I’ve been photographing for My Little Room for a while now and been wishing to interview Maya, its owner, since the day we met.
I think I’ve already told you I’m completely fascinated by strong women who manage to successfully launch their own business and have a fulfilling family life. They inspire me and reading their story pushes me to become better and follow my dreams.
Maya was so generous that she not only agreed to be interviewed but also allowed me to photograph her amazing house and take a few shots of her and her family. I hope you will be as inspired by her story as I was.
Maya, can you introduce yourself please?
I’m the founder of MyLittleRoom.ch, a Geneva-based online store for kids’ rooms I opened 7 years ago. I’m also the mother of 3 wonderful boys aged 18, 12 and 9. I was born in Lebanon and raised in Saudi Arabia and France. I lived in the US and the UK before settling in Switzerland 20 years ago. I worked for Procter&Gamble for 12 years before starting this exciting new adventure.
Can you tell us more about My Little Room and how the project was born?
When my kids were born, I was desperately looking for furniture and decoration accessories I liked for their rooms. I couldn’t find what I was looking for in Geneva, but saw so many beautiful things in the countries I was travelling to at the time while working for P&G. This is when the idea of gathering the best design furniture and accessories for kids in one place came up. As a working mum I also had very limited time for shopping. This is why I wanted to create an online shop where parents could buy everything they needed in a click and have the items delivered to their home without the hassle of traffic jams, parking, carrying heavy furniture, etc.
Why were you attracted to kids’ furniture and toys?
I believe a child’s bedroom is a very unique and important place. Everyone remembers their first room. When I was a child my mum had created the most beautiful bedroom for me. It was in different shades of blue with a giant wall poster depicting a view of the Swiss Alps in summer (funnily enough…). When I was 7 my family had to leave Lebanon because of the war and years after our departure I still remembered every single detail of that room. I wanted to give the opportunity to each parent to create a special place for their child, a cocoon that is especially designed and imagined for him or her, with products that were made with care and love. A room that a child will remember all his life and that will remind him or her of his childhood.
How has MLR evolved from its beginnings? Is MLR just you or is there a team behind it?
I started MLR with a partner who left the company last year. We were doing everything ourselves in the beginning, absolutely everything: from selecting the brands (that was the fun part !), to answering customers’ questions, packing orders, shipping them, maintaining the website. etc. Our office and our warehouse were in the basement of my house… We were very lucky we managed to do well after around a year and were able to move out of the basement, get « real » offices and hire people. Today, MLR is a team of 8 : Marie, Gaëlle, Manon, Laure, Houssem, Miriam, Simon and I. I am blessed to have these amazing people working with me. We are all passionate about what we do. I must also admit that we have a lot of fun… (as illustrated in our IG stories !) I would not change my job for anything in the world !
How do you manage a balance between business and family life?
That’s a tricky question. The answer is « I do my best », like all working moms, I guess. I try to plan and organize the kids’ weeks ahead of time as much as I can. I am fortunate to be able to work from home when I need to. When my boys were smaller I worked late at night when I had to look after them during the day. Now that they are bigger, I must say it is becoming much easier to find that balance between work and family.
How do you see yourself as a mum?
Being the mum of 3 boys is sometimes challenging… The level of energy they have is HIGH! I have a positive approach to life in general and want my home to be always filled with joy. I make my kids laugh a lot (I must admit I can sometimes behave in very immature ways, which makes them burst out with laughter – maybe out of embarrassment, I’m not sure! ☺ ). There is always music playing at home and we dance a lot. Of course sometimes I need to be strict but luckily this does not happen often. My boys are « generally » well behaved.
Tell me more about this house. When did you move here? Did you decorate it yourself?
Our house was designed and built by the Swiss architects Devantery-Lamunière. It’s very modern and we fell in love with its uncommon look: the aluminium panels covering it, its boat shape, the swimming pool on the first floor terrace. We moved here 6 years ago. I was frankly skeptical in the beginning about moving into such an « unusual » house but I never regretted it as I absolutely love the light, the space and the cosiness of the house. I loved decorating it and since it looks so sleek and a bit cold from the outside, I tried to decorate it with colourful furniture and accessories to bring in some warmth.
What are your favorite rooms in the house?
My 2 youngest boys’ rooms (Louis and Adrien) are definitely my favorites ! Everything in them comes from My Little Room of course. I just love testing our new brands and new products in their rooms and getting to know their opinions. Adrien absolutely loves the ceramic balloons from Byon over his bed and Louis is in love with the Wobbel board he uses as a seat to read in.
What are your favorite furniture brands? Can any of these be purchased at My Little Room?
I love the brand Œuf NYC. Their furniture is modern, versatile and eco-friendly. And the quality is fantastic. Our Oeuf NYC beds never broke despite the very high level of energy of my boys and the relentless jumping on the mattress… It is also one of the first brands we started selling on My Little Room and it’s always been one of our best selling brands since then. I also love the Swedish brand String. You can create the shelves you want and in different colours and kinds of wood.
And if you had another baby and had to decorate a nursery?
I would love to re-decorate a nursery. My kids are growing up too quickly! I would probably get the Lola cradle from Bermbach, hand made from natural rattan. I really like it’s vintage look. I would also get Numero 74 bed linen: their cotton is simply the softest ever. I would buy a changing mattress from Camcam, the best on the market and I just love their new patterns. The crib would come from Oliver Furniture: their Mini + convertible cot is amazing, it grows with the child in addition to looking absolutely stunning. I would probably also get the Levo rocking chair from Charlie Crane, and the Ovo high chair from Micuna.
What are your plans for the future? And for My Little Room?
We have so much going on right now. Many amazing new brands will be added to our catalogue over the next couple of months. That also goes for new collaborations, so stay tuned! But one thing will not change for sure: we will continue to have fun and to be passionate about what we do, I believe this is key in life!
PS: I didn’t limit myself to interviewing Maya. I’ve also inquired among her employees and they speak wonders about her and how great it is to work at My Little Room. That says a lot about the person, right?
In case you like what you see in the pictures:
Toy Store – Oeuf NYC, Caspar Desk – Perludi, M Shelf – RaFa Kids , Peacock Pencil Holder – EO , Globe Light – Wild Wood , Monty Table Lamp – Flexa, Round Jute Carpet – Ferm Living Kids , Yellow Beanbag – Nobodinoz
The World Rug – OYOY , Round Beanbags – Nobodinoz, Wall Rug Rainbow – OYOY , Amsterdam Houses Wardrobes – Kast van een Huis, Vaclav Desk – Sirch , Pocket Shelf – String Furniture , Wobbelboard – Wobbel