A (smart) fish called Maurice

Bonjour Maurice is a cheerful clothing store for children between the ages of 0 and 10, with ethically and ecologically responsible products. Bonjour Maurice is both the brainchild and passion of Céline Lejeune, a young entrepreneur with guts and ambition.

Céline Lejeune previously worked for a number of large, multinational companies, including Bain and ING. At Solvay, while working in the finance department, she was suddenly hit with the sewing bug: “I missed that intellectual and creative challenge in business, and working with my hands.” At the same time, she was concerned about the dire ecological consequences of fast fashion and the textile industry. It then finally clicked…and she started her own brand for sustainable children’s clothing: Bonjour Maurice.

“Maybe I was a bit naive, when I walked away from the security of a well-paid job in the corporate world. But I followed my heart. Only then did I start building the professional, business foundation of my company: a financial plan, a market and competition analysis, etc. Incidentally, my education and professional experience are coming in very handy for running Bonjour Maurice.”

Extra challenging

Céline’s concept embraces the full, sustainable cycle that clothing goes through, from raw material to reuse. That cycle consists of four stages, entirely in accordance with the principles of circular economy. Starting with the design: “We design gender-neutral clothing, which can also be worn inside out. Children’s clothing hardly wears out, because children grow so quickly. The clothes can be effortlessly passed on to brothers or sisters. The production of the cotton is also certified organic or recycled. In addition, we strive for a very short chain. We work directly with ateliers in Portugal and Turkey, which respect strict social and ecological standards. Last step is distribution – without intermediaries.”

During the corona crisis, Céline came up with an online ‘Bonjour Maurice’ box with 5, 7 or 9 garments to dress a child head to toe. A smart move, as it allows the brand to be more or less competitive with fast fashion brands…while staying true to her brand’s core values.

But Bonjour Maurice goes a step further, to close the circle completely: customers can return purchased clothing later, once the children have grown out of them. In return, they receive a 20% discount on their next purchase. That while major brands, traditionally focused on disposable products, are only now taking their first (tentative) steps towards reuse or recycling.