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Why a brand like Mint Girls and how it all started

Almost one year ago I founded my company Mint Girls. A fashion brand for girls that love science, technology, space, trucks and more.

Before I started, I talked about my idea with others to see if this could be a successful business. When speaking with people that don't buy clothes for children, they didn't understand the need for another clothing brand. Aren't there already too many clothing brands out there? Why add another one?

What encouraged me during the time I was exploring the market were people I talked that have experience with buying clothes for children. They didn't need much explanation of why Mint Girls fills a market gap. Not all of them agreed that the market gap has to be filled but everyone agreed that there is a gap.

What better way to start a business than with my own problem?!

My two young daughters love to wear dresses with princesses and unicorns. But they also like Legos, cars and learning about space. My then 3-year old asked me for a dress with a spaceship because she wants to fly to the moon.

I liked her idea (even though I am happy she is not actually going to the moon... at least for now) and started to search online for a dress that she would like. For all parents out there that went through that process, I feel your struggle. I couldn't find anything!

I then started to expand my search to dresses with planets, stars, astronauts,... and still no success. Those motives seem to be only found on boys' clothes. It doesn't feel right that girls have to go to the boys section when they want to have any space related topic on their clothes. Or any other STEM* related topic. I won't even go into detail about how girls' and boys' clothes are cut in a different way already at a very young age (How come a boys' t-shirt in size 98 is significantly bigger than a girls' t-shirt in the same size?) or how most of the clothes in the boys section are in dark blue, dark green or grey.

So there I was, having promised my girl a dress with a spaceship (you might say this was a bit premature) and no real solution for it.

Being a problem solver, I knew what to do!

Since I was young, I don't complain much about what is not working but instead try to find solutions for it. After some more research and market analysis, I saw that there was a clear market gap and people are interested in giving girls a broader choice than only princesses and unicorn dresses.

And so the decision was taken that I want to do something about it. Now, some would call that a stupid decision knowing that I had no experience in the fashion industry or design work or product development. However one of the first things I learned in my first startup (this being my second), is that you do not have to know everything but you have to surround yourself with people that know more and are more experienced than you. You cannot be an experts in all domains and that is ok. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and accepting them is the first step to success.

What I do bring to the table is as important for success - passion for the topic, a business background and a great network of people with their expertise. I started to talk to many experts in the fashion and design world and collaborated with experienced designers and production companies to make sure the products I produce are of high quality. I started to work on designs, patterns, found companies in Portugal that would produce my clothes in a sustainable way and developed a go to market plan. After receiving some samples of the clothes, I decided early on that I want to start with a crowdfunding campaign. On one hand to test the market and see if anyone would actually buy my clothes (and not just in theory) and on the other hand to have some initial investment for the first collection. The campaign was a great success and the production could start!

Having expected the first collection in August / September, reality was that I only received the clothes in November. Looking back I can see that the timeline was very optimistic and didn't account for (what were in the end many) feedback loops. Especially when you start working with a production company, there are many things that you both need to learn about each other. To end up with a high-quality and stylish product, I preferred to have one or two feedback rounds extra. The final products are definitely worth it! I have received amazing feedback and feel very motivated to continue the journey.

Right now I am working on my next two collections (spring/summer 22 and fall/winter 22) and I am very excited to see how the new designs are perceived. What do you think the new designs will be?

*Science, technology, engineering and mathematics

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