Following the success of our Kids That Inspire article series, in which we shine a light on exceptional kids making a difference, we are excited to launch our newest article, (BIG) Kids That Inspire! In this series we speak to parents, entrepreneurs and (big) kids who are making a difference and forging their own path and who, like JUNiA, are encouraging kids to be all they can be in the process.
Our first BIG Kid is Reina Acab, the thoughtful and genius founder of chic kids wear brand même. This LA-based designer is determined to create a brand kids can love, share, and grow with.
Read our full interview with Reina below.
JUNiA: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, we are big fans of même! But tell us a little about you!
REINA: My name is Reina Acab, I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, currently living in Los Angeles, California. No children (yet!) I like pineapples on my pizza (I hope this sparks a debate among friends, haha!)
J: What’s the name of your brand? What does it stand for?
R: Our children’s brand is called même. It’s a versatile French word, where the meaning changes based on how it’s used in a sentence, but it loosely translates to “same” or “even”
The meaning ties to our mission of designing products brothers and sisters can share, along with creating a sense of equality within and beyond the brand itself. We stand for representation in the children’s industry, sustainability by way of upcycling, mindful consumption, and honest processes in production, and creating good, lasting product. When customers think of même., we hope these words come to mind: bold, confident, fun, artistic, beautiful, equal.
J: What does a typical day in the life look like?
R: I begin every morning by hopping straight into the shower to wake me up! While getting ready, I listen to a 30-minute affirmation recording. Afterward, I’ll write in my journal for 15 minutes – this is where I do gratitude practices and list out some goals/tasks for the day.
Typically, my boyfriend Anthony, aka co-founder aka partner in crime, head downtown to the Fashion District to visit sew houses and run a bunch of errands. In between juggling all things même. I also design and consult for other brands. It’s quite the balancing act!
In the evening, I make sure to set aside time for myself – either writing down ideas for photo shoots/marketing/strategy, doodling new designs, reading a chapter in a book, or catching up on any business, family/children, and fashion related news.
J: What was the catalyst for starting your brand?
R: The catalyst for starting même. was the need of making things we wished to see. We noticed that the product offering in major department stores for children hasn’t really changed in decades – seeing the socialization of gender norms in the children’s industry (motifs, slogans, and colors) didn’t quite sit right with us, either. We wanted to create something all kids could love, share, and grow with.
J: Where do you draw your strength, inspiration, vision?
R: Everything comes back to children. I draw a lot of strength from my childhood and thinking about the children of today. A lot of inspiration comes from what I hope for them to experience and have, in hopes of helping them develop into the person they already are, and meant to be. As for design inspiration and vision, I’m influenced by my studies of Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto from University, architecture, and visual arts in general.
J: What advice would you give others wanting to embark on the road less travelled in life, career etc and forge their own path?
R: You know that saying, “if it scares you, then you should probably do it?” I fully agree with this idea. You never know how resilient you are until you take the risks. For me, this entire journey has been a tremendous amount of work, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Just know, you’ll face the same amount of hardships as anyone who chooses to run their own business. Identify what your idea is, write down a plan of attack, and stick to it.
J: What has been the biggest reward for you? (Can be in personal or professional life)
R: The biggest reward on our journey thus far has been the clarity we’ve gained by our experiences of defeat. I believe our current path is exactly where we need to be, and it’s because of these moments that we’re as strong, inspired, and ready for what’s to come.
J: What do you hold most dear / cherish?
R: I cherish the fact that I have the opportunity to do this (fulfil my dreams, own/operate my own business), because it is such a privilege in these times. I think about what writer, Bo Ren said, “My parents were tasked with the job of survival and I with self-actualization. The immigrant generational gap is real. What a luxury it is to search for purpose, meaning, and fulfilment.” Seriously, what a privilege.
J: Thank you for your time Reina to speak with us Reina. Before we leave you is there anything else you'd like to share?
R: Yes! We’re launching a new series of collections, titled Art Project, where we highlight an artist by creating a range of product celebrating their life and work.
What makes this collection special is that it gives us an opportunity to collaborate with artists from all over the world to share their stories. What makes it even more special is that with every purchase, we deliver an Art Project Box, filled with take-away activities for children to learn about the featured artist and their practices. It’s a way for us to bring the arts directly to children, all while teaching them about the different artistic disciplines that exist. It’ll be a unique and fun experience for kids and we’re excited to see where this takes us.
For more information on Art Project: https://memekidswear.com/blogs/newsroom/art-project-001-pablo-picasso
Watch the first short film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU0nvxyWwHM&t=12s