15 Questions With Nathalie Genty, Founder & CEO of Melijoe
In 2003 Nathalie Genty gave birth to her first child and with it, her love for children’s fashion was born. Several years later in 2007, her passion became a reality and Genty launched Melijoe.com as a one-stop shop for children’s fashion. And only nine years after it launched, Melijoe has become the leading site for children’s fashion worldwide carrying over 100 brands. Today, Nathalie Genty is not only running her company day in and day out, but is now also the mother to five children and spends most of her time, thinking, working and constantly creating, but very little time sleeping. Genty’s hope is to continue offering the best selection in children's swear in a directional and inspiring way to parents who love fashion as much as she does. Here, Genty gives us a behind the scenes look into her career in fashion and her best advice for Making it in Manhattan.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
I always was loved fashion, photography, black and white images, Chanel, Saint Laurent: I would tape fashion shows and watch them over and over after school, I collected magazines. It was a natural passion I had and when my first child, Mathis, was born, I discovered the rich and very inspiring world of children’s wear. I created Melijoe exactly as I wanted, with the brands I loved. I wanted to tell their stories.
2. What college did you attend and what did you study?
First I started my studies to become a Doctor but it was not really me… even if I passed my first year exam I decided to change my path and started Communication studies.
3. When did you land your first internship and where was it?
It was an internship in Alain Prost’s F1 team during my studies. I was in the Communication and PR Department. At this time I was fond of fashion and formula 1, my dad was in the auto industry so naturally I became a huge fan.
4. What was the most valuable thing you learned from your first internship?
You can add value to a team if you show creativity even if you are at a junior level.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone about to begin a summer internship?
Try to do more than what people expect from you and be creative!
6. Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
Net-a-Porter.com, Matchesfashion.com, MyTheresa.com, and Farfetch.com are inspiring models for me! But I’ve never had the chance to do business with them. But Google, with whom we have worked with since the beginning, chose Melijoe for this Scale-Up program to support 10 French star-up “gems” with their international development strategy, which was a huge opportunity for us!
7. What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
Letting your perception of others affect you. Remember, business is business!
8. What was the first job you landed out of college?
After my studies I fell into the Internet bubble, I loved spending free time with my group of engineer friends who in 1995 started exploring the new online frontier. After participating in a few start-ups, I decided to launch my own little e-shop with decorative items.
10. What is one thing you look for interviewing a potential candidate for your company?
Creativity and good taste
11. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Trust yourself more and fight for your projects, try to open more doors.
12. The fashion industry has changed so much in the past few years, what’s the best advice you would give for staying ahead of the curve?
For an entrepreneur I would say don’t give up! You need to have THE idea, to be sure of yourself, of your concept. After, if you are passionate you can do it! As for children’s fashion in five years a lot has changed! Melijoe pioneered in accentuating style and trends. Fashion is more and more directional, and my team puts it into context
13. What prompted you to start Melijoe.com?
Well, I had my first child in 2003. I’d always followed grown-up fashion, but when I went shopping for my son, I was disappointed in the selection I found in multi-brand stores. So I decided to launch my own e-commerce site specialized in children’s fashion. I wanted to bring a little more magic to the digital experience and present new brands and new services for parents who love fashion and before I knew it, Melijoe became the online go-to for kids’ fashion. Today we feature over 100 of the best brands in children’s fashions, in nine languages.
14. What was your biggest fear when going out and beginning your own company?
I don’t remember being afraid when I launched Melijoe. There was so much to do! I am determined, I’m not afraid; I go ahead of things without asking myself too many questions. If you lose, you lose … It’s the game!
15. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs hoping to start their own companies in the future?
Don’t give up! You need to have THE idea, to be sure of yourself, of your concept. After if you are passionate you can do it!