(PJS)
Hey Pieta, thanks for joining us. I’ve personally been a fan of yours since I stumbled across Jules Mila a few months back. It seems there are clothing labels popping up all over the place but not many are doing eyewear - it’s awesome to see!

(PS)
Thanks Josh, appreciate your time and reaching out! It is so nice having amazing brands like yours having such kind words about Jules Mila.

(PJS)
How long has the brand been going? And how long was it an idea until it came to fruition?

(PS)
Over last year's lockdown period I craved a creative adventure, away from my more corporate 9 to 5 job. It started as some doodling and before I knew it, I was talking to manufacturers and getting business advice from friends. So the idea is now a year old but it became a real brand in October last year.

Jules Mila Porter James Sports

(PJS)
What was your background before you started Jules Mila? What’s led you to this point?

(PS)
My family has been involved in the fashion industry my whole life and through early exposure I have always had a love for it. I was involved in shoots with my parents from an early age and was lucky to attend NZ fashion shows as a teenager.

After high school I knew I wanted to get involved in a Creative Degree and went to Massey University in Wellington to study Spatial Design. I then got a job at an Architecture Firm but a few years ago decided to change it up and have been working in Graphic design for a couple of years now.

On the side of my graduate job I also used to sell illustrations as more of a relaxing free-time activity as well as funding some clothing purchases. This led me into creating fun sunglass styles. So the idea has been there for a while but as I gained business experience the idea started to become more tangible.

(PJS)
It’s really cool that your product is made in Italy but your pricing is still very reasonable. How has your supply chain and manufacturing process been given you started during COVID?

(PS)
After researching the industry you find that ‘luxury’ sunglasses are generally made by large manufacturers in China. These glasses are made in huge quantities and very cheaply but then marked up hugely by their designer branding. So at Jules Mila we are trying to keep a reasonable price in a way that lets us grow as a brand and help fund our future orders.

We really want to produce a good quality product with the aim to sell-out and fund new styles you will wear for a lifetime. Luckily after spending around 6 months finding the perfect manufacturers in Italy we could lean on their experience to help us produce a product that helped us produce as sustainable a product as possible and long-lasting.

As the idea came out of lockdown we have always known about Covids impact and potential pitfalls. We did have to launch a little later than anticipated but as we have small order quantities we have been able to plan out a year ahead to minimize any issues. I would say budgeting and getting my costs under control has been a big learning curve, shipping prices have obviously increased hugely.

(PJS)
Your product is clearly beautiful but tell us a little about your brand. What does it represent? Do you have a guiding brand ethos of sorts?

(PS)
Jules Mila represents my style, and is a way of me displaying my creativity. I have always thought about how important sunglasses are for complementing your outfit and want to produce more options for the NZ market that can be ignored by some of the larger global brands.

Our first styles are aimed at more classic silhouettes but as we grow we hope to be able to produce some more adventurous yet classy designs. These designs are then all made with the intention to be worn heavily and constructed to a high quality.

This leant into our other ethos of sustainability. We produce a small quantity each order and our frames are weighted, sturdy and composed of a sustainable cellulose acetate and a plasticiser derived from vegetables. c Unfortunately we cannot be 100% sustainable but we are using our manufacturers to update us on all market innovations and only use good quality products so as to not become fast fashion.

Ultimately we want to be the pair of sunglasses you find at your Grandmas or a vintage shop which has lasted both style and quality wise.

(PJS)
Tell us what we can expect from Jules Mila over the next 12 months?

(PS)
We have two new styles launching in the next few months (hopefully no delays). They are both Unisex and aim to compliment some other face shapes. These styles are a winter launch so are targeted for apres ski and weekend adventures.

This year we really want to build our collection of new styles and have some more variety in our offering but, we need to be careful we are producing designs we truly love.

The next order will then really dictate our future moves. There could be other products/partnerships on the horizon but the focus is definitely on creating some new styles and to grow the brand here in NZ and Australia.

We have been lucky to pick up some amazing stockists and have an exciting next 6 months ahead with hopefully a big 2022.

(PJS)
Where do you draw inspiration from? How do you stay inspired and on top of your game?

(PS)
I largely draw inspiration online following the latest trends from places like Vogue, and other amazing brands like Bottega Veneta, Lexxola, and many more. Fashion week is also a big event I watch on Youtube and through Designers and Models socials. You get to see everyone trying to push the boundaries plus you get a real feel for what the upcoming ‘it’ pieces are.


(PJS)
Let’s get a little personal now. What does the Pieta Serville uniform look like right now?

(PS)
During the week my uniform is very much what you would call a capsule wardrobe, a staple blazer with some classic trousers. I love everything oversized and baggy with casual shoes.

On the weekend you will find me wearing clothes on the brighter side, with green and blue having a moment in my wardrobe matched with oversized denim jeans and switching up my accessories to match my mood.

(PJS)
I’m still definitely in startup mode too and I know how overwhelming it can all be. How do you find life balance? How do you disconnect from your work?

(PS)
It can be really full on, especially balancing a full-time job and a social life. I am however, very lucky to have a great support network and get lots of advice from friends and family.

We have also worked on making our processes as easy as possible and luckily our admin is pretty streamlined so I can spend my free time trying to relax.

 

(PJS)
Any advice for someone looking to get into the eyewear game?

(PS)
Spend your time finding a good manufacturer and think about the longevity of your brand. You should be making a product you are proud of and won’t be thrown away after a season's wear.

 

(PJS)
Lastly, what does a life well-designed look like to you?

(PS)
Spending time with loved ones! I always try to spend quality time with my nearest and dearest. I think having a job that’s largely online, spending as much time being present is what really matters most!

 

Jules Mila Porter James Sports

In conversation with Pieta Serville of Jules Mila