It’s always fun meeting new people, which is why we came up with the idea of The HTF Hot Seat – a regular post to introduce you to the creative dynamites behind your fave hardtofind products. This week’s seller in the spotlight: Béatrice de Montille, founder of Merci Maman.
I’m known on hardtofind for my… personalised sterling silver and gold-plated hand-engraved jewellery.
Right now I’m inspired… wherever I am – it lives inside me! I might be reading a bed time story to my children and something, an image or a phrase, will inspire me and motivate me. This is also true of friends, movies, magazines, blogs, design shows and following fashion and cultural trends. I am always on the alert for fresh ideas.
My favourite part of the making process is… engraving the jewellery, each individual piece tells a unique story and celebrates the bond between loved ones!
I work from… our workshop in Fulham, London half the time, and the other half in our second atelier in Paris that we opened last year.
A typical day for me involves… starting by having breakfast with my family! It’s really important for us to begin the day in good spirits. Then I do the school run, dropping off my three girls. I arrive in the office at 9am and check my emails while the orders are prepared for production. The rest of the morning is spent in meetings to follow up on various projects. We usually take a lunch break as a team. At 3pm, I pick up my children and spend the afternoon taking them to their activities and helping with their homework. In the evening, I get back to work and reply to emails.
My proudest business moment was… when the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, wore one of our necklaces engraved with her son’s name, George Alexander Louis — a gift from her sister, Pippa!
When I started my business, I wish I’d known… that you don’t know everything. I have my limitations and always need others to help (or even rescue!) me. Merci Maman is a success but it is not a one-person success – it is a team success. Recognising that you are not always right and more importantly being able to listen and ask for help is a really good lesson learnt.
I’d describe my personal style as… a blouse and jeans paired with boots for the office, but when I have an important meeting, I’ll wear a nice dress or skirt with heels.
My last purchase was… two vintage chairs from a small French online shop.
The first thing I do when I wake up is… check my emails. I’m completely addicted to my iPhone!
The motto I live by is … quality, creativity, efficiency, culture and satisfaction – that’s our company values. Quality: in terms of product, packaging and customer satisfaction is key. Creativity: new collections, fresh ideas, keeping up with new trends and listening to customer requests. Efficiency: on all levels, delivery of our products within two days, a user friendly engaging website, quick response to customer requests and feedback. Culture: providing a structured yet relaxed workplace, nurturing our staff, offering flexible working hours, giving a percentage of our profits to charity and… having fun! Satisfaction: our customers are our top priority; we find a solution to any problem and have achieved a 98% satisfaction level.
I’m hoping 2017 will bring … a stronger, larger team to make the brand grow even more.
Everything tastes better with a little … dark chocolate!
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