Let me introduce to you this month's emerging designer brand, MINIKA KO! This brand is for the woman who is undeniably powerful and isn't afraid to show it. She is unapologetic about who she is and is ready to take the world by storm. The powerhouse behind this brand of unique, futuristic, machine washable, water/stain resistant designs, is Minika! She is budding designer who is sure to have you standing out among the crowd. Read her motivating story below to see how she continues to raise the bar in the fashion industry.
ME: What motivated and inspired you to start your own fashion design business?
MINIKA: I always loved fashion design. My mom was an accessory designer and I grew up playing with fabric. I was actually a musician prior to this but I was really intrigued by the work itself and the creativity that went into being a designer. I realized that my calling was to dress women and help them feel bold and confident.
ME: Absolutely a necessity. We need more women who feel completely confident in their clothing. Confidence is the key to taking our lives to the next level. What is your mission? Who is the Minika Ko woman?
MINIKA: My mission is to dress the woman who is on her way to becoming the next CEO, CFO, COO. Women who are ambitious, independent, making bold moves, achieving something GREAT and fulfilling their dreams. When I design, I design with those women in mind! Everything I make for them is well tailored but easy to care for so that she is effortlessly beautiful.
ME: Ooo! I love that because it is so aligned with my mission as well. To empower these women all the confidence that they need but with very little work on their part. Getting dressed should never be a hassle! It should be impactful. Any exciting contests/promos etc. coming up?
MINIKA: Yes we are actually launching a kick-starter campaign soon to raise funds for the next production. It will feature my first white suit collection which includes white suits, dresses and other garments made of water repellent, stain resistant, machine washable, breathable fabrics. You will never have to worry about staining your clothes with coffee or wine after a long day.
ME: Wow! How unique! Durability is definitely something missing in the fashion industry. Love that you are bringing that to the market.
MINIKA: Yes! Because if you are a CEO, you don't want to spend your time running around trying to iron your clothes or worrying about taking it to the dry cleaners the next day.
ME: Totally agree! And where is your business based? NYC only? Can we find you online?
MINIKA: Yes, NYC only for right now. My business is under a year old so we are expanding across the US and also will start selling in Europe in the Fall. Women will also be able to shop online in the fall as well. All items are designed in NY currently.
ME: So great to find locally produced brands. What inspired your latest KOVASKY collection? Which I absolutely love by the way. It is edgy but with sex appeal and femininity. Love it!
MINIKA: Well, KOVASKY to me is for the woman who is the female James Bond! She is not just a Bond Girl but James Bond himself in female form. She is the one going out, kicking ass and helping people. So everything I design for her is sleek and movable while also making her look glamorous. Every evening gown or skirt I design, I actually make sure the models can kick in them haha! The cuts are very form fitting but comfortable to wear.
ME: Whoa girl that sounds like me you're talking about (laughing), as well as the powerful women in my community who will be reading this. They will love it! What are your retail price points?
MINIKA: It ranges from $150 to about $800.
ME: How do you distinguish yourself from "competitors"? I use that term loosely because we all have something very different to offer the world. But how do you stand out in the market?
MINIKA: Well definitely the biggest difference with my brand is that I use high performance fabric (from athletic wear) for high fashion! Normally if you buy a very nice suit, you must dry clean it! If you are travelling with an evening gown for an event, you worry that it might get wrinkled in the suitcase. But the fabrics I use are very durable and prevent this with its wrinkle resistant and machine washable nature. It makes your life tons easier. Sleek and chic at all times but you never have to iron your clothes (laughing)
ME: (laughing) Yes! Sounds like me again! Tell us an amazing testimonial you received from someone who wore your designs.
MINIKA: During one of my fashion shows, one of my models, getting ready to hit the runway turned around and said, "Minika, I feel SO POWERFUL in these outfits!" And that's what I want to hear. I want the women wearing these designs to feel empowered and ready to conquer the world. I also dressed a few ladies at Carnegie Hall and for entrepreneur galas in Dallas. They loved their items as well!
ME: Awesome! And what would you say to women about dressing their shape or finding their personal style?
MINIKA: You need to love your body. It's the only one you have. Know what looks best on you and go for it. Show it off without worry. Wear what makes you happy because when you are happy, you look confident!
ME: Yess!! Love it! What quotes do you live by that will inspire others?
MINIKA: (laughing) Oh I have a lot! But this is my favorite, "If you love life, life will love you back with more than what you asked for". If you just embrace your life and what love what you do, everything will work out. The universe will help you and you will not have to worry.
ME: So powerful! I know so many of us entrepreneurs can relate to this for sure. What would you say is the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome with running a business?
MINIKA: I think the biggest obstacle for me is to learn to always stay calm and move quickly in the challenging and constantly changing business environment. As a business woman for a start up, I deal with difficult unpredictable situations on the daily basis. But I am also a designer - I need my mind to be in a peaceful place in order to design beautiful things. I've slowly learned to enjoy the turbulence and each step of the way. Running a business is truly a rewarding experience.
ME: Awesome and Where do you want to take your brand in the next 5 years?
MINIKA: We have had 2 major New York Fashion Week shows and will continue to do more. Now we are branching off into the retail market online and off. So in 5 years, I want my designs to be everywhere! Globally! So people can buy them, even online, and have it shipped. I would also like to get into Saks and other big named department stores but online is very important to me because it is easier for the busy woman. Online first then retail stores.
ME: Perfect! Loving the sound of that and wishing you so much success! Thank you so much Minika! It was such a pleasure interviewing you!
To find out more about MINIKA KO and visit their website, take a look below. Also, if you are in need of a standout look for an upcoming event or you are loving these items from this designer+ want to see more, get in touch to schedule a private consultation with me.
Facebook: Minika Ko
Photographer: Katrina Gallant-Russo