Jasmin Heeb, Founder & Creative Director
After spending many years in corporate sales and business management in the airline and tourism industry, she decided she wanted to have a go at following her passion for design & fashion. First as a category buyer and senior procurement manager for an online-shopping club, then by boldly setting up, together with a partner, her own yoga-inspired fashion label in Zurich.
Over the last 5,5 years she was not only the Managing Director & Designer, but also leading the whole production process. Mimi + Bart has been in her head for some time now. Since she’s become a Mum to Maximilian, she feels sustainability has started to play an even more important role in her life, and hopes to help raise awareness for some of our world’s environmental challenges through fashion
Kathrin Joa, Co-Founder / Brand & Strategy Director
Worked as a Brand and Communication Strategist in several global communication networks and branding agencies in Milan, Frankfurt and Zürich, taking care of brands across several industries. From automotive, food and beverage, tourism, renewable energy, entertainment and telecommunications. When her daughter Nina was born, she decided to become self-employed, being able to manage her own time, consulting Global Communication Networks and smaller creative shops across Europe. She has become extremely aware on how currently women are still struggling to find a fulfilling balance between work and private life, just because they are not put into a long term sustainable condition to go back to work after becoming moms.
From bears and working moms – a conversation with Mimi + Bart (Interview by Karamell Zurich)
Mimi+Bart, that’s Jasmin Heeb and Kathrin Joa. Two friends who have set their minds on establishing a kids´ brand that goes beyond the usual sustainability standards. Their message: it’s high time to push beyond the production of organic material. They are doing so with their fashion that is uncompromising, loud but always stylish. The current collection is made up of sweaters, jackets, sweats, leggings and playsuits with a dominant polar bear print in light blue, white and dark blue.
The two founders can use their vast experiences within the textile- and advertising industry. Jasmin Heeb, responsible for design, previously established a well-known yoga brand. Kathrin Joa, responsible for branding and strategy, has worked as a brand and communication consultant in numerous agencies.
What was the idea behind Mimi+Bart?
Jasmin & Kathrin: We are neighbors and have had the sustainability topic on our minds for a while. As we spoke the same language from the beginning, it was obvious where Mimi+Bart should lead. We developed a detailed concept from where everything happened fast.
Jasmin, before Mimi+Bart you designed adult fashion with Lola/Fred. Why now kids’ fashion?
Jasmin: When I decided to leave the adult fashion industry, I already had Mimi+Bart on my mind. I wanted to create a brand that identifies with sustainability on another level. Its more than just organic or recycled materials. I want a 360° sustainability.
What do we have to imagine?
Jasmin: With every collection we support an environmental topic which we are actively tackling. We live a sustainable work-life-balance with our families and in the future, we will approach further topics such as upcycling. Why kids fashion? Kids are great ambassadors for sustainable topics and we can speak about their future on the planet. And the beauty with kids´ fashion is that it is so much more relaxed than adult fashion on every level.
Which organization do you support with your project?
Jasmin: WWF, as it is known for their environmental topics. We will use one piece per collection as ambassador to generate awareness for a specific topic. With the current polar bear design, we are sensitizing for the climate change in the Arctic. We are donating 10% of the sale of each Vickie Sweater.
What´s the brands philosophy and your ultimate goal?
Jasmin & Kathrin: We want people to reflect. Hence we choose one sustainability topic per collection get people to reflect on it. All our pieces are made of certified organic cotton produced in Portugal (GOTS & OEKO TEX). It’s a one stop production: from fabric production, dyeing and finishing to the end product. We know the people and are in daily contact with the team. Further we are transporting our products via land.
Why are you producing a unisex-collection?
Kathrin: A unisex collection means sustainability in itself, as the pieces can be inherited from the sister to the brother and vice versa. The pieces are hence being worn longer. Current trends are also showing that parents want to raise their kids without the stereotypical gender roles. Who says that a boy has to wear blue and a girl pink with ribbons?
How do your kids influence your work?
Jasmin: I have a four-year old son, Maximilian. He is a great motivation and inspiration for me and everything I hope to establish with Mimi + Bart. I often try to involve him in the work. Also, our kids have an important say when it comes to design and prints.
Kathrin: My daughter Nina is four years old. Since being a mom, flexibility is super important for me. The bureaucracy in the companies I worked at were a huge energy guzzler. With Mimi+Bart I am now lucky enough to plan my time as need be. We have a start-up atmosphere which is often more creative than my work in “creative-agencies” – less meetings, more ideas, agile working resulting in more time for the family.
How do you balance your work and family life?
Jasmin: The biggest challenge is that both of us still have part-time jobs and we are hence juggling jobs, Mimi+Bart and family. Luckily, Mimi+Bart doesn’t feel like work. But should we have to prioritize family always comes first.
What are your favorite family activities in Zurich?
Jasmin: Brunch, nowhere else do you have so many good restaurants. Or just strolling around the city. Obviously, my son loves the Zoo in Zurich – he adores animals.
Kathrin: During the summer a visit to the “Badi” or a picnic in the park. During winter “Schlitteln” at Uetliberg or just walks in the snow. Since we moved from Milan to Zurich five years ago, we enjoy every season.
What´s the family´s favorite food?
Jasmin: Home-made pizza, which Max loves to decorate with loads of veggies.
Kathrin: Pumpkin risotto during fall and as half Italian family its pasta with tomatoes and feta in summer. Nina also loves Linguine with pesto.
What are you doing to live sustainable and environmentally aware?
Jasmin: Recycling! Max has learnt that when he was a baby and now the Saturday trip to the recycling curb is his highlight. I tend to buy Max´s clothes a size bigger so he can wear it two seasons. For myself I am a great fan of second-hand shops. Further we only buy the food we need so we don’t have a lot of food in stock to prevent food waste.
Kathrin: Recycling is number one. And playful activities such as “beach/lake cleaning”, which always is a lot of fun for Nina and I. I want to raise awareness for the problem “littering”, it is astonishing what kind of litter we find and what people throw away without thinking of the consequences. Clothes are also bought a size bigger and whatever doesn’t fit anymore is given to friends. Puh, there is so much more, the topic environment is really present in our household.
Jasmin & Kathrin: To be internationally recognized as a brand with a message and have people rethink their choices without forgetting the fashion aspect. As an employer we want to create a co-working space in Zurich and part-time positions for moms and dads.