7 questions for the founder of MIRYAM
MIRYAM the Label was founded by Miryam in 2017. Since then, seven limited Slow and Fair Fashion collections have been created and the business has grown bit by bit. Miryam told us how she found her way and what it means to start your own company.
Miryam, you are 29 years old and you already startet your own label. Would you describe yourself as determined?
Yes, definitely. Even as a little girl I was very determined, I read a lot and always wanted to get my way. For example, my teacher in primary school was unsure whether I should really go to high school. But I really wanted to go there and I was very persistent until I finally convinced her.
After graduating from high school, however, I had no idea what to do with myself. I knew I wanted to do something in fashion, but I had no precise idea. I decided to go to India for a few months to support an aid organization. After that I made various attempts in the Fast Fashion industry, but quickly realized that this was not the right thing for me. In this field, fashion is simply nothing special anymore. Then, when I started studying business administration, I already had a more precise idea in which direction I wanted to develop. But it was finally with my bachelor thesis on production conditions abroad and the impulse from my professor that I decided to found my own brand. In 2017, after graduating, I went to Bali for the first time. When I saw my second home – I’m half German, half Balinese – I immediately realized which values my company should represent.
A lot of people keep asking me: How did you know that you wanted to make fashion? For me, fashion is a feeling, a passion that I already had as a little girl. I even styled myself for kindergarten. My mom says that as a 4 year old I wanted to feel the fabrics of my clothes in the morning and compared them with each other. It was a morning drama when they didn’t go together!
Despite this obvious passion, it was not always easy to assert myself. For a long time I had a lot of part-time jobs, sometimes even several at the same time. Mostly in gastronomy. Further I was told again and again: decide what you want to do, do something useful, why don’t you just work something like everyone else … I believe that if you don’t enjoy your work, you should quit. I think everyone has a purpose in life and should be happy above all.
MIRYAM not only stands for Fair Fashion, but also for Slow Sashion. What does that mean to you?
For me this means that we always limit our collections to a small number of pieces. We think it’s important that customers don’t get drowned in a flood of clothes. They should be aware of what they really need and what they don’t. In times of endless marketing and advertising on platforms like Instagram, this is not always easy for them. The new spring/summer collection, for example, focuses on the beginnings of MIRYAM. A collection of basics that never go out of style and that can all be combined with one another. For me, Slow Fashion also means showing customers what they already have in their wardrobe and how they can skillfully combine their pieces with our items. We slow down the entire process, only release a few pieces a year and work according to a pre-order principle. In this way we can estimate what quantities we need to produce and thus avoid overproduction or even waste.
What challenges does a small Fair Fashion label have to face in the market?
I think one of the biggest challenges right now is that so many small labels are emerging and that each of them wants to secure a market share. And then there is of course the financing, which has been my biggest obstacle from the start. If you, like in my case, don’t have rich parents supporting you and you have just graduated with the help of a loan, it is not easy to pay for everything. Starting with the production to the fabrics up to marketing and packaging.
You hired dressmakers, you have support for the online shop and just recently you have outsourced shipping. What other tasks have to be done in the daily business of a fashion label and how do you manage to fulfill all of them?