MEEKA Revolutionises Wedding Nightwear
Micaela Serralheiro is founder of MEEKA, a luxurious sleepwear line that specializes in robes and pyjamas. The collection aims at providing timeless quality pieces to last that have the right combination of comfort, romance and elegance.
Describe yourself in 3 words? Driven, Caring, Modest.
Tell us the inspiration behind the brand name? ‘Meeka’ actually comes from my nickname ‘Mica.’ This name came about when I travelled to Japan last year and everyone was writing my name as MEEKA. I liked the way they spelled it and when I researched a little further, it’s actually a common name in Japan, meaning ‘beautiful aroma.’ I just thought it was so fitting for my brand!
Where did your idea came from? I was born and raised in South Africa, but my family heritage is Portuguese. I’ve been living in Brixton London for the last 4 years now and have had the opportunity to live and experience a multitude of cultures that have definitely shaped my tastes. I’ve always been very passionate about Fashion. I studied a BA degree in fashion in South Africa and have had numerous jobs either working in retail or buying and sourcing products internationally.
What made you start your own business? I’ve been a buyer for several years and I've always wanted to start my own business. I guess the real confidence ignited from when I started a small business as a side hustle straight out of university selling these beautiful handmade wrap necklaces. I did so well one month that I even matched my salary! When I moved over to London, that sadly died but ever since I’ve been itching to pursue my dream of running my own sustainable business.
Tell us your business story? I’ve always wanted to be a business owner in fashion, but could never really decide which direction to go. It was only 1.5 years ago when my fiancé proposed to me in Portugal and I started doing the inevitable wedding research that I noticed a bit of a gap in the market for sustainable, classical and natural looking bridesmaids’ robes and nightwear. I couldn’t bear to look at another polyester, satin robe that I know my bridesmaids would wear once and never again! I really wanted to wear something that could live past the wedding day! So, with the help of my buying background I naturally started developing my own and here we are. You're welcome 😊
Can you talk about the business start-up journey? These days there is so much information on the internet to help with the journey, but even so it is not for the faint hearted. I have also been fortunate that my fiancé and friends have been able to assist in areas where I am not the strongest. Things such as deciding whether to incorporate or trade as a sole trader. To register for VAT or wait until I reach the threshold etc. All these little decisions have an impact on your profits at the end of the day, so my advice would be to identify the gaps in your knowledge and leverage the networks you have and/or use the internet to fill in those gaps. Alternatively try and outsource the things you are not good at. You’re not going to be perfect at everything and that’s okay!
What mistakes and learnings have you had? One mistake I made was that in my haste to get a few styles out I didn’t add enough buffer into my shipping times and my stock arrived a few days late. The learning there is to always plan far ahead and give yourself plenty of buffer for the things that are out of your control. Always under promise and overdeliver!
Who or what inspires your brand? I’ve always had a passion for fashion, as cliché as that sounds. I spend every waking moment trolling social media and the internet for what’s new and trending. So that’s where I get most of my inspiration from. My tastes are quite diverse, but if I had to choose one type of aesthetic it would definitely be the more bohemian and rustic tones and whites. Perhaps it’s my Portuguese and African roots, but these are the colours and styles that resonate with me most – and you will see that coming through in my collection.
You will also notice on all my mood boards and Instagram pages that my brand includes a lot of interior décor and seaside inspiration. There’s nothing that makes me happier than being surrounded by beautiful décor overlooking the sea and I want to recreate this ambience through our dreamwear.
What you love about being an entrepreneur? One aspect of being an entrepreneur that I relish the most, is having the autonomy to make my own decisions – from the smallest details to the really big ones that might make or break your business. The world is my oyster and I’m perfectly at ease being the captain of my own ship!
Tell us about the future of your brand? As an e-commerce business my job is never done. It’s so important to find different ways to captivate the consumer online, as they don’t have the opportunity to feel and see the garment in real life before purchasing so my main goal is to create more engaging social media content. I also like to spread out the drops in the collection, so that I have something new to offer every few weeks. It keeps the customer intrigued: I still have one more design dropping this year, so stay tuned!
Can you talk about plans and goals? As I’ve just launched, my main goal is to get my name out there and create brand awareness. In the next few years, we are also looking at introducing new product lines such as sustainable bridal gift packages as well as slippers and lounge footwear.
Tell us about your social contribution? My brand has been built around sustainability- All the products in the collection are made out of 100% organic cotton or a cotton linen blend that is fully recyclable and sustainability sourced. I’ve also eliminated any plastic trims such as buttons and have used wooden buttons instead.
My packaging is where I really wanted to make a sustainable impact – the most important being my reusable cotton pouch that each item is packaged in and can thereafter be used as a beach bag, vegetable bag or even a travel shoe bag. This is made out of 100% cotton and really elevates the product as a special gifting piece.
Our tissue paper and stickers have been recycled and are recyclable. Our boxes are also fully recyclable and we have paid to plant a tree with a great initiative called ‘one tree planted’ allowing us to reduce our carbon footprint on the usage of these boxes. My favourite special touch is our seeded complimentary cards where you are able to write a special message to a friend or bridesmaid if it’s a gift. The seeded cards are fully compostable and once planted it will grow into a flower!