Interview: Maëlle Chassard, co-founder and co-CEO of Lunii

4 min readApr 3, 2024

Maëlle Chassard is co-founder and co-CEO of Lunii. Alongside her co-founder Igor Krinbarg, this designer by training created “Fabulous Storyteller” in 2016. With this colourful object, with no waves or screens, kids create their own audio stories and spark their imaginations. Lunii now employs 70 people and has relocated its manufacturing to France since 2020.

You started Lunii right after your studies. Did you always know you would be an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship came naturally to me. Lunii was my end-of-studies design project at Strate design school. Very intuitively, I remember in my first year, I said to myself that I wanted to turn my final year project into a life project. I’ve always had a strong need for freedom. And also, a desire to change things. After an additional 4 months of entrepreneurship training at ESCP, I embarked with three friends on this adventure and we founded Lunii.

And why a storyteller?

For my final dissertation, I chose to work on collective and individual imaginaries. The main observation was that children’s creativity was declining because of the invasion of screens in our lives, and overexposure to them. This was in 2012, when smartphones and tablets were arriving in all our homes on a massive scale. I thought we could provide a more sensitive experience than a digital interface. I believe that without imagination, we’re a bit doomed. I wanted to imagine a box that is an alternative to screens, that can develop children’s imagination while taking an active role.

Have you met people who have particularly inspired you in your journey?

The great entrepreneurial figures don’t really speak to me. For me, inspiration is everywhere and in every person I meet, in every conversation I have. It’s also part of my training as a designer, to pick up on weak and strong signals. Children are also a fabulous source of inspiration.

What are the core values of your company?

For me, when you undertake a project, you can’t do it without a sense of responsibility for what you’re doing. It has to be useful. Then, you have to be consistent in your entire approach. In other words, obviously not everything can be perfect. On the other hand, you have to aim as far as possible for something that is in line with the values you want to convey. Our profession is the education of children, their cognitive development and imagination. But if behind, the supply chain is not responsible, we mistreat our employees, all of this loses its meaning.

You are still a minority of women entrepreneurs. Have you encountered certain obstacles as a women?

I have indeed experienced some completely inappropriate behaviour. When I was 24 or 25, I was on the phone to one of our service providers who, while we were disagreeing, said to me “I could be your father”. That was my first professional quarrel. At a tradeshow, I also remember people who only wanted to talk to my partner. They couldn’t imagine me being the boss. On the other hand, I also benefited from the fact that there weren’t many women in this sector and, even if that doesn’t call into question my skills and my ability to sell my product, I think that I benefited from the fact that women entrepreneurs were put forward.

How do you think more young girls could be encouraged to embrace careers in entrepreneurship?

I think it comes through other stories, other representations. Lunii also has a great responsibility in creating these new stories to inspire, to give other examples. Very few young girls picture themselves pursuing these careers because there are limited examples showcased in fiction. Fiction plays a crucial role in shaping our identities during childhood and adolescence, whether through films, TV shows, comics, or literature. The goal is not for them to exclusively pursue these careers, but rather for them to make informed choices, understanding all the possibilities available to them and selecting paths that align with their personalities and identities. While this alone may not eliminate inequality and sexism, it certainly contributes positively to the cause.

Have any teachers made a particular impact on you?

I have quite a few teachers who have marked me. But here I think of my history teacher in high school. I had never been taught history properly, I think. I felt like you just had to memorize dates. And I remember saying to this teacher during the first class, “But Sir, you’re telling us a story!” He replied, “Yes, that’s the principle of the class.” He told the story, really, like a story. There were characters, twists and turns!

Have you read a book lately that you would like to share?

“Eco-Pirate” by Fatima Ouassak. She demonstrates that ecology is not just for a certain fringe of the population. This book develops how this issue affects absolutely everyone, including people in popular neighborhoods already busy fighting for their own conditions. And how if certain ecological issues were addressed, it would also have positive repercussions on their living conditions.


Your favorite task in your professional day?

Writing fiction.

Your number one quality?


One you look for in others?


The technology that fascinates you?


The one you hate the most?

The one that is a gadget.

The other profession you could have practiced?


The street missing in your favorite city?

The street of imaginaries that takes you to a fabulous place.

An object that inspires you?

A pencil.

Interview by Zoélie Adam-Maurizio for Educapital




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