Quality materials and high standards of production are two of the things that mark out La Menta’s products as superior outerwear. However, three generations of creative passion is the real ingredient X for the brand, as Hunter Mei explains.
How did you start La Menta?
I met my love of my life, now my fiancée, seven years ago. We share a love for fashion and we decided to start our own fashion company and make it something we would be proud of.
My family have been doing production for brands for 30 years and I will be the third generation for the business. I crave creativity and appreciate talent so through UAL we met with two amazing designers who were already on the fashion week schedule and wanted to help design for us. That’s where the magic began.
Can you tell us a bit about what goes into making your product?
People: we selected a special team for our factory – everyone who works for us has at least 10 years of garment making experience.
Equipment: the most up-to-date machines to do the precise cutting and sewing.
Management: You should treat every piece as a gift to your loved ones. Everything needs to be perfect.
Where does your name come from?
La Menta is Italian for mint. We chose that name because we represent something fresh in the industry, a new way for manufacturers and designers to work together. The reason for using Italian is because that’s where most of our fabrics come from and our pattern cutter is Italian, a master who has worked with many luxury houses. Our pieces are made with extreme attention to the detail, one level up from Italian made – family made, like a Mom making something for her son.
Who inspires you?
My granddad started the business after he designed his own washing/sorting machines and his entrepreneur mind has always been my inspiration. The path to success is to be passionate, take the challenge and be nice to other people.
How do you keep the work-life balance?
It is tough and I work long hours all the time. The great thing is I have family support and my fiancé helps me a lot. We have an office dog called Marco who entertains us with all his tricks. When I have time I love skiing, mil-sim airsoft combat and basketball. Taking my dog out is always a good way to relax. The work is always a part of my life and it is in my genes; the important thing is you are enjoying yourself and being able to switch between the two.
How do you find the balance of creative ideas and commercial viability?
Commercial viability is something you have to consider but I truly believe great creative ideas will influence the big trend, and the beauty of young people working together is that you believe in your designs and be bold about it.
What have you found to be the best form of marketing and promotion for La Menta?
For any fashion brands it will most likely be from social media and celebrity. We have an amazing celebrity following and they all love what we do. Having people dressed in your design and getting compliments is always extremely satisfying.
What’s been your favourite project to date?
We are still very new but it will be our coming new season, a collection of brilliant outerwear. It really shows how strong we can be and after some preview to a few buyers they are all very excited.
What’s the best thing about running La Menta?
It is our lifetime project- being able to meet all kinds of talented people, sharing our ideas and making them into reality. Nothing is cooler than when someone compliments your outfit and you say “it is my brand!”
What advice would you give to any budding entrepreneurs?
Sharing the love for your business and believing what you can achieve is the most important thing.
- La Menta is one of the eight emerging designers that UKTI and Spindle are proudly bringing to New York for the Liberty Trade Show. Find out more here.