The Tale Of Cécile Roederer & Charles Rochand


For Cécile Roederer the idea of starting a children’s concept store came naturally. “I love fashion and interiors and I love boutiques that have a bit of everything, with a unique style and atmosphere,” says the chic French mother to Charles and founder of Smallable. At the time, her sisters and friends were starting to have children. “As working mothers, they told me that they didn’t have time to shop anymore; to run between five or six different boutiques to dress and equip their children… and of course we all know just how much kids love going shopping with their parents!” And so Smallable was born: an online concept store which facilitates the lives of parents, while offering wonderful, beautiful things for children from all over the world. “In creating Smallable, I was able to link many things that I love and today I am deeply happy and passionate about what I do,” she says. We are thrilled to get a peek into Roederer’s spectacular Haussmannien apartment in Paris and chat to her about everything from raising children the French way to starting a business from scratch…

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“Motherhood has taught me…
Unconditional love, one that you can physically feel in your stomach, patience, a greater indulgence, a greater generosity, how to be less of a ‘workaholic’, being able to step back and take another perspective on problems, and quite simply the obvious: nothing is more important than your family!

Since becoming a mother I spend a lot of time in children’s playgrounds…
Although the least time possible, I must admit! I never sleep in anymore (except when my son is visiting his grandparents), I very rarely go to the cinema and I avoid dinners with friends that last until 4am… these are the less fun parts. As for the rest, life is full of wonderment every day, and it is an immense, immeasurable joy to see your child grow, develop and blossom.

I don’t know if there is a ‘French touch’ in the way people raise their children…
French mothers can sometimes seem quite ‘cool’ about being working mothers and aren’t always 100% focused on their children, but also look after themselves. I think that they claim a certain independence. They don’t feel guilty about working and having professional responsibilities, about going out and travelling sometimes without their children, about also sometimes just being a woman that is in love with her husband. They obviously want to be good mothers who are affectionate and involved in the education of their children, but they don’t try to be perfect and don’t tend to have a complex about the demand for perfection! In any case, the women that I know (myself included!) are rather like this, but perhaps my friends and I aren’t typical of the French in general.

I do spend a lot more time on my beauty routine in the morning and evening than I did when I was 25/30 years old…
It’s not really the fact that I’ve become a mother, but rather my age. In the morning: A shower to wake me up, I finish with a spurt of cold water to really get me going. I slather my body with body oil, I love the perfume, it’s an essential! I am keen on Japanese layering: lotion, serum, eye cream and moisturising day cream. Makeup: I mostly concentrate on my complexion (products by Armani are perfect for this!) and my eyes (eye-liner, mascara), with just a balm for my lips. My perfume is quite unique, I love it and I have been using it for 10 years now. Then I swallow a glass of warm, freshly-squeezed lemon juice every morning – it’s good for the health and the complexion! In the evening: layering again! I have a makeup remover for my eyes, a face oil for my face and neck (Shu Uemura is just divine!), lotion, serum, eye cream and night moisturiser and finally a lip balm. Twice a week I use an oil on my hair before going to bed and once a week I exfoliate my face and body. It really is quite a ritual!

During my pregnancy, I did prenatal yoga and haptonomy
I was told that babies are often very awake; I don’t know if it’s because of the haptonomy, but my son has always been very lively and vivacious, since he was a baby, so I’m not sure if I would do it again! Since I created Smallable and I became a mother, I have less time to do sport and I miss it. I try to go to Pilates regularly and to go jogging to relieve pressure. Doing more sport is one of my resolutions for the new school year. I would quite like to try boxing to let off steam!

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I studied economics…
I wanted to become a professor at the university and conduct research on economics. After a year in England, I took a gap year in India, where I worked in a NGO on a micro-credit program (that helps women create their own micro-business). This trip really made an impression on me and when I went back to France, I realised that I really wanted to get involved with a company as an entrepreneur with more immediate results (rather than spending five years on a thesis…). I specialised in management and marketing and I worked in the fashion sector as a product manager for Dim, a brand of lingerie, then as manager of the women’s collections at Lancel, a brand of leather goods and accessories. I had a position with a lot of strategic responsibility, I learnt a lot and I wanted to launch my own business! I always knew that I wanted to create my own business, but I first wanted to gain some valuable experience.

My career changed dramatically when I left Lancel to launch Smallable…
I worked for over a year on the concept, the business plan, the assortment of brands and products. One year after the launch, my son was born, I had to find offices (until then I worked from home), rearrange my working hours, find a way to organise things with my husband, conciliate my life as a young mother with my role as the founder of a start-up with strong growth. Luckily we were already independent and could therefore choose our hours and the way we wanted to work more easily. There was above all a strong will to succeed in managing both, you can’t imagine the strength you find in yourself when it’s your own company! It’s tricky but gives immense personal satisfaction.

Our home is a typical Haussmannien apartment…
It dates from the second empire (1853-1870). The Hausmannien style is of course visible on the classical façade of the building and also in the architecture, with interior balconies, chimneys, ‘service’ rooms overlooking the interior courtyard (kitchen and bathroom), wall-mouldings and decorative window frames. We have lived in this apartment for over 10 years and we have restored everything bit by bit over the years, naturally without touching the basics – the layout of the rooms, the walls, the chimney and the wall-mouldings.

I have always loved interior design and decoration…
That’s one of the reasons why I wanted there to be a large part of our concept store that was dedicated to furniture and decoration, which incidentally differentiates us from many of the other stores for children. This also explains why Smallable’s interiors selection doesn’t limit itself to just kids designers, but also includes items for teens and adults, with pieces from contemporary designers and people love it! Our selection is reaching further and further into items for the whole household, with textiles, cushions, rugs, dishes and storage that looks just as good in the parent’s bedroom as in the living room.Charles_IMG_8953

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