The COVID-19 pandemic has put intense pressure on working parents, particularly women, and we'll jump at any opportunity to celebrate a silver lining.
Today we're bringing you a story of our longtime friend and former Louis Vuitton colleague, Daisy Aveno. At Louis Vuitton, her son's artwork was selected from worldwide submissions to be featured in the Louis Vuitton's June 2020 window and social media activation. Titled "The Rainbow Project," Louis Vuitton employees, customers and their children showed their creativity. The winning rainbows brought hope to windows from Madrid to Paris - and especially the US Flagship store on 5th Ave - just below the corporate office where Daisy has spent most of her career.
As it tends to happen in conversations with former colleagues, fellow moms and old friends, our chat wasn't just about Nate's window win. We also touched on how women- driven, focused and multimastering - manage the roller coaster of working motherhood.
Superkin: Tell us about your family and your budding artist, Nate!
Daisy: My husband and I live in NJ, just outside of NYC, with our three kids: Dylan (12), Nate (9) and Lexie (4). I've been at Louis Vuitton for almost 11 years (I left for 3 years to another company but came back in 2013).
Nate is incredibly talented and creative. You'll find him sketching at the most random times- at breakfast, in between baseball and basketball games and at night in his bed. He is so passionate and has a strong vision - sometimes a sketch won't meet his approval and gets quickly tossed whereas most of us would've run to frame it. Nate has such an eye - he gets a lot of inspiration from watching other artists on YouTube channels. It's awesome to watch him.
Daisy with her husband, Mike, their three children and dog, Bear!
Superkin: How did the Rainbow contest come about?
Daisy: Louis Vuitton sent out a call for this contest to all of its employees, from corporate to retail, around the world. The assignment was for kids (or the kid in you!) to create and design a rainbow, however you interpret it. The winners would be featured throughout Louis Vuitton's social media in conjunction with Pride celebrations in June. I talked to Nate about it and he was really into it.
Superkin: Nate's artwork was selected!! How did he react when he was one of the top artists selected to be displayed globally?
Daisy: He couldn't believe it! He was so excited. But he is also 9 years old, so doesn't really understand the magnitude of it. My husband and I joke that he can put it in his college essay someday!
Superkin: Both you and your husband have demanding jobs and also spent the spring supporting your two elementary aged kids' distance learning (not to mention sweet Lexi, who's only 4!); the contest must have been a welcomed relief given the demands of working parents. Tell us about seeing it IRL!
Daisy: In addition to the social media posts, the US LV Flagship store on 5th Ave was also planning on displaying the drawings on a digital loop. It launched in June where NYC (and the world) was experiencing so much social activism, in addition to the tail end of the height of NYC's covid outbreak. Between the Black Lives Matter and Pride month, so many people got to see the display. I'd like to think it provided a moment of inspiration and light to everyone marching by.
It was a family affair to see the display. We drove into NYC at night to see it. We hadn't been to the city in months due to the pandemic, so we were a little hesitant. It was quite a sight to see his artwork displayed in the center of NYC. It was such a proud moment. (Editor's note: tears flowing)
Instagram post highlighting the contest and display at 5th Ave
Superkin: As someone who's spent 11 years at a company, it must have been surreal to share your work life with your family life like this.
Daisy: It has been such a great experience. I give huge kudos to Louis Vuitton for creating this campaign for its employees and their families. It provided a sense of family and togetherness during such challenging and emotional times for our teams around the world.
Being a mom has driven personal and professional growth. I've had 2 of my 3 kids while at LV. As a first time mom, I felt lost and insecure with my title as a "working mom". This is a global fashion brand - it was fast-paced and demanding, which I loved for my career but I spent too many hours worrying about juggling it all: the guilt of leaving "early" in order to pick up my kid at daycare, taking him to doctors appointments when he was sick, etc. I felt I was never 100% at either a mom or an employee.
I've been a mom for 12 years. I had some time between my 2nd and 3rd kid and there was something about my daughter's birth that really gave me the courage to stand up for myself. I've worked hard and I've proven myself. I wanted to show my daughter it's OK to want and have it all. It's OK to strive to be a superwoman and a working parent and make mistakes along the way. I needed to be that example for her. And what gave me the confidence to do that was realizing that my mom did that for me. My mom worked when I was a kid and I look to her as my inspiration. So after Lexie was born, I wasn't afraid to ask for it the flexibility I needed- and management was open to it. I am passionate about setting that example for my kids.
Daisy, daughter Lexie and her mom over the holidays!
I think the conversations, both in our society and within the LV organization, have changed to be more inclusive of working parents. And this pandemic has really emphasized the need for trust and confidence in our teams at work. I am hopeful we can continue to move forward.