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Evolution of Miik

by co-founder, Michael Gaughan


Where it all began

My relationship with fashion goes way back. From as long as I can remember, I have modified my clothes to suit my own aesthetic. I would hire a seamstress who would tailor pretty much every piece of clothing I bought. Then I’d have people asking me where they could buy the amazing trenchcoat I was wearing.

But here’s where our story really begins... A magazine that I was involved with called ‘Green Living’ had an interesting article on sustainable fabrics. Who knew that you could make fabric from corn, pineapple, milk, beechwood and eucalyptus?! I thought that was pretty cool and so, with one eye on fashion and the other on the environment, I got the idea to try my hand at designing a clothing line. My wife, Donna, thought I’d lost my mind – I already had my hands full running my own magazine production company. 

But everything changed when I brought her home a bamboo skirt – I wanted her to feel how soft the fabric was. She was not as excited as I was when she first saw it. Let’s face it, it was a pretty ugly skirt. But then she tried it on. I am telling you she did not take that skirt off all summer – she just loved the way the fabric felt against her skin. 

So I started researching bamboo and other sustainable fabrics. I loved the concept of ‘slow fashion’ – instead of buying cheap, trendy clothing that would end up in a landfill site after one season, why not create clothes that are durable and well-made in simple, but striking designs? I learned fairly quickly that not all bamboo is created equally and I would have to mill my own fabric locally to control the quality, the weight and the colour as the off-shelf bamboo just didn’t cut it, pun intended. Milling, designing and sewing locally would support local businesses and further reduce our carbin footprint.

Over the course of the year I muddled about with my designs but was getting nowhere fast. It wasn’t until Donna agreed to get involved that Miik became a real company and not an expensive hobby. Most friends and colleagues would agree that I am a dreamer. Donna, on the other hand is not only a doer and a planner, but in my eyes, a creative genius. Her appreciation for art, design and beauty comes from traveling the world every summer since our daughters were young, to running her own graphic design firm, to collecting a wide range of art that now hangs in our home. As our creative director, it is her vision that drives Miik. She not only designs the clothes, but creates all the printed and online marketing materials for Miik. She literally walks the talk, sporting a Miik piece every day.

Two years later, with several successful collections under our belt and over 50 stores carrying our brand, we realized we needed someone to take us to the next level. With Donna and I mostly interested in the ‘left brain’ creative process, we seriously needed someone with a ‘right brain’ to run the company.

Enter Sue Cadman. Over the last couple of years, we would often chat over a cocktail or two about how great it would be to work together. We knew her to be brilliant, creative and driven, with a background in marketing and statistics. This Type A-Ironman-Mother of two can only be described in one word…unstoppable. After only a few short months, she has had an astonishing impact on the company. We are so lucky to have her at the helm.

Today, our friends have become customers and our customers have become friends. They tell us how much they love the fabric, the fit and mostly how amazing it feels when you’re wearing it. Miik has come to embody a lifestyle of looking great, while feeling incredible. 

With Donna Smith as Co-Founder, Designer and Creative Director and Sue Cadman as President, I have to ask myself, is there anything that they can’t do?

My job now is to keep dreaming and stay out of their way…

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