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!
We started back in 2007 as a charity project. We came up with the idea to make a duvet cover to raise awareness and money for homeless youngsters in the Netherlands.
2. How do you keep coming up with such great ideas?
Before SNURK I used to work as creative (writer) in advertising , so coming up with ideas has always been ‘my thing’. And before that I was a kid with a big imagination.. always cooking up weird ideas and plans, haha. Basically, what I do is I always keep my ears and eyes open in daily life. There is inspiration everywhere around me. Being surrounded by 2 young kids and a great city like Amsterdam also helps.
3. Do you have favourite design and why?
The astronaut will always be special to me. It was our first children’s bedset and we released it the day before our youngest son was born. The pictures of the Astronaut on our Facebook page went viral and within a few days, our webshop exploded. It was crazy busy. Every online design blog was writing about it…even news sites. It meant our breakthrough and the Astronaut kicked off a voyage for SNURK that went beyond our dreams.
4. What does the dream future hold for SNURK?
If things were to stay exactly as they are now I would be totally happy, as we are in a great place, surrounded by great people, the result of ten years of hard work! But of course I can’t help dreaming (big) and I do have dreams of our new line of clothing Horizontal Wear becoming the world’s most favorite sleep & lounge wear.
5. If you were to choose a favourite product from Wild & Gorgeous what would it be and why?
I am a boys Mum so: the planet jumper. I love navy colored clothing, and I love simplicity with fun details …and well I’m a a sucker for Space themes. 😉
Wild and Gorgeous have been making beautiful clothes for gorgeous children for 10 years. And for years we have been asked by mums, aunties and god parents to create something for them. Well this season we have done just that with a capsule collection of knitwear designed for women.
With a new collection comes new shop windows, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with this season’s out-of-this-world display
As a long time collaborator with Wild & Gorgeous, we know we can always rely upon the brilliant creative talent of Mary Mathieson to make our shop windows burst into life. So, when we discussed the cosmic inspiration behind this season’s sparkling collection, Mary knew exactly the direction she wanted to go in.
Drawing upon our space iconography, Mary set to work creating fabulous props that compliment our cosmic theme perfectly. From shuttlecock shooting stars to a soaring, shimmering winged heart (a motif featured across our collection this season), it’s safe to say Mary reached for the stars with this installation…
With the help of Ottie, a budding visual merchandiser, the pair traded the bright pops of colour of our Spring/Summer campaign for the sparkling metallics and sequins of Autumn/Winter – better known as Party season. Spinning planets and twinkling stars were soon suspended in mid-air at our Notting Hill store, while a beautiful constellation was installed at Primrose Hill to create the backdrop for a very Wild & Gorgeous inky night sky.
We’ve showcased our beautiful Saturn Dress, and Planet Jumper and Stardust Skirt in our first window, teamed with our signature Sparkly Plimsolls and gorgeous Star Bag.
Our inspiration for AW17 is summed up in 2 words: COSMIC ROCKSTAR! As well as our celestial-inspired garments, expect to see sumptuous velvets, luxurious cashmeres and striking silver and gorgeous gold embellishment across our beautiful partywear, inspired this season by the colours and forms of a golden Autumn in Kyoto.
Welcome to Wild Gorgeous AW17 – it’s written in the stars!
This season we have created some stunning styles perfect for families who have chosen to holiday this summer on chilly British beaches.
Some of our best seller: The Brancaster Dress and The Owen Shorts and Cy Towelling Top. Made from the softest cotton towelling we could source, they are the perfect water absorbing, warmth giving outfits for holidaying in the UK & Northern Europe.
Share with us your favourite British beach with a photograph and a simple sentence to say why you love it tagging @wildandgroegeous #mybritishBeach. It can be beautiful, poetic or funny, whatever takes your fancy.
Here are a few of our favourite beaches…
Lucy Enfield, co Director
“Growing up in North Yorkshire our nearest stretch of stunning coastline was Alnwick and the great sweeps of beach around Dunstanburgh Castle and Bamburgh. We would either day trip or stay for a couple of nights eating locally sourced crab at Craster and surfing in the icy waves. Now the children are older we still enjoying going back there to remember the good times.”
Sophie Worthington, Co director
“The picture is of me and my sister. I’m obviously burying her alive as good sisters do. It was taken in 1999, I was 7 and my sister was 5. We went every year to Normans Bay camping with my grandma and grandad and all my cousins, it was a place we could all go together that wasn’t too far from home.”
Hannah Bromley, Design Assistant
“My family love visiting North Berwick in Scotland where we have family. There is a particularly pretty beach in the town that is full of vintage shops and tea rooms where you can literally ‘walk on water’ via a store walkway that is immersed in water when the tide is high. The children love it and so do the grown ups!”
Jenny Leatham, Customer Services