A Closer Look at: Merci Maman
Founded in 2007 by Béatrice and Arnaud de Montille, jewellery brand Merci Maman began as a celebration of the special bond between mother and child. The bond that sees mums dropping everything to bake a cake for their kid’s birthday or picking them up from a sleepover gone wrong…
This Mother’s Day, we’ve collaborated with the award-winning label to create a limited edition range of bracelets that combine Cath Kidston fabrics with Merci Maman’s engraved, personalised charms. It’s an opportunity to pay tribute to your mum and all the little things she does; to give her something back, that she can wear every day as a reminder of your gratitude (for all those last-minute lifts and hugs in your hours of need).
To celebrate the launch, we spoke to Merci Maman’s Country Manager Alix Stanworth. A mum of two little girls, she talks about how our brands came together, design inspiration and why the little things really do count.
Why does a collaboration between our two brands make so much sense?
Both brands are united in bringing back memories and the emotions associated with them. For Cath Kidston, the prints transport you back to the comfort and reassurance of home, while Merci Maman captures a moment in time with engraved messaging. Together, we really wanted to create something that was instantly recognisable combining our prints and charms to make one very special collection.
Merci Maman started as a way to celebrate and cherish special family moments. Do you think we do that enough?
Our founder Béatrice started the brand as she wanted to find a meaningful gift for a friend who had given birth and capture the bond between mother and child. Everyone has a significant moment in time that can spur many emotions – it could also be a name, date or place – and I don’t think we cherish them enough. So to have this engraved on a piece of jewellery – and it doesn’t have to be a diamond ring or necklace, it can truly mean the world.
What was the design process for these bracelets?
Our aim was to create a visual piece of jewellery that’s recognisable to both brands and can be worn everyday. We developed Cath Kidston fabric into 100% light cotton, which formed the basis of the bracelet and then we added the 5mm charms. The process is very much about being hand and heart made: everything is assembled and hand-engraved in our London office by experts, and this level of detail runs through every stage from receiving orders to the packaging. We believe that the gift-giving process should be just as memorable as receiving.
How could mums wear these bracelets?
They’re definitely an everyday bracelet and will go with anything. Each design is so beautiful, it will brighten any outfit and we’ve taken care to ensure the fabric is super-soft for comfort. They’re a real talking point as people will ask where you got it from and the meaning of the message behind it, and we love the fact that each one is unique to the wearer.
The engraved pendants make us think of little hand written notes our mothers would write us on birthdays, graduations, even Valentines Day (when no one else sent us one!) What do the Cath Kidston prints remind you of?
Cath Kidston prints instantly make me think of my mum gathering my siblings and I round table on a Sunday afternoon; the smell of the kitchen as she cooked a roast and having fun with my siblings. They take me back to happy times of having fun with my siblings and that real feeling of comfort as you walked into the kitchen.
Why is it so important that our customers can engrave these with their own personalisation?
Everyone has their own unique story to tell and significant moments in time that are meaningful. It could be the date of the first time you saw your child’s face, or when your partner asked to marry you, or the day you achieved a lifelong goal. You can also engrave motivational messages and words of encouragement to others or even yourself – one look at the bracelet and you can get up and face the day ahead with confidence.
What do these bracelets represent for the mothers that will receive them?
They represent the unique bond between them and their loved one. At Merci Maman, we’re really trying to redefine motherhood: it doesn’t have to be about your DNA but representing the relationship you have with your mother figure, which could be an aunt, grandmother, best friend or godmother. It’s up to the customer to decide who that figure is in their life and take the opportunity to thank them.
What are the little things that mums do that really matter?
A mother figure is your constant that you celebrate the highs and lows with – even if she’s no longer with you, you can still hear her advice. She’s your guide and conscience in every decision you make in your life.
What are some of your favourite memories of your mum and the little things she did for you?
I have so many memories of my mum. She was one of my best friends and I always saw her as this lioness that protected her children. She was the kind of mum that my friends would come to if they were having problems at home – people just wanted to be in her company. She was so quick witted and fierce and my favourite memories are of us laughing together. She gave us confidence to be our own person and competent in any decisions we made, which is such a quality that I admire, and wish to instill in my own girls.
What are some of the little things you have done for your kids?
I’m often tidying up after them and making sure that Ken and Barbie are fully dressed! I want to make sure that they know that their dad and I are the people they can rely on and trust to tell us anything without judgement. Even when they’re being silly, that’s ok. I’ll know I’ve achieved success in parenting if my kids look back and say they had a really happy childhood, and that they’ve turned into decent human beings.
What are some of the little things your kids have done for you?
They love making cards so I’m always being given beautiful little creations and they’re also at the stage where they’re trying to make me breakfast in bed. Even if it’s the weirdest selection of food, like a dry packet of cereal. My husband is also brilliant at taking them out so I can have a break every now and then.