Operating by the ethos of “Thinking Fashion”, luxury childrenswear e-tailer Melijoe has brought its vision and gorgeous designer clothing from France to the UK and I was there at the site’s launch to meet the woman who made it all possible, mother of four, Nathalie Christen-Genty. Dividing her time between Paris, where the Melijoe head office and her two sons and two baby girls are based, and London; Nathalie has established herself as the ultimate fashion forecaster sourcing the latest catwalk trends and marrying them with her unique take on children’s fashion. Home to over 60 designer labels, including Tartine et Chocolat, Little Marc Jacobs, Rykiel Enfant and Dolce & Gabbana, the site has launched a new magazine-style feel incorporating trend reports, backstage videos, fashion shoots and interviews. Melijoe.com represents Mini Fashionista heaven, offering a place where couture connoisseurs under 16 are invited to dream, click, and buy their heart’s desire.
Surrounded by an impeccably curated selection of looks from her SS13 trend edit (of which I coveted nearly every item I saw), and dressed in head-to-toe Parisian chic, the glamorous, endearing and inspirational Nathalie, sat down with me to reveal more about the loves of her life, fashion and undoubtedly her family.
Most satisfying part of your job
It’s the product. I love fashion and buying new clothes. I get so excited every catwalk season as it presents the next opportunity to pick the clothes I’ll include on Melijoe. I know how to sell fashion pieces, because I know how to explain them, not only through the eyes of a stylist – with whom I work closely – but through the eyes of a mother who understands what is comfortable and convenient for a baby or child.
An important lesson you’ve learned since launching Melijoe
First, to always be passionate because passion drives innovation which helps to stay ahead of competitors, and second, to keep a balance in your life as a mother, a wife and a businesswoman.
Your role models and inspirations
I love Monica Belluci’s style, I love Marc Jacobs’ fearless attitude and his knack for taking a chance and daring to try new things. I greatly admire Anna Wintour for what she has brought to the market and the fact that she has raised the stakes of the fashion industry for the rest of us. I also respect and share an affinity with Natalie Massinet, founder of Net-A-Porter. She was the first to do something strong in the market and succeeded against all the odds and negative feedback; it inspires me when people do things even though other people are afraid to.
What you wanted to be as a little girl
A surgeon. I come from a family of doctors and surgeons and did a stint at medical school myself; I find it fascinating to understand how the body works. But I have also always been passionate about fashion, collecting Vogue and the interviews of Karl Lagerfeld, so understanding the body did make its way into my career in some way.
Career highlight so far
It is the relationship I have built with the brands. They have come to respect my opinion, asking for my input into new season trends and so on. Having them recognise my expertise is what makes it all worth it.
What fashion means to you
Fashion is making dreams real, expressing people’s personalities and their inner beauty.
And what of your children
The boys are not particularly oriented towards brands but I’m working with them to create a style according to their personalities, for instance my 10 year old, Mathis, has developed a style that is really a mix of Galliano and Dolce, while my nine year old, Antone, is more Scotch & Soda, who create very beautiful and sensitive pieces.
Balancing motherhood with Melijoe
Being a mother doesn’t mean you have to forget yourself as a woman, I manage the two loves of my life by ensuring to take time for myself as well as putting aside time for my children.