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Hidden Gems: Meet Larissa Hadjio of MÄUS Essentials

Today we’d like to introduce you to Larissa Hadjio.

Hi Larissa, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
After studying fine art at Central Saint Martins in London, I started my own accessory line of wearable high-end leather sculptures. In the mid-2010s, I moved to SF and created HADJIO, a ready-to-wear line for adults. That’s also how I met my MÄUS cofounder, Mika, who at the time collaborated with me on HADJIO.

After the birth of my first child, my interests shifted from high-end fashion to slower, sustainable design. I began to think about needs versus wants when it came to fashion and found it difficult to get pieces that valued form as much as function, and sustainability as much as accessibility. Being a mother, I paid more attention to these things, and my focus turned to kid’s clothes, then more specifically towards essentials. Mika became a mother the same time I had my second kid, and as MÄUS started to take shape, we decided to team up again.

We work amazingly well together. We both bring big ideas to the room, and we have the ability to edit each other’s thoughts without discouraging either the creative spirit. I am a map and Mika is a navigator. I like to look at the big picture. When thoughts, tasks and ideas hit me at once, I need to get them all out to make sense of it. Mika then carves a path through them, which has created a really powerful dynamic for us in building MÄUS. We’re both constantly thinking about all that needs to be done to create products we’re proud to stand behind, that reflect the values we feel are important. And as mothers, we also grant each other the flexibility needed to balance work and the very real life that comes with parenting.

We have an amazing vision for MÄUS, and a million ideas for products we’d like to see in the works. But this is just the beginning.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It’s certainly not a smooth road when you’re creating your own product. We source every element of production with the final outcome in mind. Is it useful? Is it good? Is it affordable?

It’s been difficult to optimize our supply chain locally without compromising our values. The garment industry’s supply chain is deeply male-dominated, so finding the right partners can be challenging simply because we’re women. We’re not only looking to work with the best suppliers, but also with people we love and enjoy interacting with, who treat their team well. It’s all part of creating a strong product, and we want our work to be fun.

But even if they trip you up a little, it’s important not to let obstacles block your path. We try to grow from each hiccup. We trial and error, because we’re not scared of occasional failures. There is this interesting book, “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. It’s about how to turn obstacles into growth + resilience, which is something I’ve truly adopted in the way I approach my work and is also a message I’m trying to pass along to my children.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
MÄUS is all about true essentials, the bare necessities, so don’t expect to see seasonal collections come and go. MÄUS creates the most practical basics for exploration; Zipped onesies fit for bedtime and playtime, comfy leggings for jumping in puddles, a basic organic cotton tee with a pocket for hidden treasures. Every garment has been designed for versatility –comfortable enough for wear all day and night, and unafraid of a few stains, because getting dirty is part of the fun. And because kids grow fast, the basics are slightly oversized to maximize their use. Sleeves a tad big? Roll them up. Outgrown pants? Cut them into shorts. MÄUS wants you to get the most use out of every piece, so you can go a little easier on the planet and your wallet.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
This is such a wonderful question because you never walk this path alone. We have asked so many people and friends for advice and help along the way. And also love giving advice and lending a hand.

My friend and author Erin Falconer, has been one of our most amazing supporters. She is a powerhouse and an amazing connector. She also wrote a book “How to Get Shit Done..” which has certainly come in handy. Micah Heykoop, who runs an agency called Candid, took us under his wing and has been instrumental in helping us navigate the digital marketing world. And my wonderful husband Andrew, who doesn’t just cheer from the sidelines, but also helps us fine-tune our ideas and execution.

The list is truly endless, we have asked so many friends along the way for help, and we have gotten so much support and love. I am a great believer in mentors. There is nothing more fun than asking someone whose work you admire for some advice. Everyone has different experiences and opinions, so gaining perspective from several directions and then applying the advice that’s right for you is important and invaluable.

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Personal image – Aubrey Devin Photos in the sand and closeup of bib – Larissa Hadjio Photos of dress, tees, pants and blue onesie – Priscilla Gragg

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