In 2007, after 10 years of freelancing, self-taught illustrator Heather Moore got lonely, so she found a half day job writing comics. This is where she discovered the Internet, blogs, and Etsy’s online marketplace.
Eventually, she could no longer contain her enthusiasm for pattern so she rented a studio on Cape Town’s Long Street and started making papercuts and patterns inspired by everyday things and midcentury style, which she screenprinted onto fabric.
She launched a blog – named Skinny laMinx after her skinny little siamese cat – and an Etsy shop too, where she began selling her simple, clear screenprinted tea towels and hand-cut fridge magnets.
Online sale did well enough for Heather to need a bigger studio, and she got help with outsourcing printing and stitching too. Then, one day, everything got ramped up a notch or ten when Skinny laMinx got its first major wholesale order from Heath Ceramics in Sausalito, California.
By 2009 the business had become so busy with retail and wholesale orders that Heather quit her comics-writing job. Her husband Paul says it was a very, very intense time…
When we opened our shop in 2011, we made this super-cute stop-motion animation telling our story.
Out of the blue, Pearl Thompson offered her services as a level-headed production and business manager. With Pearl’s help, Skinny laMinx soon started to look a little less like an out-of-control hobby, and more like a viable business.
In 2011, crisis struck. The landlords decided to demolish the studio and Pearl moved to Paris. But when Heather discovered an oil-covered scooter shop on Bree Street, just a short walk away from her home, things took a turn for the better.
Within a year of moving into the storefront at 201 Bree Street, Skinny laMinx had to lease the floor above the shop too, where a team of cutters and seamstresses worked to fulfil wholesale, online and retail orders. At the same time, the rest of Bree Street began to flourish, with a new venture opening its doors every couple of weeks.
Over the next 5 years, the team grew to include a wholesale department, a marketing team, and a dedicated online store manager.
By 2017 more expansion was needed, and a clever renovation resulted in the little storefront doubling in size.
December 2021 marked the 10 year anniversary of the Skinny laMinx shop at 201 Bree Street. The decade anniversary coincided with getting through the tough times of the Covid19 pandemic, and we’ve chosen to continue our business…. online.
Our team is still busy in our upstairs studio with our team, making, designing, selling, packing and planning, and sending orders across the globe. Lots has changed, but the business continue to be a beloved lifestyle brand both home and abroad.
And the moral of the story? Businesses named after cats are guaranteed to flourish, through good times and bad.