Embrace the joy of Paris wherever you live with American expat Ajiri Aki, founder of the French lifestyle brand Madame de la Maison.
The French are known for their joie de vivre—celebrating the simple things—a philosophy that tastemaker Ajiri Aki embraced all of her American life. As a child, she frequently tried to convince her Nigerian-Jamaican mother to pull out the fine china for everyday meals or when hosting friends. Her mother always said she was waiting for a special occasion, which sadly never came before she passed away when Ajiri was only twelve. Ajiri promised herself she would never hesitate to use her treasured pieces. When she moved to Paris, France, as an adult, she learned how central that idea is to French life, and she also began to absorb other essential lessons from her new friends: treat yourself to fresh flowers just because, take time to source the best baguette, and perhaps most importantly, enjoy être—just being.