Six Lessons We Learned as a Creative Small Business in 2021
In true Mimochai style, let’s take break from the busy season and reflect on this past year. 😌 Here are some lessons we learned and will take with us into 2022 and beyond!
1. It Takes A Team
Mimochai was a solo endeavor for years. But by July, Mimi realized a team was needed in order for her to dedicate proper energy to illustrations and storytelling, so Crescent and Brittney joined! Making the right hires was crucial to helping the business grow this year. The #1 most important trait for a great hire is not skills or credentials, but a genuine passion for Mimochai and its future.
With 3 of us on board, we’ve accomplished more in less time, with more ease. In just a few months, we fulfilled Alphabet Adventure orders and preorders, created the Magical World collection, started building an online community + livestream series, went to Renegade Craft fair, filmed tutorials, and dramatically increased our marketing and wholesale efforts.
Plus, it’s way more fun to work together!
Assembly-line packing pre-orders for Alphabet Adventure!
2. Sometimes, It's Just A Matter of Timing
This year we saw a huge increase in our wholesale presence, going from a handful of local shops to over 100 boutiques around the world. It's all thanks to our new wholesale platform, Faire, which helped us introduce Mimochai to so many retailers in search of a similar aesthetic. Before Faire, reaching out to stores on our own was very slow and time-consuming, and just wasn't sustainable. We're very grateful for how the platform has modernized wholesale. Five-star review for Faire!
It also worked out that this happened right as we started shifting our style. We launched Alphabet Adventure a few months after joining Faire, and our updated style fit perfectly with our ideal shops. The result is that Mimochai’s books are now featured in the exact kinds of welcoming and adorable shops we love to visit ourselves. We even have some international stockists, which we hope we can visit one day! Check out our stockist list here.
3. We Missed People!
During the pandemic, our usual craft fairs and markets were put on pause. Happily, in November, we had the opportunity to return to Renegade Craft Fair for our first in-person event since 2019! It was so nice to be able to thank our long-time Mimochai supporters, and to see new faces light up when they came to our booth. Connecting with old and new friends (among them college students, grandparents, kids, and school librarians!) is so special. Here’s to more events in 2022!
4. We're Still Digital At Heart
In the same spirit, we cultivated our online community in a new way this year! We began by hosting a two-livestream series called Draw & Breathe, with guided mindful drawing activities. We especially love how people from all over the world can gather together this way. The sessions received a lot of positive and helpful feedback, which we are using to create Cloud House: a magical community for mindful creativity!
Cloud House will officially open to new members in January 2022. It expands on the community aspects of Draw & Breathe, with more opportunities for learning and sharing between supportive people who are interested in self-discovery, mindful growth, and creativity as self-care. 💛
Be sure to sign up for our Mimo Mail to be notified when it's live!
5. Systems Really Work
Even a cute illustration company requires a lot of administrative maintenance in the background to make it all actually work. While it's not Instagram-worthy or pretty, we have to give a big shoutout to our systems that help us make our work run smoothly! It's important to us to highlight the boring but important things, because that's a big part of the reality for small businesses.
From using apps like Asana and Google Suite to establishing our own internal processes called Mimo Guides, it's really been rewarding to see our preparation pay off as we grow. We are proud to be building a sustainable business that feels helps us stay true to our values of living mindfully and avoiding burnout.
6. Stay Focused on Your North Star
With all this growth, it can sometimes feel like Mimochai is branching in so many directions. To stay centered, it’s been really valuable to focus on what inspired Mimochai in the first place: meaningful art and stories about mindfulness, creativity, and exploration. Our North Star is pointing toward new picture books and serving the Cloud House community in 2022. :)
Thank you for reading, take care, and happy holidays!
xx Mimi, Brittney, and Crescent