Do you love arts and crafts? Do you love creating new works of art? If so, then you might want to check out these innovative shoes by Mr. Monkies!
Mr. Monkies established in 2013, launched a very cool concept on the shoe market: a shoe you can customize yourself. How? With pens. Why? Because once upon a time, a young child drew on his new shoes and his mum yelled at him.
Time for an interview with Albin Warin, the founder, of Mr. Monkies.
Could you tell us about the very beginning of Mr. Monkies ? How did you start the brand? Why shoes? Where does the name come from?
The idea of mr. monkies came from a kid. At his birthday party he got plenty of gifts and among them a pair of white shoes. Couple of hours later, he came with this new pair full of doodles! The mom got mad but the idea was great! Such a genius! From then, we thought creating a shoe that you can draw on could be a great way to express your creativity, and make something unique by yourself. In France, we used to say kids are as smart as monkeys, so we just play with the word and it became: monkies shoes. Later, when we decided to expand to adult market, we changed the name to Mr. Monkies.
Do you have children? Do they influence your work?
I come from a big family so I have been surrounded by kids all the time. I always cherished relationships with little ones. They are innocent and can be very straightforward. You get inspired by them and the way they see the world.
What part of the creative process do you like best? Do you work alone?
At the beginning there was only me, and slowly, step by step we built a team. Today we are a team of 10 people from creative, marketing, sales and artists.
Do you have a 5-10 year plan or do you just do it instinctively?
Today’s world is changing so fast and in my opinion a 5 to 10 years plan does not make sense. Technology and trends are constantly changing. However, the most important thing is to have a vision of the future and being able to adapt yourself to new changes so they do not impact your process.
What is your latest design? Can you tell a little bit more about it?
Recently, we launched a very interesting new product: a coloring shoe! Like a coloring book that you can fill out with colors you want. It was a successful test so we will launch a new edition next year .
At what age did you first notice fashion around you?
I have always been interested in fashion. At 13, I was a real sneaker collector. I even imported special editions from the U.S! Later, as it is for everyone, my taste changed and I was more attracted by other style of shoes. However, I never followed or imitated other people’s style. I like to have my own touch.
What sort of clothes did you enjoy wearing as a child and what did you hate wearing?
In my days of childhood, I liked the casual chic style and bright colors like orange and red.
To wear, I like brands like: Golden Goose, Ami, American Vintage, Acne. In terms of designers, I like Karl Lagerfeld, his works are very detail-oriented.
How does it feel when you see a child wearing a pair of Mr Monkies?
The first time I saw someone wearing our shoes in the street, it was at the airport and I was like ” is it really our shoes?” I was really proud. It is so amazing to see more and more people wearing your products.
Do you like children to be mini me’s?
Well, until a certain age, you dress up your kid with your own taste. In a way, the outfit of your kid is a reflect of your own style.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
Mornings start with reading emails and updates from the team. Afternoons will be more about meetings with partners. After work, I workout, to keep in shape and my mind clear.
What do you love most about your job?
Creation is a part I really like : having new ideas every day and make them happen, we never get bored with what we do. Meeting interesting people from different universes is also a great source of inspiration.
What is your greatest strength?
Being open-minded and always curious in learning new things.
What is your greatest weakness?
Sometimes, I have too many ideas. It can be dangerous, so you need to keep your mind in focus.
What is the one trait that makes a child attractive?
Where can we find Mr. Monkie shoes?
Online at http://mrmonkies.com/en/