The MUMOKI Market is a place to shop and discover beautiful, unique products that are owned by talented Australian women. Each of these products, whether they are an item of clothing, toys, books or gifts, have all been inspired by the experience of motherhood.
Originally hailing from Mexico, Melissa Vieira is the founder of La Maison de la Poupee, and along with her Portuguese/French husband and her young son, she now calls Australia home. Raising a true multicultural, multilingual family (she speaks 4 languages!) in a country with no other family connections takes courage and depth of character that is truely inspiring and her handmade doll collection is a reflection of this.
We sat down with Melissa to find out more about her journey and the art of doll making.
Q: Where did you grow up and what are some of your fondest memories of home?
I grew up in Guadalajara, México. All my memories of home are awesome, but I must say that now that I’m a mum, I look back and remember the family experiences of my childhood more clearly. Things like the long Sunday lunches I used to spend with my family. It’s a very Mexican thing to do where Sundays are all about family and having fun.
Q: What first bought you to Australia?
My husband and I wanted a family and while we were living in China. After a long journey trying to fall pregnant, when we did conceive, we wanted to prioritise it. So my husband decided to take a step back from his job, which was a global role and accept a regional position in Sydney so he could be part of our pregnancy and our child’s life more.
Q: What makes Australia so appealing to raise a family?
So many things! First and most important, Australia is a safe country to live in. Then also there is the amazing food, the beautiful landscape, the clean air, the ecologic awareness and how respectful Australians are when it comes to people from other countries.
Q: How did you start making friends and setting down roots in your new country?
It’ hasn’t been easy. We knew a few people, including one of my closest friends. I arrived pregnant, and so my friend here was an absolute lifesaver. Her and her husband showed us the city and introduced us to new people. The rest came with the time.
Q: What’s been the most challenging thing about motherhood so far?
Oh Gosh!! To have a non-sleeping baby at the beginning was so hard. Lucas (my almost 3 years old son) used to cat nap for 15 min at a time as a new born until the he was 4 months old. Now it’s a different set of challenges though. Lucas is being raised trilingual (French-Spanish-English) so there is a slight delay with his speaking.
Q: What is something special you always try to do for your son?
Every single night without exception after his bath, we cuddle in my bed with daddy and watch 2 episodes of “Hey Duggee” before a story and the bedtime. He really enjoys this moment….And so do we.
Q: What are some of your everyday mum life hacks?
Count to 3 when he isn’t behaving (almost always he stops by number 2). Give him 5 minutes warning when we’re leaving somewhere (this give him the chance to stop playing or finish any activity). And the last but not least, prioritise cuddles when he upset or crying.
Q: How do you approach self care?
Once a week, I take a day for me (or at least a couple of hours) to do the things I love. I also read a lot of mindset books and it helps to be grateful every morning for the good things in my life.
Q: What are some of the highs and lows of running your own business?
I love the feeling of independence when it comes to running my own business. Bringing home some extra money, working in what I love, meeting new people, I never stop learning things and getting new skills.
In contrast thought, it’s always challenging to seperate my family life with the business. The constant struggle of thinking about work when I’m with my son, stressing about production timing, continuing to find new opportunities and of course managing the learn all about social media!
Q: When did you start making the dolls and what was the original inspiration?
Initially when I was still in Mexico in 2012, the idea was to create an online business that gave me an opportunity to prioritise my health so we could conceive. I’ve always been good at crafts and sewing and after making a few dolls for my friends who had babies my husband suggested turning it into a business.
Q: What do you want people to feel when they see your dolls?
I want them to feel unique. Every child out there can be sure that having a doll from La Maison de la Poupee is like having a special friend like no other.
Q: Where does the name “La Maison de la Pouppee” come from?
La Maison de la Poupee means ‘The Doll’s House” in French. My husband is French and has been by my side since day 1 supporting me through the ups and downs. He is the best business partner ever.
Q: What does the future look like for La Maison de la Poupee?
As a mum I sometimes feel like I never know what’s going to happen in the next couple hours let alone further than that! I have been working so hard on this business and am so proud of what has been achieved. We have a few stockists, and we also attend markets sometimes in Coogee and Maroubra… and now MUMOKI Market!
Q: What are your time management tips and how do you get everything done?
I’m a morning person so I try to finish whatever I plan for the day before Noon. Every Monday I plan out the full week; from home, to production to marketing and visiting retailers. It’s not easy, but I for me it is all about staying organised, that way if something goes wrong or something unexpected happens I have the chance to fix it or find a solution.