When Mildred&Co burst on to the Auckland scene last year with a boutique online gift store and wedding registry, it soon became clear that this was something we'd all been waiting for. Born out of a desire to offer beautiful and unique gifts for weddings and other special occasions, Mildred&Co is lovingly curated by founder Milly Nolan, and sells everything you could ever want for your home and beyond – from leading brands to unique, designer pieces.
Since its launch, the company has provided gifts for a huge (and growing) number of happy couples, and has now opened the doors to an incredible new showroom, which I was lucky enough to attend the opening of recently. Architecturally designed, the stunning space offers a place for couples to choose gifts in person, over a glass of champagne.
Having known Milly for many years (her older sister and I are close friends from school) the idea of an interview came up when Mildred&Co first launched. Following a whirlwind wedding season and setting up the showroom, Milly has somehow managed to squeeze in time to answer my questions, and I'm thrilled to be able to share them with you today.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and what led to the launch of Mildred&Co?
I actually studied law but desperately wanted to work for a magazine 'when I grew up' so after uni I chased my dreams and after a lot of hard work - mainly interning for free (!!) - I landed my first job at Gourmet Traveller magazine in Sydney. I then worked at Wallpaper* in London before returning home where I became the beauty editor at MiNDFOOD magazine. After four years there and plenty of wedding-going in-between as all my friends starting tying the knot, I came up with a business idea that I just couldn’t shake off – to launch a one-stop-shop wedding gift registry that sold beautiful things for the home and beyond – and so, with that Mildred&Co was born in 2012 and here I am today....knee deep in running a business!
You've kicked off your first wedding season with great success. How many weddings have you done so far, and what have been some of the highlights to date?
Over eight months we have provided gifts for 67 weddings. This has meant a lot of gift-wrapping! I guess the highlight to date has been seeing how happy the couples are to receive and open their gifts! The letters and photos we get from them thanking us makes our hearts sing!
What's been the most popular wedding present so far?
As dull as it seems, wine glasses are probably our most popular gifts. I guess everyone loves a vino! Actually most of the usual household items like kitchenware, cookware, tableware etc are still very popular but we have also found that the more unique pieces such as art works and coffee table books are snapped up quickly. As are gardening tools!
In addition to providing a wedding gift registry service, Mildred&Co is an online everyday store, offering gorgeous homewares and furniture from around the world. What are your current favourites or standout pieces?
That's a tricky question as there are so many things I love, but at the moment some of my favourite pieces are; Le Creuset Cast Iron Casserole Dish in white, Seletti Burlesque Monkey Candelabra, Kartell Jelly Vases, Nathan Goldsworthy Kimono Stool.
You've recently opened the doors to the Mildred&Co Showroom. How will this space be used?
The showroom is a place couples can visit to see all the gifts Mildred&Co offers. They will be greeted by a style consultant and offered a glass of bubbles or coffee while they peruse the collection. It's basically so that they can get a better feel for the products and therefore choose what colours and sizes etc they want. The showroom is also available to hire for functions as it's too good a party space not to!
Once a mechanics workshop, the transformation is remarkable! Can you tell us a bit about the architecture, design, and interior fit out?
You honestly would not recognise it if you saw the 'before' pictures! Although in saying that, our clever architect Jose Gutierrez was very careful to maintain the 'industrial' bones of the building while also creating a sleek, modern and sophisticated space with its polished concrete floors, white walls and black lacquered fittings. I think one of the best features is the inner courtyard which is a bit like a mini oasis in the middle of the city.
You're due to host the highly anticipated Megan Morton workshops that are coming to NZ later this year. Tell us about this collaboration and how it came about.
Actually I can thank the lovely wedding stylist, Erin from Erin Lovich Events for that as she had been to a Megan Morton course in Sydney and on her return mentioned to me that Megan was looking for a space to hold her Auckland workshops so we made a connection and voila, The School is coming to New Zealand in November and will be held at the Mildred&Co showroom. I can't wait!
How would you describe your own personal style and how is this reflected in your own home, and the products you source for Mildred&Co?
Being a fussy Virgo my personal style is quite minimalist. I know what I do and don't like and there's no grey matter in between! But in saying that, I don't think that is translated very well into how I dress or how my house looks! Maybe this is only reflected in my dreams...or my Pinterest boards! As for sourcing for Mildred&Co, I think that my personal style definitely has a lot of influence, although I try and step outside the box as much as possible so that the products appeal to a wide audience and all styles. There's definitely an emphasis on clean, contemporary, no-fuss, high-quality, design-led pieces, although this doesn't necessarily mean high price tags - I'm very weary of making sure there are prices that suit all budgets.
What inpsires you right now - people, travel, the web etc?
Instagram is up there, as is Pinterest, style/fashion/nutrition/wellness blogs, travelling and also all my loved ones that keep me believing.
Huge thanks to Milly for sharing her inspiring story with us along with the lovely showroom and launch party photos - the cake made by Bluebells Cakery was divine! To set up a wedding registry or browse the everyday online store, take a look here. Bookings for The School's Auckland workshops can be made here.