Journal

An interview with Ashley Marti, the food stylist behind Local Haven

Posted on July 12, 2018 by INFO WM GOODS | 0 comments

We're longtime fans of Ashley Marti here at WM Goods. Her Portland based blog, Local Haven and coordinating Instagram account are the stuff of dreams, filled with gorgeous photos and delicious recipes featuring local and seasonal ingredients.  When she's not creating inspiring content for her own brand, she works as a prop and food stylist and creative consultant on commercial and editorial photoshoots and well as styling over 25 cookbooks. 


In preparation for our July Create + Connect featuring Ashley (details below), we sat down to ask her a few questions regarding how she got into food styling (what is that, even?), how to balance the freelance life and her favorite spots around Portland.

You work as a food stylist and recipe developer, among other things. Can you give us a brief description of what it means to be a food stylist?

A Food Stylist is someone that is hired by a photographer, agency, or brand to present the food or product in a visually appealing way based off of the clients’ mood board and vision. This can include recipe testing days before a shoot to ensure that the final result will look camera ready. Sourcing and shopping for the shoot, arriving on set with a (secret) bag of tools, making the food (sometimes that means making very fake food), plating the food, and touching up the food until the shot happens. 


Did you grow up cooking or surrounded by cooks?  Was there someone or something that inspired you pursue a career working with food? 

I grew up surrounded by a lot of cooks in the family. But really it came from being a stylist in apparel and footwear for so many years and coming home at night and cooking up dinners or baking treats for friends. It allowed me to express my creativity in a much different way than I did in my day to day job. Eventually I needed to move on from styling athletic wear. One day a photographer friend of mine needed extra set of hands on a food set and I stepped in. Six years later I’m still here. 

Portland has an incredible food scene, from restaurants to markets to producers and growers. How has living in Portland helped or challenged you with the growth of your career.

In my early days of this newer career move it helped me greatly that Portland (which can be a very small town in the food industry) was such a creative, innovative, and food driven town. Brands and magazines didn’t necessarily always have the biggest budgets, but the amount that I learned putting myself out there to take as many jobs that I could really helped me absorb this industry and challenge myself greatly. I’m a big believer in the early years to work very hard, assist experts, make little money, until you develop your craft.  Now my clients are based 85% outside of Portland (mainly in NY, LA and SF), however I always jump at the opportunity to work with a smaller local brand when the opportunity comes up. 


You have an incredible following on Instagram. How has social media influenced and affected your career path. 

Oh, how Instagram has changed! We had it easy in the early days. That being said, I worked really hard to make my content visually appealing, very (very!) consistent, and stayed engaged with my audience. In very little time my following grew, I got recognized by many larger accounts, and new opportunities started coming my way. I urge everyone from freelancers to brands to take the time to build an account that is beautiful, visually consistent, and a little bit fun! Instagram allows us to show our work in a way that didn’t exist before, beyond your portfolio (which I still believe to be very, very important, so please keep your portfolio updated!). I am very grateful to have a lot of very wonderful opportunities come up because of the account I have created and maintained on Instagram. From big magazine features, being hired on wonderful cookbooks, to traveling to Europe. It is not always easy, and often times discouraging, but if you can find a way to share your unique voice with others, then the rewards are endless. 

Your recipes are so tasty, beautiful and veggie heavy (with some sweets and cocktails mixed in of course). What inspires your cooking?

Seasonal, local produce from farmers growing beautiful food in my area, always and forever! As well, I love to eat out and experience other chef’s interpretations of food. They are constant inspiration and I love trying to recreate their dishes at home! I’m also a cookbook collector and love not only looking at the photos and reading recipes, but to read the how’s and the why’s. How they became a food writer, and the steps they took along the way. 

Freelance can mean working like crazy for what feels like weeks and months at a time with few breaks between jobs followed by slow periods. Do you have any tips for finding work/life balance while working freelance?

To be honest, work/life balance is a daily juggle, and something I’m always working to improve. To making sure that I am devoting the time I need to myself and my family, while at the same time continuing to put my work out there and staying relevant in a competitive market. As for the highs and the lows, I would say what I have learned most of the years is that you always need to be setting aside money to save. Because it does not matter how great your last month was, or what you made last year, you can truly never predict what your income will be in the months to come. So, when you land that big job, have fun, maybe even reward yourself, but then tuck the rest away. 


Where do you hope to see yourself and your career in 5 years?

It’s hard to say what will happen to social media in 5 years, but what I know is that my portfolio will continue to build and represent what I can and want to do. I hope to still be food styling and taking on more creative directing roles. I’m currently working on a book and hope, if I can survive this one, to make many more books. I’ve styled over 25 books and I’m thrilled with the opportunity to make something that is my passion and style. 

What are your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, and hidden gems in Portland?

I heart this question because I truly believe we are so lucky in Portland! Let’s talk restaurants… for Dinner: Coquine, Kachka, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Han Oak, Ava Gene’s, Afuri, Tusk! Lunch: Guero, Hat Yai, Bollywood Theater, Nong’s (which is my favorite food on shoots for lunch), Matt’s BBQ. Brunch: Maurice, Tusk and Proud Mary. Drinks: Expatriate, Canard, Pepe Le Moko, Angel Face. Quick Stops: I love what Holiday is doing (revival of Roman Candle). I adore Upper Left for coffee and they have a great food program. I love Tea Bar. Heart Coffee is pretty amazing. And Stumptown is always a favorite. Shopping: hello WM Goods! Frances May, Alder + Co, Palace, Beam + Anchor, and Canoe. 

Thank you Ashley! 

Packing List: Summer Getaway

Posted on July 02, 2018 by INFO WM GOODS | 0 comments

Although we love our hometown in the summer, it's a wonderful time to travel and explore new places.  Whether you're headed to LA or Thailand, the key to a concise and functional packing is planning - a color palette doesn't hurt either - start a packing list a few weeks before your scheduled trip, and add or edit as needed.
 
Writing out a packing list allows us to plan ahead and keep our vacation wardrobe concise.

Choose pieces that serve more than one purpose; a dress that functions as a swimsuit cover up but can also be worn to dinner with earrings and a bold lip, a swimsuit that you can also wear as a body suit or a jacket that can also be a shirt.  Most importantly practice self control! Nothing worse than taking up precious space in your suitcase with things you'll never get the chance to wear.

One scarf, 2 tanks, 2 t-shirts, one shirt jacket, one pair of pants, one pair of jeans.
 
We've put together a capsule that will easily fit in your carry on bag.  This wardrobe could take you nearly anywhere, but we've got Tuscany, or maybe Mexico City, on the brain.  It breaks down to 2 tanks, 2 t-shirts, one shirt jacket, one pant, one jean, 3 dresses, one swimsuit, one scarf, 2 bags (one clutch, one cross-body), 3 pairs of shoes (flat sandal, heeled sandal, sneaker), 2 earrings, one necklace, 2 rings.
 
Minimal Ring earrings and Pearl Figure necklace by Sophie Monet, Tahitian silver pearl ring and stone ring by Mary MacGill, Staff earrings by Laura Lombardi.

Buffy tank by Priory, Silvery Crepe Ruffle top by Ganni, Harway t-shirt by Ganni, Crop Jaq tee by Calder Blake, The Swingy jacket by The Great.  

3 dresses may seem excessive, but you'll notice that each dress can be worn multiple ways, layered over t-shirts with sneakers (the Ganni wrap dress), thrown over a swimsuit (the maxi from The Great) and paired with jeans (we're looking at you Miranda Bennett Everyday Dress).  

Before packing up your suitcase, take a look at the group of items together, and you should get visual confirmation of your careful planning that each item will be multipurpose and worth the suitcase space.  This capsule packing list also allows space for your other essentials as well as room to spare. 

Ostra bag by Lotfi, Kia one piece swimsuit by Mara Hoffman, Mini Tris by VeroVerto

Happy travels!
 
 

WMG's Summer Highlights

Posted on June 13, 2018 by INFO WM GOODS | 0 comments

You guys, can you feel it?  Summer is nearly here.  Although the weather may be iffy for the next few weeks, we're ready to jump into our favorite summer activities, you'll see we have a thing for picnics and spending time outside in the sunshine. 

Discover how the Rose City got it's name and enjoy a walk through the
International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park that has been maintained by the Portland Rose Society for over 100 years and features over 7000 rose bushes. June is the optimal time to see (and smell) the blooms, but it's beautiful all summer long. Bring a picnic and stay a while, or walk through on your way up to the Portland Japanese Gardens

We love to hit up the Portland Farmers Market, browse the various stalls, and stock up on all our favorite summer foods all while supporting local farmers. With 40 locations around town, there's one nearly daily.  The market at PSU is the most expansive, with the widest variety of vendors as well as live music, but you'll find incredible goods at all the locations.  We'll take all the heirloom tomatoes we can carry!

Farmer's market goodies.
Photo by Fanny Adams

We love an outdoor movie screening, and lucky for us, there's a couple ways to enjoy them around Portland.  Flicks on the Bricks - free, outdoor screenings of some of your favorite movies - take place at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Fridays starting in mid-July. Pre-movie music starts at 7 pm with movies starting after dusk.  Bring your own food and comfortable seating.  Starting July 6th, movies and concerts take place in various parks around Portland. Similar to Flicks on the Bricks, the Movies in the Park series has musical entertainment starting at 6:30 pm with movies starting after dusk.  A perk to this series, is you can pack beer and wine with your picnic dinner. 

Berry picking at Kruger's Farm.
Photo by Fanny Adams

If you're looking for a family friendly activity, the Summer Concerts at Kruger's Farm are magical.  It's a great way to end a day at the beach on Sauvie Island or to simply kick off your weekend a little early. Kids and adults alike can wander the working farm, pick berries, or just chill on your while you enjoy live music from 6:30 to 9:30, every Thursday starting June 21st. Price is $20 per car, with food, wine and beer available to purchase.  

But if you're like us, you'll probably pack a picnic. 
There's very little that is more "Portland" than the Adult Soapbox Derby at Mount Tabor park.  On August 18th, pack some adult beverages (beer and wine are permitted during this event) and watch brave (i.e. crazy) participants fly down the winding paths - races take place every five minutes - normally limited to pedestrians.   

Blue Skys at Gearhart Beach.
Photo by Caroline Miller

We can't include a summer activity list without a mention of our beloved beach.  It may not be Portland proper, but in under 2 hours you can be beachside on the Oregon Coast, we swear the sky is just bluer out there. Long walks, bonfires, and just plain chill time.  We always come back to town feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the week ahead. Our favorites are Gearhart, Cannon Beach and Pacific City.

We've got our fingers crossed that June will be warm and sunny, if not, bundle up and enjoy the above activities anyway!  Summer will get here one of these days.
xWMG

An Interview Hannah Andersson and Clare Stager, the Ladies Behind Motha Butta + Ground Breaking Bread

Posted on May 08, 2018 by INFO WM GOODS | 0 comments

We’re super excited to be hosting local makers and business owners Clare Stager and Hannah Andersson in-store for a special pop-up on Saturday, May 12th. Clare is responsible for the best bread you've ever had, Ground Breaking Bread, made without gluten, flour, dairy or yeast.  Hannah is the creator of Motha Butta, delicious coconut butter that comes in a variety of flavors (gimme all the espresso cacao please).  We sat down with Clare and Hannah to get to know them and their businesses a little better. 


Hannah and Clare.
 
Let’s start at the beginning: tell us about yourself, what inspired you to start your business.  Did you find that something was missing in the marketplace? Was there a personal motivation behind starting the brand?
 
Hannah: 
I started making coconut butter for myself, after not wanting to pay the expensive cost at the grocery store, but going through jar after jar.  One thing led to another and I realized that it was a product rich in health benefits, versatile in use and straight up addictive for it's sweet, creamy texture, which launched my hobby into a side gig.  I was working at Nike for six months simultaneously, and when I found that the demand for my product required me full-time, I made the call to take this side gig and turn it into a full-time.  I found that there were and still are minimal coconut butter options in terms of flavor, quantity and price range - but also little exposure or education on the product itself, which what sparked my drive to not only make this a business, but a movement - or at least become part of the wellness industry as a pioneer for this superfood.  At the start of my business, I was discovering issues within my own gut health and that's when I had my 'aha' moment, that moment of realizing your passion is no longer just for you anymore, but for others and my quest to exploit the gut healing superfood was on it's way.

Clare: 

I initially started Ground Breaking Bread as a solution to my own stomach issues. My stomach has been through a lot, from struggling with a parasite from years of traveling the world, getting SIBO last year, and largely having a sensitive body from a few years of poor treatment.  The binging and purging kind that a lot of people struggle with as a result of societal pressures, high stress and a need for control. In my opinion, everyone deserves to eat bread. Bread making and consumption dates back to the first humans on this planet, and I think the connection and community that comes with that is critical.  After not being able to eat most breads on the market, even most gluten free breads, as they are usually full of yeast and preservatives, I thought "If I can't eat any kind that is available to me, I'll make it myself!" and Ground Breaking Bread was born. 


 
Sometimes, when things become “on-trend” it can create as many challenges as it does benefits. How has the health and wellness movement, and it’s rise in popularity inspired your product and ultimately your business?  
 
Clare:

I am forever grateful for the people of Portland. I truly believe this city to be the leaders of the health and wellness movement in America.  The community of small business owners, local farmers, and people willing to put their money where their mouth is has been the only thing making my business possible.  People here want to eat REAL food, and for that I am grateful to be starting this now and full of hope for our future.

Hannah: 
The exposure through social media - Instagram specifically has brought so much support, community, education and opportunity for collaboration - keeps you pushing through those slower months of business.  It also keeps me on my feet as the curator of my own product; I get to see the day to day use and demand for the product itself, and of course how I can improve the process + product as we move forward.  However, IG is only one platform.  It's inspired me to use coconut butter as a platform to educate people on gut health and inspire health and wellness in others lives. 

Nutrition is obviously super important to both of you, what is one easy thing that we can all do to incorporate more nutritious food into our lives if we are just starting our wellness journey.
 
Hannah: 
The easiest thing anyone can do is go into their cabinets or refrigerators and read the label, if you don't understand what the ingredients are, toss it.  That is step one, step two is replacing what you just threw out.  That is where a product like coconut butter comes in as a dairy free, sugar free, gluten free and non-gmo product that acts as a creamy additive - i'm sure you're already thinking of all the ways to use it - similar to other nut butters in the way of alternatives. 

Clare:

I would say it is less about what is trending or a new "superfood" and more about YOU. Know thyself to love thyself! By this I mean, get to know your body, track what foods make you feel good and which do not, as no two bodies are the same. I use this same principle when I teach a yoga class. Once you can identify with a diet that is specific to you and no one else, you can thrive! 

Sometimes it feels like the whole-foods movement started here in Portland.  How has living in PDX helped you in your journey?  Are there specific challenges you find building your business here?
 
Clare:

As I mentioned previously, Portland is the only place I could have done this. A thousand thank you's to this community and the people that make it so special and supportive. 

Hannah: 
Of all the things Portland has offered my business, it's the access that has built this business the most.  Access to resources, opportunity + supply.  I would say for any small business, we're the perfect size city that you can grow with the community and have easy access to most of what you would need to scale.
 
Where do you hope to see your business in 5 years?
 
Hannah: 
TAKING OVER THE WORLD.  Kidding.  Hopefully, with a fully developed product line incorporating coconut butter, but another product + service, definitely in majority of the US (and possibly other countries).  I would love to join a non-profit and partner with an organization to aid in countries where malnutrition is at a high.

Clare:
I have always struggled with future projections in my personal life, and I can tell you that the struggle is that much more difficult when it comes to my business. Ground Breaking Bread was born as a solution to a problem, and I imagine it will continue to evolve along that same trajectory in the future. Our community will always need a binder, something to bring us all together to celebrate and recognize that being different is a gift not a hinderance. I believe that everybody and every BODY is different, and as we continue to learn and grow as a community and society, I only hope that my business can continue to become more integral to the connection between what we put into our bodies and how that fuel is part of the critical equation of how successful we are at relating to others and pursuing our dreams as a whole. Over the next five years, I hope Ground Breaking Bread can be more widely recognized as not just bread, but an innovative way to eat, connect, and nurture your own self in order to nurture those around you.


 
Any other favorite whole food makers/brands you love that we should know about?
 
Hannah: 
I just started munching on Birdseed granola from Bend, OR and it is pretty tasty if you ask me.  I'm always on the hunt for a low sugar granola for my smoothie bowls, and so far, this one has my heart. 

Clare:
I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for Miffy from Miffy's Muffins and Amy from aMYLK. These two women have redefined how to run a business, wear a thousand hats, and still make all the time in the world to help others. I am constantly inspired by the women in this community making real food for real people. We all know what "fake" food is, with preservatives and ingredients you've never heard of. I am so proud to be a part of this culinary movement in Portland where the real, whole food options are plentiful and the people behind them are even BETTER.

Also, if you know me, you know that coffee and nut butter are the actual glue that hold my life together. Huge shout out to Ground Up PDX for dropping some serious flavor bombs and helping employ homeless women in our community. What a concept. And of course, my favorite, Proud Mary Coffee over on Alberta. All Australian's have a special place in my heart and you can actually TASTE the sustainable and community oriented practices behind their coffee.

And lastly, what’s your ultimate indulgence?

Clare:
Well, since it's my ultimate indulgence, I'll have two. My morning indulgence dream would be an extra hot Ethiopia Blend Proud Mary coffee pour over, casually sipped while playing around on my yoga mat for a few hours. My evening indulgence is definitely eating dinner in a very hot bubble bath while watching a show (yes, it is possible). 

Hannah: 
Dessert.  Of all sorts.  Treats galore and a side of vino, say no more + I'm there.


Thank you to Hannah and Clare, and come by the store on 
Saturday, May 12th to meet these inspiring ladies and sample their goods. 

Designer Spotlight: Veja, Reinventing the Sneaker

Posted on April 23, 2018 by INFO WM GOODS | 0 comments

We're big fans of sneakers here - they make any outfit look super cool and the comfort factor doesn't hurt  -  but we get extra excited about sneakers with a conscience. Veja, the French sneaker collection, started in 2005 by friends Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillon has just that.  After a startling trip to a garment factory in SE Asia, the guys realized something had to give in the apparel industry, and sneakers were the best place to start.

To them, sneakers symbolize all the major issues of globalization, from the way they're produced and marketed to the way they're used and discarded. Their goal was to make the manufacturing process completely transparent at all stages, including design, material sourcing, production, sales and distribution.  To make environmentally friendly sneakers, using raw materials, sourced from organic farmers without the use of chemicals.  A seriously daunting project.  

François-Ghislain and Sébastien
 
The first step was to eliminate the marketing budget - 70% of the cost of most sneakers goes towards marketing while only 30% goes into production - and put that money back into the production process.  The cost of production for a Veja sneaker is 5 times higher than that of a big-name brand while comparably priced, in doing that they've been able to pay fair prices for raw, organic materials, sourced and bought directly from farmers (no middle man to pay) and pay factory workers a living wage in safe conditions. Making it economically equitable for all parties.  

Veja is manufactured from start to finish in Brazil, a country they chose for its bountiful natural resources and excellent labor laws.  30 to 40% of the rubber used in the shoes is naturally sourced and sustainably harvested from the Amazon rainforest by local seringueiros who live there.  The cotton used is organic and when organic cotton isn't available, recycled cotton is used in its place. 


"Standing up with one foot in design, the other in social responsibility."
 
 1 out of 4 styles are completely vegan each season, and those styles use organic cotton or upcycled materials, made from various recycled materials including plastic bottles, cotton and flannel. 


In their quest to be completely transparent Veja strives to acknowledge when things aren't working as they hoped.  François and Sébastien are quick to share when certain practices need to change or improve, when and why those changes need to be made and practice annual audits of various aspects within the company to ensure it's running in the most socially and economically conscious way possible. 

While doing all of this they've managed to make timeless, ethically made shoes that you can be proud to wear.  François and Sébastien have refused to choose between style and social responsibility and successfully added a positive impact to every stage of their production, which is the probably the coolest thing about Veja.
Shop the collection HERE 

Designer Spotlight: An Interview with Mijeong Park

Posted on March 17, 2018 by Angie Kang | 0 comments


A CONVERSATION WITH M I J E O N G P A R K

Formerly known as Achro, Mijeong Park is one of our best selling brands at WM GOODS. We recently got to visit Mijeong and Kevin, the couple behind the brand, and talked with them about their story and design process. They kindly invited us into their beautiful home in Los Angeles, an expertly curated and minimal space – which further advocated their love for simple and slow living.

Upon hearing their story, it seems like they have such a great affinity towards Portland itself. Mijeong and Kevin’s visit to Portland back in 2015 really shifted their mindset towards what their clothing brand would embody; hence starting a collection full of modern and yet timeless pieces. In their words, they claim that their mini trip to Portland was a refreshing escape from the busy LA fashion district lifestyle – and they grew to become advocates of slow living, both through their works and even in their own personal home life.

Read our interview with Mijeong and Kevin down below to get inside their brand, Mijeong Park and shop our spring edit HERE.
 
Tell us a little about yourself. How did the brand “Mijeong Park come about? 
Mijeong Park is a brand designed in the Arts District neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles. Championing a minimalistic approach to dressing, the MIJEONG PARK collection is designed using classic, neutral colors. 
[MJ/KN] We actually had a memorable (and quite frankly, enlightening) trip to Portland back in August 2015 and it made us want to start our own brand. We didn’t have any specific plans for the trip, but we got come across such beautiful sceneries and hiked near Multnomah Falls. We also enjoyed a lot of good food, met so many kind people, and visited small special stores (we even visited the same space where WM Goods is located now).
Right after this trip, we realized that chasing money and growing business should not be our main goal. Living more intentionally with a minimal mindset, while doing things we really want to do is so crucial to us now. We were excited when Whitney reached out to us about carrying our pieces in her shop, as we had such a great experience with Portland!

What’s the biggest sacrifice you've made in order to start the business? How has it paid off? 
[KN] There were two significant sacrifices and challenges in our lives.The first major one is when we both gave up stable jobs and our lives in Korea. At the time, Mijeong was the chief designer of a design company for about 5 years, and I did strategic planning work at SK Company. We decided to leave it all behind and come to the U.S. in late 2006.
At first, it was really difficult to adjust to life here in the U.S. Since we didn’t have any family or friends upon moving, we were full of uncertainty. We couldn't speak English that well, so even ordering at McDonald's was hard. They asked too many questions about the orders, like adding tomato or cheese, lettuce or pickles, mayo or ketchup, for here or to-go, etc. Too overwhelming at the time, haha.
The second major thing is that we couldn't have a second child. When we started up our own business in late 2010, we didn’t have any customers for the first 8 months. We spent all the money we had saved for a house towards the business during this time period. Evan [our son] was one at the time, and we couldn’t spend as much time with him as we wanted. Now whenever Evan feels lonely since he doesn't have a younger brother or sister, we feel a bit sad about it. But luckily, he has become more socially active over time and now makes friends very easily.
And yes – thankfully, it all has paid off.  Now we can fluently speak one more language (English) and are U.S. citizens. We’ve gotten to now understand the everyday of both Asian and American culture and integrate that into our works and personal home life. We really enjoy the work and life balance here in Los Angeles, surrounded by so many things to do and places to visit.
Evan is also a bit older now, so we can all travel together easily and go on family trips to places such as: Korea, Canada, Japan, France, and New York. Our work allows us to travel often now too, so Evan can also explore these amazing places alongside us!

Who are other designers that inspire you? 
[MJ] Definitely Christophe Lemaire. I like his practical concept and overall warm tones. Some of his design works are very similar to what we pursue.
This is a quote of his that we resonate with:
"We are interested in the quality of life and we think about clothes as being part of everyday quality of life." - Lemaire 

What’s your favorite piece in your SS18 collection? 
[MJ] I have a couple of favorite pieces! Our Oversized shirt, Long Shirt Dress, and Masculine Jacket are all such simple and yet modern pieces that showcase our SS18 collection so well.

What’s it like to be a designer right now? 
[MJ] I always wanted to be a designer from a young age (ever since I was 5 years old), so I am very happy with designing and styling pieces everyday. Getting to do what I really like is such a blessing, and it keeps me motivated. Seeing the creative community grow in this kind of industry is truly amazing, and I think being a designer is becoming such an important and unique thing more than ever.

What advice would you give someone that was interested in starting his or her own brand? 
[MJ] You really have to have your own style and taste. You cannot make everybody happy, but If you like your own designs and you are satisfied with your quality and fit then it will all come together. I also recommend taking on different hats. Having experience in various aspects of the fashion industry will be so helpful in the long run.
[KN] I agree with Mijeong. You truly need to be open to different things and jobs. I remember Mijeong had to do fittings all day long as a fit model, even when her job was to be an assistant designer. She had to work late nights everyday and slept in all day long on Sundays to make up for the lack of sleep. But nonetheless, Mijeong liked her job and never complained about even doing lots of non-design related work or errands. It’s all part of the process.
Secondly, do not try to aim or sacrifice your personal style for mass-market consumers that are already taken by huge fashion companies. If you have your own taste and feel confident about your works, there will be customers out there suited for you. It will take some time in the beginning, but you will meet customers who understand your concepts and designs.
Lastly, make a good team of people who you can rely on for different strengths and talents. Like for instance, if you’re the creative mind behind it all, it would be smart to team up with someone who can do accounting and operations in the back end.

What’s your goal for the brand? Where would you like to see it in 5 years? 
[MJ] I want to see our brand growing slowly and steadily with our customers for a long period of time. We are aiming to expand more into the European and Asian markets while still working towards our original mission: to provide timeless and classic pieces that can be functional to many individuals.
 [KN] My goal is that we grow enough within the next 3 years and have two distribution centers – one in LA and one in Seoul. I would also love if we can have our own design studio in LA and develop a great, solid team to take on marketing, sales, customer service, etc.
Another major goal is to help more children globally through our business. To start off this goal, we decided to donate 5% of our online sales starting 2018 to help children who need proper education in more impoverished Los Angeles areas. As parents to Evan and members of the LA community, we feel that this is very important to do.

What does your perfect Saturday look like?
[MJ] I am usually wearing denim pants with an oversized shirt, sipping home-brewed coffee and relaxing in our home (which is slightly on the outskirts of Los Angeles). We love slow mornings and just being immersed in the nature that surrounds us.
Kevin and I are also spending more quality time with Evan on the weekends.
[KN] We also try to work out altogether (including Evan) as often as we can. Usually, we’ll go to the Los Angeles Athletic Club in for a family workout, and then grab dinner in Koreatown to grab a good, traditional Korean meal.

What are a few of your favorite neighborhood spots?
[MJ]  We love grabbing drip coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee or a good brunch at Zinc Café, which are both nearby our office located in the Arts District of Downtown LA. It’s the perfect way to start the crazy workday.

In one word, how would you describe the Mijeong Park brand?
[MJ] Comfortable or Practical.
[KN] I think Mijeong Park is just Mijeong Park. She designs clothes based on what she really wants to wear every season. Her overall style never really has changed. She is heavily influenced by menswear and an overall masculine style (probably because her personality is like a tomboy, haha.)
 
SPECIAL THANKS TO WM GOODS:
[MJ/KN] Thank you so much for arranging an interview with us. We initially didn't like to reveal ourselves to the public, but we decided to communicate with customers more actively starting 2018. Hence, that’s also why we decided to change the brand name from “Achro” to “Mijeong Park”. Portland, Oregon is truly a special place for us, and has influenced how we run our brand and family life, like we mentioned previously! We cannot wait go to back Portland again early April when Evan has spring break.
We hope to connect with Whitney and the lovely team over at WM Goods! J
Much thanks to Mijeong and Kevin for welcoming us into their beautiful home for a coffee and a chat! Keep up with the brand on Instagram, and find them here at WM Goods! J
 
Instagram @mijeongpark_official
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Writing + Interview by Jenny Kim.
Photos by Cat Han.

March Create+Connect with Lisa Dougherty of RANGE.

Posted on March 09, 2018 by Angie Kang | 0 comments

March's Create+Connect host will be Lisa Dougherty, the Digital Marketing Manager of RANGE, an independent creative agency focused on the outdoors, wellness, and active markets.

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