This month, we are delighted to team up with the fabulous brand Merci Maman to offer you the unique chance to win £200 to spend at jewellery designer Merci Maman plus £200 to spend on Wild & Gorgeous goodies. Christmas sorted!
Below, the interview of Béatrice de Montille, founder of Merci Maman.
1.What inspired you to start Merci Maman?
After moving to London in 2003, I worked in sales and marketing at Danone and Del Monte. After having my second child in 2007, I was looking for a flexible arrangement to balance work & family life but unfortunately, big corporations were not able to offer it. For me, the best solution was to start my own company for more flexibility and freedom. I was looking for a personalised birthday gift for my daughter. The only place I was able to find it was a shop in France but the owner told me she wouldn’t ship it to the UK. That’s why I decided to create a UK-based platform that would ship stylish personalised jewellery and gifts worldwide. Two months after I had this idea and just a few weeks before Christmas, Merci Maman launched!
2. You started your business from home. How did you get Merci Maman out of the kitchen and onto the high street?
I started selling my hand-engraved jewellery and gifts at school fairs and my first customers were very positive about the range and the style. Word-of-mouth started working it’s magic and soon after sales started to come in from outside my neighborhood. Then in 2010 I was very lucky to join Not On The High Street as one of their first sellers on their market place. Merci Maman became a national brand selling all over the UK! In 2014, the brand took an international path when the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing a Merci Maman necklace engraved with her son’s name, George Alexander Louis — a gift from her sister Pippa Middleton.
3. What have been the key highs, the lows and the turning point of your journey?
The day I saw the picture of Kate wearing our necklace. I remember it as it was yesterday!
This year, Merci Maman was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category! We had the honour of meeting Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace in July. This came as an amazing 10th anniversary gift for the brand, a royal seal of approval, as we celebrated 10 years of business this October with friends, influencers and customers at The Résidence de France in Kensington Palace Gardens in London.
4. What do you think you do best?
Merci Maman holds love, joy and friendship at the heart of every design. From the very beginning, I wanted to be extremely customer-focused, efficient and professional. Our dedicated team of 30 follows our 5 key success factors; quality products with a clean DNA, 100% customer satisfaction, constant innovations and developing new collections, an exceptional and trusted delivery experience and strong values that allow our team to grow as individuals.
5. What do you want your customer to feel when they wear Merci Maman?
Merci Maman — ‘Thank you Mummy’ — is a nod to our French roots and the original celebration of the mother and child bond. Every gift is personalised and hand-engraved with elegance and precision using our cursive French-style handwriting, making the gift-giving and receiving experience extra special. The hand-engraved message allows you to keep your loved ones close at all times and creates a unique sentimental value for the wearer, a true treasure to cherish for a long time.
6. What does the future hold?
Plans for Merci Maman are very ambitious, as we want to become the destination brand for personalised jewellery in Europe. We have established a strong presence in the UK through our website mercimamanboutique.com and are still growing strongly. We opened our second workshop in Paris last year and are already planning to open a third one in Berlin in 2018. We are also working on investing in new countries and plan to translate our website in Spanish and Italian.
7. If you were to pair one piece of Merci Maman with one style from Wild & Gorgeous what would it be and why?
We love the partywear collection for girls from Wild & Gorgeous. Glittering knits and fun-filled tutu’s are the perfect combination for any occasion! We’d pair this with our Pastille Bracelet. The single charm will shimmer alongside the sequins and add a personalised touch with a hand-engraved name or date. You can choose form 18 different braid colours to perfectly compliment your outfit and with it’s adjustable size, it’s ideal for mummy and her mini to match!