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      Blog — cardi

      Donna Smith: Q+A with Miik Co-Founder and Creative Director

      Donna Smith: Q+A with Miik Co-Founder and Creative Director

      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!

       

      I have been converted. I love deep purple (the colour, not the band)

      I have been converted. I love deep purple (the colour, not the band)

      My first week at Miik, Bonnie, our fantastic office manager, helped me to choose some new clothes. I only gave her one condition: I don't wear orange or purple. Well, I would still take some serious convincing to wear orange, but I have been converted by the purple in our new fall line. Our new deep purple is g o r g e o u s -- and that means a lot coming from a life-long purple-phobic like me!

      Just to prove my new-found love for deep purple to you, here's a shot of me in my newest Miik piece this morning (obviously ignore the racks of clothes around me, the iphone in my hand and the fact that I am not a professional model):

       

      As it turns out, deep purple makes me feel fantastic! Happy, vibrant, energized. This colour, in combination with our super soft, rayon from bamboo fabric is a dream. You need some deep purple in your life too. Image a drab winter morning; you wake up in the dark, shower in the dark and get ready to head out into the grey...a deep purple piece is going to cheer you right up. A purple Lea or Lilith tank under a suit? Perfect! Or what about a purple cardi with jeans? Our deep purple Sandy tunic looks amazing over black leggings or skinny jeans. Maybe you already love purple, or maybe you're like me and need a little convincing, but I think we could all use a little more deep purple in our lives! (Bonnie, you were right)

      Miik's deep purple swatch:

      Meet Donna

      Meet Donna

      Q & A with Donna Smith, Miik Designer and Co-Owner

      Last month you had a chance to meet our amazing office manager, Bonnie, and this month I'm excited to help you get to know Donna Smith, designer and co-owner of Miik. Donna has a background in graphic design, and brings a perfect balance of creativity, passion and practicality to her designs. We think she designs pieces that are versatile, beautiful and ultra comfortable to wear.

      Q: Tell us about the sort of woman you have in mind when you’re designing.

      A: We are designing for a busy woman with an active lifestyle. She wants to look put together but doesn't have a tonne of extra time or energy to put into her look. Whether she is running a company or a house full of kids, she wants to be able to throw something on and immediately look and feel great.  

      Q:
      What is most important to you as a designer?

      A: I want the women who wear our clothes to look in the mirror and feel great about themselves, whatever their body type. I want to help them embrace the way they look. We don't design to trend but to the various stages of a woman's life  -- from the teen years, to child-rearing years and then menopause. The cut of every dress, top and tunic is designed to emphasize our attributes and downplay the things we don't love about our bodies. The designs are simple and timeless, yet remarkably current.

      And then, on top of all of that is that these beautiful, effortless designs are truly the softest, most comfortable clothing you can wear.

      Q: Tell us about an average day in the life of Donna Smith.

      I am still running both my design firm, Visual Integrity, and Miik, so this makes for a pretty busy day. My first stop is my morning walk with my dog, Hanna. We walk through the Old Mill park every morning and then she comes with me to work. During the day, I am usually back and forth between my graphic design work and designing for Miik. I truly love both. On any given day I can be designing a logo or website in the morning, have lunch with our sales rep and then rush off to our weekly meeting to review the next batch of spring designs. I love these meetings the most as this is where we get to see our sketches come to life.

      At this point I am still involved in overseeing production of all the Miik collections. Truthfully, this is the part I will be very happy to give up when we are big enough to hire someone. I prefer working with people and designs rather than numbers!

      After work is my 6:30 Zumba class. This is mandatory since I love it AND it is such a great stress release. I am so lucky to come home to my two amazing teenage daughters and my husband, who is also my Miik partner.

      Q: Tell us about your favourite Miik pieces this season.

      A: My favourite pieces this season are the Ashely cardi and the Rachael pocket dress. They are a little edgier than our previous pieces but have the same flattering fit that looks great on everyone.

      Q: Sum up Miik in three words:

      A: Soft. Versatile. Effortless.

      Q: What do you value most in the world?

      A: Above all else, I cherish my family.

      Q: What are you wearing right now?

      A: Today I'm super comfy and feeling great in black Lina leggings, a cranberry Sandy tank and a French navy Cynthia cardi.