2LL: What inspired the birth of Nia Ballerina? What does your brand mean to you?
SM: This is an easy one. Nia Ballerina is the inspiration of my beautiful daughter who just loves everything about ballet, and kept asking me if she could do ballet lessons before she was 3 years of age. She did her first performance when she was 3 and a half, and I felt it was important that she had a ballerina that looked like her. However, to my surprise, I could not find a musical jewelry box with a black ballerina anywhere in the world, so decided to create my own!
As my daughter was the inspiration I wanted to incorporate her name. Nia is my daughter's middle name, and the name was chosen because it means "Purpose" in Swahili. Everything about the box and designs are inspired by my daughter and although she is only 5 years of age, I always check that she likes the designs too. Pink is also her favourite colour. My daughter has been very much involved with the process; seeing the illustrations, helping with colours, seeing the samples, attending exhibitions and has even helped to pack orders. My daughter loves the jewelry boxes and I feel so blessed that my daughter has taken me down this journey (by the way I am an older mother so my daughter is very special to me).
2LL: What does childrenswear mean to you? What do you want to see/what do you think the future of childrenswear is?
SM: I only have a daughter, and mine and my daughter's style is very different. I personally like practical but cute clothes, and would probably have my daughter in leggings and tops, because they are practical and easy to mix and match. I tend to like dark colours too. I do not like anything revealing when it comes to childrenswear. However, my daughter is very girly, and everything has to be bright colours such as pink, red, etc and she only likes wearing dresses, tutus nothing practical. She does not really like wearing trousers so I often have to put leggings under a skirt or dress. When looking for clothes I tend to look for girly dresses or skirts that can be worn with leggings so would like to see more of this on the market. I think a lot of mum's would like this because it is practical, looks cute and wearing dresses and skirts makes our daughters happy too!
2LL: Your pieces are bomb to say the least. Are there any brands (adult or children brands) that inspire your collections?
SM: Yes. In terms of inspiring my collection for the future, that would be Cath Kidson and Laura Ashley. The brand for both myself and my daughter is Zara: we both love their clothes, and a recent brand my daughter has seen and loves, and is inspirational to my brand is Jayneonikids.
2LL: Who's the person behind the brand? Did you always know that this was your purpose?
SM: I am just a mum, and love being a mum and the reason I created this product was because of my daughter. You could say she is the true person behind the brand and I hope I can develop the brand for her future!
2LL: Where do you hope to see Nia Ballerina go in the next couple of years?
SM: We are already working on extending the product range and bringing Nia Ballerina to live later this year!