Q&A with Mimi Phillips, Founder of Minnie Lane

Q&A with Mimi Phillips, Founder of Minnie Lane

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’re hosting and highlighting three of our favorite creators in shop: Minnie Lane, Clary Collection, and Handmade Studio TN. On March 25 & 26, visit Mayker Interiors to shop highlights from their collections. Throughout the weekend, create personalized bracelets and rings with Minnie Lane. Choose from custom engravings and stones that reflect your true style. Learn more about the pop-up here, and keep reading to hear from Minnie Lane’s fabulous founder, Mimi Phillips.

Q: Why did you start Minnie Lane? 

A: Working as a stylist and art director is like a big scavenger hunt. Over time I started fantasizing about the perfect pieces of jewelry for clients and photoshoots. That was when Minnie Lane came to life. My collection is everything that I looked for, and dreamt of, but could never find. 

Within the industry, I saw a big gap in the market between serious investment items and fun mass-produced accessories that wouldn’t last a hand wash. My collection fills that void with fashion-forward pieces that are timeless in terms of design and quality, at an accessible price point. In terms of my brand’s aesthetic, my personal style certainly informs my design process. An elegance that doesn’t take itself too seriously is my style mantra. 

This collection bridges high and low; statement and minimal; vintage-inspired and new; sexy and silly; and pop and surrealism. The feeling of my brand rescues that playfulness we had as children but in a sophisticated and classic way. I love playing with art history and pop culture references to create something wearable. I consider each piece an amulet to girl power, an homage to a legendary woman, and a celebration of art.

Q: Is there a memory that stands out when you think back on the early days?

A: We could say that my entrepreneurial journey began with the handmade beaded jewelry I created and sold at local boutiques in High School and College, but the collection I had always dreamt of making was born right here in Nashville in June 2017. 

Thinking back to the early days, the itch must have begun while playing with Mom and Grandma’s jewels as a kid. Those memories left me dreaming of creating a jewelry line for years which I had to put on the back burner as my Art Direction company was taking off. Eventually, I just could not cut the craving to create something personal. I was ready to make my own toys to play with and inspiration was coming at me fast. I could not ignore Minnie Lane knocking on my door. So happy I let her in!

What moment in your business's history has shaped you the most?

A: Something that stands out to me here is any sort of validation that has been given to the brand. It still feels surreal! From our customers rocking the jewels and leaving such thoughtful reviews, to seeing Minnie Lane in Vogue and on the red carpet. It’s pinch me moments like that that have really given shape to the brand!

Q: What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of what you do?

A: Let’s call these my roses and my thornes. 

: My work requires a lot of travel for trunk shows, photoshoots, production trips, and inspiration trips. I love to travel and get so much inspiration from my experiences on the move. Observing street style and expression of individuality through fashion broadens my style horizon, leaving me with an arsenal of inspiration to create with after each journey. My design process is very hands-on, which I really enjoy. Each design begins with a 2D sketch. I get hypnotized in the process of bringing that sketch to life in wax- that is when I really feel like I am creating wearable art. Carving wax is like meditation for me. I lose track in the studio torching, experimenting, and refining every design so that they are absolutely perfect when they make it to their new home. The retail end is very interactive and fulfilling as well. I am a total people person and love working one on one with clients. I have a great time at trunk shows seeing how people integrate my collection into their personal style. (Fun fact: once a trunk show coincided with a local gynecologist convention, and I nearly sold out of my naked women collection to a fabulous group of female doctors who found the collection quite refreshing.) That is magic to me, and truly informs my design practice. I love to hear what people are missing or craving in their wardrobe and make their dreams come true with Minnie Lane.

Thorns: The most challenging part of having my jewelry line is balancing creative and business time. At the end of the day, I am running my own company and there is plenty of administrative work behind the sparkly scene: sales reports, inventory, follow up with wholesalers, production and marketing. I have to work diligently to set aside free time to get inspired for new collections. The work is endless, and I could easily fall into a rabbit hole of work, so it requires a lot of discipline to prioritize, delegate, and close up shop for the day to recharge.

Q: What would you say to female business owner who are just getting started?

A: I think one of my best pieces of advice would be to surround yourself with the right people. This does not have to be in your industry even, the more diverse the better! Those people will end up being your biggest supporters, brand advocates, collaborators, focus groups etc.etc. Collaborating with other creative forces is also what fuels me. I believe that we are so much stronger together and when our minds come together, especially from different backgrounds and fields of work, that is when my creative juices really start flowing and how the most special and loved pieces come to be!

Launched in 2017 by stylist and art director Minnie Lane Phillips (Mimi), this namesake jewelry line celebrates youthful playfulness in an elegant and timeless way. Art history blends with pop culture producing a refreshing form of wearable art. Minnie Lane’s designs bridge high and low; statement and minimal; vintage-inspired and new; sexy and silly; pop and surreal.