As a team, we have loved watching the recent evolution of children’s design. The market for sleek and beautiful kids’ clothing, toys and furniture has broadened drastically in the last year! One woman who has arguably spearheaded this movement is MINI X STYLE founder Emily Wassall. Leading up to the birth of her first daughter two years ago, Emily noticed a need for more sophisticated childrenswear. So, drawing on her background in fashion, art and business, Emily took matters into her own hands and built a brand of whimsical goodies for all the little ones in our lives. We invite you to take a tour of Emily’s swoon-worthy Silver Lake home—and to soak up some of her valuable perspective along the way!
Photography by Monica Wang
Tell us about MINI X. What was the inspiration behind the brand, and how did you make it a reality?
I come from a fashion background, as an art director for Net-a-Porter in London and then for my own creative agency, EW Studios in Los Angeles.
When I was pregnant with Aura, I searched for baby clothing online but couldn’t find a store I really loved. Creatively, I was also coming to a point where I felt like everything in the adult fashion world had been done before. Meanwhile, there was this explosion of activity happening in kidswear that felt new and different. People were starting to play with the notion of what ‘mini’ fashion could be, moving toward an aesthetic that is more like adult fashion but has a playful twist. I wanted to build on that vision with MINI X by creating a kids’ style destination that offered the same level of design, curation and creativity found at my favorite grown-up stores.
What are some of your favorite pieces available through MINI X STYLE?
Caroline Bosmans blows me away each season. Her collections really push the boundaries. AKID makes the coolest shoes for kids—I cannot resist buying a pair (or three!) for my daughter each season. And, of course, pieces from the MINI X collection, launching this summer.
What were some of your goals and inspirations when designing your home?
Our home is a 1930s early midcentury property perched on the hillside in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. We intend to renovate it in the next year or two (there are only so many things you can do at once!). The interior style is quite eclectic. Coming from the U.K., I can’t get enough of the modern Californian aesthetic—but I’m also influenced by pop culture and bold colors, so you can see hints of those throughout the house.
It’s important to me to create good energy in our home. In the evenings I often have work to do, so I need my surroundings to be calm and creative. I can’t help but collect curiosities, so our living space is filled with candles, crystals and cacti.
How would you describe your own personal style?
My wardrobe is pretty relaxed, with lots of monochromatic color (mostly black), but I can’t live without statement accessories. My go-to sunglasses to complete any outfit are from Thierry Lasry—the shapes and materials used are so unique, and the quality is great. My jewelry is my treasure, collected on my travels from Ibiza to Bali to Mexico. I love to layer on rings. My signature piece is a vintage 1980s Chanel watch that I tracked down in Paris. I live in sneakers since I am always running around. It’s becoming a bit of an addiction—I could buy a new pair of Nikes every week!
How has being a mom changed your style?
I am 27 weeks pregnant and have a two-year-old daughter, so my style right now has had to adapt. Day-to-night looks often include a great pair of oversized harem pants, a linen tee, a leather jacket and, of course, my Nikes. As my body permanently changes to accommodate another tiny human being, I am clinging to my style, and trying to feel as much like “me” as I possibly can.
Dish on your a.m. and p.m. beauty routines.
I swear by Australian beauty products—those guys have it down. Aesop is my go-to for skin care. Morning and night I apply the Damascan Rose Facial Treatment, which creates the most healthy, natural-looking glow. The one thing I can’t leave the house without doing is applying eyeliner. I feel naked and totally not “me” without it. And I always have Lucas’ Papaw Ointment on hand to keep my lips moist.
What does a typical day in the life of Emily Wassall look like?
Right now it’s not the most glamorous, and it’s pretty jam-packed. I think that’s the reality of starting a business and having a young family! I begin my day by having breakfast with my daughter, hanging out with her and reading stories. The time I have with her is precious, and I savor every moment. I always grab a coffee on the way to the studio, and when I get there, it’s “go, go, go!” It’s very hard to find a balance and not feel as though you are neglecting your business or child. It’s quite exhausting—especially when you throw being pregnant into the mix! Once Aura is asleep, it’s time to work again. Then I crash around 11 p.m.!
What kind of influence has Aura had on the way you decorate your home?
It is definitely brighter in color and less minimal than it once was, especially in Aura’s room. I surprised myself when I started buying décor for her room, as I’m usually not so into lots of color at once. But I love how her room radiates brightness. Magical creatures watch over her, and there are lots of curious objects for her to see and hold.
I didn’t want our home to be too dictated by our having children. Aura is great at leaving precious things alone, which means we can still have plants and lights on the floor and not have to worry too much about moving everything out of reach. I also didn’t want our home to always be cluttered with toys, so I’ve made sure to create lots of storage space and not have a million things out at once. I think it’s good for Aura to respect her surroundings. She also loves to tidy up and keep things in their place, which is very helpful!
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of motherhood?
Challenging: Just as you think you have it all down, your child changes again, and you’re faced with a new set of challenges. Right now Aura is at the best age. She is 20 months old, bursting with happy energy and so fun to be around. That may change when her baby sister arrives!
Rewarding: Every aspect of being a mum. Knowing that you brought this precious life into the world; watching her change and grow into a unique being. Each day Aura blows me away with new words, new sentences, new eccentricities. I am so incredibly proud to be her mama.
How do you balance your career and motherhood?
I try very hard to keep these two aspects of my life quite separate. I am lucky enough to be my own boss, so I can often choose the time that I spend with my family. When I am with Aura, I do not look at my phone, and the laptop is closed. I am all hers. This does mean that once she is in bed at night, I spend a lot of my evening time catching up on work and emails. So, life is nonstop—but I prefer it that way.
Top guilty pleasures: Go!
1. Magazines: I moved the most ridiculous collection with me from the U.K.
2. Amazon Prime: Completely essential when you have a baby and always need new things to watch.
3. Cool kids’ clothes: I’m always taking things home from the studio for Aura.
4. Good coffee: I can’t kick it.
5. Instagram: There’s always more to see.
6. Did I mention Nike sneakers?
7. “Peppa Pig“: I don’t know what we would do without it. I also secretly enjoy watching it myself!
How do you prefer to spend your precious “me time”?
It’s mostly about stealing moments right now. Over the weekend, I soak up the sunshine while Aura naps or take in our neighborhood on a stroll by the reservoir. I hope that spa days with a pile of magazines and a glass of wine can be in the cards again someday soon!
What’s next for MINI X?
We have been working hard on a new project—our own MINI X label! We will be releasing limited-edition collections with a focus on pop prints and cool collaborations. We are also launching a new website with branding and packaging to match. It’s been a busy time at the studio!