September 13, 2013 • Kim Baker
Hermosa Beach, Calif.
1. When and how did you start working in this business?
After almost 20 years as the founding creative director of a mid-sized graphic design firm, I was looking to reinvent myself. I was helping companies like Mattel, Getty, Hilton and Dole build their brands, but I began to feel the need to do it for myself — build a consumer brand that I could have a bit more ownership in. Plus, I started my career in fashion as a stylist (including a stint with Madonna) and I was missing the creative and tactile experience of working with pattern and paper since my firm was more than three-quarters digital media.
I launched MIXT Studio at last year’s National Stationery Show to rave reviews, great numbers and several finalists in “The Trendy’s” and “Best New Product” competitions. It was a great start!
2. What is your signature style?
Our style is eclectic, but everything has a modern bohemian quality. I knew I wanted the brand to be eco-friendly, but I also wanted it to feel inspiring, natural and tactile without being a “green” cliche. After several months of research, I decided we should produce everything in the U.S. on recycled newsprint and remnant paper stock. I also started working closely with printers to print different items together in an effort to eliminate waste. This method of production insured that the resulting aesthetic would be a slightly bonkers mash-up of textures, colors and, ultimately, patterns. As a result, I chose the name MIXT Studio.
3. What are your most popular stationery offerings?
Our Reusable Wine Bags are the brand’s most popular item because they’re so unique. The bags have a write-on traveling tag that enables each recipient to see who had the bag prior and includes space for five giving opportunities (each with “to, from, event, date”), meaning the bag can be passed along to five different friends for five different occasions.
The patterned bags are printed on a distinctive, recyclable fabric-like paper called Tyvek that is resistant to water and unable to tear, making it the perfect material to be used again and again.
4. What are your top three tips for success?
In branding, differentiation is always the key to success. How do I stand out from the crowd? I think that holds true in manufacturing a product as well. I’m also a big believer in inspired storytelling and producing a high-quality piece to be proud of. And in any career, you won’t have success without nimble decision-making, accountability, resilience and a lot of hard work!