BEHIND THE BRAND: MINI NATION

Image by @simply.captured.co_

Are you looking for a way to make Christmas shopping easier? Well… Look no further than Mini Nation. They are the one stop shop solution for everything you need for the little loved ones in your life. With beautifully curated gift recommendations on their website for babies, kids, mamas and teachers you are sure to find what you are looking for! 

Today, we chat to biz mum Jodie West. Jodie is the owner of Mini Nation and is the all-rounder managing all aspects of the business whilst being a mum of 2 under 4. 

For our readers who haven’t shopped with Mini Nation before, can you give us a brief overview of what your brand is all about?

Mini Nation is all about providing a range of quality, unique brands all in one place for busy parents and grandparents looking to shop for their little ones. Our goal is to ease the burden on time-poor people and make shopping fun again! We stock contemporary baby and children’s clothing, shoes, décor, toys and accessories with an emphasis on Australian designers and carefully selected international brands.

Each item that we stock is hand-picked by us, so you can easily find the perfect purchase for your little one, or choose a charming gift for all of the little people in your life.

Our collection is curated from popular brands such as Louise Misha, Cam Cam Copenhagen, Smallstuff, Petit Collage, Bella & Lace and Olli Ella to name a few. We are also very focussed on supporting other local small businesses whose products we love and our constantly expanding our selection of brands with some amazing Australian businesses.’

We love the concept of a ‘one-stop shop’ and this is something that Mini Nation does so well! What is the process behind which brands and products you stock?  

‘We put a lot of thought into how our products can fit together. It’s really important to us to stock items that have the ‘wow’ factor and that aren’t available in your everyday, run-of-the-mill high street store / shopping centre. We’re constantly researching and finding items to complement our current brands. I’m not sure there’s a ‘process’ as such but when we find a brand we like, we know!’

Image by @clairestellephoto

Your Instagram feed is #goals! How do you curate such a stunning feed?

‘Thank you! Our favourite things to post on Instagram are images from our lovely customers that feature their latest Mini Nation products! We are honestly spoilt for choice when it comes to picking from these, all those Mamas out there take the most stunning photos and leave us feeling so inspired with the way they style all of our dress, play and decorate products. When it comes to curating our feed we are always attracted to bright and light images, especially ones that feature our favourite pink and peach hues that you’ll see a lot of over at Mini Nation! We’re also a big fan of supporting our fellow small business Mamas by incorporating images into our feed that feature beautiful products from other stores.’

What has been your favorite trend for kids interiors/fashion in 2018?

‘Frills! We love the super girly girl look so it’s easy to see why we’ve fallen in love with so many of the outfits that have arrived at Mini Nation this year, as so many of them feature these gorgeous great big feminine frills. Some of our favourites are the frilly leotards from Little Hearts Co., the frilled dresses and rompers from Ruffets and Co., the frilled bathers from Alex & Ant, the frilled rompers from Paper Wings and obviously the stunning frilled dresses from the entire Louise Misha collection!

In terms of interior trends, we’ve been loving all the neutral coloured nurseries and natural materials and textures we’ve been seeing – especially those stunning cane bassinets that are everywhere! Our Olli Ella Holdie House is one of our most popular natural looking items, along with our natural Smallstuff doll prams, and natural Olli Ella strolleys and luggy baskets. Technically they are all play items, but how good is it when they coordinate with your interior styling too ;-)’

What do you find the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

‘From a personal perspective, being able to spend more time with my two little girls (currently 2 & 4) has been extremely rewarding. From a business perspective, it is always really rewarding to receive an email from one of our customers letting us know how happy they are with their purchases, they often include pics of their little ones enjoying them too!’

What exciting things can we expect from Mini Nation in the near future?

‘It has been a big year for us expanding our product lines and we have a quite a few things in the pipeline so it is a really exciting time for us. We have recently re-introduced boyswear with the very much loved brand PaperWings and Raised by the Desert (brother brand to Bella + Lace), and have more on the way. We have lots of new lines arriving for Christmas (some already available on pre-order, others arriving early November!) with the aim of making Christmas shopping easy (and fun!) for the little people in our lives. ‘

Image by @raisedbythedesert
Image by @allaboutisla

Who are your go-to Instagram accounts you love and why?

‘Where do we start! We really like to follow other Mamas that feature lots of other small businesses like @misstiptop, as that seems to be where we find so many other lovely accounts, businesses and products to inspire us. Plus we also love the girly vibes and endless outfit inspiration from @the.quinn.girls @dearest.sisters​, @maya.scarlett and @justy_olive – to name just a few!!’

What does your general day-to-day schedule look like being a small business owner?

‘A lot more involved than I ever knew prior to starting a small business following many years working within large corporations!

Wake up early (before the littles ones wake up ideally but their 5.30am wake up at the moment is making that a little challenging)… coffee, coffee, coffee. Make sure all orders are ready for our Australia Post and courier friends to collect

Check emails and put together a to do list for the day before getting the kids organised for their activities (be it daycare, Kindy, or things we have planned on their days at home). A priority around this time is making sure any urgent things that need to be attended too are before the rest of the day kicks on (e.g. most recently quality issues with a shipment we received from one of our suppliers). There is always something new popping up so every day is different.

The bulk of the day then tends to include the following when our little ones are at Kindy and Daycare (for the days they are with me I prioritise, and the rest gets done after they are asleep at night):

  • Content creation and scheduling posts for Instagram and Facebook and engaging on our accounts.
  • Checking in on Pinterest (this is quite new to us but a growing area of engagement)
  • Meeting with our marketing and strategy consultant to discuss and plan for the weeks and months ahead (e.g. newsletters, content, ads etc)
  • Identifying or responding to collaboration opportunities
  • Ongoing work on our website and SEO (keywords, content creation, landing pages), reviewing Google Analytics, Facebook Ads etc
  • Checking in with suppliers, ensuring new inventory and products are updated and/or loaded on to our website,
  • Managing our budget and account systems
  • Researching new brands and products that we would like to bring in to the Mini Nation family
  • Preparing orders for dispatch the following day’

Who are your biggest influencers when it comes to kids fashion and décor?

‘There are so many out there but one that definitely stands out for us is the lovely @bekhalliday – we are a huge fan of her style when it comes to dressing her two gorgeous girls as well as styling her amazing home. We also adore her own fashion style PLUS the art prints that she creates for littlies are just magic!’

MINTY’S TOP 3 MINI NATION PICKS

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