Mum at work #5 : Nicole.
Today, we’re meeting Nicole, 42, who is an American fashion designer living in Paris for 12 years. She’s married to a French man and she has two daughters : Lucy, 10, and Jo, 7. She launched her own fashion & accessories brand, Nicole Van Dyke, 10 years ago.
Nicole, how did you decide to create your own fashion brand ? I’ve been working in the fashion industry since I finished my studies at the New York Fashion Institute : first at Ann Taylor’s, then at Victoria’s Secret. When I met my husband in New-York, I decided to head for France with him. It was in 2002. Since the beginning of my career, I’ve been creating some bags for small boutiques. When I came to Paris, I decided to launch my own brand, Nicole Van Dyke.
Could you describe your job ? I create bags and clothes. I work with great materials such as Italian leathers, handmade wools designed by my mother in the US, and vintage fabrics that I’ve found all around the world. Today, you can find NVD not only in Paris, but also in American and Japanese boutiques.
How do you reconcile maternity and professional work? For me, they are intertwined : I’ve decided to create my own brand precisely to take control of my profesional life… I wanted to be with my daughters as much as possible! That’s the reason why I’ve installed my office at home ! Of course it hasn’t been that easy! I remember some crazy moments such as when I launched my brand in Japan and I was pregnant with my second child!… Or when I was breastfeeding my baby during Fashion Fair… But that’s life!
What do you love in your job today? Of course I love the creative part of my job, but I also like its human dimension : I collaborate a lot with craftsmen and freelancers… I also appreciate the autonomy and the flexibility I have.
How do you reconcile your profesional and personal life on a daily basis ? I wake up early, around 7.15 and I practice yoga for 15 minutes. Then I have a look at my emails just to check news from japanese and US retailers. In the meantime, my husband wakes up the girls. We have breakfast all together, then I bring my daughters to school. I start working around 8.45 am, till 4.30 pm, when I bring the girls back from school. I work again after the ‘gouter’ (typical French snack) while the girls do their homework.
I’m the one in charge of home’s daily organisation. But my husband often takes the reins when there’s an emergency or when there are catwalks : I know I can rely on him! By the way, during the weekend, he often takes care of the children when there’s a collection’s presentation, a meeting with a buyer or a photo-shooting.
What do you think about this organisation? I like it because it’s rather flexible … even though it’s not always that easy because I’ve never wanted to have a nanny at home! Indeed, the more autonomous my children are, the more my work advances : now, for instance, I have much more time to dedicate to my work than when my girls were toddlers! My role as a mother has changed too : there’s less logistics, more talks and need of support. Finally, I must say I’m very satisfied with this situation because my girls seem very happy!
What moment do you prefer when you’re at home? Two moments are very special : breakfast and dinner. We love having breakfast all together : a great way to start the day! At night, I love when the girls are dining and I’m preparing the dinner for my husband and myself. The girls read their favourite magazines, which we comment on together, and we talk about the day at school…It’s a really a good time!
On the contrary, which moment is harder for you at home? Wednesday afternoon just goes crazy! We go to activities, to the doctor’s… AND I have to deal with work’s uncertainties! At night, I’m completely worn out!
What advice would you give to other mums eager to create their own business?
- Try to set daily moments with your family : for instance, beakfast time is a good moment to share! Set the table the night before and enjoy a good time in the morning all together!
- Don’t give in to social pressure that respects you only if you work for a big firm… especially when you live in Paris!
- Listen to yourself to know what you really want to do ! It’s the best way to succeed!
Do you have any children’s tips?
- A really good magazine for children is Georges, (7-10 years-old) : humouristic, intelligent and beautiful! Not classic at all! You can find it in bookstores.
- A good place for a family brunch on Saturday : Mûre, 6 rue Saint-Marc (I was the one in charge of interior design 😉 ! ). The food is scrumptious, healthy and homemade!
Thanks to Nicole for this interview! … I was very happy to meet her! If you want to know more about Nicole’s fashion’ collection, you can visit Nicole Van Dyke‘ website!
See you soon… for a scrumptious recipe on Friday!