Harper's Bazaar Arabia: Tell us a bit about Melijoe and how it came about...
Nathalie Genty: When I had my first child in 2003, I wanted to look into what was available in terms of kid’s fashion, and soon realised there was an unsatisfactory gap online. Therefore, I decided to tackle the problem, and create a one-stop-shop for brands that corresponded to my taste and spirit.
HBA: So you were the first children’s online store in France?
NG: Yes, we were pioneers in France.
HBA: Which would have been hard, considering that in 2007 the internet wasn’t as popular as it is today. How did you go about establishing a strong online presence?
NG: Melijoe was the first store that had exceptional products on offer, which is what I think helped gel the brand into the consciousness of our buyers. It gained credibility straight away.
Dress, Dhs3,004, Burberry; Dress, Dhs4,374, Mischka Aoki; Dress, Dhs1,671, Dolce & Gabbana, all available at Melijoe.com
HBA: And what motivated you to direct that presence towards the Middle Eastern market?
NG: There was never a direct strategy, but the region consistently generated a lot of traffic on the website, with no marketing whatsoever. We had an almost spontaneous attraction from the Middle East, which helped fuel our growth immediately. I was also amazed at the fact that there were so many great stores within malls, but it still didn’t discourage people from spending time shopping online.
HBA: This is your first time in Dubai - what do you think of the style aesthetic?
NG: I can’t pretend like I know everything, but from a Parisian perspective, I see Dubai as a turning point; a hub for different styles from Asia, Africa and other counterparts of the region. It has a composite mix of styles.
HBA: You have five children and are an extremely successful entrepreneurial mum - what advice would you give anyone aspiring to do the same?
NG: One: have a balance between work and being a mother. When you’re with your kids, try and focus only on them, no distractions. But when at work, you need to multitask on a grand scale. Two: try and take some time off with your husband or partner.
Shirt, Dhs326, Ralph Lauren; Shirt, Dhs430, Paul Smith Junior; Dhs345, IKKS, all available at Melijoe.com
HBA: Lastly, if you could only shop one brand on Melijoe.com for your children, which would it be?
NG: I have five children, and so I have to deal with five personalities. It’s very difficult because there’s a brand for each one of them. Asking me that is like forcing me to choose between one of my kids. I would say Chloé and Marc Jacobs for the girls, and Molo for the boys. My favourite for the baby this season is Gucci.
As told to Lamya Parker. Prices approximate. Melijoe.com