Thursday, July 17, 2008

the Styledash review is up!

Awesometown - we were recently interviewed by the fabulous Mallory from Styledash, AOL's fashion blog.
You can read it here or just scroll down (though I recommend going to the AOL site).

We love all of the amazing independent designers out there. In order to find out more about just what makes all of these creative types tick, we present to you an ongoing segment called Indie Designer Interviews.

Today we'd like to introduce you to independent fashion designer Kpoene' Kofi-Bruce of Mignonette, which means 'cute girl' in French. Kpoene' recently launched her new bridal collection, which includes custom gowns.

Tell us a little about yourself and your company.
Mignonette Designs is a line of handmade custom and ready-to-wear dresses for sophisticated girly girls. I've been running Mignonette since 2002 when I first moved to Brooklyn. We've gotten a lot of press and been in a lot of stores and had a great time with it. I recently scaled back to work on the launch of Mignonette Bridal in June of 2008. This is a higher-priced (but still under $500) collection of dresses that can be modified for brides or bridal parties, and we're also offering custom gowns.

How did you get started as a designer?
I worked for a large company for a few months and realized that I really didn't want to work for anyone other than myself. Luckily, I moved to New York at the right time - Indie business, especially indie design, is really heavily encouraged there and it's easy to find other crafty entrepreneurs. In fact, I learned so much just in the first 3 years of running the business that i decided to start my own networking group, the Ladies Independent Design League, to work with other women who were trying to get their businesses in shape. It's not that I'm an expert, but I've been around the block a few times. :)

What inspires your work?
I am an unabashed Francophile so I love watching French movies, reading French blogs, and of course listening to the music of my favorite singer, April March (she's an American who mostly sings in French). I recently took up flower arranging, which is such a fun, random old-lady hobby, but it really helps to clear my head and think of new designs.

Who are your favorite designers?
Yves St. Laurent was a genius, and of course I also love Nannette Lepore, Catherine Malandrino, and Rebecca Taylor. My girlfriend gave me a Viktor and Rolf skirt for Christmas and even though it's more architectural than I am used to I like wearing it.

What are your top fashion & beauty must-haves?
I am a shoe fanatic. I have lots of different pairs of pointy-toed black pumps, and maybe nobody else can tell the difference between them, but I know.

For beauty I will take any concealer that hides my under-eye bags, which are enormous - lately I really like Cover Girl Trueblends. It's inexpensive and it actually works great. I also always need Pucci Vivara perfume or Mark Jacobs Daisy perfume or I don't feel ready to leave the house.

Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?
I would say that you have to really believe in your product. I'm repping a friend of mine who is a fellow clothing designer and she is the perfect example of what an indie business owner should be: She wears her designs nearly every day and really personifies the label. I think that's important. Refusing to take "no" for an answer is another thing any business owner should do. If Etsy isn't the best way for you to sell, create your own website. Can't seem to get into craft fairs? Maybe you should try boutiques. Since it's so hard for little businesses to stay afloat, you always have to look for new opportunities and they are usually in very unexpected places.

Where can people find your work?
Right now I am only online at,, and at Pandora's Trunk in San Francisco.

Anything else?
Please contact me if you are a new designer looking for advice! I can dish it for days!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New reviews and Etsy madness

Current mood: Frazzled! I've got two dresses to finish before I can go to the ball (i.e. Avani's wedding).

Hooray! Mignonette Designs got a sweet little plug from the fabulous Lilah over at Chateau Bizarre! It's normally a site dedicated to goth and steampunk so I feel that we're in some pretty illustrious company! The best part is that Mignonette Designs is listed under the "vintage and rockabilly, glam and drag" section. Hee.

Here's what they said:
"A small line of cute knee-length dresses sweetened with modernized retro elements, perfect for daywear-into-nightwear ensembles. Both the clingy and the swingy are presented with wrapping tops, puffed sleeves, mermaid hems, little belts, and other distinctive details of the forties and fifties. Custom is welcome."

You can see the write-up here.

Meanwhile, last week I did an interview with Styledash that will hopefully be up this week. I'm really excited because I love the Styledash blog, and I didn't realize before but it's an AOL-sponsored blog, so hopefully that will bring in some new shoppers.

In other news, the conquest of Etsy (well, I'm trying) continues with the Mignonette Designs Etsy page that largely features custom work. I'm also posting up random sample pieces, such as an Anne Dress in size 0-2 that is only $85! That's right, I said $85! If you want it surf on over there and pick up a serious bargain.

As you can probably tell just from the banner, the Mignonette Etsy site has a completely different feel than the normal Mignonette label - prices are lower, designs are more experimental, and there is a huge focus on custom, so if you've been afraid to commit to a Mignonette Designs piece, the Etsy offerings might be more your speed.

I was also contacted by the publisher of Gala Weddings today about a write-up for Mignonette Bridal! I can't believe they contacted me - It's a dream come true for a tiny bridal shop like Mignonette Bridal to be in the pages of a magazine like that.
I'm bursting at the seams with excitement and also freaking out - what pictures should I send them? What should I say? The fear of putting my foot in my mouth is palpable, I'm really much better at repping others (hello, Sarah Zins, anyone?) than I am at talking about myself. Phew.

Oh, and - If I said I would review your indie biz on the blog, don't worry - I'm getting around to it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mignonette all over the place

So...I took the plunge and joined Facebook - won't you be my neighbor?

Also, I've been merrily adding to my etsy shop so it's officially back up! Please check it out here, and, you know, maybe buy something. :)

And in other exciting news, I recently unearthed another wedding dress that I made back in 2003. Geez, I didn't know I had it in me but it looks pretty great! So here are some pics. Enjoy, comment, etc. If you would like your own version, it is for sale on the Etsy page - it's the "Custom Spaghetti-strap gown".

I'm also really happy because the black shauntung Anne dress went home with its owner yesterday and now I get to work on the two houndstooth traditional Annes that I have in the pipeline, plus this afternoon I am fitting my friend Ann for an Anne. That name is very big in my life lately.

anyways, I will be posting up a tutorial on it so you can see how it's made! hooray!

I went to yoga yesterday with Anne and am horrified at how stiff and achy I am - it sucks. Everyone else was balancing themselves and sun-saluting all over the place while I lay there gasping for air. I'm too young to be this out of shape. Boo to me for being creaky.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Announcing Mignonette Bridal

It's July 1st, 2008 and Mignonette Bridal is ready to launch!

Please check out the site at .
On the site you can engage (ha-ha) my services for a custom dress, including designing, budget consultation, even styling!
You can also order a ready-to-wear dress from the site if you need a piece in a hurry or want a less-expensive (but still amazing) option.
Please tell all your friends who are in need of a custom-made, gorgeous dress - I'm so, SO excited that this is finally happening, and I want to dress as many brides as possible!

In other news, now that Pride is over, I have started working my little tushy off repping my dear friend Sarah Zins' eponymous line of organic and recycled clothing.
Usually when you hear "recycled" you think of exposed seams and strange, fun-fur fabrics. Not so with Sarah Zins. Her line is incredibly wearable, well-made, and stunning. Best of all, it looks good on everyone, even those of us who are curvier.

You can check out her line at Sarah Zins, and order it online from our friends at

I'm enjoying this whole "rep" thing so much that I think I'll try and do it for some other designers as well - after all, I have lots of experience with buyers. Anyone want a rep to get their stuff into stores? :)