Renegade Craft Fair

September 10, 2015

Miakoda

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Today we are thrilled to be featuring NY Maker, Miakoda created by Julia and Laura Ahrens. We cannot wait to see these goods in person at our Brooklyn Fair this weekend at Brooklyn Expo Center!

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

Miakoda is a Native American word meaning “power of the moon”—the moon is so powerful and connects all walks of life. When my sister, the co-owner of Miakoda, discovered this word we felt it was perfect for our company name!

When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I’ve been huge into crafting ever since I was a little kid. Knitting, crocheting, and beading were always my crafts of choice. I went to school for fashion design. I graduated from Parsons in 2012. Previous to graduating I started doing yoga and went vegan. I became more conscious of the impact I was having in the world, to the people, to the animals, and to our planet. I no longer felt that I could support and stand behind the unethical practices that many big fashion companies use in order to produce their designs. In order to have options for clothing that were vegan, eco friendly, and cruelty free, I decided to start my own company. That’s how Miakoda was born.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

So far we haven’t had any major failures—thank goodness!

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My proudest moments are definitely some of the small things—like when I get a repeat customer—or when I get 3 orders from the same person in a month. It excites me that they love my products so much! Working with Alicia Silverstone and collaborating on a blog post/giveaway with her was also one of my highlights since starting Miakoda.

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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

I sacrificed the security of a traditional job and life—but I wouldn’t trade the path I’m on for anything.

How does the city you live in influence your work?

I’m constantly inspired by my environment. I live on Long Island, right outside of NYC. My Fall 2015 collection is actually inspired by my drive to yoga. There’s a small stretch of highway called Loop Parkway on the way to the beach. There are little sections of this highway that go over the ocean. While I was designing this collection last winter I was very inspired by the areas of ocean covered in snow that starkly contrasted the intercepting highway roads.

I like to imagine the girl or boy wearing my clothing in an environment. How would he/she feel and what would he/she be wearing? Finding spaces and neighborhoods that are unique and visually interesting around wear I live is always my jumping off place.

 

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

I worked in the fashion industry as an intern and freelancer prior to graduating from school. My experience designing for big name companies and seeing how their design process and business model works was so valuable to me.

What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

When starting Miakoda I was so concerned with creating ethical and eco friendly options that I never really thought of the challenges of being my own boss. I was more interested in getting these options out there for myself and others to wear. But being my own boss is a lot of fun—a lot of work and challenging, but always fun!

tabi multiWhat are some inspirations for your work?

As I previously mentioned, my environment continuously inspires me. My next collection is inspired by snowy long island beach highways and my previous collection was inspired by the rocky beaches of Eastern Long Island. I’m also constantly inspired by the people, animals, and planet around me. I do this work in order to have a softer impact on our environment—taking walks, talking with my employed artisans, and visiting animal sanctuaries reminds me why what I do is important.

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Never forget why you started making. When your craft becomes a chore, switch things up—find other people to help you—try something new! It’s so important to stay passionate about what you’re doing.

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Such amazing goods! Don’t miss out on our Brooklyn Fair this weekend at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint. In the meantime, you can find Miakoda online here:

Website

Instagram