Isabelle & Aude- the ladies of MuMu. It is my pleasure to introduce you to these two successful career women who have most recently taken the full leap into entrepreneurship in a foreign land. Like many of us, they are continually learning how to navigate the waters of this new life, balancing an accessories brand, family, hobbies, friendships and self-care. Running a business is no easy task, but Isabelle and Aude have been rewarded with each other- a business partnership that has been based on mutual trust, respect and self-awareness. What I admire most, is their natural inclination to support other women, taking the initiative to connect and motivate the creative and entrepreneurial community.
Now that you’ve gotten to know Isabelle, I would like to introduce you to the brand and Aude co-founder of MuMu!
Current City: Shanghai
Occupation: Co-founder of MuMu accessories
How would you describe your style?
Classic with a twist.
What does being a BagLady mean to you?
It’s truly having a sense of style.
What do you like most about our garments?
The lines of the collection are simple but accurately twisted. It gives you an artsy style without exaggeration.
If you had to wear one outfit every day, what would it be?
Long comfy pants with an oversized shirt with a high waist belt.
How do your cultural roots affect your style?
Since I grew up and worked in Asia for over 18 years, I have always been attracted by ethnic folklore and antique items. My style is a very French sleek classic one. I love wearing long skirts or long pants to elongate the silhouette. There is nothing too much but I love adding a piece of accessory to twist the whole style like a fancy belt or bracelet bangle.
Compared to 10 years ago, how empowered do you feel?
I feel much more confident in my choices.
What does the expression “self-care” mean to you?
To me, self-care is about your internal self-awareness and how you balance your emotions and mind.
Do you have any daily rituals or routines?
I need an hour of daily exercise to start the day.
What do you enjoy most about your current life?
In my 40s, I have the feeling and confidence to do almost anything I want. I have enough experience to give me perspective & wisdom to undergo challenging projects.
How big of a challenge is it to start and run and grow a business in Shanghai?
It’s all about finding the right team to grow the business.
Who is the MuMu woman?
She is a self-confident woman looking for something different to style up.
Can you tell our readers about the brand?
Maison MuMu is a French urban accessory brand including tote bags, clutches, bangle, key chains, mule sandals. It is easily recognizable for its way of mixing leathers and fabrics. By doing so, it offers a distinctive style with a more edgy touch for women who love to feel unique and stylish.
Any advice on how to build and maintain an effective partnership?
When Isabelle and I met, we knew nothing of one another! So, we decided to take it one step at a time to make sure we were on the same page. We spend a lot of time brainstorming. The role of each of us had to be clearly defined. Then we needed to make sure we had the same ambition and energy enthusiasm!
You both have had successful careers before you started working full-time on MuMu, what motivated you to walk away from it all to build your own business?
I have always had this project on my mind ever since I started working. Starting in a more corporate environment has helped in learning best practices & developing skills in one’s field. I specifically have worked in the US, Asia & Russia, which has exposed me to a multicultural complexity. It was then only a matter of time to encounter the right project, product and person to make it happen.
Has it been easy to attract and form a connection with the local market and your brand? Generally speaking, Chinese partners are curious to explore new business opportunities especially with a French brand.
What is next for MuMu?
We have a showroom on Anfu lu, but we plan to open a
‘mini’ flagship store with our interior design and continue to expand the distribution in selected retailers.
Do you have any advice for anyone who dreams of starting a business in Shanghai?
Never compromise on your vision and have supportive Chinese friends.
Many people say that they have “no regrets” in life. Do you think that’s true? If you could go back in time, is there anything that you would change about your life?
Only the regret of not spending more time with people I love.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
How do you define happiness?
It’s finding a fine and tricky balance in life complexity and still carrying many dreams.
Visit MuMu's studio in the Former French Concession at 322 Anfu Lu, Studio #5,