Turn and acceleration

Los Angeles, March 16, 2016

A call from the other side of the planet. A voice. That of my husband. My son's name. Marina had an accident . And there everything is blurred, as if I were sucked 30 meters under the sea. I hear "hospital", "stroke", "hemiplegia", "Necker". Don't sink. Staying up. Autopilot mode activated.

15 hours by plane later, I am in Paris. End of an expatriation at Dior USA which was just getting started. I find Marin in his hospital bed with pale yellow sheets. He breathes, me too. It'll be OK. And everything will go back to how it was.


4 years have passed. Like a long anesthesia. At a time when everything is accessible in a click, we often imagine that life turns are made in the space of a few seconds. But 4 years after Los Angeles, I'm still only at the beginning of the adventure.

For 4 years I did everything to get everything back to its place: the whole family is back in Paris, and Marin is back, in good health, fulfilled in a "normal" school. On the job side, return to Dior in Paris for 2 years then a new position at Rémy Martin. Parisian apartment. Parquet, moldings, fireplace. Back on tracks.

But inside me, the irrepressible urge to get off the rails.

October 26, 2020

An autumn lunch. I have just resigned from Remy-Martin. There, I had the chance to find an exceptional boss and mentor. Leaving it cost me, but also showed me how the entrepreneurial momentum was now stronger than anything, ready to do anything to find a place in my life.

And yet, it's without a precise idea in mind that I come home with my cardboard, my business cards, and my free time.

A week later, on the terrace of a café, a simple discussion with a friend gave birth to Petites Reines. "What if I made women more beautiful on a bike?". Aurélie, who had nevertheless heard for 10 years the hundreds of ideas I had had for starting a business, looked me in the eye and said "It's obvious, it's all you. Go for it!". It's true that since my expatriation to Frankfurt in 2008, cycling has changed my life and my outlook on Paris. It has become a way of life, and a true vector of freedom. I hold my WHY.

Back home the same evening, I registered the domain name www.petitesreines.com, echoing the Petite Reine, a nickname for the bike well known to Tour de France fans, of which I am not yet a member. But I found this word poetic, feminine. And above all, I already visualized all these beautiful silhouettes, chic and sparkling, crisscrossing the biggest cities with their hair in the wind and a smile on their lips.

It was gone.

Why wait ?

For two and a half years, I embarked on the roller-coaster of the life of an entrepreneur. How many phases, ups, levels, downs, rebounds, slowdowns, intense joys, the feeling of having to be in the oven, at the mill, but also in a thousand other places at the same time. As Fred, designer of Petites Reines, would say , "There are a lot of people in your head Marie-Caroline, it's no secret to anyone".

I am 44 years old, and looking back, I tell myself one thing: how lucky to have dared to start. Because whatever happens, this adventure is the best of MBAs, the finest concentration of encounters, and a school of life, which forces me to align myself a little more every day. To choose. To dare discomfort. To overcome my fears. To set me in motion. To be my own driving force.

But for that, there is no need for a whistleblower. If you feel it in you, go for this project that calls you. No need for an accident of life to justify a reconversion, a new project.

#The way is clear.