Christina Shiachi is the owner of Milan and Oz, an online children’s boutique. Christina is a proud mom & businesswoman. When she started her online retail business, Christina decided to name it after her two twin boys.
Last month I met Christina at the Milan and Oz trunk show hosted by Beatbike in Tarzana. I instantly fell in love with the clothes – so fashionable, a wide selection of different styles & such great quality. In talking to Christina, I could tell that she was very passionate about her business.
Please meet the latest Real Mom of the SFV, Christina Shiachi!
How/why did you begin your business?
Christina: I decided to start my boutique when I had my twin boys Milan and Oz, I went from 2 small kids to 4 overnight. I had no time anymore and picking clothes for 4 small children became this daunting daily task for me. I found lots of sites that blogged about great clothes and then I would go on the hunt to find all the items and have to figure out how to pair outfits together. My friend is a stylist and I asked her to help me put looks together for my little one’s. I know that most moms don’t have a stylist as a friend. I thought it would be amazing to make a site that not only offers great, well made, and even designer lines, but that also showed different ways to style the little ones in the clothing offered. I wanted to offer all moms a cool kids boutique that helps in styling a wide range of looks and wanted it to be online so the mom’s didn’t have to get out of the house to obtain the looks. Its all delivered right to their doorsteps.
As a working mother, what is one tip or piece of advice that you would give to other female entrepreneurs?
Christina: Starting any kind of start up business takes lots of time and hard work. It is easy to get caught up in your new business and start ups require lots and lots of time. I learned very fast that I needed to break away from my new passion everyday to regroup and give my children the time they deserved. I have made it a rule for myself to STOP working everyday when the kids get home from school and put business aside. Even if that means starting to work again after they sleep.My kids are the reason I started this venture so I wanted them to know they always come first. And honestly when you step away from it all for a few hours you come back with a fresh look at what needs to get done.
What do you like best about having a business in the San Fernando Valley?
Christina: I have lived in Woodland Hills for the past 15 years, I love the community. I live close to my kids school. I love the family minded atmosphere. I love that the valley offers so many shopping, dinning, and entertainment options for me and my family. Great restaurants also make the perfect place to meet with clients. I feel like I live in the center of everything with easy access to Los Angeles. I also feel like the valley community is the perfect location for raising kids…better school options (in my opinion), parks, local events, and holiday events all within 5-10 minute drive. For business I have the Burbank airport close by, so flying out for business is hassle free without having to deal with LAX and the traffic. There are a lot of local businesses that are smaller and give me great pricing for textiles, printing, signage, and other services that the Los Angeles vendors ask a lot more money on.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began your business, what would that be?
Christina: I went into this business without fully understanding the amount of work that it really required. I would say my initial expectations of how simple it would be were really off. I have adjusted and got over the big humps, but I would highly recommend that before you start your business get a really good understanding of the amount of money, work, and time it takes to get started. Make a clear precise game plan and then be prepared to change that plan 100 times till you get it right.
I admire Christina’s strong sense of maintaining a work life balance. That’s something that I struggle with on a weekly (almost daily) basis. It’s true what she says about stepping away from work for a few hours to give yourself time to regroup & be with your family. Just that short amount of time can give you energy & a new perspective to tackle that next project. I also completely agree with her view on the Valley. It truly is a great family community!
Speaking of community, Milan and Oz is having another trunk show this weekend in Northridge! With the holidays just around the corner, this is a perfect time to pick-up gifts for the kids in your life or buy a new outfit for that special holiday dinner! Join Milan and Oz (and many other great vendors) on Saturday, December 6th at the Holiday Fun Fair & Boutique in Northridge. Click here for the event page to get more details.
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. The image shown in this post is used with permission. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.