Shennel Fuller - Miles and Milan
Michelle Brandriss: Welcome to From The Basement Up. My next guest is Shennel Fuller, a mom, an entrepreneur who's created a clothing brand for kids that is known for its minimalist style. Shennel's genius is a gift for moms wanting soft high- quality clothing that removes the fuss. The brand excels with the basics, is gender neutral, and shares big smiles in white, gray, and black. Does it sound familiar? Well, it should. The clothing line is Miles and Milan, and it's been on Oprah's list of favorite things, recommended by celebrities, and found in stores like SAXX and Nordstrom. The clothing inspires an effortless style that is current, and allows a little one's cuteness to shine through. Shennel is a veteran in the world of fashion. She has worked as an executive at brands like Converse, Talbots, Levi, and 7 For All Mankind. I'm very excited to have her share her journey with us today. Hello, Shennel, and welcome.
Shennel Fuller: Hello to you both. Thank you so much for having me. It's an honor to be here as you guys grow this podcast.
Michelle Brandriss: Oh, thank you.
Emily Flanigan: Yes. We're so happy that you're here. Thank you for coming.
Michelle Brandriss: I did want to ask. I have found the feedback that we've gotten from our listeners is they really want to hear about our guests, your background, what makes you tick. Really, a lot of that builds into your career and then how you build your brand. I would love for you to give us just background on you.
Shennel Fuller: Yeah. Absolutely. I think it's important as well. Just to give you, my history is I'm born and raised in Boston. I'm living in California currently, but my parents are natives of the island of St. Vincent. They came here in the early'70s, looking for new opportunities in America, and I was born. I come from an immigrant background family and started my life in the city of Boston. I'm a city girl at heart, moved out to the suburbs, went to college and really was planning on being a social worker. I really loved working with people and helping people in their journeys and their struggles with life, but I've always had a love and a passion for fashion. I didn't mean to rhyme that, but it's always been in the back of my mind. It's just been a core hobby of mine. I've always loved styling clothes. My dad was a tailor, so it was one of his many hobbies that he had. I would be with him sewing clothes and using the scraps to make things for my dolls. It was always a passion of mine. Even though I went to school to become a social worker, I found myself working in retail and really working myself throughout the latter of the corporate retail. That's really where I started to learn my skillset and realized this is a true passion of mine, and I can do something that I love at the same time. That's my background.
Michelle Brandriss: I love that. One thing I am learning more and more about, and also having people work for me, you really start seeing the loves that people have and the things that they're drawn to. Then that's really where you're pulling those fabulous ideas and fabulous things. At what age did you know? When you were right out of college, did you go into social work or were you right away going into retail?
Shennel Fuller: No. Actually, during college, I worked for the state of Massachusetts for the Licensure Board of social work. I had a very good job working for the state. The state is ones that give you your certification in order to practice social work. I love working with people, but it wasn't giving me that spark every day of getting out of bed. I decided to move to New York and I switched gears. I have a minor in accounting, so I was like," Okay, let me switch and try working as an accountant for a retail company." I was the apprentice for a controller and it was in a very large, well- known, family- named, privately run fashion company. I would have to report out the business, I'd pay all of the accounts receivables and all of those for all the fashions that came in. I saw that. I looked, saw that fashion was more of a business versus just like, oh, these are just clothes, just show up in a store. We were working with the sales associates and all of that, just making sure the financials were appropriate. That's where I saw the backend of fashion and I really started to learn it. I had a very great boss that really took me under her wing. Actually, she kicks herself. Her and I talk till this day that she took me to a seminar, a retail seminar. We went to a retail seminar together and I remember just falling in love with all the speakers and really getting inspired and saying I really want to make a career from this. I ended up leaving after she took me to this. She was like,"I wish I never took you," because she did not want to lose me. But yeah. That's pretty much how I started to navigate my way into fashion.
Michelle Brandriss: That's a great story. You're so lucky you found this wonderful mentor right off the bat and just inspired you. It was destiny, meant to be. She helped you find your path. Probably one of the most important questions is, I would love for you to describe Miles and Milan for our listeners.
Shennel Fuller: Yeah. Miles and Milan is a basics children's clothing line, and I use basics loosely because we do offer some fashion items as well. But it's under the gender neutral lens, that it's a blank canvas for parents to use. When I was pregnant, I began to receive clothing that was stereotypical pink or blue, cartoon prints of fire trucks or ballerinas, but it didn't really seem to have a minimalistic approach to it. It was already predetermined. It was already stereotypical of my kid's going to like fire trucks and baseballs, because if I have a boy, that's what they have. I really wanted something that was sleek, that was pretty much a foundation for parents to build upon. I really wanted it to be for everyone. It didn't matter if you were a Maximalist. It didn't matter if you were Bohemian. It didn't matter if you were very floral approached or even loved color. These can mix and match into any wardrobe that you have, and it can become your go- to item as well. Because as you know, parenting is a very time consuming job, so you don't have the luxuries of perfecting perfectly manicured outfits. You just need to get out the door and have your kids and yourself look presentable. That's where it is. It's just basics that are meant to mix and match with anything in your child's growing closet, all under the lens of black, white, and gray.
Michelle Brandriss: Yeah. I love this because you'll see, at least I had a boy and he was fine at dressing himself. But some of my friends' daughters, the things that they would throw together, put together, it was quite funny.
Emily Flanigan: We had a uniform. I went to private school growing up and I was just thinking, this is like an everyday uniform for kids that don't have a uniform. You don't even have to think twice about it. I would be that kid running around being like," I went to public and private school," and all the kids that are like," Uniforms are terrible. This sucks." I would be like," This is the easiest thing in the morning." I have to just throw on whatever that's laid out for me and there you go.
Michelle Brandriss: You don't have to worry what the kids put on.
Emily Flanigan: But there is one time in like third grade that my mom convinced me that jeans would look good under a skirt.
Michelle Brandriss: This is a huge thing. How does a person decide one day that they want to start a clothing line and their own fashion brand? How did that come about?
Emily Flanigan: Especially coming from a life of social work. I'm trying to connect them.
Michelle Brandriss: It's amazing.
Shennel Fuller: Well, yeah. I guess if I have to back up, I came from the lens of, I wanted to be a social worker, worked myself up into a lot of corporate careers. I was working at that private retail store, luxury retail store. In order to get an understanding of true retail, my first corporate retail experience was Talbots. I went to Talbots and I entered into their buying program. I recommend anyone that wants to create anything of just getting a knowledge, whether you go to school for it or you work in a company. Let's say, for example, you want to be a chef. Maybe you start as a waiter, then you start in the back, chopping vegetables and you just learn the business. That was my lens of like, okay, I really want to do this. I need to be able to understand all facets of fashion, so I went into a buying program at Talbots. I'm not a Talbots customer, but I wanted to know the business. I was in my early 20s at the time, so I went in there trying to figure things out. Now, if you fast forward to when I'm in my mid 30s and really becoming pregnant at the time and about to go on maternity leave, and trying to figure out how can I do the things that I love and not necessarily create a business, but also raise my son because I don't want to part with him, I really had to take a step back and say okay, how can I gain some sort of independence, but for myself, but also be able to be an important part of my child's milestones in the years of him growing up? I started consulting when I was pregnant. I was retail consulting at that time, which allowed me the little flexibility that I needed. I could take my son with me to my meetings and all of that, and I really liked that ownership of being a consultant. Then it just happened when I was again, a new mom, trying to run my business and trying to get out the door and realizing I don't have this hour of luxury to do my makeup and pick out my clothes. I needed to get out the door. I needed to get out the door fast. I started to realize I had my uniform as you will, just postpartum pregnant, had a few pounds. I would always wear a hat. I had a leather jacket, I had black pants, and I had a white blouse underneath. That's literally what I wore every single day, variations of hats. My son, he would always be like I said, in these cartoon, very disjointed outfits. I'm very black, white, and gray myself. Hat, leather jacket, jeans, nice bag. My kid's in this bright red or yellow splatter print, like SpongeBob SquarePants. We just totally didn't look alike at all. I had this like, okay, he doesn't have this uniform. He doesn't have this basic T. He doesn't have this. It's either Carter's or Gerbers, and we know the quality of that is just like, he spits up on it once and I have to throw it away. I need something that I can get out the door easy. That's when I started to see that. I started to search for it, couldn't find it. That's where I was like, okay, this could be something, because I know there are moms out there like me that want to get out the door, but want to also look presentable. I just used the skillset that I gained over those years in corporate retail to say, okay, I know I need X, I know I need Y, I know I need Z. Can I do this? Then I just decided to approach it and that's really how it all started.
Emily Flanigan: Wow.
Michelle Brandriss: It is wow. This to me, as I was thinking about the interview and thinking through the process, just there are so many pieces here that I... Good for you. You are fearless. This is a tough thing to start, so congratulations. Who inspired you? Do you have a designer out there that may have inspired some of the designs? I know that you're your own person in the space.
Shennel Fuller: Well, it's funny. From a designer perspective, I just enjoy fashion together. I don't really have one designer that I love. Obviously, there's the greats like Chanel, pretty much all of Vogue Magazine, the Harper's Bazaar. Those types of things I've always had around me, so I can have that inspiration of fashion. But really, truly, my father is the most stylish person I could possibly ever meet. He puts together things that you're just like, how did you visually think that? It doesn't just spill out into clothing, it also spills out into the home, just the details of things that come up. I would just say honestly, my family. One of the things that I'm thinking about is growing up in my household, we would always look at pictures and we had albums, which were not a thing, which I really wish there were albums more. People created that, but I would look through pictures of my mom and my dad dating. My dad was a tailor, as I mentioned, and he made all of her clothes. There were these amazing outfits from'60s and'70s, and it's just like, wow, these are awesome. These things are great. He's like," Yeah, I made that."
Emily Flanigan: That is so cute.
Michelle Brandriss: That is darling. That's love. Absolutely. He must be so proud of you, as you're building this.
Shennel Fuller: He is. He is. My mom is as well. They're both very proud of me. They've both been very much along this journey, which is a very long journey in the making, and they supported me in everything. When I said," Oh, I want to start consulting," my dad was just like," Go for it. You can do it, honey." They're very proud.
Michelle Brandriss: Oh, that's so great. When you have parents that are supportive like that, it just feels like you can do anything. As far as the business goes, starting something and getting it launched, was this something you had to get funding for or was it a bootstrap?
Shennel Fuller: Bootstrapped. Completely bootstrapped, and I did it. This is my fifth year anniversary actually, from since the website was up. It's funny. When I started it five years ago, I only started it with two SKUs.
Michelle Brandriss: Wow.
Shennel Fuller: I wanted to perfect my... and I still do, I have not taken any outside funding. I've always used my smart capital. Any money that's come in, I've reinvested it. I'm not paying myself. I'm putting in a lot of sweat equity, and I have a good team of people around me that are in belief of the dream as well. But yeah, I feel like when I started this, I wanted to start slow and perfect my vision, and innovate on my vision, purely with what my heart desired and not be distracted by maybe what let's say, fundraising might have had. I might have been more into financials or more into this that I lost the vision. Yeah. Bootstrapped is where I started.
Michelle Brandriss: I love it. You were in the creative process all the way?
Shennel Fuller: All the way. Yeah.
Michelle Brandriss: Yeah. That's great. I first want to talk about your background, working for some of these big brands. Was that when you were doing consulting work or were you under the brands for a while?
Shennel Fuller: Oh, I was under the brands for a while. I worked for again, I mentioned Talbots was my first introduction to corporate retail. Then I moved on to Converse, which honestly, one of the greatest companies I've ever worked for in my life. They really, truly believed in growing their people that they believed in.
Michelle Brandriss: I love that.
Shennel Fuller: Again, I started in a very finance focused role and I was like," I want to be more of a creative, but don't look at me." It's like, crunch your numbers and things over here. It took many years of them just like," Okay, Shennel, come sit in this meeting and tell me what you think." I really owe a lot to them and I will speak nothing but great things about that company, so it was really hard to leave it and move to California. I moved to California to be with Seven and then Levi's. After Levi's, I decided to consult.
Michelle Brandriss: Is Levi's up in San Francisco?
Shennel Fuller: Levi's is in San Francisco.
Michelle Brandriss: Did you relocate up there in the move back to LA?
Shennel Fuller: I bounced around. I left Boston, moved to LA, then left LA, then moved to San Francisco. Then got pregnant in San Francisco and was just like, ah. Then I started consulting and I started working for the wonderful Museum of African Diaspora. The only other way to say it was, it's very spiritual and very godsend, to be honest. I was walking up the street on one of my many walks and then just happened to see that this museum was closed. I wanted to go inside and I realized that they were redoing it. They had a retail store on the bottom floor and they had no idea how to set up a retail store. I had spent the past 15 years building brick and mortar stores for those brands that I had mentioned. I was like," Hey, I'll help. I can help you guys do this." They were like,"Okay. That would be great." Literally, that's how it happened. I got to be a startup, consulting a startup for a museum. That's how I got that bug.
Michelle Brandriss: Shennel, I love that your clothing is made in the US and to me, that is so important to help US manufacturers. I would love to know what your thought process was and how you went about to find your manufacturing process or place.
Shennel Fuller: Yeah. The real birth of Miles and Milan started in San Francisco. I started trying to think things through and I thought about using overseas. But again, having my knowledge of corporate retail, one of the things I really wanted to do was I did not want to start with a lot of inventory. That was one of my main roles for every one of my companies was just to be inventory management. I know I didn't want to start with that, and I knew that going overseas would require me to hit minimums. Not to say that's bad, but that's just for my business model. Again, starting in that creative, I wanted to see what worked before I just bet the farm. I literally was just like, okay, I know that there are manufacturers in the US. There's a lot in the Midwest. There's a lot in New York and in the South rather, but there are also in LA because that's where I worked for two or three years. I just started to reach out to the manufacturers that I knew in LA and asked them, could we do this minimum? Could we do that minimum? Then also, I'm a bit of a control freak. I'm very, very OCD, so I love the idea of being able to sit down, touch, feel, go in, see the process as it was done, and really be able to either slow or speed the process with my manufacturers on site.
Michelle Brandriss: That's perfect.
Emily Flanigan: Oh, you didn't say that's OCD.
Michelle Brandriss: It's good quality control. That's great. Also, you're helping your area, your community, so it makes sense. Absolutely. As far as the texture, because I know your clothes are very soft, how did you make that happen?
Shennel Fuller: Well, I'm very, again, maybe not OCD, but I'm a stickler for quality and for especially fabrications. Again, that's a lot with my background as well, but I just would go through my own personal closet, honestly, close my eyes and feel all of the garments. I would touch upon the one that would stop me, emotionally. Like, oh, I like this. Everyone's different, but there is a universal softness. Everyone can perceive something soft, but there is variations of soft. I just stopped and I was like, okay, I like this. Then I would go to my, and this is when my son, Jackson, was probably 10 months, I would go in with him in my BabyBjörn and I would walk down the fabric inventory or mills in LA. I would say," Do you have anything like this?" That's literally how I would create the fabric, is I would just go and be like, I want something that feels like this. If it doesn't feel like this, what wash can we do to it? How many times can we wash it in order to get it to feel that way? Now, that's another plus of doing something in the US, is that you can have those types of hands- on experiences where you can get that quality versus not to say you can't get it overseas, but that time you can spend and communicate face to face versus through mail, going back and forth. Like, nope, that's not right. Send it back. Okay. Wait a week. This is what I want, then they come back. It just shortens time a little bit.
Michelle Brandriss: I'm just curious. Are you still working with the same manufacturer?
Shennel Fuller: Yes and no. I've expanded, obviously. Now, I spread my categories out. I work with multiple factories and I work with multiple fabric houses in order to create different, I guess, fabrication. Like from a cotton to a fleece.
Michelle Brandriss: Okay. This is probably touchy. Just with COVID, how was it managing everything, the supply chain and everything for you?
Shennel Fuller: It was okay. I know that I'm blessed and I know that a number of other manufacturers had a lot bigger issues than I did. My biggest problem was that obviously, I went from having a team of let's say, 40 people working on something to like six. Just being able to just get things out quicker was slower, but we were able to do it on a skeleton crew.
Michelle Brandriss: Okay. Good for you. That's fantastic to hear. When working for the big brands and you've been in business for a number of years, what were some of the big lessons? Sometimes those hard lessons, they're terrible, but they also make you a better business person and actually, help you create your product, and things evolve. Is there anything that you're comfortable sharing?
Shennel Fuller: Yeah. First of all, I used to look at failure as the worst thing ever. It almost felt like it was a permanent, you couldn't get out of it. But I realized every failure is not permanent. It's temporary. It's like, how do you look at it is, you can either just give yourself that five minutes to mourn it, experience it, and then you have to figure out what you can learn from it. I actually had a manufacturer that again, who helped me get started. I owe him, that company really a lot, and I will still be grateful for everything, but he taught me that it's not really the best thing to put all your eggs into one basket. We've had a lot of delivery issues where I create campaigns and I'm saying okay, we're going to launch this new brand, and then it's like no, we're not ready yet. Learning from that experience, that it's better to spread your categories around if it's possible, that was a huge lesson because I literally had a standstill and a lot of mistakes were coming out of there. I would have very clear direction. I wanted my colors. My colors are only black, white, and gray, right? Can't mess that up. But they somehow find a way to put the wrong embroidery on the wrong color. What was another one that was a big one? The wrong size scale, mixed that up. I couldn't offer my customers really anything until they fixed it. That was a big lesson. You could look at that like I'm finished, I'm never going to be able to manufacture something and again. Or you're like, okay, I know what you can do really well. I'm going to continue to have that, have you do that, and I'm just going to look elsewhere for somebody else to do something else, so that I'm not in this predicament again next season.
Michelle Brandriss: That's so smart. You're diversifying. If someone falls down, you still have another option somewhere else. That's so, so smart.
Emily Flanigan: It sounds like you bring a lot of your minimalism into all of your ideals, going through even what you said before about the emotion that you get in touching the fabric that you like.
Shennel Fuller: Yeah. It's like we're not creating anything new. Baby clothes have been around forever. It's just really honing in on the simplicity of things. Let's not make it too complicated, and that's one of the big tag lines. I was like, dressing your kids doesn't have to be complicated. We're trying to make it no fuss, simple, soft basics that you will love, that will wear well, that will wash well. One of the greatest things, like you said, it's like, it's very minimalist. One of the greatest joys that I get is when I see a customer who's bought my clothing, either last year, now pregnant with their second or third, and their next child is wearing the same garment their first child wore.
Emily Flanigan: Oh, nice.
Shennel Fuller: It's just proving that the quality, the little things that I'm focusing on and making sure that they're there, is truly lasting from generation to generation.
Emily Flanigan: It's a staple piece.
Michelle Brandriss: Absolutely.
Shennel Fuller: Yeah.
Michelle Brandriss: Well, and you're in big stores. You're in SAXX, in Nordstrom, and they demand quality. Their customers demand quality. How was that, getting into those stores?
Shennel Fuller: Honestly, it was very nerve- wracking, because I've had very much of a cult following. I've had much organic success with celebrities just posting and liking my product. This is on a mass scale. It's one thing to have a really niche market then to be like, okay, the masses. Of course, in that, perfecting everything, I had to be extra, extra on top of everything. But when I got into the stores, I made sure that I crossed my Ts and dotted my Is three times before I passed anything over. I remember me having my first sales meeting with them and I was just like," Okay, how's it doing? How's it going? Oh, so one person returned? No." I'm freaking out because it's different when it's yours. They're like," Shennel, that's actually okay. Normally, that's like people are just testing out sizes." I have a very low return rate at both, so I'm very, very happy about that.
Emily Flanigan: That's awesome.
Michelle Brandriss: That's great. Good for you. How often do you put a new product? Or once you're in stores, do they ask for new products to come?
Shennel Fuller: Well, yes. Typically, in a buy cycle for fashion brands, so let's say with 7 For All Mankind, you're supposed to have at least four deliveries every year; spring, summer, fall, holiday, and then maybe a fifth being resort. Because my line is universal and seasonless rather, I only offer newness twice a year. I have spring shorts and then I do a holiday, where it's maybe a new jacket or a new sweatshirt or a new this, but then I have the core line that's all year round.
Michelle Brandriss: Actually, that's very, very cool. Are you in Europe at all yet, or is it more-
Shennel Fuller: I'm not in Europe yet. That's something that I'm trying logistically to figure out, but I do have a large interest group of customers and followers and press and things like that in Germany and France. I was in InStyle Germany. I was like, oh, that's interesting. Okay. But I was very grateful to be in InStyle as a little girl that's growing up loving fashion magazines and being able to just be in one of the greats.
Emily Flanigan: That's great.
Michelle Brandriss: Oh my God. I bet the little girl in you is like woo- hoo, freaking out.
Shennel Fuller: I was screaming for sure.
Michelle Brandriss: Actually, that's a good topic. How are you celebrating the wins?
Shennel Fuller: I try to. I don't do the best at it. I must admit, my husband is the one that's just like," You need to stop." But there are certain things that he's like," You need to stop and smile." There are certain wins, like the InStyle one, that stopped me in my tracks. Nordstrom and SAXX stopped me in my tracks. Oprah. Yeah, that put me on the inaudible. But normally, I just look at myself a little, clap, and then I keep going.
Michelle Brandriss: Do you have a PR person that's doing the outreach for you? This is all organic?
Shennel Fuller: All organic.
Emily Flanigan: Wow.
Michelle Brandriss: Good for you.
Shennel Fuller: A true, true godsend. I've had a number of people like," So, how did you do that? How did you do that?" I'm like,"I don't know." All I can think of is just, I have a very high repeat customer rate. You get a gift, you buy a gift for someone else, and then it just cycle its way around the world and gets into the hands that be.
Michelle Brandriss: The product's timeless, the pieces are timeless, and the kids grow and then they're able to... With our labels, moms love them because they can peel them off and then they're hand- me- downs for a cousin or a younger sibling. With your pieces, and they last, you can keep wearing them. It's fantastic. I love it. They're never going to go out of style.
Shennel Fuller: No.
Michelle Brandriss: What has been the most challenging thing, or I guess work- life balance? Because I know that you have two little ones and you're a busy entrepreneur. What have you been able to do to help that out a little bit?
Shennel Fuller: At first, I think the biggest thing that I did for myself is try not to balance. I had to reframe my thinking and just like, I can't. If I try to keep everything balanced, I'm going to lose my mind. I need to pretty much understand what things can wait and what things can't, and just be forgiving of myself if I can't get to something that I wanted to. For me, how do I keep it all moving is I try to make time for my boys, at least a moment a day. The timeframe may change. It may be longer one day, it may be shorter one day. But I want to give them their undivided attention, uninterrupted attention, and just be like," Okay, let's play for five minutes. Mommy has five minutes before a call. Let's just play. Or tell me about your day." I just make sure that I touch base with them every day. Then also, I make sure that I work out and I just try to give myself either 10 minutes, five minutes of just either walking on a treadmill or some days, I try to get up early and do an hour. I just try to understand that I might not be able to do it all, but I can do a piece each day.
Emily Flanigan: I love that. My dad always says," How do you eat the elephant, right?"
Shennel Fuller: Yeah.
Michelle Brandriss: A little bit every day.
Emily Flanigan: Yeah.
Michelle Brandriss: As far as advice for other moms, that would be it then, is just doing something for yourself every day? Just being mindful?
Shennel Fuller: Just being mindful. Again, I would be like, okay, I have to work out 40 minutes a day. That's going to be hard to do every single day. Something's going to come up. Well, if you can't do 40 minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes is okay, and just being mentally okay with the fact that you took that. Just take that time purely. Don't be like," Oh, I wish I was doing more." Just really take that time purely and honor it is what I always say.
Emily Flanigan: This is so refreshing, because we ask this question a lot and talk to some other entrepreneurs, and work- life balance is not an achievable thing for an entrepreneur. I'm not one, and so that's the common thought. You are the first person to say that you don't want to label it as a work- life balance and I really, really like that. I really like everything that you just said, and especially the fact of the five minutes, instead of forcing yourself to do the 40 minutes every day. You're setting yourself up for guilt, to feel bad about yourself if you can't do that. That's a great frame of mind. You should write a book.
Michelle Brandriss: I did want to ask, this is a light question. You have two boys. If you could give each child a superpower, what would it be, and why?
Shennel Fuller: Oh. That's...
Emily Flanigan: She said a light question.
Shennel Fuller: I feel like it's a tough... I think, I guess the power to... I'm a big, because of my husband, Marvel person. I'm like, are we talking superpower, superpower? I think honestly, if I could give my kids one thing, it's just to never give up on their dreams, and just to know that they can truly accomplish anything if they put their mind to it. To just trying it and working hard at it. Not necessarily just like, oh, I want to do this. I'm like, no, if you really want to do it, discover how it's done and keep at it until you figure it out and then make yourself proud. Not anyone else around you, but yourself proud. I think that's one thing is just to never give up and just to always shoot for their goals and their dreams.
Michelle Brandriss: There was one thought I had earlier. It was just, I was wondering how you broke out the process of starting your own business and starting your own clothing line, and I think you just said it. I think you had spooled it way out in advance. It was, you were able to see the vision and see how you needed to make it happen.
Shennel Fuller: Yeah. I remember sitting down and thinking, ugh, I want to do this. Most dreams just start us off as a fantasy, and I honestly thought I would have my own company and career after retirement. When I was older, the kids were in college, off to college or whatever. I always thought that's when I would start my little time to do my own little store. Then I realized, I don't have to wait that long. I can do it now. I literally did a PowerPoint of just a vision, like a Pinterest board of what I wanted and what the aesthetic was. Like you said, I just put pen to paper and it's like, okay, if I want to do this, this is what I need. This is how I want to do it. This is what I need to build it. This is the knowledge I need to learn in order to do it.
Michelle Brandriss: That's fantastic. As far as mentors, the one woman that helped you in the very beginning, are you still good friends with her?
Shennel Fuller: I don't talk to her as much, and I don't even think that she truly knows that she was a big part of my life, other than that point when I just decided to leave.
Michelle Brandriss: Leave.
Shennel Fuller: But we do follow each other on Instagram and I'm happy to see that she's doing well. When all of the successes that I've had, she always shoots me a post to say congratulations.
Michelle Brandriss: Good.
Emily Flanigan: Aww.
Michelle Brandriss: Do you find yourself stepping into that role now as a mentor for other people?
Shennel Fuller: Yes, and I'm grateful for it. I'm also mindful that I want to draw things out. I don't want to put my personal experience on them, because a true mentor really helps you discover what you want for yourself. Then if you can find passion with what someone else is doing, great. But I also know I'm happy to have you here, I'm happy to have you a part of the team, but I want to support your dream as well.
Emily Flanigan: That's lovely.
Michelle Brandriss: Absolutely. I love that. It's so neat. Meaning people who are creating, who have a vision, are able to build it, make it happen, and then inspire others to follow and possibly build their own dream. Thank you so much for joining us today. I typically close on quotes or words to live by. Do you have some words that you live by?
Shennel Fuller: Yes, I do, and I'm going to quote my father who's told me this many times when I was growing up is," Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you'll land among the stars." That's what I would leave everyone.
Emily Flanigan: I love it.
Michelle Brandriss: That's a great way to end. That's a fantastic quote. Shennel Fuller with Miles and Milan, thank you so much for joining us on From The Basement Up.
Shennel Fuller: Thank you for having me.
Emily Flanigan: Thank you.
Michelle Brandriss: Thank you.
Emily Flanigan: Thank you so much for joining us today on From The Basement Up. Please be sure to check namebubbles. com or our blog on the podcast, and all of the show notes, resources, and links for our guests every Thursday. And please be sure to leave us a five- star review wherever you get your podcast. See you next week, and thank you.
Shennel Fuller, a mom, and entrepreneur, who’s created a clothing brand for kids that is known for its minimalist style. Shennel’s genius is a gift for moms wanting soft, high-quality clothing that removes the fuss. The brand excels with the basics, is gender-neutral, and shares big smiles in white, grey, and black.
Does it sound familiar? Well, it should! The clothing line is Miles and Milan, and it’s been on Oprah’s list of favorite things, recommended by celebrities, and found in stores like Saks and Nordstrom. The clothing inspires an effortless style that is current and allows a little one’s cuteness to shine. Shennel is a veteran in the world of fashion, she has worked as an executive at brands like Converse, Levi’s, and 7 for All Mankind. Michelle and Emily are very excited to have her share her journey with us on From the Basement Up today.
Shennel Fuller, CEO and Founder of Miles and Milan, writes this excerpt on her company website, "as I searched and searched for that perfect in between, that would support my minimalistic yet fashion thoughtful aesthetic, my brand Miles and Milan was born. Named after my lovely niece and nephew; I set out to develop a brand that provides key basics and fashion items that are playful, effortless, and current. A brand that grows with your child and hopefully removes the fuss in dressing to help you enjoy those precious moments a little more. I hope you enjoy!"
We hope YOU enjoy this awesome episode filled with interesting tidbits, fun stories, and advice from a successful entrepreneur.