Donna Smith: Q+A with Miik Co-Founder and Creative Director
Posted on April 10 2016
Co-founder Donna Smith wears many hats here at Miik. She’s Creative Director, lead designer and also develops all of the creative materials and branded content. She also manages her own graphic design firm and is a mom of two daughters. Needless to say, Donna is a busy woman! Here she answers a few questions to give a glimpse into her design process and daily life.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
I get my inspiration from a variety of sources but travel is probably number one. Our last two trips to Turkey and Croatia were very inspirational for me. I love taking a design element from a dress hanging in an outdoor market in Istanbul and twisting it completely to work beautifully for Miik. And even better, seeing it become our top selling skirt for spring!
On a daily basis, I will see someone on the street wearing something that catches my eye. It’s usually something I would never wear – nor would our customer – but I love the challenge of “Miik-ifying” that idea to become something unique, yet wearable.
Other inspirations come to me out of nowhere. I am an insomniac so I get a lot of my best ideas in the middle of the night. Great for the collection but not so much for me!
What does a regular day look like for you?
I start the day with either strength training with Michael or a brisk walk. I work from home quite a bit but divide my time between client meetings for Visual Integrity and meetings and fittings downtown with the Miik team. My favourite part is seeing the collection come to life on the models. I love choosing the images, laying out the lookbook and editing the promo videos. I am trying hard to cut back my work schedule to have more of a work life balance. A year ago, I was working 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, including weekends. Now I am forcing myself to stop working after 7:00 pm. I’m not always successful, but doing better than before!
What is it like working alongside your husband, Michael?
Well, I'll be honest with you, we had a rough start! We each have very different ways of doing things. But after a few months, we worked it out. Now, I can't imagine not working with him. He is not the work horse that I am, but he is so smart and knowledgeable in so many areas, and is constantly coming up with brilliant ideas. We are both able to not take ourselves too seriously, and we laugh a lot. I was worried that Miik could take over our lives, but somehow, on the days I work from home, I still can't wait for him to get home.
What do you love about Toronto?
Michael and I find we are really starting to enjoy Toronto again. I think when our kids were young we were just so busy racing between activities. We’ve started going to see live music (The Cameron House has a different band at 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00 every weekend!), comedy shows and exploring the areas of Toronto we used to love before we had kids. We are so lucky to have such great selection of live theatre and concerts available in TO. We have been huge fans of Soulpepper for years.
What is your favourite piece from the Spring/Summer 2016 collection?
What an impossible question, there are too many! I always test the styles the summer before so how about I tell you what I ended up wearing the most? I absolutely love the Tansu skirt – it is so unique but so wearable and I got a ton of compliments. My favourite tunic is the Lesia – great as a coverup or with leggings, so versatile and forgiving. The most easy, comfortable wear-every-day dress is the Simone but my favourite party dress is the Larissa. I also wore the Wynona cardi a ton! Can I do that many?
Do you have more questions for Donna? Let us know in the comments below!