What I love about doing interviews here on le blog is that I get to know so many people who are genuinely passionate about their work. That's why I always like to keep an eye on those young aspiring artists who are still making their way to the top. I've been eyeing the work of Miriam for quite a while now and so it was only logical to get in touch with her and present her and her work to you, mes amis. Miriam created her Mimi brand in 2007 and boy, you'll find a lot of interesting things there: jewelry, accessories, and home décor. Everything is handmade with that extra attention for details and with tons and tons of love. She's always striving for uniqueness and simplicity and seeks inspiration in nature, architecture, music, and travels. Say HI to the lovely Miriam.
*There's also a little announcement at the end of the post, winkwink!*
Hej, hej! I'm Miriam Muha and I'm studying architecture in Ljubljana. I live and create in my hometown Celje. A big travel enthusiast and an aspiring designer if you will. Very positive for the majority of time and a bit of a daydreamer. There's always something crazy and adventurous for me in the game!
What inspired you to start your own little business? What's Mimi all about?
It all started way back in high school. I've made little jewels for myself and friends. I also discovered FIMO (a soft modeling clay) that quickly became my ultimate friend :). After I got into college it all really started to pick up. I presented and sold my first creations in Društvo Pozitive (sadly it closed its door in 2011) and things just got on from there.
What does a typical day look like in your field of craft? Do you own any special equipment for your work? Do you have a studio?
Every day is different. Sometimes I just go straight to work, sometimes it takes me all day to buy all the materials I plan to use for a new collection. No special equipment or place, just a gem applicator, a bunch of scissors, jewelry pliers and a huge table in my room that doubles as a working area. I would like to learn and own a screen-printing equipment and my own studio. Hopefully that'll happen in the near future!
Do you sometimes find it hard to be your own boss?
I do. Not only because of the discipline, but because of so many ideas and not enough time to realize them all; I'm basically alone for all of the work. Designing, producing, contacting the stores and customers ... It's fun and sometimes hard.
Which materials do you use to create your products?
Whatever I find interesting and potentially useful. I really like unconventional materials or things that are already a product on their own; something from a hardware store like bolts, nuts, ropes ... Lately I've been really into plexiglass, cotton ropes, leather, metal, and I always add some sparkle for that extra detail (gems, Swarovski crystals or glass beads).
Is creating a full-time job for you?
About a year ago it became my only and full-time job. It's a lot of fun being your own boss and to schedule your own time. But it's also hard and the income can be really slow. But nonetheless I'm happy! And I think that's what matters in the end.
What does the concept of homemade mean to you?
To me, regarding the whole creative process, is something that starts from the very beginning and goes on till the very end, till the finished product. From a sketch of an idea, to making things that you'll incorporate into a final piece and then to the assembly of a final product. Handmade design allows a piece to be unique, one of a kind, and personal. It allows me, as a designer, to express my full creativity.
Let my readers in on some of the frustrations behind the work. Which part of your work do you find most annoying?
Hmmm, probably the price of some materials I use and when that piece does not come out as I wanted it to :). Sometimes even the lack of materials and equipment in our country. But that's another challenge I have to face and make it work.
It's only natural that style changes over time. How has your work evolved from your early creations?
My first piece that was for sale was a double brooch made from FIMO clay with buttons, beads, gems ... Very colorful and chaosy - but that was the trend back then. Even I was in "full rainbow" mode! It was right after high school when we were all influenced by the omnipresent skater girl trend. College gave me another perspective and I developed a different taste and sense for design and my style. Now I tend to center around minimalism, black and white, metallic materials, and some neon for the details.
What obstacles did you face when trying to become a young designer with a new brand?
Bureaucracy, getting recognition and a better outreach to customers. But all in all I'm pretty happy with where I am now and how I got here; slowly but surely! All by the word of mouth and a positive feedback from the customers. I still have a long way to go in terms of designing a proper logo and all that comes with it. It really is an ongoing process and every detail of it is so important.
How did you come to the point of selling your items?
Well, as I mentioned earlier, it all started with my first contact with the world through Društvo Pozitive and their store. After 2011 when it has closed down the owners kindly redirected me to the store LOLA - I became known for my Cloud brooches. Then, by pure coincidence, the Babushka Boutique made me recognizable for my collars and metal earrings. Each store has it's own flair and overall design, so I concentrated on creating different pieces for each individual store. A fine and fun challenge that ultimately became my working process.
What are your day-to-day inspirations? Any favorite artists who influenced your work?
Fashion, architecture, nature, and music. Sometimes I draw inspiration from materials and I think about what they can be made into. I love browsing through magazines and online design stores. I've been really fond of Scandinavian design - minimal, geometric, basic and subtle in colors. I want to own one (or five) Ingo Maurer lamps, fill my future home with Iittala glassware and of course the Slovenian REX chairs. I'll have it all when I grow up :)!
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Uf! In London or Stockholm with my little design studio/shop where I'll bring joy to the world with my creations in form of chairs, lamps, home décor, and jewelry. Maybe even clothes! I just wish my path continues in this creative direction, and that I'll meet even more inspiring and lovely people. And most important: that I'll stay happy all the way through this journey.
Any advice for young artists/makers who want to start up a business of their own?
Just do it! Simple. A positive outlook and a smile can go a long way. Sure there are struggles, but the satisfaction, freedom and happiness that come with it are really priceless.
Where can my Slovenian readers find your creations? Are your products also available for my foreign readers?
For Slovenian peeps: LOLA - Gallusovo nabrežje 1, Babushka Boutique - Gosposvetska 8, SiTi ARTstore - Kristalna palača BTC, all in Ljubljana. You can also find me in Celje at the Rozalika store (Ljubljanska 10). I own my little online Mimi shop where foreign readers can check out my work - you're all very welcome!
Thanks so much for your time Miriam, it means a lot. I wish you all the best in your future!
THANK YOU Gita for this lovely opportunity to present myself and thanks for your support! And a big thank you to all the customers that have followed and supported my work so far. I would not have been here and involved to the point where I am now if it wasn't for you all. Stay playful, curious and kind! With love, Mimi.
Feeling inspired? Yeah, me too.
If you also want a piece of Miriam's creativity and awesomeness, listen up! We'll be having a little giveaway here from Wednesday on, so stay tuned! I'm already super excited!