As we all are trying to make an more of an impact each month, little by little as humans living in this ever changing world, it's so important to connect and get inspired on different ways we can choose to be smarter consumers, and connecting ourselves to more purpose and inspiration from those who are creating a easier path to the growth of social good.
This month we're so excited to team up w/ Mila Roads in the June Giv Box. They gifted ALL OUR GIV BOX SUBSCRIBERS a beautiful handmade leather tassel in each box for FREE! Thank you so much! They did this because they wanted to reward all of you for choosing to shop with impact and subscribe each month so you can empower others and Giv Back.
We are so excited to interview on the #livthegivlife Podcast, founder of Mila Road, Lonnie from Centerville, Utah. You will connect to her beautiful story of starting her company @milaroads and what inspired her later in life to take the plunge into business and start up life.
The Giv Box is so honored to meet STRONG, BOLD, and IMPACTFUL humans who are doing their part of creating change for the better of others.
Meet Lonnie, Co-Founder, of Mila Roads
- Can you tell us a little about yourself? There is nothing I would rather do than explore, and learn about the people and places in this world. I love to get lost in a new city. I love to get to know people and their stories. I also love to be at home in my comfy clothes reading, or watching a good Netflix series. I love all things Jane Austin. I love hiking and learned to snow ski this year. My favorite thing to do is hang out with my family. I’m pretty cheesy and I’m always telling my kids how fun I am. I think it might be working! In my former life, I was a cosmetologist. I have loved starting Mila Roads and I feel passionate about my company.
- What inspired your idea of your company? We spent 4 years living in China and traveling to many parts of the world, loving a life filled with adventure, exotic places and different cultures. In our travels, I was continually drawn to the gorgeous fabrics I found in local markets. Mila Roads began when I realized that incorporating these fabrics into daily use items, such as a beautiful leather bag, creates a direct connection with these cultures and the artisans that made them.
- How did you come up with your company name? We tried so many names! Then we combined my husband Michael and my name (my grandchildren call me Lala- yes I’m a grandma. And I love it!) and came up with Mila. The cool part is we found out Mila(pronounced Meela) means “a thousand” in Italian- and a thousand roads fit perfectly with our brand.
- You have such a fun vibrant vibe when it comes to your brand, where do you think that came from? Who or what inspired you? Thank you so much -that means a lot coming from you! We are very focused around here on individual style. It’s important to us to bring women products that inspire them, and enable them to express their individuality. Our inspiration is definitely the fabrics, with the colors, styles and patterns that make them truly unique to each culture.
5. Did you have any fears to start your own company? What made you just do it? Yes! When I started, I truly had to learn everything. Design, sourcing, social media and marketing to name a few things. I’m still learning. Other than the learning curve, which was huge, there was the vulnerability of putting myself out there. I have learned over the years that anything worthwhile takes getting over fear and jumping in - so I just jumped!
- What’s your favorite thing about what you create daily? My favorite thing is definitely the design process. I love spending time down in my studio, coming up with new ideas and trying them out.
- What will people experience by following your brand online? Our motto is: Be inspired. Be adventurous. Be yourself. As you follow us, you will find our motto thread into our posts, stories and our website. We also take great care to use responsible tanning, recycled or handmade fabrics, fair trade when possible, and we even use a small U.S. maker for manufacturing. We are so excited to team with Givbox because we are also all about giving back.
- What is your favorite product trend this spring 2019? Isn’t it fantastic that sustainable fashion AND big comfy statement sneakers are all on trend this spring? We are all about caring for the earth at our company- and the people in it - so I love that! And who doesn’t just want to have happy feet? Am I right? Let’s hear it for dad shoes...
- What does a day in the life of Lonnie look like? How do you balance it all being a CEO/founder with your family? Wow! My days are never the same. It feels like I am working in, around, and between a million other important things- like my children and grandchildren, volunteer work, my new puppy, and well, just life. Exercise is key. I always find time for that to keep me sane. Balancing work and family is always delicate work, but in truth, my family always comes first.
- What advice would you tell someone who wants to live their passion, start their own company, but are nervous to just start? I had a great mentor who told me that everyone thinks they have to have everything perfectly lined up to start their business. He told me to just start. I would say that to you- just start. You will make mistakes, but that’s OK. It will be the adventure of a lifetime!
- What was your inspiration behind your current products you offer online? Our inspiration this spring is all about bright, fun colors! We have some really great pieces on the website. One is The Otomi Vintage Embroidered Weekender. I felt really lucky to get a piece of this fabric. The Otami women free hand draw and embroider bright flowers and animals. Another favorite is the Chinese Batik Travel Pouch. The fabric has many steps to get the beautiful blue and white patterns. I remember seeing large panels of fabric hanging on big poles to dry when we lived in China. These are just a couple of pieces we have right now. They are gorgeous!
- How do you spread the word about your company? As a new company, we have been building our social media following, as well as collaborating with great companies like Givbox. Word of mouth is always the best way and we do that by creating happy customers. We were just featured this month in Conde Nast Traveller, which is really exciting.
- Any favorite quotes that you love and inspires you? So many! Here are just a couple:
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ―Winston S. Churchill
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” -- Brene Brown
- Why did you choose the free product highlight in the Giv Box? Tell us more about your brands mission and how that aligns with the Giv Box?Our mission is to create connections for good with the beautiful people and cultures around the world. We use handmade, upcycled, and environmentally responsible materials and methods. We also use fair trade whenever possible, giving a fair wage to the artists who make their crafts. It is important to us to give back. I love that Givbox is also about sharing the talents of artists around the world to help provide a living for these beautiful women. We are so excited to join in this collaboration with a company that also wants to make a difference!
15. What other products do you offer online? Where can they go shop other fun products you offer? We currently an online only company. We offer limited edition luxury leather bags incorporated with fabrics from around the world and made of the best full grain vegetable tan leather you can buy. We also have fun tassels and key chains, as well as unique wallets and coin purses.
- Where can people find you online to shop? You can find our online store at milaroads.com orFollow us on instagram @milaroads
- Do you believe that creating products that are connected to impact will create change? And Why? I absolutely believe that even though it seems minuscule, each step we take to make change in our world makes a difference. A friend of mine who started a foster home against all odds in China, once shared with me the story of a young boy who was throwing starfish back into the ocean on a beach. An old man asked him why he would waste his time, as there were so many stranded starfish that it would never make a difference. He turned to the old man as he threw one into the ocean and said, “ Well I just made a difference for that one”, and continued with his work. We may be a small company, but I believe there are people out there like all of you, who will help create change one small act at a time.
Don't have the JUNE summer Giv BOX featuring Mila Roads Free Gift? Don't wait click HERE TO GET YOUR BOX and your empowering accessories.
Want more of beautiful Lonnie and her fearless love for creating and giving back?