With over 2.1 million social media followers and 12 million website views annually, DIY Fashion Expert/Girlboss Mimi G has defied all odds to emerge as the most influential woman in DIY fashion, propelling herself into the ranks of Martha Stewart, Lauren Conrad, and Chrissy Teigen.
MimiGStyle.com began as a hobby, and has blossomed into the world’s leading DIY fashion/sewing online destination, where Mimi G models her original designs/patterns ranging from business wear to swimsuits that fit the everyday girl, create free tutorials of her on-trend sewing patterns (Turn Your Jeans into a Skirt, Refashioned Sweatshirt into Dress, Men’s Shirt Into Off Shoulder Button Up), personally answers every DIY sewing question (i.e. what fabrics to buy, what projects to start with, etc.), and so much more. She also created the world’s #1 online sewing school SewItAcademy that works for everyone from the first-time sewing novice to the expert seamstress. SewItAcademy helps fashionistas of all levels master the fundamentals of sewing, work at a pace that allows time to practice, learn the importance of specific techniques, break free from mundane methods, and create trendsetting clothing and accessories.
Mimi G has worked with celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Aniston, companies like Target, Revlon, and Google, and has been featured in People Magazine, Parade Magazine, POPSUGAR (to name a few) for making sewing hip and accessible.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Mimi G to talk about her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
Could you please provide a background about yourself and how were you actually ‘discovered’?
Well, I am a mother of four and a serial entrepreneur who took her love of sewing and shared it with the world. I overcame sexual abuse as a child, domestic violence, homelessness, teen pregnancy and came out at the other end of with a clear vision for my life. I spent many years struggling to make ends meet and working 16 hour days in a field I liked but knew wasn’t my calling. I did the best I could to feed my kids and keep a roof over their heads like many of us do until I started this thing called a blog back in 2008. I didn’t know what a blog really was so those first few years were really just a time of discovery. It wasn’t until 2012 when I decided to blog consistently and launched Mimi G Style, Inc. that I started to focus my energy on teaching and providing tutorials. It was fun to teach people how to make their own clothes when they had never even considered it. My blog grew rather quickly and after that first year I was averaging about a million page views, I quit my job a year and a half in and now 8 years later we reach nearly 12 million people a year and have over 12,000 students in Sew It Academy. It’s amazing. I don’t know that I was “discovered” because there has been so much that has happened in the last eight years that people didn’t see. Growth, planning, strategies, luck, lol but I owe my success to the people who follow and support and share me with friends and family. Starting a business is not something that happens overnight and I feel like I am just getting started.
What do you like most about blogging?
I like having the ability to reach millions of people by sharing my love of style and sewing. It serves as a great journal of sorts to look back and see all that I have done and it’s the way I market new products to my followers so it keeps everything in one place and consistent. Blogging is different now, we like fast information which is why social media is so powerful so you have to really understand the benefits of having a blog and how to use it even with the ever-changing social media climate.
Can you tell us about your Style & Sew It Academy?
I think my style is always changing, I have moods and I dress according to how I feel. I like simple, easy to put on looks that require little to no fuss. I am a jeans and tee kind of girl but will throw on a cool jacket or cool shoes to take the look up a notch or two. I love clothes and I love shopping but to be honest, shopping can be a little stressful if you are not a sample size or, if like me, have a 10” difference from my waist to hips. That is the reason I started sewing again in my 20’s, I wanted my clothes to fit right. It is also the reason I started Sew It Academy.
I launched Sew It Academy in May of 2016. I founded Sew It Academy to help people who wanted to learn sewing and fashion design but couldn’t afford to go to a traditional design school. I set it up so that you didn’t need any experience to start and just about anyone could afford it. The first course is me showing you what a sewing machine is! (laughs) For the price of two lattes a month we teach you everything you need to know to make your own clothes, fix clothes that don’t fit off the rack, work and design your own collections or work in the fashion industry. There is a ton of free info on YouTube but not all of it is good. I wanted somewhere that had structure and really taught people fundamentals that they could build on. There is no online sewing and design school that offers the variety that we do. We teach sewing, pattern making, draping, fashion illustration for both menswear and womenswear and above all it’s affordable.
What sort of person usually follows your blog and YouTube channel?
Who’s your main audience? I have a very big mix of people who follow me. The youngest I have met was 8 and the oldest was 80 and everything thing in between. Sewing and DIY is something that in my experience has appealed to a wide variety of people. I think in general people follow for the style, for my personality, for sewing or just because they are intrigued that I can make my own clothes. (laughs) I have a very large black and brown following and that is important to me because as a woman of color and a Latina I am always aware of how important it is to be seen and to see yourself represented.
What’s the biggest challenge of running an online business?
There are a lot of challenges when running a business in general and a lot of what I do happens online but the overall challenge is creating content on a regular basis. You have to be visible and stay visible in order to reach people and make an impact among so many other people. My focus is always around creating engaging and visually appealing content. It can get a little difficult when you feel like your whole life is an opportunity for content but that is the world we live in and certainly the way you need to approach an online business if you want to have continuous success.
Have you always wanted to be in the fashion industry?
No, not really. I have always loved to sew and design but I didn’t know how that was going to transpire in my life. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I decided I wanted to be a “fashion designer” I went through the process of creating a collection in between my full-time job and even put it on the runway here in LA but after that experience, I knew that although I felt accomplished I didn’t want to spend my time trying to sell a collection. There is a lot more to being a fashion designer that people realize, you have to market and sell your line and very little time is spent doing the actual designing. I love the process of creating garments so after starting my first DIY blog and sharing how-to videos that what I really enjoyed was teaching. I won’t say that I don’t want to do retail at some point because I think I do and will but I can now choose how I want to do it.
What’s your personal mission in life?
I have many, but my main personal mission is to be a great mother, I want to be an example to my kids and have a lasting impact on people I know and those that I don’t. I have worked hard to show my kids that you are more than your circumstances and that the power to be great is found within. I want them to see that despite my struggles I am able to make a positive impact on the world. I have a million friends in my head, all of whom follow me and support me and although I don’t know them all personally I want them to feel empowered and inspired by what I have to offer. My mission in life is to be the best person I can be.
What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?
I have had so many! but at the end of the day, the most memorable moments have been when someone recognizes me not the street and wants to share their story with me or take a pic. Every time I meet a follower I am reminded at how amazing my life is and how fortunate I am. I have one story who stays with me always. I got an anonymous email from a woman who shared that she had just gotten out of rehab and was in sober living housing. She told me that she had once been a professional engineer with a great career, her own home, a nice car and little girl who she loved. She met a man, fell involve and that was the beginning of a very difficult road. The man she had met and was now sharing a home with was addicted to drugs and had introduced her to them. She became an addict, lost her job, her house and eventually her daughter. She said it took her a long time to get her life together but she did. When she graduated into sober living she was not he computer looking something up and came across my blog. She shared that she spent hours looking through my blog posts and that I seemed to jump off the page, she said she felt like she knew me. She started learning to sew with my videos and that new hobby she was learning from me helped keep her sober. She is now a coupler and travels sharing her story. She ended her letter to me by sharing that now when she speaks to groups she talks about a DIY blogger that helped save her life and she has no idea who I am. I still don’t know who she is but I think of her often and wish her well. My blog started as a place to make cool things and learn but over time it has become a safe place for people to find themselves and many times heal.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
I have had the pleasure of sitting with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani, and Tim Gunn but the most interesting people I have met so far are fans who have had amazing journeys since learning to sew. So many of them have started small businesses, created additional revenue for their families and have even changed careers. I am forever amazed at the stories I hear and how many exceptional people have been brave enough to share their lives with me.
How active are you on social media?
I am pretty active, I post daily and sometimes more than once a day depending on the platform. It is my way of staying connected and engaged with my followers. I spend a lot of time building the sewing/DIY community so I make sure to stay visible and present.
What is your favorite social media platform?
I love Instagram! It is the easiest and fastest way for me to communicate with everyone and to also share the side of me they don’t always see on the blog.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
I have so many plans! I am looking to continue growing my business podcast where I get to share all the business advice I wish someone would have shared with me before I became an entrepreneur. It is geared toward people looking to start a business from a hobby or passion. Business SHET (solve, help, earn, trust) has had over 190,000 downloads in less than a year and I am hoping to continue providing resources. I am also finishing my long-overdue book. I also have a few surprises up my sleeves that I can’t share just yet but it will be really exciting.
The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Judy with Renee Zellweger was amazing!
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Laughter. There is something incredibly beautiful about joy and how people express it.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? I would love to sit with Ellen DeGeneres and teach her to sew!
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” go hang gliding in Hawaii.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? I tend to procrastinate but I work great under pressure so I think I’ll keep it.