Women of Raie: Mica Demarquez
Welcome to our Women of Raie series. We chat to to Mica, owner of small business Mimi Ceramics. 2021 is the year of the coffee elevated with beautiful sentimental ceramics.
Your business focuses on beautiful handcrafted limited release drops. It is certainly for patient souls, as you always sell out! I am sure you have a huge number of customers ready to pounce on any new drops (myself included haha). Tell us about how MImi came to be?
Thank you so much! The fact that the web drops have become so popular is actually a huge surprise to me! I started making ceramics about 7 years ago, mostly just as a new hobby to start. It immediately was addicting, I would get home and not stop thinking about what to make next! From there it was friends wanting my pieces, then pop up events, then picking up wholesale accounts (which was amazing for getting my work all over the world).
Mica wears the Mary Peach frames
How did Covid affect your business practices? Did you finally have some time to reflect and work on the fundamentals on your business?
Covid and the quarantine coming from it actually affected my business in an interestingly positive way. Of course at first there was panic because all my wholesale accounts put their orders on pause, and I wasn’t able to do in person pop-ups anymore.
But then with tons of free time and nothing on my to do list, I was able to actually experiment. I finally was able to make things I had dreamed about but never had the time. I played with new shapes, new patterns, new colors, and took up a new medium with airbrushing. The amazing thing is that people actually liked what I was putting out! So instead of having to make tons of production work, I finally had the freedom to expand creatively and build a personal connection with my customer base, which has been very awesome.
We are obsessed with your marbles and gradients! What are your forecasted colour and shape trends in fashion and lifestyle for 2021.
Oh I love talking about color! Currently I have spring/summer on the mind, the color palettes I’m seeing and am drawn to right now are very fun tropical combos. Instead of heavy on the pastels like past years I want to mix them amongst bright pinks, chartreuse greens, turquoise blue, and vibrant reds. Think fruity popsicle flavors on a summer vacation :-)
And then for fall, some more muted versions of that. I also love seeing the pantone colour of the year and trying to incorporate that, and this year it’s Ultra Violet! Which I love because I think that colour could work well with all seasons.
Do you feel inspired scrolling through cyberspace or out in nature? Where do you find your inspiration from?
Good question! Mostly a combo of both! I find color inspiration in florals and cloudy skies a lot. But I also am very inspired by fashion, architecture and modern furniture design. I also have a super amature interest in typography and graphic design, which I get to play with in things like packing materials and my website.
Mica wears our Mary Peach frames
What is one trend hoping to leave behind in 2020?
Honestly the first thing that comes to mind is leaving behind exclusivity. I see a lot of similar patterns and shapes out in the internet world, for example checkers, daisies, clouds, etc. Art is a process that doesn’t exist in a vacuum or isolation, and commonalities like the above are historically how art movements work. So I’d love to focus on things like togethering and community upliftment, instead of competition and conflict that can come out of sharing art on social media.
In terms of trendy visual styles, I guess one thing I’d like to move on from is Matisse patterns. Don’t get me wrong I love Henri Matisse, my dog is even named after him! But I’d love to move onto new styles… and even more cool would be to see a shift to seeking inspiration from other notable artists in history that are women and BIPOC! Like Alma Thomas, Rufino Tamayo, Luis Barragán, Elaine de Kooning, etc.
Fav pair of Raie sunglasses and how you would style them?
I love the Mary! I like both the Peach and Moo colorways.
I’m a big fan of monochrome outfits with contrasting accessories. So I think I’d pair them with an all cobalt blue outfit, and a couple layers of gold chain jewelry :-)
I am an obsessed ceramic collector, I love the idea that no two are the same! How have you seen the pottery industry grow over the past few years and what are some tips for anyone trying to follow this line of business?
I think that pottery has grown a lot these past few years because the current upcoming generations are very mindful about shopping small, supporting artists, and buying items that really speak to them. A lot of us want pieces in our home that are special to us and not just mass made.
With that in mind, I think being genuine is an important tip in this business! Stretch your creativity, try new things no matter how weird because that’s how art grows. It might sound like corny advice but be yourself! Not just an overly branded product. A piece having personality is what makes the work connect with the customer.
Mica wears our Ivy Cherry frames
How do you implement sustainable practices into your business?
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year or so switching all my packaging to recyclable or biodegradable materials. I ditched plastic tape for kraft tape, and bubble wrap for corrugated cardboard. If I have to use packing peanuts I only ever use the biodegradable kind that dissolves in water. Other than that, I recycle all my clay and try to avoid toxic glaze materials.
What is your morning routine?
Well first off, I’m a very late riser! I find that I work best in the evening, so I don’t usually wake up until 9 or 10am. Then I take care of my pets, drink a ton of coffee, do my daily skin routine, and get any daytime errands done before I go start my day at the studio.
What are some mindful tips you implement in your daily practices?
I’m known to be a workaholic and I’ll focus too much on the work grind, which often leads to extreme burn out. So one thing I try to do is take “brain breaks”! Sometimes I will be making the same thing over and over so it’s crucial to break that up.
For example if I’m throwing 50 cups one day, I’ll pause every 15-20 cups to throw a wacky vase instead. Or my best friend (a painter that works out of the same studio) and I have something we call “play clay” time.
This is where we both stop working at a certain time, and then hang out and just hand build goofy things without thinking about work or what will sell. It’s actually been great creative exercise and led to some new styles for my line.
Not letting the work anxiety take over, and keeping the job fun is super important to me.
Much love x