This week’s That Mama is Narguess Sousi, founder of one of Sassy Mama’s fave kids store – petit bazaar*… As mama to two girls (aged 6 and 4) we picked her brains about her style tips and tricks, and why giving up on sleep is her only option!
Where you do buy your clothes? How do you stay stylish as a mum?
I am French, so naturally I like French brands and french style. I like labels like Sandro, Maje (both available via Rue Madame in Hong Kong), Zadig et Voltaire or other smaller French clothing labels that are not so mainstream.
Paris is really inspiring in terms of style and fashion. On the street you really can see women who have great style without looking too pretentious and you can easily pick some nice ideas each time just by walking in the streets or café… I think style comes from within, it is our personality and our lifestyle, rather than about who has the latest ‘IT’ item out of the fashion magazines.
How do you save time?
You have to be really organized. I love my job but I also really enjoy spending time with my family and kids, because they are who first inspired me to open petit bazaar*. Being a mum is not easy and being an entrepreneur at the same time — well, it can be really challenging. You need to be well organized and have patience to balance it all, and I am still working hard to be more organized when it comes to both my family and my business.
What are your organizational tricks and tips?
I don’t really have any secret tricks or tips, nothing really crazy… but for me I need to have everything written somewhere like a reminder or to-do list, otherwise it can be really hard for me to be on top of everything making sure everyone is happy. I think as a mum we simply have to be multi-tasking so the husband and kids are satisfied and my employees are happy.
Where do you shop for kids clothes and your household basics and food?
I like things that are special, unique and poetic… My girls are dressed in clothes that are good quality so they can be comfortable in them, but at the same time they are stylish. Now that I have petit bazaar* they became my little spokespeople for the brand, so of course I now shop at petit bazaar* for them.
Luckily I have a great helper who spares me the time to do our groceries shopping, because right now I just don’t have the time to do it and she has been with us long enough to know our favourites and family recipes — thank god for that! But if I have time to do quick supermarket trip then it is most likely be Great or Taste. I try to make sure both my girls are eating properly with proper food and proportion for their age.
What is your beauty must-have product?
I don’t have any beauty ritual and luckily my job doesn’t require me to wear make–up every day, but I do need my day and night creams. Also, I make sure that I eat properly and drink plenty of water, I think being healthy is also part of a beauty regime.
How do you stay sane?
Quality food and quality time with family and friends. I don’t think there’s anything that beats that!
What is your favourite activity to do with your kids in Hong Kong?
I think it is great that Hong Kong weather is pretty much warm throughout the year, only those few months around Chinese New Year that can be quite cold, so that allows us to go to the beach and there are many nice beaches in the city. We also like ice skating as well, it is lots of fun! Otherwise, we live very close to the American Club in Tai Tam so the girls can dip into the pool or just chill at the club whenever they want.
Favourite kid-friendly restaurant in Hong Kong?
Our family favourites are Spices in Repulse bay or Coco Thai in Deep Water Bay
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since becoming a parent?
There is so much that we had to learn since becoming parents, and in fact we are still discovering new things with our girls as they grow, but I would say being patient and loving, having faith in yourself, your partner and your kids is what I’ve learn since I became a mother.
How did you get the inspiration to start up Petit Bazaar? How has your life changed since starting your business?
After I had my girls in Hong Kong, I found it difficult to find stylish clothes at reasonable price or quality toys that doesn’t have cartoon characters all over it,very often I was buying everything from Paris whenever I went back. That’s why I wanted to bring this kind of French ‘bazaar’ concept to Hong Kong because I know there’s something like this missing in the city, because beautiful things shouldn’t limited to art pieces only, they should be something that is in our daily life and approachable so children can learn to appreciate art and beauty at very young age. Also with my background as a speech therapist working with children, and a trained Psychologist, it helped me to know what to buy for my shops and what kind of items suits what age group.
My life has totally changed since petit bazaar*- it is like a fairy-tale dream come true! There is much more to do and so much to learn of course, but it is amazing and very fulfilling! I don’t get that much sleep now but I am full of energy and excitement of it!
How do you balance your business and motherhood?
Well! First thing I have to give up is my sleep! I only get to work while the girls are at school or after they’ve gone to bed, that’s why I said it is important to be organized and make my own schedule, in this way, my children still get their quality time with me and I can still be their mother. I don’t think there’s ‘perfect’ balance, but you just have to work out your priorities and to know what is important to you.
Laid-back or disciplinarian? What’s your parenting style?
Hmm, I think I am something in between, not too laid-back nor disciplinarian. I trust my kids so i am not the kind of mum who’s checking everything, behind their backs nagging them for everything because I think children still need to learn to take responsibility, but of course they are still very young, so you still need a bit of discipline to teach them right and wrong and manners… but I think I am lucky that I have really nice kids too and that makes it a lot easier.
Fabulous photos by Ifat Kafry Hindes of Hindessight Photography.