The fashion world is not for the sluggish. This world is one of creative genius and fast track business decisions. The opportunity for failure is more abundant than the odds of remarkable success. The will to live life with no regrets is a driver more intense than the fear of the possibility of failure to Fashion Designer Mimi Tran. A woman with a Marketing Degree, an Electrical Engineering background, she worked at Cisco, who parlayed to a successful finance career spanning 15 years, was craving a “new challenge.”
This information just polishes the surface of California-based designer Mimi Tran, a self-proclaimed ‘tomboy’, who as a child loved to paint, describes herself harshly as an adolescent who was awkward and who was encouraged by her family to obtain an education where she could support herself as an independent woman. Her love for the creative did not fit that bill at the time, so pursuing Electrical Engineering and Marketing was the more practical option and the path she chose.
To describe Mimi as “smart”, while true, does not do her justice. She is intuitive. She is a person who connects the dots and reflects on the past, to determine how to apply lessons positively to her future. Many are creative, but Fashion is also a business, and her successes over the past five years are not coincidental. Her educational and professional background were a surprising yet fitting training ground for the role of Designer and Entrepreneur.
Her resolution to become Mimi Tran – Designer – was a heartbreaking experience. Mimi made the decision to leave her finance career and embark on opening a Home Health Care Service with her business partner. Her partner fell ill with leukemia. In his last days, he encouraged Mimi to take risks, follow her heart and live with no regrets. This message to “stay focused” and “believe in herself” led to a six-month intensive research process on design, and the start of the couture label: MIMI Tran.
The Mimi Tran Interview
I was fortunate to speak with Mimi about her background, her collections and (most fascinatingly) her life philosophies that are evident in her signature, custom made-to-fit designs.
The Mimi Tran Client
“Powerful, confident, proud and strides with elegance every step.”
Mimi encourages women to be themselves. Mimi established her design house in 2013 and cites Ellie Saab, Gucci, Dior and Chanel as some of her favorites.
Designing for her client comes to her usually in the middle of the night. When the world quiets down, Mimi finds inspiration that just comes to her and the products of the creative messages are sexy, sophistication that is romantic and unique.
The custom fit assures comfort, ideal garment appearance and the avoidance of a wardrobe malfunction; all important for a woman living her best life, on her own terms.
Digital Print silk, tulle fabrics beaded with sequin flowers.
The Mimi Tran Design
Her designs spoke to me. Initially, when I was corresponding with Mimi, I told her that her designs conveyed the message of hope. I think what I was reading was her positivity. When we spoke, Mimi shared her philosophy that she applies to her designs, which moved me as it was profound in its matter-of-fact delivery, “if you’re not who you are, you have lost that signature in you.”
The message is positivity and embracing and honoring of one’s inner self.
The connection of the singular self is symbolically associated to the singular self in nature, the flower, where no two are alike; every couture design is named after a different flower, for example the Aimone, Antoinette and Bonfilia, appropriately named and personal favorites of mine.
The sequin flowers that adorn Mimi’s collection is her signature and use upward of 40 different colors. They are handmade adornments that are visually appealing and serve as a reminder to the wearer that she is one of a kind.
The textiles are 3-D, precious lace and Swarovski crystals.
Evening wear; hand-beaded sequin flowers on black tulle and silk crepe fabric.
Her engineering background has prepared her to understand and execute the intricacies necessary to create a design that is handmade, wearable art.
Pieces are made to the clients’ proportions. Mimi recognizes what women have known for ages, but designers have not always acknowledged and that is, we are all built differently. Often two women wear the same size, but the proportions are entirely different, making the shape of the garment different.
The handmade-to-size element of this collection, allows for height, size and personal attitude to be taken in to account. Mimi loves all the variations of a woman’s body, whether she be tall, petite, in between, curvy or not curvy.
The design will be customized to the client for ultimate wear ability. As Mimi notes, this makes life hassle free for the client and she encourages her clients to have time to live their lives and not be having alterations on clothes.
Mimi Tran: The Store
Mimi opened her first store in July 2017 at Santana Row in San Jose, California. Currently, Soho NYC is the next location to launch.
Mimi’s business model is unique in that each store is planned to be designed in the same layout, a detail that was striking to me. Note that in the world of ‘brick and mortar’, many retailers display and design around the space. Mimi is more detail oriented than most and envisions this homogenous design. Technology advancements in store allow for clients to participate in surveys to ensure the most customized retail experience possible.
Mimi Tran Bridal
True to Mimi’s self, in 2017, she decided a new challenge was needed and fearlessly entered the world of bridal couture!
Bridal gowns with names like Dahlia, Alyssum and Magnolia, Mimi seamlessly transitioned (pardon the pun) her couture line to romantic wedding silhouettes. In recent fashion shows, Mimi’s last piece was always a wedding gown and in the world of Mimi, there is no limit.
French lace with Swarovski crystal hand beaded on silk satin and tulle fabric.
While a San Jose store, an upcoming New York store, Paris Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week and media coverage would seem like a lot to manage, Mimi has her sights on perfume. Mimi plans to launch a light, romantic scent that is environmentally friendly for the ‘Mimi Tran Woman’. Mimi has a sensitized nose for fragrance and her vision is to create a merger of favorite scents including Jasmine, Lavender, Mint and Rose. Her Perfume is in the production stages, where Mimi will determine a unique, “soft” scent to offer her clients and we cannot wait to experience it.
When asked if she would dive deeper in to the world of beauty products, possibly via body lotions, the idea of a lotion seems a possible addition that we can hope to experience in the future.
Live like Mimi, with no regrets. There are no limits in life and we cannot wait to see what is next.
2376, 5814 Firestone Ct, San Jose, CA 95138
Phone: (408) 899-6408
Website Mimi Tran Design
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Editor with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. She has worked with PRADA USA Corp., Jurlique, Amore Pacific and the New York Daily News in management capacities including Marketing, Client Relations, Employee Relations and Training Management. She has authored and published the column, “Ask Angela,” featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. Her beauty advice has been featured in Shape and Fitness Magazines and CBS News.
She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Writing. Angela also has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Angela is currently creator of Circuit Cosmetics, a Brand Ambassador for luxury beauty line, Patchology, an On Air Guest for QVC and blogger for www.thelaughinmommy.blogspot.com.
In her spare time you can find Angela running, spinning, practicing yoga or getting beautified. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her Husband, Son, and Chihuahuas.