Updated: May 26, 2021
Last year in 2020, I came across Miko Lolo on social media, an environment conscious Kids’ Clothing brand. What attracted me to them was their colorful designs, cute pictures and the fact that they are doing something different then others in order to protect environment.
We have done few assignments together and as much as I love clicking their cute outfits, I was highly inspired by the zeal of Miko Lolo's founder, Akansha Bhatia. At a very young age she has taken her brand to a high level of success, being grounded to earth at the same time. Not only this Miko Lolo has been awarded with "Best environment conscious brand" by Kidsstoppress.
In the talks today is, the Found and Creative Director of Miko Lolo, Akansha Bhatia, telling about her journey with Miko Lolo so far and what's comin next.
How did you come up with the brand name "Miko Lolo"? During the whole brainstorming process of coming up with a name for the brand, I knew it had to be catchy and fun; something that would roll off the tongue easily for kids and adults alike. The name just came to my head serendipitously, and was actually the first name I wrote as an option. The initial working name was “Mikko + Lolo”. After coming up with many many other options, nothing felt as right as "Miko Lolo” which sounds playful, casual and fun, exactly how I envisioned the brand to be. Also, coincidentally when I googled the words, Miko, a boy name, means Child of God in Japanese. Lolo, a girl name, means the Revered One in Igbo, which again is synonymous with the Indian culture where the girl child is considered a ‘Devi'. That’s how the name fell in place so perfectly!
What made you take your brand to become an Environment Conscious brand. The vision with Miko Lolo was to not add to the mad clutter of fast fashion. This not only included a need to change the buy-and-throw mentality, but also create quality pieces that last, while making sure we also paid everyone involved a "fair wage”, something not very common in any labor intensive job in India, due to the abundance of labor.
This was something that came to me inherently, as it wasn’t just a business minded decision, it is also the way I live my life. It’s already too late, and we’ve caused so much damage to the planet, Miko Lolo is my way of helping people find a healthy clothing alternative - healthy not just for their kid, but also for the environment; with the various extensions of the brand, from our Return-After-Use initiative to reduce the amount of textile waste that ends up in landfills, to our initiative to Plant-A-Tree-For-Every-Order to offset our carbon emissions as a company.
3. What were the major challenges you faced in the process of making Miko Lolo Environment Conscious brand. In Design College, you’re taught sustainability in fashion as a theory subject. When it comes down to the practical aspect it's difficult to implement so many ideas that felt cool in your head. Could be budgetary restraints, or practical issues too. But with time you do find your ground and it’s not an impossible task. It’s honestly not too difficult if you’ve decided what the ethics of the brand are.
Having said that, one of the biggest challenges would be to convey the various aspects of the brand and have people care about it. For example, none of our styles have plastic buttons or metal zippers and we only use wooden buttons. This may add to our cost, but the fact is, not every customer cares. So conveying “WHY” we do what we do, how are fashion and the environment related and also why our products are priced the way the are, would be something we are challenged with everyday.
4. Your prints and designs are so bright and cute, and you keep coming up with new collection. What's your source of inspiration. Thank you! I wouldn’t be able to point out one single source of inspiration. I’ve always been fond of colours, putting together bright colour palettes. And while inspiration is all around us, I try to imbibe a child’s perspective and make it relatable to them, while developing storylines for our collections. For example, we did a Veggies & Fruits collection, to make them fun and encourage the kids to eat their greens. Another one was Scridoodle, inspired by the colourful scribbles children do.
5. How has this pandemic affected your brand? It’s been positive and negative in almost equal measures. Sales and revenue has been fluctuating majorly in the past one year and has made making business projections and plans difficult. At the same time, the pandemic and lockdown came with the hard reality that while planning for the future is good, living in the moment is important too. Being home and being able to work virtually, also gave me the chance to interact with so many new people online and make connections that I would’ve otherwise missed while chasing deadlines at work. All in all, trying each day to not be bogged down with the unpredictable nature of this all.
6. You have achieved so much with Miko Lolo at such a small age. Did you expect Miko Lolo to gain such popularity and love when you started it? Thank you again, still have a long way to go though! I honestly don’t know if I expected this, but I sure did hope for this. I still get teary eyed when someone leaves a review, I still give a little excited giggle when a new order comes. Its been 2.5 years, and I’m thankful for the love my work has gotten, and super excited to see what the coming years have in store for Miko Lolo.
7. Are you planning to launch Mom and me collection any time soon? We’ve gotten so many queries from moms (and fathers too!) for twinning sets with their little ones, and we’ve done quite a few custom orders. A lot of people who don’t have kids, but love the prints have asked for an adult range too! You asked how the pandemic affected the brand, this is how : We had a whole collection planned and ready for photoshoot. But the lockdown disrupted our production unit and here we are. But yeah, it’s in the pipeline and fingers crossed, we’ll release something soon!
"Kriti has been a breeze to work with. She truly translated my brand's aesthetics into visuals that captured the garments very beautifully. The kids were absolutely natural in front of the camera, and that was the best part." - Akansha Bhatia