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We caught up with Sylvana Ward Durrett, a veteran of Vogue magazine and now the CEO of Maisonette. She's also a friend of the brand and now a supporter of our FEED Kids Collection, available on their site.
Name and occupation: Sylvana Durrett, CEO of Maisonette
Finish this sentence – I'm a woman on a mission to:
Make parents’ lives easier by offering a convenient, stylish, one-stop-shop for all of their kids’ needs.
What cause or issue are you most passionate about?
As a mom of three, I am very passionate about family, and of course children in particular. That’s why I support the Good+ Foundation on their mission to dismantle multi-generational poverty by providing good and services to low-income families. The work they do makes such a difference!
Tell us your founding story! What inspired you to start Maisonette and how did your time at Vogue influence your founding story?
Having worked in the fashion industry for so many years, I was surprised, upon having kids, at how difficult it was to shop for little ones. I would be up at all hours of the night, with a dozen web browsers open, looking for strollers on one site, cute dresses on another, socks on yet a third… it was exhausting, frustrating, most importantly, taking precious time away from my children. I knew there had to be a better way, and when it turned out it didn’t exist, I decided, along with my partner Luisana, to create it. Vogue could not have been a better launching pad for this entrepreneurial venture. It taught us to much; to trust our gut, to never take “no” for an answer, to be the solution.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced along the way?
I think anytime you are innovating, creating something that doesn’t exist yet, you always face challenges. There are a lot of unknowns and it’s important not to get overwhelmed, but to take things one day at a time, and above all, to trust that you’ve got this.
Did you always want to be in the fashion industry?
I was always interested in publishing and fashion, which led to my taking a position out of college at Vogue, where I remained until launching Maisonette! Fashion is such a fascinating reflection of the times, and I still find so much joy in it.
As a working mama, how has motherhood changed your working style, if at all? What about your clothing style?
I think working motherhood has made me even more organized; my calendar is my north star and helps me stay on top of both personal and professional commitments, so I never miss an important meeting, or a recital, or a doctor’s appointment. I also have gotten better about being focused and productive while at the office, and I apply the same philosophy to my time at home. Quality time over quantity, is my goal. So when I am with my kids, I am really with them, and vice versa.
FEED Fire round:
1. Manhattan or Brooklyn? Brooklyn!
2. Coffee or tea? Coffee
3. Minimalist or Maximalist? Maximalist
4. Three things you always have in your bag: Bronzer by Westman Atelier, gum, my airpods.
5. Early bird or night owl? Both
6. The FEED bag that is so me is: The Market Tote! It’s the perfect shape and size for trips to the farmer’s market and beyond.
7. Giving back for me, means: To me, giving back stems from a sense of gratitude for all that I have been given, and a desire to share that with others.
8. The #1 thing that gets you up and out of bed in the morning: My kids.