let me start out by saying that switzerland is not the easiest country to meet new people and make new friends. (though talking to other immigrants in a variety of different countries, this seems to be true of many places.) however, i have been fortunate enough to bump into a few people here who i really clicked with, and maya certainly is one of them. a corporate career woman turned entrepreneur, with an impeccable sense of style and a warm, kind and happy personality that not only makes you feel accepted and appreciated, but is contagious as well. i was so surprised to hear maya’s answers to my questions below (because if there was ever a reason to bring back the kick-ass women series, maya is it) when she mentions her much-loved aunt and how she was able to inspire joy and happiness around her. that is indeed such an admirable trait, and one that maya has definitely inherited or carefully cultivated in herself.

maya and her team recently redecorated the showroom of maya’s business MY LITTLE ROOM, an online concept store for kids and parents who prefer to live in style. (you get why we met, right?) anyhow, i visited the place shortly after it was ready to take a few photos of maya and her gorgeous work environment (can you believe working in this place?) i hope the photos will inspire you as much as the showroom inspired me to make some changes to our girls’ rooms! running your own business isn’t easy anywhere, but in switzerland there are so many more challenges that are just not as hard or relentless in belgium. i have nothing but admiration for this woman who had a dream, turned it into a vision and a reality and lives a happy and fulfilled life because of it. her advice to other women (or just others in general) is heartfelt and loving, and i don’t want to keep you from it any longer.

what is the most important thing you’ve learned in your life so far?

with time, i have learned to trust my instincts. sometimes facts and figures or extensive analyses provide you with information on what you should do, when your gut feeling makes you want to move into a completely different direction. i had a tendency a few years ago to only trust data based information to back up my decisions. although i still think it is important to get hard data in any business, i have learned to listen much more to my instincts in order to make important decisions. and so far, it has proven to be a very wise choice.

if you could only give one piece of advice to anyone, what would it be?

do what makes you happy and do not compromise too much. life is short. don’t get caught in a job or a life you are not enjoying. you have the ability to make the necessary changes. don’t shy away or be scared of them. the journey can be bumpy, but it’s worth it. seven years ago, i was working for a big corporation, had a very comfortable salary, a job that i was very good at, but i was missing a purpose and excitement. when i decided to leave this job and start MY LITTLE ROOM, a lot of people around me thought that was crazy. the first two years were indeed very challenging with a lot of stress and hard work (and my current salary is not even close to what it was back then), but i never regretted that decision, as i am doing something i love and that makes me truly happy.

what would you like to be remembered for?

i would like to be remembered as a person who always tried to spread joy around her. in my family, with my team, with my friends. we all have our problems, but the most beautiful people are the ones who spread their happiness and their joy wherever they go. i’ve learned this from my aunt who sadly passed away six months ago, and who was one of these people. never complaining, never sad, never down, although she did not have an easy life. the joy she spread around her was contagious. she filled the space with laughter and « légèreté ». i think this is the most wonderful thing you can give to people, and it is also applicable at work. having a happy team, for example, is essential to me. there is a great atmosphere at my little room’s offices in geneva, as i think everyone feels valued and listened to. there is a true ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude that is one of the reasons of the company’s success.

what is the biggest accomplishment you wish for yourself in your future?

my biggest accomplishment would be to have my three sons become three kind, generous, empathetic and caring men. i would like to look back and say ‘i have given them the right education, i have made the right choices’ and be proud of the human beings they have become.

photos by stephanie duval

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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.

 

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