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      Q&A with Donna Smith, founder of Miik

      Q&A with Donna Smith, founder of Miik

       

      As the co-founder and Creative Director of Miik, Donna Smith designs every single piece of clothing we've ever released. Today, we’re letting all of you in on a huge treat! I sat down with Donna over a cup of coffee, to talk about the story behind why our brand exists. Donna is the heart and soul behind everything Miik. She is behind all aspects of the brand – from marketing, to photoshoot direction to messaging and graphic design.⁠

      Sometimes, it’s important to refocus and remind ourselves and our audience of the story and our WHY. Daily life can get crazy, running a company can be pure chaos at times. But this Q&A totally put things back into perspective for our whole team, and we hope it gives you a little more insight into who we are and what we’re all about. Miik would be nowhere without this powerhouse of a woman. Now let’s get into this Q&A!

       

      Q: How did Miik start?

      A: Well, 10 years ago I was happily running my own graphic design company. My husband Michael, became interested in ethical and sustainable fashion. He was pretty much obsessed with it! I loved the idea of sustainable fashion but in my head, I had no time to run another business. Then one day he brought home a bamboo skirt that was actually kind of ugly. Not my style at all. But when I put it on and walked around the house in it, I thought, “OH WOW, now I get it.” It felt so unbelievably soft against my skin, I just kept wearing it! So much so that Michael went back to the store and bought me two different colours! That was the first moment I thought there could really be something in this. Nothing in my closet felt as good as these bamboo skirts. If I was willing to wear an ugly skirt all summer, what would happen if I could design beautiful pieces that were just as soft?

       

      Q: What made you change your mind from thinking you didn’t have time to start a company, to co-founding Miik with your husband?

      A: The main thing that grabbed me and had me hooked, was walking into the mall and being so overwhelmed. As a 40 something woman, I just didn’t know where to shop. It seemed most stores either catered to teenagers, or they had clothes my mother would have worn. I couldn’t seem to find clothes for me. And then when I tried stuff on, things never seemed to fit me properly. I felt there was a niche that needed to be filled.

       

      Q: What were the next steps you took to start the company?

      A: We concentrated on the fabric the most at the beginning. Making sure that what we were creating would be durable, lasting and sustainably sourced. We were obviously using eco-fabrics, but the most important thing from the beginning was making sure the clothes would last. I looked in my closet, and almost all my clothes were faded. After 5 washes, the cheap fabric would pill, fall apart or lose its shape. Our first season was about solving that. We sourced a bamboo fabric, and started making basics. I tested the products myself. I still own four tank tops from our very first collection. I wanted to see how long they would last, so I wore them to work out, and every week they would be in the laundry. They are still my workout tops today. That was 9 years ago.

       

      Q: What strategies did you start using to make sure the clothes you designed would fit right?

      A: At the beginning we did a lot of focus groups. I would have women to my house and ask them what issues they had shopping for their body types. I asked them what their problem areas were and what they wanted to show off. I listened and I learned a ton. I’ve always had a standard shape - but based on age and body type, there are so many differences. I couldn’t just design clothes that I liked and looked good on me, but clothes that looked great on every body type. The goal was to have a streamlined collection that had something for everyone. We never went the route of designing just the latest fad. We just wanted to make clothes that made people feel beautiful and confident. And above all, be comfortable! Most women I know care about that a lot more than the latest trend.

       

      Q: Where does your design inspiration come from?

      A: I have all different kinds of inspiration. Sometimes when I’m on a holiday, I’ll see something in a store or on a person. Sometimes it just comes to me when I first wake up in the morning. I always have a notepad and pen on my bedside so I can quickly sketch out the design before I forget. I like to take a bunch of different elements and put them together in a unique way. I always try to design versatile pieces that can be dressed up in a corporate setting or more casually on their own. Versatility is huge for me.

       

      Q: What makes it difficult to blend together the world of eco-friendly and the world of fashion?

      A: Unfortunately, fashion itself is not very eco-friendly. It’s hard to argue that. We have our beautiful sustainably sourced bamboo fabric – available in heavy and light weight. But our biggest challenge is sourcing a new, eco-friendly fabric to feature each season. Using only environmentally friendly fabric limits your options significantly. Which really limits us creatively. It’s also so much more expensive to use sustainably sourced fabrics. It’s cheaper to purchase synthetic fabrics and to produce the garments overseas. But that’s not us.

       

       

      Q: So, why do you decide to keep producing clothing locally and eco-friendly?

      A: It’s the whole reason we’re doing this, we can’t let go of that. We’re trying to go against what’s happening in the fast fashion world. People are buying a $10 dollar t-shirt or dress, wearing it a few times and then it ends up in a landfill site. If we let go of all our ethical values and eco-friendly standards and just make clothes for a profit, I no longer have an interest in this and I would let the company go. The whole reason Miik exists is to create durable, fashionable pieces that last not just for a season or two, but for the next 10 years. I have a closet full of clothes that range from when we started the company 9 years ago, until now. They’re still in great shape and they’re still in style.

       

       

      Q: What makes Miik’s clothes last so much longer than a conventional, fast fashion piece?

      A: What differentiates Miik and makes our pieces last so long has to do with our custom milled fabrics, like our bamboo. Bamboo absorbs dye differently to other fabrics, like cotton. So the colour is more saturated and does not fade over time. Most companies use an off-the-shelf bamboo/cotton blend that does not hold its colour as well and is not nearly as soft. It also doesn’t have the same rich drape. Many people stop wearing their clothes because they look faded or worn. When I compare a top I have been wearing for 8 years against a brand new one, I can’t see the difference in the colour. That’s huge, and that’s something Miik is known for. 

       

      Q: How would you describe your personal style?

      A: I would say effortless. I just don’t have time! I want to look put together, but I don’t want to have to try. But I do really care about my clothes fitting me beautifully, and I want to feel great in them. I guess that’s reflected a lot in the clothes I design. Effortless. 

       

      Q: Where do you see Miik in 5 years?

      A: I want Miik to be a household name. I want people to know us for everything I’ve just talked about, and to trust us with their wardrobe. But the biggest thing is that I see us giving back a lot more in the future. I want to connect with our causes, and have time for it. I would love for the day to come where 50 percent of my time is spent giving back, rather than getting lost in the day-to-day tasks of running a business. I want all of this to be for something great.

      Kicking off 2020 with our first 10x10 challenge + giveaway!

      Kicking off 2020 with our first 10x10 challenge + giveaway!

       

       

      Happy New Year! We're so excited about 2020, and we know that it's going to be a big year for our brand and community. Rather than reinventing yourself in 2020, we want you to take some time to appreciate all the amazing things in your life that don’t need changing. To start the year with gratitude and mindfulness, we’re running a 10x10 wardrobe challenge on Instagram. The 10x10 challenge is simple: choose 10 items in your closet, create 10 different outfits, and wear them over 10 days. Created by Lee Vosburgh, fashion enthusiast and blogger at Style Bee, this challenge is all about getting creative with your style, getting more use out of fewer things, and learning to love what you already own.

      Starting Monday, January 6th we’ll be sharing our 10 outfits on Instagram, created from 10 core pieces: 7 of these pieces are Miik, plus we’ve included 1 pair of denim and 2 pairs of shoes. We’ll also be adding a few other accessories like hats, scarves and hosiery which don’t count towards the 10 item limit.

      Enter to win a $200 Miik gift card

      Many of our styles have been designed with a "less is more" mentality, prioritizing versatility and timelessness over trends. Capsule wardrobes and the 10x10 challenge encourage you to make the most of the items you have, but they're also great exercises to identify any key pieces your wardrobe are missing and really consider which styles make you look and feel your best.

      We invite you to participate in our 10x10 challenge on Instagram and be entered to win a $200 Miik gift card. Use it to kickstart your capsule wardrobe or invest in a new foundation piece you'll wear for years to come! Here’s everything you need to know:

      1. Follow @miikinc on Instagram. The challenge begins today, Monday, January 6 and runs until Wednesday, January 15 at midnight (PST). We will be posting one outfit every day in our Instagram stories, so be sure to follow along there!
      2. Pick 10 pieces from your closet. We suggest 3 tops, 2 bottoms, 1 dress, 2 top layers (like blazers or cardigans), and 2 pairs of shoes. Don't stress too much about the rules; accessories, handbags, and outerwear don't count towards the 10 item limit, and some people prefer not to include shoes in their 10 items either. Have fun with it and adapt as necessary to make the challenge work for your lifestyle!
      3. Share your 10 outfits on Instagram (in your stories or feed), tag @miikinc and use hashtag #10x10challenge. Every day you tag us in a 10x10 outfit, you’ll be entered to win a $200 Miik gift card (up to 1 entry per day). The more outfits you share, the better your chances of winning! Please note: Your Instagram profile needs to be set to "public" for us to see your tagged photos. If you prefer to keep your profile private, feel free to DM us your photos.
      4. We'll randomly choose a winner on January 16. The winner will be notified via Instagram direct message.

      That’s it! We can’t wait to see your creative outfits as you learn to love your wardrobe all over again in 2020.

      Love from,

      The Miik Team

      Miik's Sustainable Clothing Holiday Gift Guide

      Miik's Sustainable Clothing Holiday Gift Guide

      Give the gift of Miik this holiday season! If you’re looking for ethical and locally-made gifts for all the amazing ladies in your life, look no further. Our unbelievably comfortable, sustainable clothing is designed for women, by women, with eco-luxe fabrics that last. We’ve put together a list of 5 different types of women you might be buying for this season. Whether it’s your mom, niece, sister, grandma, aunt or coworker—we’re confident that Miik has something for everyone!

      Without further ado, let’s get into it!

      1. For the one who loves cozy winters

      She’s the skier, the ice skating queen... the one who’s always ready for a snowy adventure! We’re not ones to boast, but if there’s one thing we know best at Miik, it’s après ski style. Here are some perfect pieces for the girl living in a winter wonderland:

      Reese drawstring hoodie: A modern take on a classic hoodie, this tunic has all the cozy winter vibes. While typical hoodies can be bulky and look sloppy, this tunic over a pair of leggings or jeans looks so put-together and professional!

      Charlene cowl hooded tunic: The Charlene is the PERFECT holiday gift, just in time for winter weather. It has pockets, a hood and has a chic take on the après ski style. In solid or stripe with so many colours to choose from, we have you covered!

      Kerry turtleneck: This turtleneck is perfect for every winter capsule wardrobe, and great for layering all season long. This charcoal tone is super cozy, but if you want extra winter vibes, we recommend our port stripe!

      Jodi zippered tunic: This piece is one of our favourites because it effortlessly transforms from a cardigan to a tunic with a simple zip! Wear it over a pair of jeans and a tank as a cardi, or zip it up and wear as a tunic over leggings for ultimate comfort. With the Jodi, you just can’t go wrong.

      Lucy legging: Every outdoorsy woman needs a go-to pair of leggings. The Lucy won’t let you down... like, ever. These leggings won’t fade, pill or lose their shape like other leggings do. Buttery soft and made with eco-luxe rayon from bamboo, these leggings are a cozy friend—especially in the winter! 

      Collage of women's corporate attire

      2. For the one who's a boss babe

      From boardrooms to networking events, we’ve all got that woman in our life who is crushing it in the corporate world. These Miik pieces are tried and true for the working woman.

      Emily soft blazer: This is our most popular blazer and one of our bestselling items. It’s a classic blazer that will last in your wardrobe for years to come. Our customers can't get over how comfy it is... one even said it feels like you're wearing leggings on the top half of your body! If you’re buying for a working woman, we can’t think of a better gift.

      Sonya wrap dress: This classic wrap dress is perfect for work, but has great evening and special event versatility. It can be dressed up or down, and is made of buttery soft rayon from bamboo.

      Sienna boyfriend jacket: Who doesn’t love a good boyfriend jacket?! Perfect for a corporate chic look, this jacket is versatile, so comfy and has the most flattering fit. She’ll be rocking it over and over again.

      Claudia side panel skirt: The iconic corporate skirt, the Claudia can be paired with any of our StretchFit blazers for a sophisticated tailored suit that doesn't sacrifice comfort. This relaxed fit pencil skirt is our go-to!

      Alana wide leg pant: These wide-leg pants are so beautifully tailored, you would never guess how stretchy and comfortable they are. The pull-on waistband has a perfectly smooth finish with any top, and—wait for it—they have pockets! Seriously, these are the only pants you'll want to wear to work.

       

      3. For the one who lives in loungewear

      Well, pretty much anything from Miik would work for this person, but let’s get into some ULTRA comfy options! Here are some of our top picks:

      Lisa2 legging: These are a no-brainer. One of our top selling products, you could truly live in the Lisa2 leggings. Our customers love the wide, 4-inch waistband: wear it high-waisted or folded over at the hip, it acts as a comfy control top that smooths everything out. No judgement here if you throw in an extra pair for yourself at checkout!

      Katya striped boxy tunic: The Katya's boxy fit makes it feel edgy yet very relaxed. This tunic will take you from weekend lounging to errands around town effortlessly. It’s put-together and polished, even though it feels like you’re rocking PJs... win-win!

      Joy tunic: The Joy tunic is another crowd pleaser. Feminine and flowy, it's the perfect match for leggings or jeans. Get the most out of this versatile style by dressing it up or down.

      Malory long cardi: This cardi is the ultimate in functionality and comfort. The longer length makes it great for layering with any outfit, and the contrasting collar makes it a cozy staple for the fall and winter seasons.

      Kiri pant: One of our fave pants! They feel like yoga pants, with a tailored, fashion-forward look. The Kiri pant has a subtle flared silhouette with a 2" pull-on waistband for a smooth, flattering, and comfortable fit.

      Mid-calf socks: The perfect stocking stuffer, that will actually be worn and loved! Make every step more luxurious with these buttery soft mid-calf socks. Miik socks have hand-linked toes for seamless comfort, plus a reinforced heel and toe for durability.

      4. For the one who prefers basics

      So she's got a capsule wardrobe? No problem! We have just the thing:

      June simple skirt: The ultimate basic that you never knew you needed. It has a smooth look under fitted tops, and can be worn at the hip or high-waisted. If she prefers a longer skirt, we suggest the Jan long simple skirt: the exact same design with a bit more length!

      Lea reversible tank: This tank has been a fan favourite for years. The Lea is the perfect layering basic, with a neckline that reverses from boatneck to scoopneck. With bra-friendly straps and a fitted silhouette, it can be worn on its own or under blazers and cardigans.

      Yara reversible dress: A classic tank dress, the Yara is an essential that’s perfect for layering and so chic on its own. Back-to-front reversibility means you can switch from a boatneck to high scoop—more ways to wear it, for any occasion.

      Anne circle blazer: The perfect crossover between blazer and cardi, the Anne can be styled for work or play. Unlike most of our blazers, this one is machine washable, so there's no excuse not to wear it every. single. day.

      Presley top: Truly the basic top of all basic tops, the Presley never disappoints. Its boxy, relaxed fit is universally flattering and easy to pair with jeans, skirts, or tailored pants. Get it in a solid colour if she only wears the most basic of basics, or in a stripe for those who like to mix it up!

      Ankle socks:  The perfect stocking stuffer that will actually be loved and worn! Treat her feet to these buttery soft ankle socks. Miik socks have hand-linked toes for seamless comfort, plus a reinforced heel and toe for durability.

      Collage of on-trend women's clothing

      5. For the one who's a fashionista

      She’s beauty and she’s grace... she’s never had a bad style day. Wow her with these on-trend and equally comfortable Miik pieces:

      Jess dress: We love the cutout detail on this dress, and she will too! The Jess can be worn to work with a blazer or dressed up for an evening look. Its flattering A-line silhouette looks great on everyone.

      Shea tulip pant: These pants are so comfortable, feminine, and all-around luxurious. The perfect pant for a special occasion, they make a statement with overlapping front panels that curve into a gorgeous tulip shape. Betcha she doesn’t have pants like these... yet!

      Tarina reversible cutout top: Wear this reversible v-neck top with the fashionable cutout detail at the front or back. An on-trend bell sleeve completes the look.

      Joni ruffle sleeve top: We love a good bell sleeve for the winter season, and if she’s got a passion for fashion, she’ll be obsessed with the Joni! Dress it up for work and down for the weekend or an evening out.

      Aedan boyfriend jacket: Talk about a versatile jacket! This gorgeous piece can be worn with black dress pants as a suit, or with jeans and a tee on the weekends. This one is a fave for anyone whose style is a little edgier.

      We hope you got some great ideas from this gift guide – and that you have an incredible holiday season spend with friends, family and the people you love most.

      Happy holiday gifting!

      The Miik Team 

      7 Ways to Shop Sustainably this Black Friday

      7 Ways to Shop Sustainably this Black Friday

      If you’re interested in receiving exclusive Black Friday deals from Miik, be sure to subscribe to our email list today!

      We’re coming back to that time of year where virtually every company in the world offers major sales, and we all go CRAZY! That’s right, Black Friday is just around the corner.

      It’s an exciting, festive time of year and thousands of people will be taking advantage of the Black Friday deals. However, in the light of recent climate strikes, there’s no doubt that climate change is on people’s minds. We’re sharing some simple but effective ways you can be mindful of the environment during Black Friday this year! Let’s get into it. 

      Child in a crowd holding a painted sign that reads "Save the planet"

      Photo of the Toronto climate strike by @lewypee

      1. Shop eco-friendly brands

      Almost every eco-friendly brand—big or small—has Black Friday deals. It’s so easy to make a simple switch in who you’re buying from, and it can make all the difference. American author Anna Lappé says, “Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” If more and more people adopt this mindset, big companies will eventually start to take notice, feel the pressure and make some important shifts towards sustainability.

      Black script text on white reads "Everytime you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want."

      2. Shop locally-made

      It is always better for the environment to shop locally because you can avoid additional shipping and therefore avoid excessive carbon emissions. It’s also so much nicer to receive a thoughtful, locally-made gift! Shopping local helps fuel your local economy and supports small businesses. When you shop locally, it's also more likely that the people who created the products were paid a fair living wage.

      Black handwriting on a pink background reads "When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance"

      3. Shop less: don't impulse buy

      Ever gone on a shopping spree, and realized a week later that you didn’t really need (or even want) 75% of what you bought? That’s the power of the impulse buy. Just because something is a great sale, doesn’t mean you need it, or that you’ll wear it. And if you don’t love that purchase, it’s never worth the price—no matter how cheap! When it comes to apparel, we like to ask ourselves these questions before adding items to our cart: How often will I wear it? How will I care for it? Where was it made? What is it made of? How long will it last? How does it make me feel? Never buy something that won’t be worn or used!

      4. Look for energy efficient gadgets

      The best gifts are the ones that keep on giving. From rechargeable batteries to reusable sandwich bags, looking for ways to reduce everyday waste is great for our wallets and our landfills. Here’s a blog post with a handful of products to get your mind going. When it comes to technology items, read here for some products that would make great gifts for the holidays, or for your home! When you find products you’d like, make a list and shop intentionally over the Black Friday weekend rather than blindly heading into a website full of seductive deals.

      5. Gift wrap in reusable wrapping

      Save gift wrapping from events during the year and reuse it over the holidays, or use materials that might already be in your recycling bin. Think cardboard, newspapers, baskets, shoe boxes or paper. Paint it, stamp it, DIY it, and keep it out of our landfills for longer by giving it a new life!

      Rectangular package wrapped in burlap tied with twine and decorative red berries

      Photo from Stocksy

       6. Don't choose rush shipping

      Black Friday and Cyber Monday have blurred together now that everyone would prefer to shop from the comfort of their living room. One of the things we're cautious about (and don’t offer on our website) is express shipping. This causes lots of half-empty trucks to be on the road, driving longer distances to deliver packages. Choosing standard shipping and waiting just a little longer ensures companies can optimize their deliveries for fewer, fuller trucks making deliveries. It’s a small change we can all make, and it’s worth the wait!

      Cardboard shipping box marked "fragile"

       7. Look for carbon offsets

      We recently posted about our carbon offset checkout feature, and we would encourage you to look for this opportunity as you online shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many brands have started adding it to help reduce your carbon footprint. We love this option: it’s a great way to give back and continue to be mindful of the earth as you shop.

      Screenshot of the Carbon Checkout app

      There are so many ways we can positively contribute to the environment during Black Friday. Miik will be participating in the festivities, as always! Be sure to subscribe to our email list for first access to all our amazing deals this year. Styles always sell quickly, so sign up and make sure you snag all your favourites!

       

      Offset your Carbon Footprint when Shopping Online

      Offset your Carbon Footprint when Shopping Online

      Woman in a blazer looking at a laptop

      Every time you make a purchase on our website, you have the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint by adding a small donation to your order with Carbon Checkout. For every $1 dollar contributed, Carbon Checkout offsets 245 pounds of global greenhouse gas emissions that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere. So far, just over 3% of Miik customers opt to offset their carbon footprint at checkout. We would love to see this number increase!

      Introducing Carbon Checkout

      Carbon offsetting funds different projects around the world that help reduce our carbon emissions significantly. Without additional funding from people like you and me, these vital projects can’t be completed. In addition to individually reducing our own carbon footprints, funding these projects helps to create a brighter, greener future. That’s what offsetting is all about.

      How to support carbon offset programs on your next Miik purchase

      It’s just three simple steps!

      1. Check the box next to “Give change to the environment.” It’s at the bottom of the screen during the checkout process. You can round up to the nearest dollar based on your order total, or select a different number from the dropdown menu.

      2. Your funds are invested in renewable energy projects to reduce carbon emissions.

      3. Track your emission reductions and view your portfolio by entering your verification code on the Carbon Checkout website.

      That’s it! Three easy steps and a very worthy cause: the future of our planet. These small changes in our everyday buying habits lead to big change. Collectively, a dollar can go a long way. 

      Leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Holidays, we would like to remind you to be mindful in the way you purchase items and gifts, and encourage you to opt-in to offset your carbon footprint when it’s offered. We only have one planet, and we’re all responsible to take care of it!

      To a greener future, 

      Your Miik Team