ONE TO WATCH – JOAQUIN VENEGAS
Whenever this little man hits Miami’s streets, beaches or local shops, people stop, stare, and fall in love. We couldn’t resist but had to interview two-year old fashionisto Joaquin (yes, we had a word or two with his mom too), and talked about his favorite fashion brands (all carefully hand-selected from all over the world by his mom), his styling tips and gentleman attitude…
If you have kids of your own or not – it doesn’t matter. Joaquin’s style journey is worth following and watching. We promise you, he can make your day!
WTL: Hi Joaquin, it is nice to meet you. Can you please introduce yourself?
JV: Hi! My name is Joaquin Venegas, I am two years old and live in Miami Beach, where I was born.
WTL: What do you think? How would your mom describe you?
JV: As being strong, sensitive, ‘old-souled’, independent, and analytic.
WTL: What makes you feel the happiest?
JV: I love music! Sit down and listen to music or watch music videos, not necessarily for kids… When I really like a song, I listen to it over and over.
WTL: Who is your best friend?
JV: Francesca. We attend music class together and have play dates. I like to be with her because we share stuff and we misbehave.
WTL: What is your favorite food?
JV: It is very hard to pick just one food – I eat all day long… but since I started eating, I love sushi and vegetable soup for breakfast. Bread is my weakness; I am just like my dad.
WTL: Do you have a favorite piece of clothing?
JV: I like statement pieces but in my closet I have to have white tees and good shoes.
WTL: Anything you do not like to wear?
JV: I do not like tank tops for boys. It is a total no-go for me.
WTL: Your home is Miami – what are your favorite places?
JV: I love local places and all my favorite ones are close to home. Every week I visit Jugofresh for breakfast or a snack, their smoothies and acai bowls are delicious. To satisfy my need for bread, I go to a local bakery called TrueLoaf – every day they bake a special one bread but all of them are amazing! I am very traditional in regards to ice cream and always go to Haggen Dasz at South Point. You can find Haagen anywhere but the service at this location is unique, truly makes the difference. Also, we take the opportunity and walk on the beach to watch the sunset. In that same area there is a park that I love! All in one! It is a tradition in my family to go to a local place on Sundays – we call it #localsundays on Instagram.
WTL: So, how do your Weekends look like?
JV: …hmmm. Actually, my weekends do happen during the week. My parents have retail stores, so normally they have to work during the weekend. On Saturdays, I go to work with my mom during the day and out for dinner at night.
WTL: And how do you start your week?
JV: On Mondays I like to chill, stay under the covers and watch TV. In the morning I go out for breakfast with my parents and then go back home. I shower late and sometime argue with my mom when she wants to go out for a stroll.
WTL: What are the three items you cannot live without?
JV: Camera, wipes (I clean all day) and the pacifier (it is my secret though – nobody knows that I use one, because I never take it outside the house, only when go to bed and sleep).
WTL: What do you like the most about your mom?
JV: She is always there for me and is the only one that understands everything I say. I like that she does not treat me like a baby, she knows I am a big boy.
WTL: Over to mom then… Monica, you own The Milk House Shop here in Miami. Can you tell us a bit about your store?
MV: The Milk House Shop started when Joaquin was born. In Miami there are no shops for moms like me; moms, who want to see their kids being nicely dressed. I believe that a part of raising your children should be to teach them how to express themselves through clothing to let them eventually build their own identity. As a fashion designer, I have no doubt that clothing is one of the most effective ways of doing so.
WTL: How important is sustainability and what quality standards do you look for in the brands you sell at The Milk House?
MV: I am very selective, never place an order with a brand without trying it first on my son, wash it, and see if the prints fade or the pieces shrink. I like to carry brands that showcase the love they put in every piece, small independent brands that make you feel you are part of their team. At The Milk House we are working together with all our vendors as if they were our own brands.
WTL: What do you think are the most important triggers for today’s mothers to buy into a brand?
MV: The first and most important factor should be the comfort, then the aesthetic. And the clothes should not be average either. What I have noticed is that sophisticated graphic design is becoming more and more important; parents do not want the classic cartoon in the middle of a t-shirt. Parents are now much more open-minded.
WTL: In your opinion, what is different today than 10 years ago when it comes to kids fashion?
MV: Today, everything is allowed! There are no genders, no prohibited colors, no inappropriate prints. Brands are taking risks with different silhouettes.
WTL: Any exciting future plans for The Milk House Shop?
MV: Right now we have a showroom and ship worldwide through a personalized email service, which allows us to get to know our customers a little better. In the near future we will open our store in an exclusive neighborhood of Miami Beach, and we are currently working in our e-commerce site.
WTL: What are this summer’s “must-haves” and key trends for kids?
MV: I have always believed in fashion, but I believe even more so in a personal style. I think it does not matter how many fashionable clothes you have if you do not find your own style. For this summer the pastel colors are a must-have, black & white is still on trend. Regarding silhouettes jumpers, overalls and rompers are trendy.
WTL: And for this winter?
MV: For Fall/Winter clean and oversized silhouettes are hot, it also seems that black & white is here to stay. Primary colors such as yellow and red are also seen a lot.
WTL: What are the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to styling kids?
MV: I think in regards to styling kids, there are no rules. Everything is possible! It is the time to use pieces that won’t look good when they grow up. Kids do not feel ashamed of their bodies and it is on us to give them confidence and show them they can pull anything off! I probably would say not to dress them as their parents – it is just too boring. Have fun dressing your kids and enjoy!
WTL: So, what is your key-style advice?
MV: Don’t let your child wear too many statement pieces at the same time – take on key piece and combine it with basics. Simplicity is key here! Also, invest in good shoes. Shoes make or break a look. And last but not least, always buy clothes a size bigger so that they can wear them for a longer time as most clothes do shrink a little.
WTL: What are your favorite brands for Joaquin?
MV: I do not have a specific one, and thanks to The Milk House Shop he can try all types of new brands at all times. Personally, I like brands that take risks and propose new silhouettes (nununu, bebe de pino, motoreta, kids on The moon) or different prints (Ágatha cup, bobo choses, tiny cottons). It is always important to have brands with classic basic pieces (bonnie baby, billie blooms, oeuf).
WTL: How would you describe Joaquin’s style?
MV: I would define it as eclectic, combining high-end brands with ready to wear ones. Everything has to be in balance but it should express who Joaquin is in a unique way.
WTL: Is there a difference between European and US labels?
MV: Yes, the quality is better and they have a more forward design. In Europe they are more organized and on time with the deliveries, it is a pleasure to bring European or Australian brands to the US. However, I love to support local brands particularly those manufactured locally, I like Zuzzi Footwear, Ultraviolet kids, Akid brand, Billie Blooms, Agatha Cup and Oeuf. Working with them is a pleasure!
WTL: As an entrepreneur, what are your best tips to balance work, kids and family life?
MV: It is not easy! I am with Joaquin 24/7, but we have learned to have our own space. He is a very independent kid and likes to play by himself or chat with me while I work. I always include him in everything I do. When I am shipping orders for example, he goes and brings me the tools to help me pack (this way he sort of feels part of the project too). There are days that only belong to Joaquin and the family. On those days, I disconnect completely from the office. But The Milk House is my personal project and it fulfills me as a woman. And so far, we have managed to juggle it all…
WTL: What’s your schedule like on a typical day of work and kids?
MV: Joaquin sleeps late, which gives me the time to answer emails and do the daily Instagram posts. As soon as he wakes up we have a family morning together with my husband. We have breakfast and play together. At noon Joaquin takes a nap, and I go back to work. In the afternoon we always have an activity and while doing so, we take pictures for the following day. Once per week we shoot the new arrivals for the store, and Wednesdays I only work in the mornings. It is Joaquin’s music class day.
WTL: How has becoming a mom enhanced you as a businesswoman?
MV: I have always been involved in fashion as I used to work as a stylist for the biggest magazines back home. Being a mother however is a first for me. Having a fashion store for kids somewhat came quite natural. Mainly because I refused to dress my son like everyone else did, and I did not find the right stores here in Miami to do so. Looking at our success today, we obviously were not the only ones.
WTL: How important is social media for you and your work?
MV: Right now, everything is focused on and around our social media activities! All our sales are based on the success of our social media – it is the best co-worker one could ask for. Joaquin has achieved a lot in a very short period of time, without him it wouldn’t be the same.
WTL: What are your top 5 Instagram accounts?
WTL: What do you love about Instagram?
MV: I like how fast and easy it is! Just pictures. Also, you can keep your followers close. You get to know them and they sometimes come by to say hi.
WTL: What would you like to change?
MV: I would love for people to be more respectful and ask before using our pictures or at least credit them appropriately. Those are the risks when you do not have a private account but regardless of that there are copyright laws and regulations.
WTL: What is your favorite restaurant here in Miami?
MV: Joaquin is used to go to restaurants with us and has no problem sitting for a while to eat with the family. He eats the same we eat, he dose not have a different menu. Mandolin in the Design District is our favorite one.
WTL: Windows down, the song you are playing is?
MV: Fast car, by Tracy chapman. If Joaquin is in the car, probably “oh Mac Donald” or reggae. We will be both dancing!
WTL: What do you love the most about Joaquin?
MV: What a gentleman he is! He is always available to help, always thanks and greets. He opens the door for his friends and me. Not only does he learn, but he also likes to teach people. I love when he hugs me all of the sudden or gives me a surprise kiss.
WTL: When you were a child you dreamed you would grow up to be?
MV: A mom! I always talked with my best friend about how many kids we were going to have or how we were going to name them. I still have more to accomplish but with my son we are on the right track. He is the love of my life.
WTL: If you could leave us with one thought, what would it be?
MV: Just to be. Live your life, it is much more fun than to live somebody else’s.