When I say the word ‘office’, what do you see? You probably imagine a succession of tables and chairs stacked as far as the eyes can see. While many may dread going to an office just at the mere sight of their cluttered table, or because of the monotonous office – environment. I take the pleasure in informing you that those times are remarkably shifting.
Now when you see an office, you see things beyond mere chairs and tables. Take a glance at these momtrepreneurs who’ve conceived the office of their dreams (and even ours!). Mom – entrepreneurs, Sylvana Ward-Durrett and Luisana Mendoza de Roccia have united their work and their workplace. Both Sylvana and Luisana have previously been executive assistants to the fashion industry prodigy herself – Anna Wintour. Combined they’ve been in the fashion industry for 17 years. With 17 years of experience to back them up, they decided to take a leap of faith and embark on a journey of their own.
Working mothers Durret and Roccia both faced the same issue when they newly stepped into the role of motherhood. They noticed a ‘huge gap’ in the online market for children’s wear. There was barely a market children’s clothing. After sleepless and frustrated nights, the idea suddenly sprung to them – Why not start something on our own? Durret and Roccia say that they’ve been working together for a long time and that it’s almost usual for them to share a desk. Roccia says, “Sharing a desk is the most natural and effective way for us to run a company, and second family together.”
And so, began the journey of ‘Maisonette’ in 2017. It started small from the kitchen island in Durret’s home. At its inception, they scarcely had 6 employees. However, one year later, amassed 40 employees and $15 million worth of Series A funding. From just a kitchen counter and now to DUMBO – a popular hub for growing companies in the neighbourhood between the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge; they’ve done it all! It’s an online based company that’s the one hub for all things children. It’s a marketplace for premium quality products and brands for children. It’s even hailed applause from celebrity moms like Chrissy Teigen and Gwyneth Paltrow to name a few.
For Sylvana and Luisana their ‘minis’ or in other words, their children play an imperative role. They’ve tried to incorporate an environment where their professional and personal life converge. These superwomen have contrived a beautiful office for themselves, their employees and their combined 22 children (as of now). The Maisonette office caters to the need of both the parent (employee) and the child. Its theme was meticulously selected keeping in mind the needs of an office, but at the same time giving it the feel of a child’s nursery. Citified pastel hues were used for the office walls. These light colours worked neutrally to balance the work and the play side of the office.
The office comes equipped with a waiting room/library, communal meeting spaces/playrooms, and a showroom chock-full of toys and books. Their conference rooms are titled, Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl. They even have a concealed day bed and activity stations. Renowned designer Ariel Okin even created a little telephone room where employees can take private calls and meetings. Their kitchen is stocked with snacks and munchies considering the likes and dislikes of the minis. They also have a station swarming with toys; a low stocked bookshelf (which the kids can reach) and a generously sized daybed for ‘nap time’.
Momtrepreneurs Sylvana and Luisana believed in creating an office that closely depicted their area of work. “It was important for the office to double as a showroom where we can interact with products, we carry day-to-day,” says Roccia (Forbes). They believe that creating an interactive and fun environment in the office will make employees look forward to work. They say having their minis at work is an incentive for them to work harder and better.
I believe that this interactive environment would do wonders to enhance the parent-child relationship. Children will comprehend their parents work better, and parents will be free of the guilt of leaving their child alone at home. could Did you ever imagine having a workplace environment such as Maisonette? Imagine waking up in the morning and thinking ‘it’s time to bring your kids to work day’. How wonderful would that be?