Vogue alumna Sylvana Ward Durrett was used to having her fashion and shopping needs met online. From Net-A-Porter to Shop Bop, she could peruse these sites and find multiple brands all in one place. However, the mother-of-three began to realize that there were no centralized shopping sites for kids wear. Ward Durrett, along with Vogue coworker, Luisana Mendoza de Roccia, decided to take matters into their own hands, and in 2017 founded Maisonette, an online marketplace that carries luxury children’s brands and boutiques.
“We sort of sought out to solve this problem that we had and what we realized was that it wasn’t just a problem for us, it was a problem for all parents,” Ward Durrett says. “We sought to build Maisonette which is a curated marketplace that aggregates what we consider to be the greatest products for kids.” For Ward Durrett, the best products aren’t necessarily the most expensive ones. From $10 toys to expensive party dresses, Ward Durrett says Maisonette’s mission is to offer the best children’s products at every price range.
In just one year, Maisonette created a worldwide network with 120 boutiques and 400 brands including Stella McCartney Kids, Bonpoint, Nico Nico, and Chloe. While Maisonette celebrated its first birthday in June, the company also launched their editorial platform, Le Scoop. Looking to fill a void in the parent world, Ward Durrett says Le Scoop is like a “Vogue for parents,” with the goal of providing parents with tips on raising children and style guides for special occasions. “Whether it’s a style hack, what do your kids wear to a bat mitzvah, or what do you dress your kids in for their Christening, we really wanted to be a resource for parents because they have come to trust us in the shopping sphere and we’re aiming to gain their trust on the content side as well,” Ward Durrett says.
Working at Vogue for almost 15 years, Ward Durrett credits much of her work ethic to the publication. She first worked as the executive assistant to editor-in-chief Anna Wintour before moving up the ranks as the director of special projects, producing events like the annual Met Gala. “I always say that Vogue was like my business school,” Ward Durrett says. “The work ethic we learned at Vogue is sort of unparalleled, it’s definitely something you need in a start-up.”
As parents and co-founders of a children’s clothing company, Ward Durrett says it’s a very personal experience for her and Mendoza de Roccia. Their kids are always inspiring different aspects of Maisonette, including what to feature on the site. “They influence the site every day. I’ll come in and say ‘I was just looking for rash guards for my kids, my kids need more rash guard,’” Ward Durrett explains.
On the weekends, Ward Durrett says her family is “very much a crew.” Breaking out the scooters, Ward Durrett’s three kids—Henry, 6, Gracie, 4, and Millie, 1—love to scoot around the neighborhood, much to Ward Durrett’s delight. “Scooters are brilliant because you can get somewhere in a reasonable amount of time whereas when your kids are walking, as any parent knows, it takes about 10 years,” Ward Durrett jokes. As a working parent, Ward Durrett uses the weekends to catch up with everyone. “It’s fun to just sit around the table with them and listen to their hilarious topics of conversation and be together.”
However, Ward Durrett says being a full time parent and CEO of a company can make it hard to maintain the right balance at times, leading to feelings of guilt. “Inevitably there are things you miss and then there are things you don’t, but I think it’s sort of challenging to give yourself a bit of a break and say: ‘You’re doing the best you can. Your kids love you and they’ll respect you for it later,’ and just be okay with it at times.”
Looking forward, Ward Durrett says Maisonette plans on establishing a larger presence in the family marketplace, making Le Scoop just the tip of the iceberg. “We really see ourselves as tackling the space because there’s not a lot of people doing it,” Ward Durrett notes. “You have a lot of these legacy brands, but no one’s innovating the space and we see that as an enormous opportunity and so there are lots of exciting things to come.”
To learn more about Ward Durrett and Maisonette, head to maisonette.com