Every week, we shine a spotlight on the best small brands we think are worth shouting about. We love our great British high street, but there are so many fantastic independent brands out there making clothes, accessories, homeware and more from a place of passion and love and we need to support them – now more than ever.
From fashion and beauty to homeware, accessories and food, we bring you the best small businesses you need on your radar. This week, we chat with Milo Li-ren Mckeand, ceramicist and founder of Milo Made.
What is Milo Made and how did it come to life?
Milo Made is my ceramics brand, handmade in London. A few friends and I had started going to the very fun ceramics evening class at Hackney City Farm, where you can bring your own snacks and drinks and play with clay late into the evening. Together we all got hooked and realised one evening a week wasn’t enough, so decided to set up our own studio, Clay Collective. There was 12 of us originally and of that 12 at least half of us have gone on to have full time careers in clay. While I’ve had to move on to a bigger space, that studio we built and how it continues to this day to be a supportive environment for future potters is one of the things I’m most proud of.
What three words describe Milo Made?
Bright, cheery and maybe goofy.
Who is Milo Made for?
Probably people who enjoy the work of Ettore Sottsass, but could only dream of affording it.
Tell me about your design and making process.
Since everything has really taken off a few years ago, I’ve had very limited time for the design process. I think I may have to try and get myself onto a residency away to force myself to take the time to think about new ideas and pull myself away from commissions that are hard to say no to when at home. For me the design process just needs the time to play around and be a bit more relaxed than slotting it between deadlines can afford.
What’s the best thing about running your own business? And the most challenging?
Being my own boss and managing my own time is something I really value. Having things that I have made flying to the farthest corners of the world (that at the moment I could only dream of visiting) feels quite special. The business growing so quickly recently has been a real challenge and learning to say no to projects has been very hard.
The best Milo Made moment so far?
Having my work on display at the Barbican was very special and being chosen for the artist residency at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts [in Maine, USA], those were probably two of the best things that have ever happened to me.
Which Milo Made product is your favourite?
I like the whole lumpy collection. Partly because I enjoy the dual meaning of telling people to enjoy their lumps.
Anything exciting in the pipeline?
I’m very excited about an upcoming project with a hotel, with new and unique pieces for all of their hotel rooms. It feels so special to be asked and to get to work on some new work.