After having her first child Alyssa Kerbel found it surprisingly difficult to find simple pieces she loved for her little one. Quickly realizing her passion, Alyssa set out to create the best line of organic baby basics and did she ever!
Fresh, classic and colourful, stylish pieces from from Mini Mioche are crafted with ethical, environmental and social care locally in Toronto, Ontario. Alyssa opened up to us about her design philosophy, her favourite items AND some new, exciting projects.
1. Where did the name ‘Mini Mioche’ originate?
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I referred to her as ‘mini’ the whole time she was in me and when she finally arrived she was really small (5 lbs, 4 oz’) so we continued to call her mini for the first couple of months. Mioche is a Parisian French word (kind of slang) for ‘tot’ or ‘brat’ or ‘little one’. My mom used to shop at a store in Yorkville for French clothing for me when I was little and the store was called Les Mioches (it doesn’t exist anymore). I just really liked the sound of the two together.
2. Why did you choose to design for children?
I have been in the fashion industry for over a decade (I also own a wholesale fashion agency that sells mens and women’s clothing and accessory brands). I took a very short amount of time off when I had my daughter as most entrepreneurs do (no mat leave) and during that first few months with her, I realized how hard it was to find great, simple soft basics and layering pieces for babies in gender neutral colours. I figured there was a bit of a void in the market and that I might not be the only person who was looking for this type of thing and then pretty much just decided to start making my own line of baby basics. We launched our first collection 6 months later.
3. What is your brand’s mission statement or purpose?
Our mission statement or purpose is pretty straightforward. Our goal is to make clothing that is ethically and locally made in a way that is not harmful to the environment or the little ones wearing it. To make clothing that looks great but also stands the test of time in terms of both style and quality (i.e. items that can be passed down from one sibling or friend to the next). To make clothing that kids love to wear because it is so soft and comfy (and that parents love their kids to wear because it looks cool).
4. What are the inspirations or motivations behind your design? The majority of my designs are inspired by my own wardrobe (or my husband’s). More often than not, I take a top or pant that I own and love and come up with a similar, mini version of it. We kind of pride ourselves on making clothes that we would wear, just shrunk down to miniature size.
5. What do you have coming up in the future involving Mini Mioche that you are excited about?
SO, SO many amazing things – a couple of which I can’t really talk about too much yet as they haven’t been officially announced. We are doing another collaboration with Heart & Habit for fall 2014 which I’m super excited about. We are also going to be collaborating with a well-known local Toronto company on an amazing all-over print collection and we may just be launching our own exclusive slipper & bootie collection. Also our fall 2014 collection is by far my favourite line up of any season yet!
6. Which is your favourite piece from your collection right now?
Hmmm that’s a tough one. I really like our French terry empire dress – the one with the feather print in particular. I would also have to say our denim. It is all my kids wear. It’s so soft, stretchy and comfy and I love the way the washes we chose for spring turned out. I want them all in my size!
To shop the Mini Mioche collection visit them online at www.minimioche.com OR at one of their two convenient Toronto locations on Queen Street W or the Distillery District!
This week, May 5th – May 11, 2014 – win a $50 gift card from Mini Mioche.
Visit our Facebook Page for details.