Florence Mars, Manager of Bonpoint USA and mother of three children.

1-You are a mother of three, and recently took over the position of General Manager of Bonpoint USA, how do you manage your time between motherhood and career? + board member of two NGO (Epic Foundation and Kids Home)?

5 years ago my husband and I moved to NY with our 3 kids, our little Blanche was still a baby so I decided working part time for a few years to enjoy a more balanced life. Now that she is 5 not only don’t I feel that guilty but I am actually happy to go back to work full blast! This is my natural rhythm. I tried to stay at home and make it work but it is clearly not for me.

I do have rules though: I try to never travel for more than 3 days, never go out more than twice during the week days and try to always be home at 7 pm.

I am 100 % convinced that my kids prefer a super busy mum who is enjoying what she is doing…

Could you tell us about your morning routine? How do you get everyone ready for school, work etc, morning is always a chaotic time for working moms!

Every single morning is a little drama. But still I look forward to it every night when I go to bed (how weird does that sound seriously?).

Here is the thing: Louis (11) takes forever to get ready (probably because he is crazy in love right now), Blanche is NEVER ok with the outfit that I propose (she could live her life in leggings and T. shirts which is obviously not allowed in our house!) and Alice is just NOT a morning person at all. So having the three of them fed, dressed and ready to go to school with their teeth cleaned is a major challenge for my husband and I.

Your children were all born in France, but are now living the true New Yorker life. What do you and they like the most about it? What do you miss the most about the Parisian life?

They love playdates, sleepovers and of course the school bus… all the things that do not exist in France! As for me, I really really like the new friends we have made here.

A the same time I miss the art of totally wasting our time not doing anything special during the weekend, no activities, no birthday parties, no taekwondo/dance/soccer and piano marathon, I miss the activities-taking-place-on-Wednesday-afternoons-only philosophy (and the fact that grandmothers were actually the one in charge). My husband has become a real American; he coaches the soccer team and will not miss ONE baseball practice or taekwondo belt ceremony. He drives me insane.

What are you favorite things to do as a family?

We love to travel, we love to watch old French movies together (la Grande Vadrouille… anything with De Funes basically), my personal favorite is renting bikes and doing a loop around Central Park but the kids are not so much into it so it is a Mother’s day only activity !

How do you like to relax when you have time off to yourself? Maybe a favorite spa in NY?

I sound like an 80 year old but I LOVE gardening. It relaxes me instantaneously and allows me to reorganize my brain. Sometimes we put music on and dance all together, that works really well too.

My absolute favorite spa is the Caudalie at the Plaza, their crushed cabernet scrub is incredible and everything Caudalie smells divine. I used to go every now and then at their incredible Les Sources de Caudalie Spa next to Bordeaux, which is my exact idea of heaven.

You went through 3 pregnancies and look amazing, do you have any beauty secret you would like to share? How did you bounce back?

I have never been to the gym in France before but now that I am not 25 anymore (as my dear husband gently suggested) I try to exercise twice a week. Physique 57 came highly recommended and it is hell on earth BUT very efficient. My whole staff wants to take me to soul cycle and though it sounds like a cult I promise I will give it a try.

I also try to avoid all sugar (except fructose and honey as I am not that dramatic) and feel a thousand times better. I read this article in the Times about how sugar is not only unnecessary but clearly dangerous. So I quit sugar and decided not to read any articles related to nutrition ever again.

Besides Bonpoint of course, do you have any other favorite shopping destinations for your kids? If not clothing, maybe toys or home decor? 

Even before I started working at Bonpoint I was always obsessed with this brand so it is pretty much it for the clothing of my little tribe. I love the wooden toys or the vintage crazy stuff from the flea market and I am very lucky because Blanche does too. So we go together and she picked vintage animal farms from Fisher price that reminds me my own childhood or broken tea set for her dolls.

You left on a trip to Asia with your husband and three kids when Blanche the little one was three years old, any anecdotes you would like to share?

We did a trip around the world from Siberia to New Zealand; visiting 12 different countries, taking 50 planes… We were not aware of what day or time it was most of those 6 months, so it was truly a bubble of just being together exploring the planet. Just the 5 of us. And ONE small carry on per person!

My kids go to a very cool school (International School of Brooklyn) and were given “missions” during their travels. They all interviewed Buddhists monks at a temple in Chiang Mai asking them the weirdest questions… definitely one of my favorite moments.

As for my husband I think the highlight was a road trip in an RV in Australia which was also my least favorite !

For the kids it was clearly French Polynesia as it is the only place we went that had a kids club… No comment.

Any travel tips you would like to share with other moms?

The key is to have always one really fun activity for the kids per day. We walked on the Great Wall of China for 4 hours, and after we all went down on bobsleds. After we visited a TON of temples in Cambodia, the kids went to go clean the elephants in the river at a sanctuary…

The other very important thing is to always try to make fun of everything. During 6 months we had a bunch of crazy situations: a ger (nomadic tents) in Mongolia full of spiders (the three longest nights of my life), the Transiberian train with 5 seats in 5 different wagons (and a 20 hour long trip), another train who broke down in the middle of nowhere in northern Vietnam and we had to abandon it and beg a random guy in a car at 5 am to take us to the closest airport… If you go through that laughing at the whole absurdity of it you might actually build here your best souvenirs EVER.

 What is your favorite holiday destination with your family?

Guethary in the south west of France. A very small fisherman village where I spent all of my vacation as a kid. My husband was going to the town next door –Biarritz- but he ended up realizing my little spot was so much better 😉

What do you like most about motherhood?

I like the whole craziness of motherhood. And as there is no way to get out of this experience with your sanity… I just embrace it haha !

I love their hugs when I come back from work.

I love the shows they put on when we have guests at home.

I love when we hike and they tell me all their little secrets.

I love when the 5 of us all fall asleep in one bed.

 

Photos By Shirin Von Wulffen


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