Mimoki, the Spanish fashion accessories boutique, never intended to be named one of “the best fashion boutiques in Madrid.” The designs of Ana Maria Chico de Guzman were initially a hobby, but her talent and knack for high-end women’s accessories – belts, earrings, fascinators – were in such high demand that in 2008 Mimoki officially launched its Madrid showroom.
KITE Invest: Although Mimoki has been established and successful for over five years now, please recount some of the ups & downs of entrepreneurship that you experienced. What advice would you give to others who are starting out in the fashion world?
Ana María Chico de Guzman: The Brand, Mimoki, is a reference for the Spanish hats and fascinator’s market, focusing its strategy on the design and creation of this fashion accessory. It was created with the intention of renewing the traditional use of the fascinator, used exclusively for morning-day weddings. Mimoki updates the fascinator in accordance with current fashion trends.
Mimok today is a well-consolidated brand, but we also have a store for the direct sale of Mimoki products and other European fashion and jewelry brands. It’s similar to the concept store, philosophy. We also provide an « Image Assessment » service and customized designs, offered by a team of high-qualified professionals.
The most important advice I can give to entrepreneurs is to feel passion for their project; this is a huge effort, but if you love your work you will always do your best.
We have evolved thanks to the close relationship with our clients. By listening to them and putting ourselves in the shoes of our costumers, we have grown and broken new ground. For example, we pioneered the fascinator rental service activity in Spain, as a response to the 2008 economical crisis.
Teamwork, optimism, perseverance, and paying attention to your costumers, is the best advice for the new entrepreneurs.
KITE: What is Mimoki’s process? For instance with a fascinator, please shed light on the process of start to finish?
ACG: In our Brand, we mainly design and manufacture fascinators, and we have become experts in the entire process over the years.
At the moment, a second business activity is being developed: Mimoki’s Fashion collection, a fashionable collection for women that complements our fascinator designs.
With regard to the manufacturing process, it varies if the design is for the collection or customized products. For the collections, the design team first brainstorm to define the main characteristics of the designs, and then draw and produce the sketches. On the customized works, we start with an interview with the client. We talk about her taste, personal features, and the use for the fascinator (party, wedding, etc.), in order to design following these parameters. In both cases, we choose a design and then we find the appropriate materials, and from here we start the production process.
KITE: In order to expand its client base, Mimoki has included a rental service for its products, customized fittings and collaborations with other boutiques. As the company and client base continue to grow, how does Mimoki plan to accommodate its expanding market? Are there plans for Mimoki to open showrooms in markets outside of Spain?
ACG: Mimoki has a strong and consolidated brand identity. The most important business area is the fascinator design, but soon we will have our own women’s fashion collection.
Our main sales channels are the Mimoki store, other boutiques in Spain and the e-shop.
We have an important presence in the national fascinator’s market, from our store and the other retail stores who sell Mimoki designs. But also, we have done several actions in order to reach the international market, for instance, participating in pop-up stores in Brazil, the United Kingdom and Mexico.
Nowadays, Mimoki works on the developing of new business areas and testing new markets. For example, we signed a contract to introduce Mimoki into the Asian market, starting in Kyoto, Japan. We are also thinking on the possibility of showing our products in important fashion fairs, to reach international customers in the near future.
KITE: Marketing is an essential part to a businesses success, even if the brand is already known. In this regard, please discuss Mimoki’s marketing strategy of maintaining and engaging its base, as well as, reaching a new client base.
ACG: The Mimoki strategy focuses on different levels: Attention and linkage with the customer, and the constant developing of new designs.
The communication is another marketing strategy for us. Contact with main fashion magazines is maintained through the sending of periodical press briefs. This not only keeps media professionals informed, but at the same time, stylist ask for our specials fascinators for their fashion editorials, that frequently are published in main fashion magazines. Covers and articles on national editions of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, Telva, Harper’s Bazaar, El Pais, SModa, and also TV media, is Mimoki usual press coverage.
Also we organize presentations, private sales, charity events and cocktail parties, where we invite media professionals and bloggers, in order to give publicity to our product.