We thought it would be nice for our customers to meet the faces behind Mia Tui, so over the next couple of weeks (there isn't many of us!) we will let you see who we are and what makes us tick!
I am Charlotte the creator of Mia Tui for my sins, I think most of you know that I came up with the idea of Mia Tui when I used to live in Vietnam. I would travel on my own with my then two small daughters, Amelie and Mia.
I could never find anything in my bag, I would hunt for Amelie's dummy, or a toy and could never find them in the bottom of my bag as everything just fell into the middle of the bag, and as it was a black lining you couldn't see anything.
Anyway, to cut a very, very long story short I decided that I could design a better bag. So without any design or even artistic talent, I sketched out a bag, and then looked for factories who could bring it to life.
I came up with the name Mia Tui after spending lots of time on Google Translate. I wanted to have "Mia" in the company name, not after my daughter, but because Mia is a really easy name to remember. Tui actually means "Bags" in Vietnamese, and Mia in Italian means "My" so Mia Tui means "My Bags"
The 1st prototype was the ugliest thing I have ever seen, but thankfully I found Van who was the sister of one of the factory owners I went to see. They wouldn't touch me, but Van understood what I wanted to do, so together we made the 1st 200 Mia Tui bags."
Me on the factory floor designing the Grace bag
Six months later we were told as a family that we were leaving Vietnam and moving back to the UK. This came with mixed emotions, but it gave me the idea of making Mia Tui a 'real business' and launching in the UK.
Mia Tui started in the UK in October 2011, and it has been a roller coaster of a ride, with many ups and downs, but it's all part of starting and running a business.
So who am I...
I am 46 years-old and married to Philippe a Frenchman who I met in London 14 years ago, we have two children Amelie and Mia.
This is me and my family on holiday
We got married in Hong Kong and that is where we had both our girls, Hong Kong holds a special place in my heart. After 4 years in Hong Kong, we moved to Vietnam.
Before Mia Tui and moving to Hong Kong I worked in Sales and Marketing mainly for drinks companies, Carlsberg-Tetley, Virgin Drinks, and Britvic.
I am also a qualified aerobics instructor and have taught classes since I was 18 years-old. Sadly I have not taught since moving back to the UK and starting Mia Tui, so I'm not as fit as I used to be!
What does Mia Tui mean to me? ... in short, it means everything. I have started from nothing, sitting on a factory floor designing bags, and buying off-cuts of fabrics from the markets in Vietnam.
Everything we do with Mia Tui is done with our customer at the heart, I have obviously made mistakes, but we will always look to fix them and never take our customers for granted.
I like to think of Mia Tui as an old-fashioned store, but online. We are always here to answer questions and love to talk to our customers on the phone.
We listen to all feedback and as we work so closely with Van and our factory we can bring designs to life really quickly.
Our Sue Shoppers came about after "Sue" a customer emailed me and saying we need to design a better re-usable shopper as she just put her food on top of some clothes!
So what now for Mia Tui? I have an amazing team of Sarah and Nici who both equally love Mia Tui as much as I do. We speak all the time, and I mean all the time on what we can do next and how to improve and grow.
Some highlights from my 6 years with Mia Tui are...
- Winning the "Best Tavel Bag" at The Mother & Baby Awards, I was with my Dad and I got to go up on stage with him. We were in shock and it's a moment that will last all my life.
- Seeing Jane McDonald using a Mia Tui on the TV.
- Getting Mia Tui on QVC - it took 3 years of trying.
- Winning against TUI Travel who wanted us to stop using our name
Me and my Dad at the Mother & Baby Awards!
Nici has given me some questions to answer...
- Where did you grow up...? Maidstone, Kent
- Tea or Coffee...? Coffee as I wake up then tea
- If you were stranded on a desert island what could you not live without..? My phone & internet
- Favourite season...? Autumn
- Best book you have read...? I don't have time to read, the last book I read was Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
- If you didn't have to sleep, what would you use the time to do...? Spend more time with my family, work harder on Mia Tui and maybe get to the gym!
- Which Mia Tui bag are you currently using and why...? Emma for work, Megan as my everyday bag
- What item of clothing is your "go to"...? Asymmetric top
- After a long day at the Mia Tui office, what is your ideal wind-down routine...? Wind-down, what is that! I love a glass of wine and Kettle crisps!
I hope this has given you an insight into me and Mia Tui.