Today, in Journal, we want to introduce you to Chloe Mortaud, a serial entrepreneur, a model, and a content creator. She is also an old friend of our cofounder Kenza.
With an American mother and a French father, Chloe grows up balancing cultures and languages, she rises to fame when she wins the most famous beauty pageant in France “ Miss France” at 19.
Then breaking free from the traditional ” Miss France” path, Chloe leaves everything in France and moves to NY, starting anew, anonymous and alone. This is where Kenza and Chloe meet.
Almost 14 years later, she talks to us from her living room in Las Vegas where we can hear in the background her two children, Matthis 11, and Maeva 2.
Chloe is not only a successful entrepreneur but also a passionate advocate for environmental causes and gender equality. Through her work, she promotes awareness of these important issues and encourages collective actions for positive change.
Both of these brands reflect her personal blend of cultures.
Today, Chloe shares with us her experiences of leaving her native country and embarking on her entrepreneurial journey.
Her story is an inspiration to those who seek to pursue their dreams and make a positive impact on the world.
How are you Chloe?
I m good, navigating two cities LA and Vegas because of where the father of my first son is.
Navigating is my word but I am the captain of the boat.
How did you switch from Mademoiselle Provence to Ouity?
It came very naturally. I have been having terrible PMS since my first period at 11. I still remember my mother telling me “ take an Advil”.
After I had my baby and start having PMS again, I considered finding a solution that could help me but also help other women.
So with that in mind, and because we had the experience of launching Mademoiselle Provence, my cofounder Helene and I launched Ouity.
The great thing when you are in your second company is to remember all the past mistakes with the first and avoid them.
It is rare to have the same cofounders on other completely different companies. How did you guys manage that?
We just figured out how to work well together, as we have been working together for 7 years.
We know our weaknesses and we know where each of us are strong so it helps to build something new that you can use to reproduce what you did wrong in the past.
How do you navigate the distance between your cofounder and yourself? You in LA her in paris?
It’s very hard I won’t lie. We are on the phone for at least an hour every day and I go there every 3 months.
But as I said, it isn’t easy and a lot of energy is lost during the process. You lose the thing that lights up the spirit.
Also the culture codes are very different from France to the US? How do you manage that, especially in the marketing department?
It can be hard but it also helps. In business, Americans are ahead of a lot of things so I look out to a lot of things that are happening here and bring the best to our team in France.
Anecdotally, we actually had a divergence of opinions on that matter, 3 years ago while we were considering pairing up with a charity for Mademoiselle Provence. Helene wanted to support an orphanage in China but it was important for me to anchor the charity to social justice here in the US where our business is based. It is also a subject close to my heart, my mother being black American.
How were you able to leverage your experience with Miss France in the US?
I wasn’t. Miss France is big and powerful in France but as soon as you leave France, no one cares. My agency in NYC couldn’t care less.
So in France, your ego is slightly higher, people know you.
When I arrived in the US, I had to start from scratch. It wasn’t easy.
It takes balls to leave everything and come to the US. What motivated you to choose the harder way?
I definitely chose the hard way and I m still looking at it and questioning my choice. I don’t know if I am happy with it but it is the choice I made, it is done so I have to live with it.
I was 19 when I arrived. I just wanted the next big thing, the next step.
I also have an American mind from the beginning because of my American mother. So if I had made it in France, well I could make it in NYC.
Looking back I think things might have been easier if I had stayed in France because people knew me, and doors would have opened more easily.
But also through my experience here in the US, I met my husband and had my kids I was also able to discover my mom’s country. But maybe someday I will come back to France because France feels like home.
Tell us about the beginning of Mademoiselle Provence?
Well, what happened is I met someone, fell in love, moved to Vegas for him, and had a baby. Then I was stuck, I was an ex-model with no diplomas but I knew Beauty. That’s the one subject I knew very well.
I met this French entrepreneur, who saw a potential in me, he introduced me to Helene, my cofounder who then worked at L’Oréal. She had the diplomas and reassurance, I had the credit and knowledge.
Talking about motherhood, 3 years ago I was a single mom here in the US when my cofounder announced to me she was expecting twins!!! I thought the business would go under but no, we sticked and went through it.
Once again last year when we launched a new business while I had a newborn. Women, we can go through it all.
What would be your advice for people who want to start a business like you?
Just do it, do it just try. That’s my only advice, it’s not easy but try. You don’t want to look back and wish you had.
Mademoiselle Provence was a great experience, a great adventure but it just didn’t take. It is hard to build a brand. And we need to be honest and know when to let it go.
Does it make me sad? No. Every entrepreneur will tell you that you will fail again and again and eventually it will work, but you can’t be afraid to fail because failure is part of the process.
I don’t see Mademoiselle Provence as a failure but something I learned from. It is very hard for an entrepreneur to find the right balance in your life. It is very hard to not wake up in the middle of the night, crippled with fear. You are building something and you don’t know how it will end.