Florentine van Oosten – Slingeland is the owner of the luxury baby shoes label, Donsje and is mother to three kids. She is most definitely an inspiring mom as she runs her own business and takes care of the house and kids. Florentine has The Joolz Geo push chair for her family and did you know that she even found the time to model for the Joolz Bodyfit pregnancy workout in the Positive Studio? We asked her a couple of questions!
HOW DO YOU COMBINE YOUR WORK LIFE WITH BEING A MOTHER?
That is a good question and a big challenge. After the birth of our first daughter, everything was still rather easy to manage, as we did not have to share our attention. After the birth of our son Hayo, who cried non-stop for three months long. I found it very difficult; especially to find my balance in daily life again. After I was finally back on track and had more balance in my life, I became pregnant with number 3, our son Skief, whom was born last March. Prior to their births, I did not consider that the three kids would not be going to school yet and they would be at home a lot. In order for me to be able to keep working 4 days a week and all evenings, we organised a full-time nanny, who makes sure that all the kids have eaten and that the house is in order, before I get home. That means when I get home, I still have time to play with them before putting them to bed.
The older they get, the more attention they need and of course the more attention you want to give them. Therefore on Friday I always do something fun with them and on the weekends we do too, then with all five of us!
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Asia inspires me. I think it’s fantastic how everyone has their own shop, with fabrics, leather, colours etc. and keeps themselves busy. Now that I have less time to travel, I get inspiration from the smallest things; that can be during a walk with the kids but also at vintage shops or markets.
HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE SPECIAL MOMENTS IN LIFE?
I am good at celebrating. I enjoy hanging up the banners myself. We always celebrate everything at home with friends and family in our garden or on our boat.
At work I don’t celebrate everything, for example, when we recently received a large order from Barney’s NY. First of all, I always think whether it is achievable and whether we can deliver everything on time, whether they will sell it well and whether we will get a re-order request.
HAVE YOU GOT ANY GOOD ADVICE FOR WORKING MOTHERS?
Make sure that your children have a great time during the day and that everything is well planned. Then you will be able to leave home in the morning without feeling so guilty. It is important to make sure you have enough fun moments with your kids during the week!
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
A successful day with the whole family and when everyone is happy.
An evening spent with my friends and lots of laughter!
Travelling in Asia and searching for products, materials and designs.
WHICH PLACE IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU REALLY LIKE TO SHOW YOUR CHILDREN?
In 2010 I lived together with my husband Skief in Nairobi, Kenya. I worked at a school there and gave children lessons, in the largest slum in Kenya, The Kiberia Slum. Through my work I became friends with Judy, one of the teachers. Judy had a dream: to establish a school in the slum where she grew up in and where she lives with her family (Ngando Slum, in the middle of Nairobi). Skief and I became inspired, and together with others, are sponsoring Judy to make her dream come true. This is how “Shining Star” (www.shiningstar-africa.com ) was established, an ‘Early Childhood Development School’. Shining Star was created for young children, in order to make them feel as safe as possible in their environment in order to give them a better start for their future.
I cannot wait to take our three kids there and to show them what we helped create and to let them join the school for one week.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU NOW THAT YOU HAVE KIDS?
It is especially difficult to see friends and to take on this completely new role in life. You do not want to replace your old life with only your kids.
HOW DO YOU STAY FIT AND HEALTHY?
I do this by exercising in the cellar with a mat in front of the TV and once a week I train at SODA with friends.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FAMILY MEAL?
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY ROUTINE LOOK LIKE?
I get up early, dress my 3 kids and give them breakfast. Then the babysitter comes and takes over the baby. Afterwards, I drop one of the two kids off at the baby day care crèche and drive on to Amsterdam, where Donsje HQ is based. At the office we are now with 6 or 7 employees and we are especially focused on being creative and commercial. We are designing two collections per year and we have stands at four different fairs per year.
DO YOU SNEAKILY TRY TO MATCH YOUR OUTFIT WITH YOUR JOOLZ?
If I had the time to think about it then maybe I would do that!
We do however, match all the children with Donsje accessories and shoes.
WHICH LESSON THAT YOU HAVE LEARNT DURING YOUR UPBRINGING WOULD YOU LIKE TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN?
Laugh as much as possible in life and help other people!
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