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It's a child's life, with founder of Melijoe, Nathalie Christen-Genty

Nathalie, founder of designer childrenswear webstore, Melijoe, turns the clock back to a reimagined childhood...

Posted: 11 June 2013
by Catherine Hudson
Kenzo Baby at Melijoe and Nathalie

If you were five years old again, what is the first thing you would do?

I would go to the French countryside with my sister and head straight to my grandparent’s house where we would play with the farm animals. We would call the cows in and gather fresh milk: one of my favourite memories.

What advice would you give your five-year-old self?

To have more confidence in myself and to break out of my box a bit more.

What rules would you stick to?

A bit cliché, but true, I would have eaten more green vegetables. I would have also studied dance a bit more seriously and stuck with my piano lessons.

What rules would you break?

I would not have worn the clothes that my mum would always make me wear. Alas, I didn’t have much of a choice, but I should have insisted on wearing other things.

If you could, would you do anything to change your character?

I would try to tell my five-year-old self to not be so shy, but that is very hard for certain children.

Would you play more or try to learn harder?

Both - I would not have changed anything. I played a lot, but I studied a lot as well. In fact, we would learn through playing, especially when at my grandparent’s farm. It made us more curious about the world around us.

Knowing what you know now, what would you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a child, I wanted to be a surgeon, but I don’t think that knowing what I know now would have changed that then. I would have certainly told my child self that when I was to grow up, that I would be the happiest of women with my four babies, my husband and my fashion business. Ultimately, what I dreamt about when I was a child certainly played a part in where I am today, regardless of what my dream was.

What would you do for fun/hobbies?

I absolutely loved playing and doing sports, I averaged 13-15 hours a week. I would also always play with my sister, like all children of that age, and for fun, we would play with the other children from the village that we grew up in, which is located about 30 minutes outside of Paris.

What pearls of wisdom would you pass on to your five-year-old friends?

To not be mean to the other children. It was always something that made me angry, and it still is upsetting today to see children being mean to each other.

How would you dress yourself?

A mix and match of cool, casual clothes with lots of pops of colour, like all five year olds like to wear.

What would you ask to have for a slap up dinner?

If I could have had anything, I would have had an entire meal made out of crepes and my grandmother’s gauffres, which are like Belgian waffles, covered in chocolate sauce, powdered sugar and whipped cream.

What would you insist upon doing if you only had one day to spend being aged five before returning to adulthood?

I would spend the entire day playing with my little sister, who has since passed away. There is nothing I would love to do more. 

Paul Smith boyswear and Sonia Rykiel girlswear shown in gallery, also available at Melijoe.

Nathalie is the founder of Melijoe - a luxury children's fashion webstore for boy, girl and baby.


Don't miss... The Junior Meets hub of exclusive interviews, inside scoop interviews and quirky Q&As, with exciting interviewees including: Tommy HilfigerSir Paul SmithStella McCartney and lots of other influential fashion designers, authors and illustrators including Quentin Blake and Jeff Kinney, great business minds including Lord Alan Sugar and, everyone's favourite fashionable frog, Kermit.

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