ARTIST INTERVIEW: Caroline Kim of Merci Milo

Company: Merci Milo

Artist: Caroline Kim

 

Shop Merci Milo was founded in 2015 from inspiration of our daughter Milo. One day as we toured Paris, we stumbled upon several unique traditional toy shops; intrigued and ever so inspired by the whimsical vintage and old heirloom handmade toys; we decided we wanted to start our own toy shop and share this with other families in the US.
Merci Milo was formed in Mount Washington, Los Angeles to help showcase handmade unique toys and accessories for children from local artisans, traditional toy makers, creative mamas, and global brands.  We are a small family owned business that strives to only source the highest quality toys and ethically made goods for children from all over the globe. We hope to bring forth beauty and fun daily to families and children. We want to thank Milo for being our biggest inspiration. Merci Milo!

 

 

Describe the path that led you to the work you do now.

My husband Jason and I started our little online shop in 2016 with hopes that one day we would be able to have a brick and mortar shop down the road. We started it with so much love for curating the best toys and now it’s become such a passion project. Milo, our daughter, is our biggest creative driving force. I have always dreamed of having a little shop, I never imagined it to be a toy shop but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I just knew one day I would be a shop owner just like my parents and my grandfather. 

 

What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?

I curate a collection of the best toys that are from all over the world, that are made ethically, are eco friendly, and that foster imaginative play for children. I only find the best of the best that I feel align with our brand and our shop..our vision. I work with so many different amazing artists, brands, and local toy makers who truly inspire me. As a family, we travel a lot to different countries and cities to spark our creative energy. So much to discover out there.. the world is full of inspiring artists, makers, and brands. I try to build strong relationships with my makers, they are like part of the Merci Milo family now. 

 

 

What would you say is the driving force behind your creative work?

Milo of course! Since the day she opened her eyes in my arms, she’s given me hope which equates to new creative energy. She seriously saved me. This project and business saved me. I’m the type of person who needs creativity and inspiration to thrive. I’m so grateful for Milo and her energy. She keeps me going creatively. Merci Milo is how we created the name for the shop. Thank you Milo!

 

What is a new idea you have been working with recently?

We are working really hard on a second shop location right now! It will be at the new Valley Country Mart. The owners of the Row DTLA and Platform LA are behind this new project. We are super excited for the new space and what we will be offering the community there. We open mid November of this year!

 

 

Did you have any artists or creative people in your family? If so, how did they influence you?

I come from a family of retailers.. their influence and experience in retail has really inspired me to open up my own shop. My immigrant grandfather actually owned a small children’s shop for over 15 years in South LA. He is no longer with us but his spirit lives on through our shop, we have dedicated it to him. 

 

Photos by Lily Glass + Stephanie Hauptlis + The Grey Endeavor

 

Instagram: @shopmercimilo


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