Launched in February 2013 by Lena Addis, Milo et Mimi is a London based online children’s boutique, with a collection of cool, comfortable children’s clothing, cute cuddly toys and adorable accessories carefully selected from across the world.
Formerly a PR consultant, motherhood provided the perfect opportunity for lifelong Chiswick resident, Lena, to reassess her career aspirations and to head in a completely different direction.
We caught up with this fresh new business…
Student days spent roaming the Champs Elysées is where I first fell in love with French fashion. Ever since I have harboured the dream of bringing a slice of Parisian chic to the UK.
Following a long career in PR, maternity leave was the first real opportunity to re-think my ambitions and to consider other avenues. Motherhood gave me a fresh perspective, as well as the time and space to reflect on where I want to head. I realised that I wanted to work flexibly and be my own boss, rather than being chained to a desk.
All this coincided with the realization that there are lots of wonderful, high quality, non-high street brands out there for little ones. And so, Milo et Mimi was born, with the aim of sharing some of these amazing brands with mums, while supporting other fledgling businesses.
Perhaps it was the hormones or the boldness that motherhood can bring that made me take the plunge!
What makes Milo & Mimi unique?
Our collection of exciting, emerging brands is sourced from across the world. For example, the adorable Hazel Village animals originate from an attic in Brooklyn. Our pretty hair accessories are sourced from the US and French clothing brand, P’tit Chic…de Paris, is definitely one to watch.
Your three top pieces from your range?
- P’tit Chic…de Paris Floral Liberty Print Dress – it’s the prettiest summer dress.
- Crawlings Crystal Sunglasses Head Band – I love the original design and the sparkly Swarovksi crystals add a bit of bling.
- Max Raccoon from Hazel Village – all the Hazel Village animals have their own little stories to tell. Max is a bit of a hoarder and likes to collect cool things, so we have something in common!
What challenges have you faced?
My biggest challenge was taking the decision to go for it in the first place. I always felt I needed a business partner or more experience in this line of work, but really, you just need the courage of your convictions and the support of those who love and believe in you.
It goes without saying that, as an online business, I’ve had issues with the internet!
Can you offer any advice to women setting up their own business?
Don’t delay! Anything is possible and if you have an entrepreneurial spirit then don’t deny it.
Spend as much time as possible researching your chosen field and looking at competitors to see what does and doesn’t work and which aspects of their business you would like to emulate.
Start your marketing activities as early as possible – particularly social media – as it takes time, energy and effort to create interest and build trust in your business.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
The freedom of being my own boss and having creative control over my business decisions is truly liberating. I love the whole process of sourcing products for the website and discovering little known designers and brands. It also gives me great satisfaction to know that my little customers are wearing quality, eye-catching designs.
How do you juggle kids and work?
Juggle is exactly what I do…I tend to work around the routines of my two year old and have been known to resort to letting her watch a bit of Peppa Pig when I absolutely have to get something done. Thankfully, the flexible nature of an online business means that I can work after she has gone to bed. Having the support of an understanding husband and wonderful parents is also invaluable.
I’m so grateful for the fact that I have been able to spend the first two years at home with my daughter and hope that having my own business will enable me to continue to share in all of the developments and milestones in her life.
What’s your favourite restaurant in West London?
I have a couple – keeping with the French theme, Côte on Turnham Green Terrace is a firm family favourite. I love the buzz, the friendly staff and feel like it’s the closest thing to a true French bistro in West London. It manages to satisfy the diverse tastes of the older, younger and toddler palette perfectly! Also, The Four Regions in Kew is by far the best Chinese this side of Chinatown.