Julie is a local Hampstead mum who started Rue des Petits to help us find unique, cherry-picked gifts for babies, children and mums, with a chic & retro twist. She is offering personal shopping and gift services to make our life easier, and can offer a free click and collect service for NW3 customers! You can read more about Julie in our Hampstead Business Mums Blog.
How long have you lived in the Hampstead area?
I moved to London 8 years ago and really discovered Hampstead 4 years ago I would say. From the moment I did, I kept jumping on the 46 bus from Notting Hill where I used to live to come here. We were so happy when we finally found a place in Hampstead heath and we move 1.5 years ago, just after the birth of our second little girl.
Describe your family
I live with my Russian/British husband and our 2 little girls (Margaux, 4 years old and Agathe, 20 months).
Do you have much family around?
Unfortunately our families live abroad, apart from my sister in law who lives in lovely Richmond. But they do love it here so come and visit us a lot. And we have quite a few friends in the area, between Hampstead, Belsize Park, St John’s Wood, Maida Vale… So we always feel in good company!
Have you lived elsewhere in London?
I lived near Finchley Road when I was a student in London in 2005 and when I moved to London for good, I landed in Notting Hill. It was a great area for a young couple with no kids…. We have great memories there as well.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would be it?
Let’s see… I do like sun and Mediterranean food. I love Provence for its light, smells and rose wine, I love Spain where I spent all my summer holidays as a child, I spent 8 months in Casablanca for work and loved it, I discovered Lisbon last year and keep thinking that it must be an amazing place to live. I would say I would choose one of these southern cities with a holiday feel… But every time I travel, I am still happy to come back to London. So not for now!
What’s your favourite thing to do over the week-end?
We do walk a lot! We would have breakfast at home and go out for the day, through Belsize park/Primerose Hill (have lunch at Lemonia!) and carry on via Regents Park to Marylebone. We tend to stay at home for dinners, the 4 of us or with friends and cook something. But we like our brunches and lunches outside on week-end. Never say no to a nice Byron as well (that’s one thing missing in Hamptead!!)
Favourite restaurant in the area?
I like Freemasons for drinks or lunch in the sun, Cote for a classic French meal, Zara is a nice Turkish place in Hampstead heath, Lemonia a bit further…. And still many other places to go to! I spotted a Persian restaurant on Haverstock hill that I’d like to try!
How would you describe yourself prior to being a mum?
I was spending lots of time with my friends and husband. We were making the most of what London had to offer! And we were travelling quite a bit!
How would you describe yourself now?
Less time to go out, a bit more tired but feeling like I have less needs and I am happy with more simple things. I just started sewing classes in Belsize Park. Simple but so satisfying!
What is your day to day outfit?
Skinny jeans, flat shoes, either a white (I am addicted to them) or denim shirt, a jumper and a scarf (another addiction!)
Do you bring children up the way your parents brought you up?
As a child, you always think you won’t but then…. My parents were quite strict and I do like the idea of limits, I like children who say please, thank you, sit while eating and know what they are allowed and not allowed to do. But I do also like to have fun with them and let them express themselves… It’s a question of balance, you want happy children but not kids that rule your family!
What languages do you speak at home?
I speak French to my little girls, my husband speaks Russian to them and we speak English between us. It seems to be working ok!
Did you always know you wanted your own business?
I would not say always… but I studied in a business school and really thought I wanted to spend my life in a ‘serious job in an office’. But after having my children I realised that there was more to that and that it would be nice to spend more time with them. Also, I used to work for a very famous French luxury brand for 5 years before launching Rue des Petits. I loved my job but more and more I felt like I wanted to create my own brand identity, my own little world, and be the one deciding. And I kept thinking that as a child I wanted to be a florist. So maybe it was time to move on and be more creative!
Please describe your business? When did you start it?
After many many hours spent researching young designer brands, hand-made and unique products, cute babies and children accessories when I was on maternity leave in 2012 and 2014 or looking for gifts for my friends, I decided to embark on a new adventure and Rue des Petits was born, in 2015.
Rue des Petits (‘The Street for the little ones’ in French) is an online boutique offering a cherry-picked and exclusive selection of young, up-and-coming European designers, so that looking for the unique and perfect baby gift or treat for your little ones is made much easier for you!
‘I only offer what I like‘… I have chosen timeless chic brands with a retro and modern twist, a soft and enchanting ‘je ne sais quoi’. All products are made with love by lovely people, passionate women and mothers who have dedicated lots of time and energy to create their own brand. They are craftsmen and women, passionate about their work, thriving for quality, handmade and with their own savoir-faire. It is an amazing pleasure and privilege to be introducing some of these brands to the UK for the first time. Regularly, I will introduce new designers, as I discover them, to the world of Rue des Petits.
I am also introducing a range of Rue des Petits gift sets, a collection of cute already-packaged selection of hand-made products from lovely cherry-picked fabrics. I have worked with Charlotte from Esther & Lucien on this collection and will in the future partner with different designers to create capsule collections of exclusive gift sets for Rue des Petits. So watch this space!!
You will find chic babies essentials: muslin pads, sleeping bags, bath towels, bibs or soft toys; lovely accessories and home decorations: cushions, wall stickers, music dolls, prints or blankets as well as toys and clothing items. But also, because as a mother it is nice to receive gifts, I have made a selection of gifts for mums!
And because I fell in love with the British tradition of beautiful packaging and hand written cards, I am offering different gift-wrapping options… as I agree that receiving a gift, start with opening a card and pulling a ribbon.
I am also putting together collection pages, inspiration pages so that you can wander in the boutique like on a blog, and be (hopefully!) inspired! Finally if you lack inspiration or don’t have time, I offer free personal shopping services. Just need to send me an email with what you are after! I am here to help!
What drives you to run your own business?
Well it is still at its early stages, but I believe in buying less but better, I like the idea to be promoting quality products and supporting craftspeople who are proud of what they are doing, I also like the idea of making people happy when they open their prettily gift-wrapped parcel! It’s has also been so far a great human adventure, meeting lovely people and brands.
Is your other half supportive? In the family home? With the business?
Yes, I have got the best husband in the world! He is helping as much as he can at home and without him and his support, I am not sure I would have dared embarking on this new adventure. I am very thankful.
If you didn’t start your own business what would you have been doing?
Not sure …. Maybe I would have finally learnt to become a florist!