Fuelled by a desire to create a flexible income for herself after the birth of her twins, and inspired by her love for nature conservation and shopping local, Mireya Quiton took every opportunity that presented itself and, in an interesting turn of events, became the founder of Mia Strada London, an independent lifestyle store that specialises in sustainable clothing and gifts that keep on giving. Here she talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind her business, the challenges she has overcome, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
It was a mix of circumstances that followed moving to the UK and becoming a mum to my twin boys Matias and Nicolas. I am not a great fashionista, I do not follow trends and have always steered away from shopping mass produced items as I know how they are made and what it is doing to our planet.
Instead I always loved shopping from independent stores, those that make you jump with excitement because they are so different and feel like a true find. When travelling, instead of buying traditional souvenirs, I would buy myself a pair of earrings made by a local artisan, or a dress that I would go on to wear and cherish for ages.
I love how we can shape the world with our choices and as a store, the effect you have is so much stronger. We should all invest in what we believe there should be more of in the world.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I guess it’s a mix of chance and life’s unexpected turns.
I am an environmentalist by trade but have had little time practising my profession because of the unexpected arrival of my twin boys. I was new to this country and had soo much to learn! The cost of childcare alone was enough to make me re-think my options regarding going back to work in a serious capacity. So I did what a lot of mums do: I learned a new skill and set up my own business. I started making handcrafted jewellery and my intention was to sell it through lovely independent stores. In a twist of events, a friend of mine felt inspired to open a boutique on our local high street and I was her biggest supporter, organically we decided to create a partnership and do it together.
We opened our doors in Worcester Park, our local highstreet, in March 2015 and we had a blast! It was so lovely, seeing our project come to life and becoming brand new entrepreneurs with a local business that was booming. However, as time went by, we started feeling a friction, a sense of mis-alignment when investment decisions needed to be made and this caused a tension that led to the dissolution of our partnership. Shy of a year after we opened I made the bold decision to buy my partner out, rebrand the business and take it in a direction that aligned with my strong personal values.
It has certainly been a crazy ride!
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business
It was the realisation that I needed to go at it solo. I felt I had a responsibility to only choose products made with thought and consideration towards their social and environmental impact, and to uplift others trying to make things better. My choices go on to become my costumers’ choices and mindful choices create positive change, I really believe this.
A second breakthrough was understanding the importance of a team to guarantee our own sustainability, we need to make sure we are all paid fairly and are taking care of ourselves and I think it’s safe to admit that I was overworking myself just before the pandemic hit.