Bianca and Michael recently did a studio visit with owner Mariko of M.N. Davis and Son, located in Brooklyn New York, and had a casual chat about her company and her vision. Mariko is inspired by old patterns and printed textiles, vintage “junk” stores, and old bags. Above all, she admires simplicity. “In Japan there is a lot of small pouches and cases to carry everything you can think of.” A love of all the things she mentioned clearly shows in her product line, and the craftsmanship is equally impressive.
As most of Kid Icarus’ lineup, the crafting came well before the business. Mariko was working multiple jobs, her creative outlet was always sewing side projects, or “my thing” as she describes. Always working for other design/creative firms, Mariko found she wasn’t using her natural talents to their full potential. Born out of finding a creative outlet she decided in 2010 to make her sewing an official business.
“This year it has become a Journey” Mariko says, with a big exhale of breath and energy. But she looks happy and proud; she has all the right to be. Holiday season 2012 marked her ascent from working part-time to a gratifying full-time entrepreneur.
She credits John her husband for a helping hand at her leap of faith. In late 2011 Mariko was so busy filling orders that her other “money making jobs” were getting in the way. John encouraged Mariko to go on her own, and by June 2012 she was free of all other jobs and focused on bringing the company to another level.
Her tiny live and work studio in Brooklyn is filled with tools and inspiration. As the sun beams in and fills the room with light, her cat is napping on a shelf above the cast iron water heater. The studio space is bursting with colour and creative energy.
Her sewing studio had a table full of bright vintage patterns, all cut and stacked, ready for assembly. We were excited to see a stack for Kid Icarus, and even more exuberant about the ones for her new wholesale clients in Japan.
So what happen’s when you have too many buyers and not enough time? Mariko isn’t worried at the moment, her workload keeps her busy enough to sustain herself. Farming out the sewing isn’t on her agenda either. She will need to find a production assistant at some point in time but in her words – “managing quality is what matters to me”. We liked that answer, it’s what her products are all about after all.
Mariko’s Milltown Brand is one of the finely crafted bags that you’ll find at Kid Icarus.