Meet the founder behind the cool Independent Shop : Mini Maison
Mini Maison just turned one (congratulations!) Can you tell us a little about your journey and how you feel a year on? It’s been such a steep learning curve running my own business but it’s made me confident that I’m on the right path and I feel more prepared than ever to make Mini Maison a huge success.
Mini Maison has a unique buy…what inspires you and influences your final buying decisions? I look around to see what else is going on around me, but also take inspiration from other areas of design that are not interiors, for example, fashion and colour trends. I look for brands that I think will sit well without our ‘playful and modern’ collection and I’m always thinking about the customer and what they are looking to buy.
What’s the most satisfying aspect about running Mini Maison? When you’ve got a hunch that a product is going to be really popular and then it goes flying off the virtual shelves, that’s quite satisfying knowing that you got it right. Of course, there are times I don’t get it right but I try to learn from those and move forward.
Describe the Mini Maison interiors style? Mini Maison’s style is about contemporary and playful décor for children’s spaces – be it a nursery, bedroom or playroom. I think that our customers look beyond the high street and are inspired by trends in mainstream interiors
Do you have any stand out favourite piece or brand? Anything by A Little Lovely Company sells very well for Mini Maison. The design is great, on-trend and the products aren’t too costly. Our two brands work very well together as I think the fit is spot on. I’ve also got a few new brands joining over the next few months that I think my customers are going to absolutely love, including a furniture brand!
What’s worth the investment in a kids’ bedroom? If you buy the right pieces of furniture it can last for years and adapt with them. A good quality bed and chest of drawers can last into their teens. For babies I would definitely spend the extra and get a cotbed instead of a cot, it saves you money in the long run as they can stay in it up until about 3 or 4.
Whats your feeling on the gender neutral trends in both kids interiors and clothing? I am all over gender-neutral. I think there should be no such thing as ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ in terms of colours. My experience is that girls do tend to be drawn more towards playing with dolls while boys more to running around but that’s not to say that boys and girls should be restricted or put into any ‘box’. You’ll find on Mini Maison that we don’t separate the interiors into Boys and Girls categories, despite an web design ‘expert’ telling me that I needed to otherwise customers wouldn’t know where to look! I’ve resisted the need so far!
Mini Maison has a fantastic selection of bespoke exclusives. How do you find your partners and how important is collaboration to your business? I’ve worked really hard to find exclusives for my customers and I love collaborating with other small businesses. We’ve got some more exciting collaborations coming up this year, so stay tuned.
Any inspiring advice for businesses at the initial idea stage or in the first few months ? Make sure you do your research, there are some brilliant business books out there, so it doesn’t cost a lot. And then, just go for it! You won’t regret it, and if you don’t then you’ll only look back and regret not doing it.
Whats new for Mini Maison in 2017? We’re developing our own-brand collection but that realistically won’t be released until 2018 but for 2017 we’ve got a few collaborations coming up, including one with new online-marketplace Lobella Loves, plus more charitable products, which is so important to me. The collab with Lobella Loves will be an inspiring piece of children’s décor and a % of the profits will go to a post-natal illness charity. I’m also looking forward to getting out to all the tradeshows in the summer and meeting some new brands.
We’ve heard all about Mini Maison…Now a down and dirty with Jo :
If you weren't a kids interiors retailer what would you be ? Well my day-job is in TV documentary making so I guess I’d be doing that, bossing everyone around!
When you're starving you eat ... chocolate. Always.
Sliders or trainers? Trainers for sure.
Night owl or up with the lark? Night Owl, I’ll spend at least a couple of evenings a week working until 12/1am – the house is quiet and I can concentrate (As long as I don’t fall asleep!)
Any secret shopping haunts? Oh, there are so many online brands I just love that I’ve found via the world of Instagram – Other Letters sells the best party décor and Essex Mama sells some brilliant clothes for littles and adults too.
Park or Beach? Beach, beach, beach every single time – no contest
Which one song do you always keep on your playlist? Lady by Modjo – it’s a bit old school but it makes me happy inside, that and anything by the Beatles as my boys are currently Beatles-mad, current favs include Back in the USSR and The Ballard of Jon and Yoko (weird for a 2 and 4 year old, I know!)
What's your guilty pleasure? I’ve got an incredible sweet tooth and I can often be found on Pinterest trying to find a way of find recipes for ‘healthy’ food fill that sweet tooth gap.
Fashion retail or interiors retail ? Interiors – of course
Favourite alcoholic beverage? Gin, with tons of orange or cucumber in. Yum!
Lastly what does "Making Space for you" mean to you? In direct relation to interiors it definitely means celebrating my kids personalities and most of all, having fun with it!
Thank you Jo! Its always so fascinating and inspiring to hear about the journey and person behind the brand. We love Mini Maison's products. Here are some of our favourite buys. Head over to the Mini Maison site for more cool finds for little people.