• Sandra

Building a third-place, having an engaging job and being a mum, by Mathilde

Aktualisiert: 8. Jan. 2021

Mathilde and I met when we were 15 thanks to our sport group. Since then she has been one of my best friends and we have supported each other over the years and all sorts of challenges (studies, work, relationships, living abroad). So when I heard about her building a start-up while having a two years-old-daughter and a baby at home it became clear that I needed to share her story. Not only does it show that passion and work relationships are important but also that it is possible (even if not always easy) to have an engaging job and take care of a family.

Sandra: Can you describe where you work and what you do today?

Mathilde: I'm about to open a new place in Paris: Le Shack. With Le Shack, located near the Opéra Garnier, we want to create a real urban oasis: take time to breathe, reconnect with others and with yourself, find a new art of living and working. And all this in a warm and friendly atmosphere to infuse our visitors with energy and inspiration. Le Shack, which is in a beautiful Haussmann-style building, regroups offers of many daily life aspects:

  • A restaurant with a chef who strives to offer healthy, local and gourmet food

  • 2 bars: the restaurant bar and a confidential bar (a speakeasy on the 1st floor)

  • About fifteen meeting rooms with very different atmospheres and furniture

  • Workspaces adapted to your needs

  • A wellness program with weekly classes of soft practices (yoga, pilates) and more cardio practices (boxing, TRX, etc.)

  • Weekly conferences to discover new universes with speakers of choice

Concretely in all this, I take care of the offer, the customer experience and all the digital aspect of the place.

S.: What did you do before that and how did you get the idea to change?

M.: I worked 10 years as a strategy consultant, first in a large international firm and then in a smaller, family-run company, which gave me the desire to undertake and launch my own project. In 2018, besides my job as a consultant, I started to help a former client on a voluntary basis, who wanted to create her company: concept definition, market analysis, etc.; then during my second maternity leave, I continued working with her to help her define the offer. One month after the birth of my second daughter, my former client offered me to completely be part of this adventure. I was seduced by the concept, the location and the excitement of creating a project from A to Z. With two young children at home, I needed to give a new impetus to my professional activity. The opportunity was there! When you're a young mother, it's hard to leave your children at home with a nanny and go to work all day long. So I needed to have a job I love, otherwise it would have been too hard.

S.: What played a role in this change? How long did the transition take?

M.: The main criteria was how interesting the job would be and what it was going to bring me intellectually and humanly. The new salary I was offered was below my consultant's salary (well no surprise in a start up!) but was still quite correct. I went on maternity leave in May, I was supposed to go back to my old company in September but instead I quit and started working on my new project right away.

S.: How did you manage the financial aspect during the transition period?

M.: Luckily I didn't have any financial gap during this period. I had a large stock of paid holidays to take in my old company and I received my first salary from my new company right after.

S.: What would you recommend to someone who would like to change jobs or career but is afraid of the consequences?

M.: Think carefully about the opportunity you might have: It might not come twice!

Since the interview and COVID-19 related challenges Le Shack is now opened to all work enthusiastics. Have a look at it, it is gorgeous!