Today we’d like to introduce you to Mia Abbruzzese.
Mia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I spent the early part of my career working for some of the big players in the footwear industry– Stride Rite, Fila, New Balance. I learned so much in those years, and had a lot of fun doing it, but I hit a point where I knew I was ready for different challenges and that I wanted to build something I could call my own from the ground up.
The idea behind morgan & milo was a pretty simple one: I really just wanted to design the best kids’ shoes ever. This might have seemed odd at the time, because it was well before I had children of my own. But I had always enjoyed working in this space, and let’s face it, kids are just a lot more fun than we are most of the time!
So for me, that meant creating shoes that were design savvy and on-trend at the same time as being super comfortable and durable. They also needed to be affordable.
It’s been almost 15 years now, which is of course hard to believe. And while it definitely hasn’t always been smooth sailing, I’ve loved building this brand and learning and growing with our customers and the market. We are always striving to develop new and better products, and there is so much talent in this space now, you have to really work hard to stand out. But all these seasons later, I still have moments where I look at the orders we are getting ready to ship out for the day, and I have to say I’m just really proud of what we’ve built and that we have so many wonderful, loyal fans of the brand.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh gosh, there have been so many bumps in the road! There are ALWAYS bumps, really every week it seems! But that’s what keeps it interesting and challenging, and maybe prevents you from getting too comfortable, right?
I would say some of the biggest challenges of running an independent business like ours are the logistical ones– whether it’s cartons of shoes getting held up in customs when your clients are soooo anxious to get them and start selling for the season, or hiccups in the manufacturing process, or a massive order for your biggest customer arriving with all the wrong UPC codes on the boxes…Let’s just say there’s definitely never a dull moment!
I think it can also often be challenging to find and/or retain talent, especially now with so many brands competing in this space. And it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, you’re just so in the weeds — you have to really be very deliberate about constantly looking ahead to the new challenges that are coming down the road. I’ve also been told that it can be hard for me to find time for myself in the midst of running a business… but I’m sure that’s not unique to me!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about morgan & milo – what should we know?
While it’s always somewhat evolving, at our core we have consistently been about building products that really work for kids’ lives, products that respect and embody the spirit and experience of childhood. We specialize in footwear and apparel, and strive to deliver designs that are going to let kids be kids, while also making sure they are comfortable, on-trend and that the pieces will withstand the test of time (and all of those hundreds of trips to the playground!)
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There have been so many people who have supported me along the way.
My family and friends have been there for me through many difficult times, and have always held me up and encouraged me. One of my oldest friends even introduced me to one of my current investors. I’ve also worked with wonderfully talented designers over the years.
Most recently, a chance call led me to connect with someone who has become an incredibly significant mentor. Haysun Hahn, who is also now our Creative Director, has coached me tirelessly, helping me learn to better navigate the new challenges that we are facing in the children’s market. It’s been invaluable and I am so grateful for how much she has been helping me expand my skills and broaden my perspective.
- Address: morgan & milo
46 Waltham Street,
Boston, MA 02118
- Website: www.morganandmilo.com
- Phone: 617-422-0121
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jorg Meyer Photography