About a year ago, I came across Miko’s beautifully hand-painted bead necklaces in one of our favourite shops Collage Collage. Almost simultaneously, her lovely and popular Coral + Cloud Instagram feed popped up on my phone, and we started a magical online friendship of enthusiastic hearts and sparkling emoji ‘love eyes’. Her styling is on point, and her thoughtfulness infuses her work with love and an obvious joy in what she now calls her full-time gig. We were thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed a little while ago, because just like all of you, we love hearing about the back story of how entrepreneurs have found or fallen into what they do, and their daily life of balancing kids, life, and work. Meet Miko everyone!
P&H: What were you doing before establishing Coral and Cloud?
MH: Right before starting Coral + Cloud I was a full time stay at home mama, albeit temporarily. I never anticipated being one actually, having been quite attached to my job(s), but, I got so burnt out at my last job that when I left it to take a “summer off”, it turned into a year off. Prior to my year off, I was working in non-profit arts management.
P&H: What was your trigger to follow this career path?
MH: It was actually kind of accidental – since I was unemployed and needing to be more thrifty with holiday gifts (and having the mental and physical energy to be more creative in my spare time), I started painting beads and making necklaces and mobiles that Christmas. Friends loved them and encouraged me to sell them, which I really hadn’t planned on doing. But I had been dreaming about starting my own business and it all started to make a lot of sense. Having that year off with my daughter Saya, just really being present with her, made me realize I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible, while working from home.
P&H: Where do you get your inspiration from (ex. for workshops, materials, books)?
MH: I’m inspired by all aspects of design – fashion, interior design, graphic design, kids books, and of course, my daughter. Her love of colour is infectious.
P&H: What role does social media play in your business?
MH: Instagram plays a huge role! (The others not so much.) I honestly have no idea where I’d be if it weren’t for the supportive community of Instagram. So many makers, so many mamas — many of them mama makers — and women who support each other, and shop small and handmade. I feel so grateful to have made some real friends locally, and virtual friends around the world. Every collaboration I’ve done has started on IG. I know I need to diversify a bit, work more with other social media platforms…
P&H: Do you involve your daughter in your work at all?
MH: I do. She really was my main inspiration for starting to make kids necklaces. She’s been my main model, and her appreciation of my colours and designs means so much to me. I love when she comes to me and says how much she likes a new design – which she is doing a lot lately because I’ve been working on so many different projects, and they’re spread out all over the house, eek. She occasionally helps out – she learned how to tie a knot by helping me make hang tags. And she enjoys helping me out at markets – she’s always said she wants to be a cash register woman when she grows up, haha.
P&H: How important is it that your daughter takes on or plays a part in the business when she’s older?
MH: I would love if she could be involved in the business, but I would hope that I’d understand if it turns out to be not her thing. As long as she’s being creative in other ways, that’s all that’s important to me.
P&H: What has been your biggest challenge running your own business?
MH: Oh … well besides the work/life balance struggle, which I see I’ll be answering below, I’d say that in a way I’ve been my biggest enemy. I have a lot of self doubt, I have trouble making decisions, and ultimately I’m much better at promoting other people/organizations than I am myself. Which is to say, I feel I kind of suck at self-promotion. I’m working on all of these things, step by step, and learning a lot about myself.
P&H: What is the hardest part in maintaining the work/life balance?
MH: I think working for myself and working from home means that it just never ends, and I’m a night owl which means I could stay up all night working. And still have more work to do! As a result, my health and social life are not prioritized as much as they should be.
P&H: What does success look like to you? How will you know when you have achieved it?
MH: I want to continue to be happy doing this job, while making a living, and feeling like I’m a healthy human being and a good mom. If the other stuff suffers too much for the biz, I’m not doing it right. I’m still figuring this out as I go along – it’s only been a year and a half since opening my Etsy shop, but I hope to get to the point where I can hire some help and take it to the next level.
P&H: What advice would you have wanted to know 5 or 10 years ago?
MH: Ha. That’s a really good question but I don’t know how to answer it! I feel like I could have never anticipated that this is the path my life would take, but I’m so grateful it has. And everything I’ve done up until this point is what’s brought me here. I guess I’d tell my younger self to trust my instincts and know that it will work out, eventually (and not to worry so much!).
Thank you so much Miko! I don’t think we need to say it, but hello stocking stuffers!
Happy Friday everyone! xo