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Momspiration: Wunway Co-Founders Melanie Chu and Nicole Kim (Part 2)

Influential Moms in the World of Kids' Fashion

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Wunway co-founders Melanie Chu (left) and Nicole Kim.

© Melanie Chu
Although the perfect work/life balance may be elusive, Ella Kim, Melanie Chu, and Nicole Kim have come pretty close. The three moms (with ten kids between them) co-founded Wunway, a Los Angeles-based online boutique that offers e-commerce convenience with editorial aesthetics.

By marrying their adoration for style with passion for their children, they have created an inspired space for kids’ fashion, and an enviable work environment. In addition to all the laughs throughout my discussion with Melanie and Nicole, there were moments of beautiful poignancy. Try not to tear up at the end.

Do any of you have a background in fashion, or are you just moms who saw a need and filled it?

Melanie: Nicole studied fashion and design in Japan . . .

Nicole: . . . and then I moved here and I worked as a designer a little bit and I had number three baby, so I couldn’t keep going.

Melanie: I have four children, and Nicole has three, and Ella has three . . . and that’s what we do. We dress our children and we just love fashion -- we love everything about fashion. We love shopping for fashion, and we love looking at fashion, and we just thought there was going to be a better way to do it where we can shop for our children in an easier and fun way -- just like our children.

Nicole: We used to have a jewelry line in Korea. Most of the jewelry pieces, I design. Melanie used to work at a company for e-commerce, so we are a good combination.

Do you design some of the clothes as well?

Melanie: Some of the clothes we do design, and since Ella is living in Asia right now we have manufacturing out there. So some of the basics, most of the leggings and tights, we are manufacturing in Asia.

What else factors into the curation process? Do you follow trend forecasts or do you march to your own beat?

Melanie: We just march to our own beat. We don’t really care what’s out there, what’s in right now -- just whatever catches our eyes or whatever we like.

Nicole: I always imagine my daughter when I pick out the clothes -- “Oh, she’s going to be so cute with this, she’s going to really appreciate the fabrics and the style.” I think about the whole look first, no -- “Oh, what’s the trend right now?” -- but definitely color wise, yes, we think more. But, generally, we’re just like, “They’re so cute! It’s going to be so adorable for my daughter.”

Melanie: If it’s not comfortable, my kids won’t wear it. So I think comfort is the biggest thing we factor in when we’re buying.

How do you find most of the lines that you carry?

Melanie: We just go everywhere. Every opportunity we get, we just go to the shows, we go to the showrooms here in Los Angeles, and we go to see a lot of indie brands in Asia too -- Japan and Korea.

Do you have any advice to other moms looking to step into the world of children's fashion and start their own business?

Nicole:I always think moms are kind of giving up because of their kids. Because, you know, "I have to take my kids to school," and they have so many things for their kids. Sometimes it’s really hard managing both things but for us, for me especially, my kids are like a root, like giving me a power to keep doing this. Don't be discouraged. Moms rock!

Melanie: I personally think being a mom is probably the hardest job in the world, and it's not easy working and juggling the kids, but it’s the most rewarding. We feel very blessed that we're doing what we love doing, and honestly our children always give us the energy and motivation to keep going.

Nicole: We have a passion for this, and you know we are very happy where we are, what we're doing right now, and the kids have noticed that their moms are happy because their moms are doing what they love. I give good energy to the kids and the kids give me this positive energy as well.

In part one of this About.com Kids' Fashion interview, Wunway co-founders discuss their motivation and vision.

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