Cecile Reinaud, founder of Seraphine, a maternity clothing designer

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What motivates you?

I have a naturally entrepreneurial spirit and I love being creative and thinking outside the box. Before Seraphine, the maternity fashion industry was in a pretty sorry state, and the focus was on covering up and hiding the bump. My objective with Seraphine has been to revolutionise the way we see pregnancy by offering fashionable maternity clothes that celebrate the pregnant curves. Each new collection is a new challenge and I love having that blank canvas moment where we can let our creativity flow and come up with the collection direction. I like to solve problems: when people tell me it can’t be done, it motivates me to find a solution that no one thought of.

What has been the biggest learning curve in your career?

As an entrepreneur I’m constantly learning. But I’d say the first few steps are always the hardest. I fell pregnant with my eldest in the first year of starting Seraphine, so I was trying to grow my budding business while combatting morning sickness, and then as a first-time mum with a newborn baby. It was the most challenging time of my life and certainly taught me resilience and how to operate sleep deprived! But of course it was all worth it, as I got to meet my wonderful son Lorenz and also got a real insight into what is important to women when looking for maternity clothes.

What matters more, ambition or talent?

I’d say that a healthy mix of the two is a recipe for success. But the most important factor is the hard work and dedication that you’re willing to put in to turn your dreams into a reality.

What advice would you give to your 30 year old self? 

I’d tell 30 year old me to stop beating herself up so much about not being the perfect text book woman; women are too perfectionist by nature!  I spent my early thirties feeling guilty for being a hard-working mum and not being a perfect mum!

Who do you admire?

Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, is one of my idols. I had the pleasure to meet her last year on her book tour and was utterly inspired by her and her book. And of course there are plenty of strong female role models in the fashion industry who I look up to – Tamara Mellon and Nathalie Massenet have certainly paved the way in the past decade.

In what place are you happiest?

I’m originally from the South of France, and I take my two boys to visit my parents there every summer. They still live in my old family home – It’s a beautiful château in Provence, surrounded by Cyprus trees and olive groves. I have so many happy memories there, the weather is always amazing and my kids can’t get enough of the pool.

What’s your biggest extravagance?

Stilettos! I can’t resist Jimmy Choo when it comes to shoes and I do spend the lion’s share of my wardrobe budget on them.

How would you change government policy to help women in the workplace? 

I’d love to see more flexible and affordable childcare options available for working mums. Women shouldn’t have to feel like they need to choose between having a career or a family.

Do you believe in quotas?

In an ideal world, there’d be no need for quotas. I’ve never used them for hiring at Seraphine, and over 80% of my employees are women! I’m a strong believer in hiring the best person for the job, and as a result, I have a fabulously diverse workforce of all ages, races, and backgrounds – we have representatives from over 15 nationalities at head office alone.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Creative, driven, caring

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