mimehome's designer, Jemima Callaghan, talks about her handmade home goods, opinions on Hong Kong, and her life as a mother and business owner!
Jemima from mimehome
What is mimehome?
mimehome is a handmade textiles company, I love to create things that splash shine and add some pop to a room. We make fine homewares like pillow covers, table linens and bunting, all from natural linens that are long lasting and durable. Because we care about the earth we create products that have longevity, from fabrics that are kind to the earth.
What inspired you to start mimehome?
I had moved to Hong Kong in 2012 and for the longest time had dreamed about having a market stall. I used to sketch up drawings of what my market stall would look like, when I was in studying textiles in university. Bunting, cushions, table cloths, all hand dyed and hand painted by me. Fast forward 10 years and a move across the ocean and I found the perfect recipe for starting up my company, access to fantastic fabrics and accessories, a bit of time on my hands and an encouraging husband and a persistent dream. I still pinch myself when I see my labels all sewn in on my own product. It really is my dream come true!
What was the biggest challenge in creating handmade products?
I think my biggest challenge is to keep climbing. Having your own handmade business means a lot of hard work and what feels like sometimes endless mountains to climb. It can be easy for me to get caught feeling overwhelmed with these obstacles, but I have to choose to keep moving, keep pressing forward with the big picture of what I am trying to achieve. Essentially I think my biggest challenge is in my own head.
Your favorite piece in the collection.
I have just developed a new range of hand dyed pieces that are available in cushions and table linen. It has elements of shibori processes and my own experimentation with dyeing. I really love the colours that I have developed, they are soft colours that have depth, this is paired with my signature natural linen. I am sort of mesmerised by the patterning that can be achieved with dyeing and to think I was in this crazy state of chaos, that is moving house, while I was developing it.
How has the handmade products industry changed since you’ve been in it?
You’ll have to ask me in another year or so. mime home is still only 1 year old so I'm still getting to understand the Hong Kong market. I think globally though it is exciting to see that people really do care for handmade items and the stories and meaning that are behind them.
Tell me one thing about your brand that most people don’t know about.
I hand dye all of my fabrics of the rooftop of our house and let them dry in the sun. I am at the mercy of the weather, because if it’s raining, it is really hard to get my orders completed. Our rooftop has this amazing view of the majestic Lantau mountains in the background, it is unbelievably beautiful.
Jemima on Hong Kong
Five words you’d use to describe the design culture in HK.
Quirky, Crafty, Wacky and then Sophisticated and Thoughtful
What do you love most about Hong Kong?
Actually it is just being here. Most days I think to myself, as I swerve to avoid running into the buffulo, “I’m riding my bike down this rickety path in a remote village, in Honkers, how lucky am I!” It’s the experience that means so much. I love that my kids are learning cantonese and they get to have this amazing childhood experience of living in Hong Kong.
What does Hong Kong desperately lack?
Grass, without bugs and beaches without rubbish.
What’s the biggest challenge in trying to start something new in Hong Kong?
Getting Started! Just having the inspiration, motivation, perseverance and desire to get over the first hurdle - starting. Take a chance and just begin.
More about Jemima
Tell me about your greatest influence in life.
Actually, I think the hardest and most important job I will ever do on this earth is being a mum. The job description is endless. Whether it is encouragement, answers or wisdom I need I just have to look around me and I find some truly inspirational mothers. They are my own mum, my sister and my friends. All of these women contribute to my own mothering and character in some way and I just couldn't do life without them. Ha, that all sounds quite serious!
Your go-to dinner spot.
I traveled for a month through Vietanm, with my best friend, the year we both got married. It was our adventure to mark the end of one era and the beginning of another. So I have really fond memories, eating our full of spicy pho for $1 USD and amazing rice paper rolls filled with fresh salads and heaps of corriander. I love eating at Chom Chom in SOHO, they have amazing creative dishes, the food is always fast and fresh and it takes me back to Vietnam.
Your biggest pet peeve.
Losing things. I have always been a little bit forgetful and so losing stuff is just a part of me, but I get this terrible feeling of sadness and anxiety over something that has been lost. Add 3 kids and a husband that has a knack for losing jumpers (sweaters) and this terrible feeling just multiplies. I need a cure.
The perfect day for you would be…
if I’m day-dreaming: waking up on family holidays, eating a late breakfast and swimming in the ocean.
If i’m not day-dreaming: getting my “to do” list all completed.
One piece of advice for small business owners.
Find a support network. It might be friends, another business owner, an employer, a Facebook group etc. Meeting and conversing with other people in the same boat as you, will always be inspiring and encouraging.
One takeaway from being a part of Hong Kong Markets Organisation.
Being apart of Hong Kong Market Organisation really helped with getting my business started. Just booking my first market provided a goal and then deadline to work towards. I found the markets a great way to test new products, because I was able to speak to my customers and find out what they were interested in. This helped me refine my product offerings and set my pricing.
Click here to discover more about Mime Home!