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Meet the powerhouse behind cool kids' fashion shop, Melijoe: Nathalie Christen-Genty

Mum of five children, Nathalie: "I’m the kind of person who’s never satisfied."

Posted: 12 May 2016
by Catherine Hudson

Nathalie is the founder of Melijoe and lives in Paris with her five children (Mathis, 13, Antone, 12, Mélie, 5.5, Néva, 4.5 and Mahaut 18 months),  while her husband lives in London. The couple see each other every week end.

What is your family’s morning routine?

My days start early. I don’t tend to sleep a lot, I get up at around 5am. I take some time to get ready before the tsunami of breakfast descends with the dozen of slices of toast to be made and the mountain of oranges! I take Melie and Neva to school, Mathis and Antone go to school on their own and my youngest, Mahaut, stays with her nanny.

I have everything I need within a radius of 500m: home, school, my business. Even my ex-husband, the father of my two boys, lives nearby!

What is your office environment like?

We moved into a wonderful new office around a month ago, as we grew out of our previous office. Now we are located on rue des Petites-Écuries in a rather trendy garage style space over two floors.

Did you always want to do what you do now, for a job?

I grew up alongside the Internet and because of this I developed an expertise in this fast-growing industry quite early on. I explored a few options in the online world in 1995 with some friends, and, after participating in a few start-ups, I had my first child and came up with the idea to launch my own online retail site dedicated to children’s fashion.

A curated collection at Melijoe

How do you come up with creative, original ideas?

I have a thousand ideas in my head, which are like visions. Having a sense of timing and a sense of what is in the air is important to me. A sense of aesthetics, mixed with creativity. Work, a constant vision, more work....

I surround myself with talented professionals who are team players, all of whom are creative and who examine, test and adjust things. But we always have to move fast. I’m the kind of person who’s never satisfied. The desire to push further and be different is exhausting but also stimulating.

How do you juggle family life with work life?

The secret is to keep the right pace, and still have a sense of timing! I’m a mother of five, aged 18 months to 13 years old, and my children are my inspiration every day. Their father works in London, so during the week, I’m in 100% Mummy mode after work (i.e. I practically never go out). But, on Friday night, when Nicolas, my husband, comes back from London, we go for a bite to eat at one of our favourite restaurants like 52 Faubourg or Le Richer for a date night. Even after five children and so many years, it always feels like a reunion.

Anne Kurris at Melijoe

What do you do outside of work, with your family?

We spend a lot of weekends in London, since Nicolas is working there. We love to go to Hyde Park early in the morning and take our children Melie and Neva with us who enjoy feeding the ducks. We also regularly visit the Tate Modern, I think we are so familiar with the museum now, we can cover most of the exhibitions within 30 minutes!

What is coming up, work-wise, for you and your business? Any new ventures?

A month ago we launched our own 'Marketplace', where you can find exclusive brands. In addition, we are collaborating on a few projects this year with the brands we feature. Watch this space!

Shop Melijoe online, now

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