It’s no secret we’re huge fan of Australia’s kid’s fashion scene and one of our favorite lines is super cool kid’s accessories brand Milk & Soda. We were shocked to find that our little girl’s go-to handbag and headband resource was actually started for boys accessories. The enterprising co-founders, Leah Nelson & Dully Lee, sent over a pile their quirky cool pieces and we had the time of our lives shooting them on our girls and their bestie, the adorable London of Scout The City.
How did the two of you meet?
We met through our passion for shopping! Dully a regular customer at a womenswear retailer where I was once the State Manager, and she was designing for her womenswear label JUKO.
Tell us your story? How did Milk & Soda come to be and what is the brand about?
It started when my little boy Bax was about 9 months old. I was desperate to find cool accessories for him to wear to a wedding, and frustrated with what was available in the market.
I was on maternity leave at Decjuba and working on a part-time basis as the Creative Concepts Manager,when I approached Dully who was running a luxe accessories line based in NYC about starting an online store selling boy’s accessories. There was a month of planning then we got the actual ball rolling.
Since we started in 2011, Milk & Soda has now evolved into a global brand and made its mark in the world of accessories. We are the go-to destination when you want to accessorize your child and stand out from the crowd.
Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
Everywhere! We draw the majority from our travels and seeing what kids are wearing in the streets. But our ultimate source would have to be our kids. Dully has two girls aged 3yrs and 12yrs; I have a 5yr old boy (and expecting another child next month).
What’s been the biggest career challenge so far?
Juggling the work-mum-travel life. As much as we love to frequently travel for work without kids and have the freedom, it’s a catch-22. Being away from them for a period of time, is equally heart-wrenching.
What’s been your proudest moment with Milk & Soda?
Having a celebrity like David Burtka as a loyal and valued customer. It was definitely a pinch yourself moment when we were invited to his 6 story brownstone apartment in NYC.
Do you have any sort of creativity exercise you do when you need to get things going?
Pack our bags and escape from the daily grind! It’s good for the soul, and gets you thinking out of the norm core.
How has surrounding yourself with creative women been important to you?
We appreciate being around creative people as we can bounce and share ideas with others. But we make it a point to a put our own spin on things and march to the beat of our own drum. In the end whatever you create, needs to reflect your brand direction.
Being an entrepreneur and mama can be really hectic, what’s your favorite way to make time for your kids?
Maintaining a good work/life balance is vital for us. Being mothers to young kids, we both have a mutual understanding about spending time with our children. If we have to drop everything at 2pm to do a kinder pick up and call it a day, then so be it. We love grabbing a treat at a local cafe or surprising them with a spontaneous visit to a toy store.
If we have to drop everything at 2pm to do a kinder pick up and call it a day, then so be it. We love grabbing a treat at a local cafe or surprising them with a spontaneous visit to a toy store.
How do you unwind?
Retail therapy, hydro facial, and a good massage.
What do you love most about what you do?
It never feels like work. Dully and I are genuinely passionate about children’s fashion and we constantly challenge each other to bring excitement to our brand.
How has motherhood changed you as person, as you see life, and what you want to achieve?
I’ve personally learned not to sweat the small stuff. If it can’t be achieved today, there’s always tomorrow. Be in the now and everything will fall into place.
What do you want to teach your kids about life?
Gratitude. Never forget your humble beginning and the people that helped shaped and elevate you along your life journey.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Have vision, follow that vision and execute. A goal and purpose in whatever you do is a no-brainer.
What’s on the horizon for you? Any big plans in the works?
We have a few collaborations with other brands on the pipeline. We’ve also been approached by another multi-national retailer to do their product development.
But essentially, Dully and I are always asking each other, “What feels new and fresh? Is it undeniably cool and it is Milk & Soda?” If we continue to remain true to our brand ethos, we know and feel that exciting things will naturally happen.
If you were granted just one wish what would it be?
To end poverty especially in third world countries.
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