Like many moms, Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza de Roccia were overextended. The former Vogue staffers had, between the two of them, nearly 20 years of experience at the editorial fashion powerhouse, six small children, and not a moment to spare, especially when it came to finding products they loved for their kids. It was 2017; why was that so hard?
"We found ourselves [online] late at night with 15 windows open trying to shop shoes here and coats there and toys over there," Ward Durrett says. "We found it to be a really frustrating experience."
A market study revealed the dearth was not in the goods, but rather the access. So, armed with industry intel and discerning taste, the momtrepreneurs founded Maisonette, an online marketplace for luxury children's goods, to bridge the gap.
"When we started Maisonette, we were really solving our own problems," Ward Durrett says. "We scour the world for the best of the best and put it in one destination to make that process a lot easier and painless for moms."
Maisonette taps high-quality indie designers and boutiques for its curated collections of clothes, accessories, gifts, gear, and home decor for little ones ages 0-12, offering everything from onesies to bath toys to strollers. Ward Durrett and Mendoza de Roccia rely on their fashion industry connections for unique and exclusive brand collections, like chic mommy-and-me sets of matching pastel dresses and jumpers from Lali.
Other offerings, like made-to-order dresses, lend themselves to in-person shopping. Which is why Maisonette is hitting the road for a multi-city tour that stops in Houston this week following visits to Miami and Palm Beach. A private trunk show here on April 11 with local designers Hunter Bell and Bailey McCarthy of Biscuit Home aims to bring Maisonette's online presence to life with a focus on Easter and occasion-ready collections, connecting the brand IRL with local moms in key markets who are already shopping it.
The partnership with Bell and McCarthy is the result of personal connections: "We have a really strong network of women and moms that are really passionate about design and our product," Mendoza de Roccia says. "We really rely on this network for everything."
And, with Bell launching a kids' collection locally—Harrison Bell Kids—the timing couldn't be better.
Maisonette positions itself as a one-stop-shop somewhere between the Zara Kids and high-end designer children's collections of the world, with goods in every category at a range of price points. "One of the reasons why this didn't exist [before Maisonette] is because this new parent is shopping in a completely different way. They're concerned about design, materials, where this product was made—nobody was really speaking to that," Ward Durrett says. "We founded Maisonette because we want to make moms' lives easier. Every mom is busy ... that is the universal piece of it. Whenever we talk to moms, they're like, thank God you guys exist."