Helsinki based shoe designer Minna Parikka (www.minnaparikka.com) has been running her eponymous footwear brand for the past 10 years. Her shoes are currently stocked in 25 different countries including UK stockists Selfridges, Liberty, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Avenue32.com. We met in London last summer, and I fell in love with her signature bunny sneakers, complete with integral ears.
(Wearing my bunny sneakers in Regent’s Park last week)
Minna is an energetic powerhouse – it takes a lot of guts, determination – and, of course, talent, to build and run a fashion brand with international sales, and I have huge admiration for her achievements so far.
Recently her signature bunnies have done what bunnies do best – multiplied. Following the success of her Baby Bunny first step shoes, Minna has hopped onto a new territory by launching a kids shoe line for S/S16. The Minna Parikka Kids collection features the most loved styles of the women’s range in mini-me versions. (There’s a selection at the end of this post.)
And tomorrow (Good Friday – 25th March), Minna’s first kids pop-up opens in Harrods just in time for Easter. Open until lasts until the 8 May the space is Follow the Bunny-themed, and will take small customers down the rabbit hole to Minna Parikka’s wonderland.
Given Minna’s extraordinary energy and enthusiasm, it’s no surprise that her Day in the Life doesn’t have much of a timetable, and I decided not to edit it into our usual format because it’s the perfect reflection of the girl herself.
I’m super happy that Minna is the latest contributor to A Day in the Life, with a snapshot of one of her Fridays.
Over to you Minna:
FRIDAY – A grey Friday morning in Helsinki. Yet inside it’s lovely as I wake up in the all pink bedroom of my brand new house.
What a bliss it is that the renovations are finally over and there are no electricians, plumbers or other handymen hanging around my house. Especially when I am still in my jammies, heading for the fridge.
The breakfast I lay out is my typical start of the day. A glass of Finnish Boris gabbage juice and a piece of fruit.
All my money goes into travelling and clothes. Whether it is a newcomer from Korea, a fashion house from Paris or a jewellery brand from the US. If the design is playful, a bit crazy and colourful, I have to have it. Some of the brands that I love at the moment are I Love Mr Mittens, Delpozo, Curated, Stella McCartney and Vivetta just to name a few.
When it comes to shoes I only wear my own designs. Isn’t that the reason why a girl becomes a shoe designer, so that she can fulfill all her shoe fantasies? It is impossible to count how many pairs I have, even though I am a great believer in recycling.
All of my design work is done in the total isolation of my home. I am the only one in my company who designs and is in charge of the visual side of the brand.
For the first 3 years of my company’s existence I did everything on my own. I designed, did all the trade shows, the paperwork, marketing, handled logistics and oversaw the production… the list is endless. Now I am fortunate to have 11 great employees, who care of the sales and marketing – all the things I was more than happy to hand over to others professionals.
Morning I am working on AW16 collection’s material choices and details. I mainly use just pen and paper as my work tools for most of the designs. On Monday I will be traveling to meet our manufacturers in Alicante, Spain where I will see the first prototypes of the collection. This is the most exciting part of the designing, the moment when the ideas come to life.
The best thing about my job is that no day is the same. I have no routines whatsoever.
I come from a family that could be best described as restless. We have always been on the move and at the age of 7, I had already been to 20 different countries. Travelling is still a huge part of my life, and I love hopping on a plane several times a month to do promotion, seek inspiration and oversee manufacturing. I love drawing inspiration from popular culture; neon lit Asian mega cities, as well as any unexpected adventures that only can occur while traveling. I do love Helsinki, though, and after the adventures it is always nice to return back to my sleepy hometown, where I can concentrate on my work.
I was born and raised in Helsinki. At the age of 15 my photographer sister Nina Dodd shot and wrote an article on shoe designer Andrea Pfister for a Finnish magazine. It was as if a lighting had struck me, and I realised I could make a profession of my passion.
My sister has been a great influence on me when I was growing up. Nina is a photographer currently based in the UK where she works and lives with her family. She also has a photography studio in Helsinki. She shot the photos for this article. Isn’t she great? I think she has influenced me also in the way that I am so at ease in front of a camera. I was born when my sister was 13 and I grew up being photographed by her.
At the age of 19 I moved to the UK to study Footwear Design at DeMontfort University. After my studies I moved to London for a couple of years. At the age of 25 I got homesick and returned to Helsinki to start up my own brand.
A GIRL’S GOT to eat. And that has never been a problem! My diet mainly consists of vegetables, fish and fruit. One of my favourite lunch venues in Helsinki is The Cock, where they serve a varied mix of salads and random bits.
Can there ever be enough glitter? We think not last year’s Christmas windows prove it. Me and Fanni Suviala crafted glitter displays for our flagship boutique’s windows, with Xmas carols playing on the background and glitter everywhere. I managed to get hot glue in my hair, which, of course, wouldn’t come off without the help of scissors. This is the reason why I leave the shoe crafting to the Spaniards.
The very first Minna Parikka PRE-collection just hit the stores. It is a capsule collection featuring our iconic bunny ear trainers. The idea of having a bunny hiding inside a shoe has been such a hit, that it has got us into amazing department stores, cult concept stores, web stores and exclusive boutiques across the globe.
Craig&Karl, my absolute favourite illustrator duo, have designed our brand new packaging and visual identity. Their style is humorous, they love candy block colours, and as Karl described themselves, they are ‘good at girly.’ The collaboration was truly a match made in heaven.
Now we’ve got boxes framed with walking fingers, and baby shoeboxes that look like little bunnies. All is well thought through and not watered down with too commercial way of thinking.
My style is playful, graphic and expressive – not the typical design style that comes from Finland. It is important for me to follow global fashion and filter current trends through my own personality and vision.
Even though there is a lot of escapism in my designs, I still want to keep them wearable by designing a good last, and using high quality materials and detailed crafting.
Style should not be taken too seriously and for me fashion is a brilliant way to keep one entertained in her everyday life.
I want to create emotions. People either love or hate my shoes, and that is the way I like it. I would not want to create something that would try to please everybody.
We are super excited about the launch of our new online shop designed in collaboration with Craig&Karl. Taking inspiration from current e-commerce trends and spicing it up with a huge load of personality, I wanted to create an online shop that will give our customers a similar experience as to when they enter our flagship store – no matter where they are in the world. (After all, we send shoes constantly all over the world.)
On Fridays I have my weekly meeting with my key workers and there is always plenty to discuss.We tend to head out of the office for a cup of tea and little bites to get our creative juices flowing.
This time we escaped to one of my favourite cafes called Kokko, that serve the best raw cakes in Helsinki. Hot topics of this Friday’s meeting is our team’s business/inspiration/holiday trip to Dubai, weekly social media marketing, production, our new website, moving the office, The delivery of the exclusive styles for Selfridges, and our campaigns.
Fridays are always quite chilled out and now the working day is over. It’s time to pack things for my Monday trip to Spain and after that I am ready for the weekend. Tonight’s plan is first to go for a yoga class, and then my sister and couple of my dear friends are coming over to play board games, eat and perhaps a few glasses of bubbly.
I am in the process of getting used to taking weekends off from my work – and just chilling and having fun. For the past 10 years I have worked basically 7 days a week, as many passionate entrepreneurs do. My work is my lifestyle and I could not live without it. It has given me so much and taken me to so many adventures and places. It is a channel through which I can express myself and make my life my own. Being my own master, I don’t have to follow anyone else’s footsteps or schedule. That is the life I love. I would not have it any other way.