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Designer Mimi G: “To develop Grit, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons”

GIVE: The second thing is to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Money, power, recognition, fame are not reasons to start a business. My business podcast is called Business SHET; it stands for solve a problem, help your customer or client get past their current stage, earn their respect and build trust. […]


GIVE: The second thing is to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Money, power, recognition, fame are not reasons to start a business. My business podcast is called Business SHET; it stands for solve a problem, help your customer or client get past their current stage, earn their respect and build trust. If your reason is a selfish one, you will find yourself missing out on the greatest gift you can receive as an entrepreneur, the gift of gratitude. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I thought of quitting and doing something else because it was hard! Being in the public eye opens you up to criticism and doubt, and social media can be hard to handle, but when you get an email from someone who’s life is changed because of your product, service, or advice, it changes the way you look at your business. My followers and customers are my reason; the rest follows.


I had the distinct pleasure to interview fashion icon Mimi G. Latina Mimi G. is the woman behind the award-winning popular fashion, lifestyle, and DIY blog MimiGstyle.com. What started as a hobby in 2012 has blossomed into an international brand with a daily engagement of more than 2.1 million followers across social media platforms and 12 million page views annually and 575K unique visitors per month on her blog. Since 2014, Mimi G. Style has partnered with Simplicity Creative Group to license, design and market commercial sewing patterns. In 2016 Mimi G. founded Sew It Academy, an online sewing school — designed to be a hip and fresh, accessible and affordable way for anyone interested in learning to sew and design. Mimi G. has collaborated with over 350 brands including Target, Google, Macy’s, ULTA, The Home Depot, The Recording Academy, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Kellogg, Revlon, Steve Madden and more. Mimi G. is a sought-after speaker and consultant and has interviewed celebrities such as Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Aniston.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path?

It’s my pleasure and thanks for the opportunity to share. To answer your question, I believe my entire life has somehow prepared me for this career path. There was a specific time in my life; however, that guided me to start my blog, which eventually leads to this fantastic career. In 2008 I was a stressed-out mommy of four, working a 16-hour day job in production, commuting 3 hours, and seriously struggling to pay bills. The pressure I was under at the time was overwhelming, and I felt like I needed something to help balance me. I had started sewing again after many years and stumbled upon these home sewing blogs online that just amazed me. I didn’t realize that there was an entire group of women just like me who loved to sew. I started following and reading and decided that I could start a blog too as a way to journal what I was making. Sewing had always been therapeutic for me, and so I started my first blog where I shared things I was making for myself. I did it sparingly (maybe once every few months), and honestly, I wasn’t even sure what a blog was or what I was doing so not much came of it. Then in 2012, I decided to try again, and this time to blog consistently and share bits of my life along the way. I was amazed at how quickly people started gravitating to my blog, and it wasn’t long after that I noticed I was doing something many other blogs were not doing, I was teaching. That moment of realization led to this crazy amazing business.

Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First, can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

How far do you want to go back? Ha! You know as a child, I was a victim of sexual abuse by two family members at different times in my adolescence. My mom was a single parent, and although she was doing the best she knew how, it was a pretty bad situation. There was physical abuse from a step-parent, constant exposure to my abusers, and things were getting progressively worse, so I ran away from home at fifteen. I spent the rest of my teenage years living where I could, at the mercy of people’s kindness, but unfortunately, that kindness was not often found. I was now a teen mom, had no real place to live, couldn’t afford to feed my daughter and had been in and out of abusive relationships. The cycle was never-ending, and after years of domestic violence, homelessness, and forced decision making I started to realize that if something was going to change, I was going to have to change it, so I did.

I had many years of struggles and sheer desperation, but eventually, I was able to start working and brought my daughter home, it would take me pages to cover all the things that I went through over the years, but I got on my feet and started changing the path I was on. It wasn’t until years later and three more babies that I was able to begin my real journey and became the person I am today. Now when I look back at my life, it no longer saddens me because through each struggle I found strength.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

I knew deep inside that I was meant to do something great and that although everything in my life seemed to be a complete disaster, I felt like I had two choices, win or lose. I chose not to let the moments of despair overshadow my desire to be better and provide a better life for my kids, and I knew that if I could just keep moving forward, I would end up finding my way. Now I won’t say that it was always easy or that I didn’t think to give up a lot and even struggled with thoughts of ending my life so that I didn’t have to feel pain any longer, because I did, but I had these kids that relied on me, and I didn’t want to disappoint them or me. I just wanted to be able to show them that the circumstances of my life were not going to dictate my future or theirs.

So how did grit lead to your eventual success?

Well, I think when you grow up the way I did you learn to deal with the unexpected, or deal with hardships and somehow find a way to move past them, so that is what I did. That tenacity is what helped me build this community and to do it in a way that gave back to people. My business on the surface looks like a DIY/sewing empire, but it’s really a vehicle of motivation and encouragement to thousands of people who at some point or another find themselves in difficult circumstances. My grit kept me alive, it formed me as an entrepreneur and helped build this business that everyone told me would never happen.

Based on your experience, can you share five pieces of advice about how one can develop grit?

There are a lot of ways to develop grit, but from my own experience, these are game-changers.

LOVE: The first thing I would say is to find something that interests you, it’s the only way that you can wake up every day energized to keep at it. I love to sew and design, and if I never made a single penny from it, I would do it all day long. I am passionate about sewing and teaching, and that helped keep me focused when things didn’t go well or I was not seeing the growth I wanted. I had to make risky decisions to maximize my efforts but If you don’t love what you do when it gets hard, you will find a reason to bail.

LAUGH: Learn to laugh at the bad. It took a while, but I can sit and tell you all the awful, terrible things that happen in my life without feeling anything anymore. I trained myself to change the feelings I would get when thinking of those things that pained me because I control my feelings. The only way to build resilience is to understand that thoughts have power, and if you are living in the sadness, only more sadness can come to you. If you choose to laugh at things that you can’t change and work towards the things that you can you start to build a certain kind of toughness.

GIVE: The second thing is to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Money, power, recognition, fame are not reasons to start a business. My business podcast is called Business SHET; it stands for solve a problem, help your customer or client get past their current stage, earn their respect and build trust. If your reason is a selfish one, you will find yourself missing out on the greatest gift you can receive as an entrepreneur, the gift of gratitude. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I thought of quitting and doing something else because it was hard! Being in the public eye opens you up to criticism and doubt, and social media can be hard to handle, but when you get an email from someone who’s life is changed because of your product, service, or advice, it changes the way you look at your business. My followers and customers are my reason; the rest follows.

BELIEVE: Practicing courage takes time, trust me. It comes with small successes, and slowly after time, you start to feel more confident about your decision making. To develop grit you have to believe, you have to believe that no matter what anybody says YOU know in your heart what you are doing will pay off. I know that more times than not we find ourselves trying to explain our “why” to friends of family members who don’t get it and that can have a negative effect on some people, it can create doubt and confusion which is why I tell my students when you have a great idea for something keep it to yourself for a while. The thing is that believing in yourself takes courage, and you can’t have one without the other. The more you bet on you, take small steps and enjoy the small wins they will eventually help you take big steps and then you will no longer need courage because you have learned to believe in yourself and in your ability to drown out the noise.

CULTIVATE: Start cultivating relationships with people who inspire you, people who you want to model or learn from. The one thing sure to crush a dream is a negative person. You must be careful about who you surround yourself with because on days when you don’t feel like you can do it or you start to feel like an imposter, you are going to need people who live life according to their terms to help you out of that slump. If your friends are comprised of people not doing anything but have a bunch to say about what you are doing, you will start that negative thinking that you worked so hard to change so my solution is to find new friends.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?

I had a lot of people along the way who helped me but the one person I will forever be grateful to is my last boss. He was a great mentor who helped me gain confidence in myself. He loved to teach me new things and take me places that I had never been, his openness gave me access to a world I had never known but wanted to know. I admired how he ran his business and how he lived his life without apology or concern for what people thought, he had an idea and he ran with it always. As I started my business, I realized just how much I had learned from him, not just about business but how to live without fear.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I try every day of my life to bring goodness to those around me, I can’t say I have always succeeded but I always try. I think that what I do now is provide people with the motivation to see beyond themselves and to reach for things they once felt were unreachable. I have taught tens of thousands of people to sew and now how to start a business from their hobbies so when I see those same students starting side hustles, creating passive income for themselves, teaching and sharing with others it fulfills me like nothing else can. There is still so much more I want to do.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We have just added a new instructor to our online sewing and design school, Sew It Academy, so we very excited about that. I founded Sew It Academy to help people who wanted to learn sewing and fashion design but couldn’t afford to go to traditional design school. I developed it so that you didn’t need any experience to start and just about anyone could afford it. For the price of two lattes a month we teach you everything you need to know to make your own clothes, fix clothes that don’t fit off the rack, work and design on your own collections or work in the industry. I am also gearing up for a new season of the Business SHET podcast where I give a ton of information on starting a business without all the fluff, it is certainly a straight talk kinda podcast.

What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?

The first thing I would say is to create a space of exchange and openness. I am always looking to hear what my staff thinks, how they feel or what they need. I think being an employee for so long taught me to be a good leader. I know how it felt to not be heard or to be treated like the help so I want my staff to feel involved and that sort of energy produces productivity it makes them part of a team and not just part of your business.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would start a “teach one” movement. Teaching is a powerful tool and everyone has something they can teach so I would encourage everyone to teach someone something that could help them and potentially change their lives. We have to stop holding on to information like it’s going to be taken away from us somehow. The more I teach and give, the more I get in return every time.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is “You can have results or excuses but you can’t have both.” I use it all the time and remind myself of it when I start to veer off my path because I am tired or afraid or unsure.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can find me

@mimigstyle and @sewitacademy.

My website: https://sew-it-academy.thinkific.com/

Thank you!!

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