We had the good fortune of connecting with Mimi Shim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mimi, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I’ve always been an artist at heart, and have always had an interest in fashion and textiles. I attended an art school with a fashion program, and not a fashion design school.
Much of my adult life was spent learning to be a fashion designer and working as a fashion designer for other companies. However, I was always experimenting with a side hustle that involved making things and selling them or sewing things for other people. As a clothing designer working in the industry, you typically don’t spend your days sewing and don’t necessarily need to know how to do so.
I found working within a fashion product development and production chain frustrating and preferred the hands on approach of designing and making things myself. I missed the artistic aspect of creating. Furthermore, sizing was always an issue. Fit was always a variable that I felt was difficult to standardize. Many people don’t fit a “standard size”.
I was the only person amongst my friends, who could sew, I was always asked to alter clothing for them or even simply sew a button. I realized that sewing is a lost art form and something that is utilitarian that people need. All of these experiences accumulated over time, and I’ve tried a couple of times to start my own business and failed to gain any traction.
My business now is an iteration of many attempts to start something of my own, with the skills and experiences that I have gained over the years. Each time fine tuning what works and getting rid of what doesn’t work. There wasn’t necessarily one moment that I decided on a business idea. It’s an on going process for me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite spots to go in the city are: Domo restaurant, out on their large patio and garden, the Source for shopping, hanging out a little, and grabbing a drink – also to eat at Safta. Free Market and the Dairy Block are great places as well. I have a 6 year old boy so I don’t get out much and when I do, it’s mostly for him. You’ll find me frequently at the Wash Park playground (haha – seriously).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shout out to my friends who wanted to actually buy what I made. This gave me the confidence to keep doing what I was doing. Although I felt like I didn’t have it all together or figured out – the doing materialized into figuring it out. I’m still figuring it out – but with the initial leaps and falling, I now know that I’ll continue to grow with the failures.
Photographer: Amanda Tromp Lee Model: Anastasia Linux