By Hannah Yakobi
Photography courtesy of MELIJOE
Many fashion projects start on a whim, lead to research and culminate in discovery. Such was the case of Nathalie Christen Genty when she decided to create a designer fashion company targeting young children. Genty’s business, MELIJOE, is an online boutique that stocks some of the most high-end international designers who can dress up your little one from head-to-toe.
In The North American Issue, Paris-based Genty shares her story, following a recent business expansion to Canada.
1. Why did you decide to start a company that focuses on children?
I was very fond of fashion. After I had my second child – I now have four! – I immediately saw the market in kids’ fashion. There was a lack of it at the time, so I decided to pursue it.
2. What is your background?
My background is in communications, e-commerce and fashion.
3. How did you decide to set up the business?
I ran a small e-commerce website that I worked on in the evenings. It focused on decoration and furniture, so I started to transform it into a children’s wear website. My parents helped me a bit financially and I started from scratch.
4. How did you create the name of your company?
It’s a combination of Meli and Joe – a girl and a boy’s name respectively. There is no specific reason for choosing these names, but I wanted to pick names that were less French and more international.
5. Did you have a goal to go international from the beginning?
Yes, and I also wanted to add the luxury touch to kids’ fashion.
6. How do you source the clothing – where do the designer pieces come from?
I do all the buying myself and this is basically my job on a daily basis. I search for brands on the web and go to a lot of events. We are also becoming more and more well-known on the market, so a lot of brands are coming to us.
7. How often do you add new collections and new pieces online?
Apart from the two main collections every year – fall/winter and spring/summer – we also do a lot of capsule collections, as well as pre-collections, like a cruise line for example. In addition, we sell what we call ‘permanent brands’ that are not seasonal. We search for those regularly – this includes classic looks, nursery products and so on. Basically, we have something new on the website every single week.
8. What are the ages that you target?
Zero to 12 year old is our core target market.
9. Which countries do you ship to?
All over the world. We are number one in Europe and are having a tremendous growth in the U.S. right now. We are also pretty big in Russia and the Middle East.
10. You have four kids, so do your children wear clothes from MELIJOE as well?
They have no choice! (laughs) Plus, my oldest is only 10, so I still have a little bit of power on what he is wearing!