While Luisana Mendoza de Roccia and Sylvana Durrett may not be related, starting Maisonette—the new go-to site for stylish kids clothing and decor—keeps this dynamic duo (and former Vogue co-workers) and their families close.
Tell us about your relationship. Where did you meet?
Sylvana: We met while working at Vogue. We were both Anna Wintour’s assistants right out of college.
Luisana: Our time at Vogue was invaluable. It was the perfect training ground to learn how to work hard and be creative. Not to mention, the access and exposure to some of the world’s most beautiful things and experiences, which ultimately inspired us to start Maisonette.com.
Tell us about your idea to start Maisonette. How did you decide to go into business together?
Sylvana: Luisana and I were completely frustrated by the lack of high-quality, affordable yet beautiful clothing and home goods for our children. As working moms, we had gotten very used to being able to order whatever we want for ourselves with the click of a button. This same ease did not exist when shopping for our kids. We found we’d be up late at night with 20 different browser windows open and get so fed up with the experience, we would abandon ship altogether.
Luisana: The children’s market, up until now, has been incredibly fragmented. You either have incredibly beautiful and expensive occasionwear, or you have mass, cheaply-produced goods with little to no style point of view. We created Maisonette.com to solve this problem, and to offer high-quality, beautiful childrenswear and home goods at a variety of price points, all with the ease that comes with online shopping.
How do you two work together since you live in different places? What is your workflow like?
Sylvana: Every day is a little different, but we communicate regularly via video conferences, phone, text, chat, email, you name it. We have also been incredibly fortunate in building one of the most amazing teams in the world today. We rely on our team so heavily and they are what help keep Maisonette.com going.
Luisana: With e-commerce, so much can be done virtually through internet and phone, that meeting in person is not as necessary as one may think. But it is helpful and productive to come to NYC and see everyone.
What can we find on Maisonette?
Sylvana: Everything your heart desires for your little ones, and more! We sell unique brands from independent retailers all over the world. So you can get a cute little romper from Petite Lucette in Paris, crib blankets from Garbo & Friends in Brooklyn, a custom dress from the Lacemakers in Bilbao, Spain, shoes from Zuzii in California, and a rose gold crib from Incy in Australia. We wanted to aggregate as much product as possible, while maintaining a curated and edited point of view, to make Maisonette.com a one-stop shop for parents and others searching for kids’ clothing and accessories.
Luisana: One of the bigger, earlier surprises so far is how well the home decor and furniture is doing. We even have some childless friends who have purchased the Indego Africa baskets for their own home! I guess you don’t even need kids to enjoy the site!
How do you balance career and motherhood?
Luisana: Undoubtedly, it’s hard. You go through phases where work is requiring more of your time, but then there are times when things slow down and you can dedicate more time to your family. I try to take advantage of those moments as much as I can, and know that there is no right answer except doing your best.
Sylvana: It’s an incredibly hard balance to strike, but when we started this company, beyond solving the problem of shopping for your children, we also sought to build a company culture that embraces family life. I myself make sure that when I’m with my kids, I’m really with them and unplugged from work. I also try to build their lives into my schedule, so I take them to school every morning which means work meetings start after drop-off. It’s little things like that, that make it possible to do it all!
You can read our entire interview with the Maisonette founders here (including where the two shop for themselves and their kids!) or stick around and Tour Juliet Angus’ Cozy London Home.
Photography: Amy Frances Photography for Mini Magazine