How Mon Coeur Founder Louise Ulukaya Is Making The World A Better Place

Mon CoeurPhoto Credit: Mon Coeur

66% of people consider sustainability when deciding what to buy, and that percentage is only going to grow this year. Louise Vongerichten Ulukaya daughter of Haute Living ambassador, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and recent mom of two (husband is Chobabi CEO Hamdi Ulukaya) launched Mon Coeur a year ago when she saw the childrenswear category was lacking sustainably made options for her family. And thus, Mon Coeur was born: a line made oof 100% recycled content, such as upcycled plastic bottles and reclaimed organic cotton, for soft and cozy apparel that kids love. Blending technologies to limit emissions with practices that encompass the latest problem-solving innovations in material science, Mon Coeur is as much engrained in sustainability as they are, children’s clothing. Mon Coeur partners with 5Gyres Institute and 1% For the Planet to build a better future by supporting ocean and beach cleanups, tree planting and supporting communities which are disproportionately affected by climate change. Here, we spoke to Louise about her line, her family, and why she wants to create a better world for her kids.
Mon CoeurPhoto Credit: Mon Coeur

Can you tell us a little about how you began the sustainable children’s lifestyle brand, Mon Coeur?

I started Mon Coeur when I had my son Miran and really disliked all the clothing options out there. I wanted to create a clothing line that was TRULY sustainable and that TRULY cared for the environment so kids can grow, learn, play and live on a healthier planet. My son Miran and all the other kids should have better clothing options that are COOL, STYLISH, PLAYFUL, EASY FOR PARENTS, ACCESSIBLE and that TRULY care for the environment. It took me three years of research and development until the launch of Mon Coeur, a year ago. I quickly realized that it does take time to do things the right way, and i am glad my team and i took the time to launch Mon Coeur, caring for every detail from an aesthetic and sustainable point of view.

What made you decide to switch careers from the hospitality industry into fashion?

It really was not planned at all! All I knew all my life was the hospitality industry and how to open and run restaurants. Becoming a mother is really what made me want to create Mon Coeur, seeing a gap in the market of a truly sustainable brand for children. It really started from a very personal experience, as a new mother, wanting to create a better, more sustainable option for the parents and their children.

The brand is celebrating one year in business this month. Which of Mon Coeur’s accomplishments are you most proud of and what are you most excited about in 2022?

When I launched Mon Coeur, a year ago, I had a vision to offer parents a truly sustainable brand without compromising on the look and comfort for their kids and that’s what we did, and I am very proud that we stay true to the vision and we will continue to stay true to it. It has been the most amazing journey over the past 12 months, bringing Mon Coeur to life and seeing kids wearing Mon Coeur in New York, across America, in Korea, Middle East and Europe. What made me so happy is to see in my son Miran class, a friend of his randomly wearing a Mon Coeur t- shirt and Miran screaming, my mom made it at the drop off ! best feeling ever! In 2022, we are launching a swimwear collection entirely made of recycled fish nets along with new denim styles made from recycled cotton and a beautiful line inspired by the ocean and its wonders. We are also very excited to launch Mon Coeur in 10 additional countries around the world. It’s a very exciting time for us.

Mon CoeurPhoto Credit: Mon Coeur

The children’s market is seeing an influx of eco-friendly brands. How do you see the industry changing over the next few years?

It is really inspiring to see that the fashion industry as a whole is going towards sustainability as it is very much needed for the environment, fashion being so wasteful. I believe that the more established brands will gear toward sustainability along with new companies starting the right way, the sustainable way, is going to be the ultimate solution to leave a greener, healthier planet for our children. I think that we are going to see more and more brands going eco-friendly and integrating sustainable solutions to their supply chain and manufacturing processes. I think in the next 5-10 years, the fashion industry will be mainly sustainability and will account for the majority of the industry.

Congrats on the birth of your second child! How has your baby daughter influenced Mon Coeur?

Thank you! We are so blessed with her arrival, she is the sweetest! We have two boys at home so welcoming a daughter is truly special and very different. My son really inspired me to start Mon Coeur and my daughter Leyla is just reinforcing this feeling of the need for me, for us to make the planet a better place to live in and stop the wrong practices. I am so motivated, more than ever, to find better ways to make clothes for kids with the latest technology to avoid waste and to use what’s being already made and give it a second life, because we can! If we take the time it takes, we all can find better ways to make a product, to build a house, to consume food… There are solutions and greener ways to live in general and looking at my kids, I know I want to find those solutions for them.

What are 2-3 tips you can share with our readers to help them live a more eco-conscious lifestyle?

• Energy conservation is a big one that we all can do on a daily basis, and very easily to reduce our carbon footprint
• Recycle everything, almost everything can be recycled – from batteries to cars to paper… before throwing away something, check what and if it can be recycled
• Cut out plastic use: remove use of water bottles consumption, when doing groceries use paper or reusable bags.

Mon CoeurPhoto Credit: Mon Coeur

How do you live an eco-friendly lifestyle at home?

We compost, recycle what we can, try to remove plastic use from our daily consumptions, use eco-friendly cleaning products, buy local as much as possible, grow our own vegetables in our farm upstate- which is so fun to do with the kids, they love digging the potatoes and so do we!
We really try to integrate daily sustainable routines in our life and try to teach the kids about it so they implement it themselves when they will be adults. It can be done in a playful and fun way for them, like composting. I know my son loves putting the peels in the compost box while trying to guess what is compostable and what’s not.

What are some of the best parenting lessons your father passed on to you?

Work hard, play hard! It is funny but it is very true. I don’t know anyone as hardworking as my father while being someone who enjoys life so much, and always living his best life just like if it was the last day. I found it very inspiring and not always easy to do but he is the master at it and it has been very inspiring for me growing up. He gave me this sense of living life fully no matter what, that life is so unpredictable that you have to maximize while living it.

Is food/cuisine still a big part of your life?

Food is a huge part of my life, it has always been growing up with my family. I always smelled and ate various diverse foods from the youngest age and now as a mother i want to expose my kids to beautiful culinary smells, it creates memories, strongest memories in my opinion. I am also very lucky that my husband is an amazing cook and loves cooking, especially food from his hometown in Turkey, so we are blessed to have Turkish food along with French food on the table, it is a really good mix! :)

Mon CoeurPhoto Credit: Mon Coeur

What was the first dish you learned to make from your dad, and how important will it be that your own kids learn to cook? What are you teaching them currently about the environment?

Pancakes! He makes the best fluffy yet light pancakes. His recipe is pretty simple but delicious and I learned to make them very early on, and now I make it for my own kids and they LOVE them! My son Miran loves cooking and my husband and him made a habit of cooking breakfast together, which is the cutest thing to witness… Miran asks me what i want to eat and they make it together. He cracks the eggs, cuts sausages, grinds the coffee… he does it all and he absolutely loves it.

How do you co-parent with Hamdi (and how often are your kids eating Chobani)?

Hamdi is the best father to all our kids -my step son Aga, 6 years old, our son Miran, 3.5 years old, and our little Leyla who just turned 3 months. We equally share all the responsibilities and duties related to kids and we both do it with the biggest smile. For both of us, truly being parents is the best thing in the world and there is really no other place we would rather be than being with the kids, they are just so much fun and full of life! Food is a huge part of our life so since they are 4 months old we got them used to eat every food that exists so they have a very diverse linking for food, which they all do. And of course, Chobani was, for all of them, their first food that they ever tried and they eat chobani at least once a day, every day and no matter where we are in the world! I can’t wait to have Leyla try eat Chobani for the first time next month.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

It is truly to be a mother, it might sound cliche, but for me, it is! I love being a mother, and I love spending time with my family and experiencing life with them. Being able to travel with them, discover the world, engage into adventures and seeing them grow, laugh is the ultimate luxury and I feel very blessed.