I’ll admit, I’m a bit of an addict…to shoes. Perhaps like many other women, my closet is filled with a myriad of different footwear – flats, sandals, sneakers, wedges and the list goes on and on. To be honest, it seems to be an addiction that won’t be ending any time soon.
Recently, the women of MIXXI – Nikki Tran, Ann Shimasaki and Evelyn Nguyen – have come up with a smart solution for this: shoe clips. Fashion-forward, fun and eclectic, MIXXI was even featured in this year’s Emmy gift bags. Check out our interview with the women of MIXXI as well as our own product review!
What’s the story behind the name, MIXXI?
MIXXI is a name that is easy to remember, fun to say and suggestive of the mix-and-match feature of our product. It has become a brand we are proud of.
How did you three come to work together? What inspired you to begin this entrepreneurial endeavor together?
Evelyn and Nikki were childhood friends who shared a love for fashion and shoes. They started MIXXI with a vision to create affordable and unique fashion. Inspired by the unique product and business opportunity, Ann joined the company shortly thereafter.
MIXXI was conceived as a solution to our shoe and our fashion obsession. We make big financial investments to collect shoes. However, this can be a costly addiction as many women know. We were inspired to share our passion for fashion by dressing well on a budget. We realized that shoes can be transformed by adding accessories and at the same time, get more mileage on use. With MIXXI, you can expand your shoe and wardrobe choices with high quality shoe fashion accessories that can be attached to more than just shoes, on your clothes, apparel and headbands.
How have your different backgrounds (ex. entrepreneurial, professional, civic) played a role in how your company is run?
Our backgrounds in the fashion, private, and public sectors have allowed us to fill the many roles required to run a startup company. Our experiences at different levels of business management in the shoe industry, small business development, and marketing have allowed us to do everything in-house and keep operations costs down. We have an integrated design-to-production process that enables us to collaborate on our ideas. That in turn, fosters a healthy working relationship amongst us.
What is it like being Asian American women and working in the fashion/accessory industry?
Succeeding in the fashion industry is challenging regardless of race and gender. As first-generation Asian American women, we face this challenge head-on with a vision, hard work, and determination. We look to the iconic Vera Wang and a growing number of Asian American designers such as Chloe Dao, Thakoon Panichgul, Philip Lim, Derek Lam, and Jason Wu, who command a growing clout in the fashion industry, for inspiration. We believe in our concept. So we let our brand represent us and let our designs speak for them.
What challenges do you face when running MIXXI?
The biggest challenge that we face running MIXXI are educating consumers about our product and expanding market reach. While fashion shoe accessories have been around many years, they are not commonly found at shopping outlets. Shoe clips are known to be outdated; something your mother may have worn. MIXXI’s modern, runway-inspired designs are a new concept. Our designs are made of materials you would expect in clothing such as leather, lace, and silks. We have introduced a collection of couture shoe harnesses for heels using chains, leather and ribbons.
Your pieces are fun and fashion-forward. Where do you find your inspiration for your different? pieces and collections? What inspires you – both business-wise and personally?
We look to the fashion runway and magazines to discover seasonal color palettes and the latest
trends. A trip to a local leather, fabric or bead store will always get our creative juices flowing. We would say one of the top places for inspiration is at the mall, our office hours in different shoe salons.
Nikki: I’ve always been inspired by this quote, Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will
never have to work a day in your life.” Being able to create a business around my love for shoes is
Ann: “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”- Aristotle. I aspire to be happy so I make investments in
life and relationships. My inspiration comes from my young children who depend on me to make the investments every day.
Evelyn: I’m inspired by the people I’ve met and places I’ve traveled, immersing in different cultures
has given me much perspectives into my life, work and play.
Ranging from $20-$50, all of the pieces are budget-friendly. What factor did affordability, and in a way, accessibility, play in creation and production of the different pieces/clips?
MIXXI’s vision is to translate designer trends into affordable shoe fashion accessories. With MIXXI,
women can update and expand their basic shoe collection at a fraction of the cost.
If you had to pick, what is your favorite piece and why? How would you describe your own personal styles?
Nikki: My favorite MIXXI changes daily depending on my mood. If I had to choose, my current favorite is the Gold ‘Seeing Double’ leather Bows. The fun, shimmery gold in timeless bow design is a perfect adornment to many of my simple pumps, flats, and ankle boots. As for my personal style, I like simple classic pieces with a modern twist.
Ann: For my birthday, Evelyn designed a custom, one-of-a kind pair of feather shields for my boot shafts that I absolutely love. They are high fashion and super sexy on my Jimmy Choo. In the collection, my favorite is the Champaign Grapes. They are timeless and versatile, just like my personal style.
Evelyn: I too can’t pick a favorite, each collection has its own edge. If I had to pick one, I would say the Collar Harnesses, it’s a little daring and risque to wear chains. When it comes to personal style, I invest in different trends with key pieces to suit different occasions, from French Vintage to Funky Urban to Boho Chic, I love it all.
Describe the MIXXI aesthetic in five words or less.
High fashion meets affordable prices.
What’s some advice you’d want to give other Asian American women who are hoping to start their own business?
Let our Asian American history be the road map to success. Allow courage to shape your dreams, and fortitude to make them come true.
Where do you hope to see MIXXI in the future?
A reputable multi-million dollar brand.
Admittedly, this was my first experience using shoe clips. Looking at the website beforehand, I was excited to use the product.
The product that I used was the “Seeing Double” bow, a Ferragamo-inspired bow in a burgundy. The clip was pretty simple to use; you just needed to open the metal clasp, then close it onto the shoe in order to secure the bow.
The bow added a small, but very noticeable touch to my nude flats. My friends were pleasantly surprised when I told them that it was actually a shoe clip! Throughout my 5-hour school day, the clip stayed securely in place, and I didn’t have any problems with it in terms of comfort. So for the fashionista that’s looking to make an affordable addition to their shoe wardrobe, I’d highly recommend MIXXI!
For more information on MIXXI, visit their website at MyMIXXI.com.