Meet our newest minnow mama, Sylvana Ward Durrett, co-founder and CEO of the children's online retailer Maisonette. Sylvana gives us a special behind-the-scenes look into her life as a mother to three and an inspiring entrepreneur.
- You have such an inspiring career from Vogue to co-founding Maisonette. What advice do you have for someone who may be thinking about taking a leap of faith/risk in their career?
I always say, keep learning - your interests evolve as you learn! Always be curious and think about how you can make whatever it is that you're doing bigger and better. And don't let anyone tell you it's too hard. That's when you know it's worth it.
- What led you to the creation of Maisonette?
Lusiana and I were both working moms and found it difficult to shop for our kids. We have every category in life aggregated on the internet for adult life, but that did not exist for children. We wanted to create an expertly-curated marketplace, take the guesswork out of shopping for our kids, so we could spend more time on the good stuff!
We founded Maisonette with the mission to help modern families navigate the adventure of raising the next generation by providing not just an expertly curated world of products for kids, but also trusted guidance and inspiration for those who love them. We believe what you consume for your kids matters, so whether it's by providing the latest STEM toy or expert tips on how to sleep train, we are committed to family, and to bringing a little bit of magic into family life every day.
- Where do you find style inspiration for your littles and yourself?
I look all over - the world around us, the trends coming out of fashion week(s), street style - even COVID - all of the things that happen in our lives inform what we wear and why.
- How did your career change when you became a mother?
We launched Maisonette when I was 9 months pregnant. My kids have always been a part of the evolution of my life and career... there is no separating family life and career for me! As a CEO and mom of now 3, life is chaotic! But I have always been diligent about making time for myself, for my kids and for work. It ebbs and flows, but we just figure it out as we go.
- What's the best piece of motherhood advice you've received?
Let go of feeling guilty. That goes for career, partnership, play and motherhood.
- How do you take care of yourself?
There is nothing more important than "me time." Even if it's 20 minutes out of the day to clear my head, read a book, watch tv or draw a bath.
- What does "balance" look like for you between your career, motherhood and yourself?
I do my best to carve out dedicated time for work and the kids. I am diligent about leaving work by 5 so that I can unwind and spend time with my family.
- The patchwork/quilt pattern of our new minnow x Maisonette suits reminds us of special heirlooms passed down through generations. What is something special your mother or grandmother have passed down to you?
My grandmother gave me a cameo brooch, I absolutely treasure it!
What's in your beach bag?
What is your favorite beach to go to with your family?
We plan an annual trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica! The kids love it there - and so do the adults!
Do you have any summer traditions?
We love to spend our summers in Connecticut. I want to make sure the kids are spending as much time outside, being adventurous.
What does 'sunshine awaits' mean to you?
'Sunshine awaits' means outdoor socializing!!