Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Thiele.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Sisters and founders of Millapani, we both grew up in Santiago, Chile. Attending the international school there, we shared our childhood and teenage years alongside peers from different backgrounds, countries and native languages. This shaped the way we saw the world, where change – every year new friends came, as others moved away – was the only constant. It was such an amazing experience! I will never forget a lecture titled “Third Culture Kids,” and how much it resonated with us, having been exposed to such a great variety of cultural influences!
With our mom a busy neuropsychologist during day hours, our afternoons together grew more exciting when we discovered her part-time passion: jewelry making. We would beg to come along to the studio as she quietly sat at the bench for hours, we would find trinkets and unpolished, unfinished items to play with. Our eyes glittered. Over time I realized her exceptional creative and artistic talent and entire evenings spent helping and teaching me how to draw animals. Fast forward to Art, I class in college where I would still ask for her tips and opinions on still life and sketching! My sister and I both dedicated many years to the classical ballet world at the Santiago Ballet School, art programs and eventually went our separate ways (not too separate).
Earning her bachelor of science in Interior Design at TCU in Fort Worth, TX and my B.A. in Architecture in Santiago. During my 4th year, I took a yearlong program at the school of architecture at the University of Houston. After returning to Chile and graduating college, I started a fashion blog and not long after an opportunity came up to work for fashion magazines. Styling editorial spreads for ISSUE magazine, Cosas, Vanidades was the most fun, exciting and creative experience. Exploring the tech side of fashion, later on, working for a fashion tech start-up (Tizkka) based in Brazil and working with fashion influencers.
In 2016, I moved to Los Angeles, starting the merchandising & marketing program at FIDM and while in school, Millapani – our lifelong dream – was finally born.
Has it been a smooth road?
I think being an entrepreneur is about constantly challenging the status quo, taking the road less traveled and truly never giving up. It sounds beautiful on paper, but I don’t think anyone that has succeeded can say it’s been easy or smooth! If we didn’t fail, fall and mess up there would be no learning and growth. It’s kind of like a rollercoaster.
Some days are smooth sailing, while others can be more challenging. Knowing who and what is the right fit for the brand has been one of the most challenging learning experiences. We are passionate about our heritage and the way we portray it to the rest of the world and want to find people that understand that message and the dedication and love of art each piece of ours carries within.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Millapani – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Millapani (meeya-pahni) translates to The Golden Lion, in the Mapuche tongue of the natives in southern Chile and Argentina. Our designs feature a modern and sculptural take on ancient and native South American design & culture.
We are based in Los Angeles and specialize in one-of-a-kind, unique, and made to order jewelry. We manufacture everything in 18k yellow, rose, and white gold, as well as sterling silver, using ethically sourced precious and semi-precious stones from Brazil and all over the world. We produce all of our pieces by hand in our studio in Chile.
We have recently launched our FW18 collection, “Raíces,” where we explore Andean metalwork in indigenous societies. Our designs have been worn by CNBC media & entertainment reporter Julia Boorstin, actress Rain Valdez, Candice Patton and Kerri Meders, influencers Sam Blacky, Cassie Kelley and Elizabeth Keene among others.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The best things about Los Angeles are the eternal sunshine and the variety of activities it has to offer. You can have the greatest urban experience in downtown LA, enjoy rooftops and city life while going to the beach and surfing all in the same day! Not to mention all the trails and hikes found everywhere in the city. It is truly the best!
- Prices start at $56 for the silver collection
- Prices start at $377 for 18k gold collections
- Website: millapani.com
- Phone: 214-991-1769
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/millapanijewelry/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/millapanijewelry