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Meet Claudia Millan of Millanmakes in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Claudia Millan.

Claudia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I definitely grew up always being a lover of fashion and design. In fact, I have been sewing since I was eleven. I ended up going to a school in downtown la (lattc) for it as soon as I graduated from high school. In all honesty, I thought it was going to be amazing to finally attend a school that was built for me to succeed but it was not that. I struggled through all my classes and quickly realized fashion school wasn’t for me. However, I’m a true believer that everything happens for a reason and fashion school was defiantly that.

One of my last classes I completed before making the decision to drop out was a textiles class, where I learned how to knit. Let me tell you, I fell in love with knitting and how much fun it was not to mention relaxing. That’s how my Etsy shop all started. Original I made only knitted items such as knitted mouse ears inspired by my love for knitting and Disney. It was really unique and I hadn’t seen people create what I was creating with my style of ears. I tried to balance my new side hustle with my regular job as a barista and a student. Then I decided I needed to start making decisions that would ultimately make me happy. So I made the hard decision to leave fashion school and enroll in graphic design (which I love). I also left my barista Job to focus on my new passion for my business as an ear maker.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was definitely not a smooth road but nothing ever is. However, I’ve learned a lot because of it. I defiantly never thought I’d own a business for starters. I’m very shy, sensitive and defiantly not one to put myself out there. However, I think that’s what I love most about doing this. For example, I’m very shy so the idea of vending at farmers’ markets sounded terrifying. Now, It’s actually my favorite thing to do and I love that it has brought me out of my shell.

Also, the idea of custom orders always scared me because of the amount of pressure it required. However, now I love it because it allows me to work one on one with customers to make their ideas come to life. It’s really fulfilling to make an order especially for one person and to have them be so happy with it. I say the last obstacle was keeping myself motivated. Especially dropping out of fashion school and it being around the same time business was slow. I think in all my hard times, afterward is when I worked the hardest, learning and growing from my past experiences.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Millanmakes – what should we know?
I sell all things inspired by my love of Disney. Originally it was just mouse ears. Now I have stickers, patches, buttons, bags, etc. I also do custom orders for ears which I thoroughly enjoy. I’m most proud of my fanny packs and how successful they have been to my surprise. I sold out and I’m currently working on more so I can eventually restock. What sets me apart is all the little things. Such as handwritten notes in my packaging, quick turnaround times and my attention to detail. I had one customer say it best, she said she can tell a lot of thought and care went into my ears. That’s exactly what I want anyone who purchases from my shop to feel. I truly love what I do and I hope you feel that when receiving an item from me.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Yes, definitely I would say loving what you do is essential to having a successful business. If you are in it for the money and not passion that’ll show in your work. This business is my baby and I care about every aspect of it. One of my goals to keep this business afloat is to try and compete with big-box companies by having fast deliveries as well as delivering great customer service. A key to great customer service is being grateful and kind to all the customers I have. I feel very honored if someone gives me even a dollar of their hard-earned money. I understand how hard everyone works on a day to day and the fact that they choose to purchase from me is amazing. It’s important to remember that when thinking of customer service. Also, it is important to balance your work with home life, stay organized and motivated. Lastly, and most importantly just know as a small business owner you are bound to make mistakes it’s inevitable. What’s important is to be open to feedback, make necessary changes and try to not be so hard on yourself. I started this as a hobby and once I realized I had a business I feel like I made mistakes here and there. At the time it always felt so life shattering but it never is. Everything is fixable and we are all humans bound to make mistakes. I feel now I’m at the point where I understand as hard as I try to do everything perfectly, somethings will be out of my control and that’s okay. As long as we learn and grow as business owners that’s what matters. I hope that’s helpful to someone, I know there was a time I really needed to here that.


  • Mouse ears range from $20-35 with free shipping in the U.S
  • Fanny Packs are $25 with $3.50 shipping
  • Stickers are $2
  • Buttons are $5

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