Today we’re sitting down to talk to founder of Minnirella, Luisa Kearney, who is also the editor-in-chief of Minnirella Magazine. In this interview, we get an exclusive look at what goes on behind the scenes, what it’s like running a fashion brand and magazine, as well as interiors, dogs and weekend life!
Our team at Minnirella is a very close-knit group. We’re currently a team of 10, which is small to some, yet probably sounds big to others. We check-in with each other regularly and have team meetings every Monday, so we get to speak to Luisa a lot. As a team, we share so many interesting conversations and therefore, I thought it would be a fun idea for me to ask our founder many of the questions we’ve asked and discussed before, but this time share them with you.
Luisa, tell us about your morning routine. How do you start your day?
My morning always starts with black coffee. I have an extensive collection of pretty coffee and tea cups – I am obsessed with buying mugs and cups! For me it’s important to make every moment a positive experience, which is why I start my day watching something motivational and inspiring while sipping my morning coffee in a cute cup before I get dressed, do my hair and makeup, take Minnie (my dog) for a walk and then begin work.
What does an average day look like for you?
Every day is different, depending on whether I’m working on new clothing designs, sourcing materials, planning new product launches, in meetings with potential stockists or partners, or planning a new issue of our magazine. I spend a lot of time responding to emails and in meetings, which is a lot of fun. One of the best things about my work is getting to meet so many amazing people from all over the world. In terms of staying organised and on track, I try to allocate a specific project for each day. If I finish that on time, I then move on to whatever else needs to be done. This helps me to focus on completing the most important tasks of the day and stops me from feeling overwhelmed.
How do you juggle running a fashion brand, managing a team and being editor-in-chief of the magazine?
Being organised is really important. When I first started Minnirella, originally known as Online Personal Stylist, back in 2015, it was just me on my own. A few years ago I grew a team, which has been a huge help and enabled me to focus on moving Minnirella forward because it allows me to see the bigger picture of where we are, what we need to do and how we’re going to get there. When it was just me on my own, I was so busy doing all the work – writing, taking photographs, handling our social media accounts, emails, meetings, planning, forming partnerships, etc. Although Minnirella continued to grow organically, it is often challenging to figure out how to grow your business when you’re wearing all the hats and doing everything yourself.
The way I manage everything is that I set myself a schedule for working on the fashion brand and everything that involves, as well as for anything to do with the magazine. The magazine used to be a monthly publication but we’ve taken it down to a quarterly magazine now. Planning and publishing a new issue each month was so much fun but also a lot of work. The way it would work is that as soon as we’d published one issue, we would literally be working on the next issue the very next day. Now however, we’re able to take our time and gather more content per issue. Collectively, it takes roughly a month to complete each issue.
I generally work on the fashion brand every single day. I design every single product in our collection and I’m constantly thinking up new ideas for new product launches and designs. Inspiration can come at any time, no matter where I am. I like to spend time sketching out new designs on a regular basis. I then come back to them to see whether they could work as part of our new or existing collections. If they’re a good fit then we start the process of product creation. As a creative business owner, I feel that it’s important to keep on creating and to stay inspired. If you stick with the habit, it becomes easier to create on a continuous basis. You don’t have to publish everything you sketch, write or plan. In fact, a lot of my ideas never leave my notebook! If I’ve learned anything over the past 14 years in business, it is that you can’t wait for “your best idea” to come to you; you have to push through and learn from your experience.
How do you curate positive moments in your free time?
Up until a couple of years ago I used to work across the weekends. It has taken me years to establish a good work/life balance. I now always have the weekends off. I am a huge advocate for creating happy moments across all aspects of my working and personal life, whether it’s sipping coffee from a stylish cup (like I mentioned earlier), getting dressed up and going out somewhere or even planning a cool, chilled out evening in with a Netflix series. I like to have something to look forward to at the end of each day, as well as on weekends. Even if I don’t have anything particularly special planned, I like to make the effort to turn everyday activities into something fun and positive, whether it’s eating, drinking, watching TV, going out, etc.
The art of savouring every moment makes life so much more enjoyable and enables us to live a more fulfilled life. I think that’s why I’m always so positive! Although I tend not to share these moments on social media, this habit definitely stems from the years I’ve spent curating editorial content for social media, the magazine and blog. I don’t believe in living an aesthetically-pleasing life just for the sake of others but I do believe in putting the effort into elevating everyday moments. That could be anything from creating a cosy setting for your Netflix night-in, presenting your dinner on nice plates, drinking a glass of water from beautiful glassware, or getting into the habit of decorating your home with freshly-cut flowers to bring a smile to your day.
Talk us through your decision to rebrand and how your dog, Minnie, was the inspiration behind the change of name.
Minnie is my 8-year old Chihuahua. You might see her make an appearance on my personal Instagram account from time to time – she’s always by my side, no matter whether I’m working, in a meeting or wherever else. When I first launched Minnirella, it was named Online Personal Stylist because it initially started off as a style blog, written by a professional fashion and editorial stylist (me!). Over the years, I branched off into other topics, grew a team, launched the magazine and started the fashion brand. Last year I began to feel really disconnected to the name “Online Personal Stylist” and so I decided to rebrand and change the name. I love the name “Minnirella”, it’s a cool spin on “Minnie” and works really well as the name of a fashion brand and magazine. Also, so many of our customers and readers are dog fans and I received so much positive feedback from the decision to name my brand after my dog. Although the main reason behind the change of name was because I just loved the name “Minnirella”, it has a lot more meaning behind it and highlights our values as an animal-loving, sustainable brand.
How does your interest in style transcend into your choice of interiors at home?
I do love interiors and I’ve always thought that a person’s choice of interior design is very personal and unique to the individual. Pinterest is always a great source of inspiration for interior design, storage solutions and other home styling advice. Although I follow a variety of home and interior accounts on Instagram, I prefer the white, minimalist aesthetic in my own home. I definitely think my choice of interiors at home reflects my personal style and the way I dress - minimalist, classic staples with statement embellishments. I like white walls and furniture that I have broken up with textures such as fluffy rugs, patterned cushions, and accessorised with classic decorations and flowers.
What tips do you have for creating a chic office space?
My number one tip is to always start the day with a clean and tidy desk. Make sure you clear up your work space at the end of each day so that it’s clear and organised for when you return the following day or after the weekend. For me, personally, my idea of a chic office space is a spacious white desk, a feature wall, a stylish planner, a good pen, a comfortable soft chair, a fluffy rug and of course, my laptop. I’ve also recently started to decorate my desk with flowers, which although seems like something so simple, it adds a huge sense of calm and happiness. Throughout the years that I’ve been a business owner, I’ve had many different office surroundings. My best piece of advice for creating your own office space is to curate an environment that is comfortable and where you’ll be productive!
Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
We’re always working on so many exciting projects at Minnirella. At the moment we’re working on the June 2022 issue, which I am super excited about! I also have big plans for some new product lines, acquiring new stockists for our products, and working with more influencers. We have our new sustainable reversible bikinis launching soon, which I can’t to see! And we have a special, limited edition Platinum Collection launching this week in time for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations!
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