to finding a way to connect with women beyond the world of beauty, relating our products to the beverages they drink, the cars they drive, the movies they watch, the clothes they wear – even the shade they use to paint their living room walls! There is no other nail color brand in the world that touches the totality of industries the way OPI does. It also propelled my growth as a businessperson forward. I found myself sitting in meetings with executives from some of the top companies in the world. I didn't have a fancy presentation. I didn't have a Harvard business degree. I realized that what I had was passion. I had a passion for what we were doing, and I had my own unique story that no one else could replicate.
Discipline, hard work, and passion gave me the confidence to grow from that shy immigrant girl to become the person that I am today
Bit by bit, I grew up with the business. Discipline, hard work, and passion gave me the confidence to grow from that shy immigrant girl to become the person that I am today -- an author, public speaker, and co-founder of OPI, the world's #1 professional nail brand.
I learned quickly that one can be an expert at many things, but not everything. Running a business is very hard work. Luckily, I had someone I could collaborate with who brought something new to the table and complemented my talents, my brother-in-law George Schaeffer. My business "superpower," or the ability to make decisions quickly and confidently, kept me ahead of trends and competition.
Another key to my success in building this brand and in growing in business was being authentic. Authenticity is so important to brands and maybe even more so now in the time of social media when you can speak directly to your consumers. I realized even then that I could only be me. I was a woman who knew what I wanted. I looked at my mother and daughter and wanted to create products that would excite and empower them.
There's often an expectation placed on women in charge that they need to be cutthroat to be competitive, but that's not true. Rather than focusing on my gender or any implied limitations I might bring to the job as a female and a mother, I always focused instead on my vision. I deliberately fostered an environment at OPI filled with warmth. After all, at the end of the day, your organization is only as good as its people. I've always found that being nice, being humble, and listening to others has served me well. Instead of pushing others down to get to the top, inspire them and bring them along on the journey.
You can read more about my personal and professional journey in my new memoir out now, I'm Not Really a Waitress: How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry One Color at a Time.