Maisonette's Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza de Roccia forged their friendship in the fashion industry, but it was motherhood that made them into company cofounders. Between running a brand and raising kids, they fielded our questions on how they make it work—and on their origin story, top parenting tips and summer vacation packing list.
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We met many, many years ago while working as assistants to Anna Wintour at Vogue. We had an instant connection, and our friendship really bloomed over that first year as we both launched our careers in a fast-paced and thrilling environment.
What inspired you to start Maisonette?
We both came from a background in fashion and had become accustomed to the ease of online shopping for our own needs. As our families grew and we welcomed children (six between us), we realized there was a huge gap in the market; there was no one place where you could find high-quality products for your children. We would spend hours late into the night with a hundred different browser windows open. It was exhausting, and it took precious time away from our kids. We launched Maisonette with the goal of creating a beautiful, convenient, one-stop shop for all of your kid-related needs.
You've released an exclusive line, the Doodle Collection, inspired by kids' first works of art. How have your own kids inspired your creativity?
Children have such incredible imaginations. They are creative, curious creatures and they remind us every day of the magic in the world, and how fortunate we are as innovators to be able to create. Our children inspired the beautiful and wondrous world of Maisonette.
Even your office is kid-friendly! What details do you like best?
We love the mini work table and chairs, where our little visitors come to color or read; the kid-sized bookshelf, from which they can pluck their favorite book while waiting for mama's meeting to end; and the drawer in the kitchen filled with healthy kids' snacks.
At home, how do you balance your style with all that's required for life with kids?
You truly don't have to sacrifice style in your home or your fashion choices as long as you are mindful of a few things: choose stain-resistant fabrics, invest in beautiful pieces that aren't too precious and use white sparingly—especially when it comes to rugs!
What one piece of advice would you give new parents?
Don't sweat the small stuff. And give yourself a break! Taking time for yourself is critical, and something you should never feel guilty about.
What's your favorite family summer vacation spot and why?
Luisana: My family has been spending summers in Italy for the past several years, and we are completely in love. The pace, the people, the food! It is all magical, and my kids couldn't be happier there.
Sylvana: Nantucket is our family go-to, and one of the few places where I really can relax and unplug. Riding bikes to the beach, catching fireflies, grilling burgers and hot dogs. Is there anything better?
Give us your top tip for traveling with kids.
Luisana: When traveling with babies, bring a spare shirt for yourself. We focus so much on the mishaps the kids can have on long trips, we overlook that we are usually on the receiving end of them! And to keep them engaged on long trips, crafts and snacks.
Sylvana: I carry a gallon-sized Ziploc bag for all the little mishaps that can occur during a flight or car ride. A dirty diaper, wipes, snack wrappers all disappear into the Ziploc.
What's on your must-pack list?
Luisana: Mudpuppy activity pack, eeBoo games and the Doodle sweatsuit, which has become my go-to travel outfit!
Sylvana: Lali sundresses, Minnow swim trunks and rashguard for my son Henry, and Mott50 swimsuits for my two girls.