Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gals We Admire: Alyssa Kerbel

Founder of eco-friendly clothing line minimioche, Alyssa Kerbel started her company in 2008 after giving birth to her first child and realizing how difficult it was to find great baby basics without ugly patterns or graphics splashed across the front. A foundation of the company is ensuring that each and every piece of mini mioche is designed and manufactured in Canada. Find out more about this career gal whose got a keen sense of fashion for babies.

Name: Alyssa Kerbel
Profession: Owner, mini mioche Inc.; and Owner, Alyssa Agency
Website:; and
Twitter handle: @mamamioche; and @minimioche  

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish
My day usually starts around 6:30 a.m. when my kids wake me up (I am not a morning person at all) and the first thing I do when I open my eyes is check my emails on my blackberry. I get the kids up and fed while working on my laptop or iPad and then I try to fit in a quick jog or workout video when my nanny arrives in the morning.

Every work day is totally different for me as I own two completely separate businesses. Depending on what’s going on, I either spend the day at the agency showroom working with retailers or at mini mioche headquarters in downtown Toronto or sometimes just running around from the patternmakers to the factory to the printers. So I guess you could say there is really no 'typical work day' in my world (which is one of the things I love most about my work)!

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
I think it was a personal shopper or anything to do with shopping really. I seem to recall it was the thing I excelled at the most right from the get go.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
As mentioned before I love that every day is totally different and brings about new challenges. I am constantly learning new things and because I am involved in every aspect of my business (mini mioche in particular) from product design to web site development, marketing and social media it is incredibly rewarding to see the evolution of the brand over the past 4 years.  I really enjoy that, for the most part, I don’t think of it as 'a job' – it's more of a passion really.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
I guess I would have to say wearing multiple hats or juggling a lot of balls and keeping them all up in the air.  When you run your own small business you tend to be involved in pretty much every aspect, which is something I love, but it can also feel very overwhelming to do everything you want to do and do it all well.

Staying current and up to date with all of the new technology and social media outlets is also a constant challenge and can be very time consuming but I feel it is extremely important and worth devoting the time and attention to.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
I definitely think I had a "calling" for both of my professions. I have always loved fashion and accessories and so the wholesale fashion agency business was something I was passionate about from the start.  I had always hoped while growing up that I would do something in the fashion arena and it turned out sales was my thing.

I started mini mioche after I had my daughter Emerson 4 years ago and realized that it was very difficult to find great basics for infants in neutral colours that didn’t have logos, graphics or prints all over them.  I never really thought I would be a designer (I have no formal design training) but it just ended up being a natural progression after all of my years spent selling other people’s clothing lines.   

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Don't settle – in any facet of your life.  I think if you are willing to work hard and put the effort in, it’s possible to find the right career fit and it makes all the difference in the world when you actually like what you do.

Don’t be afraid to do your own thing. It’s not the easiest road for sure but the results can be so rewarding when you are your own boss and in charge of your own destiny (and remember if it were easy, everyone would do it).

Find someone in your life that can act as your mentor or who can help guide you through your career and give you advice and feedback when you need it. I have learned a great deal through trial and error but I have learned the most by working with and talking to people who have more experience and knowledge than I do.


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