Mimi Eayrs & Joanne Lee

Mimi Eayrs & Joanne Lee

How exactly did you two meet? Was it friendship at first sight?
MIMI – I think that it was almost friendship at first sight. It was Joanne’s first week or 2 of the job and I invited her to a party that my lawyer was having and I got to see the fun side of her. After that we became instant friends.

What do you think is the most important factor in having a well-working artistic partnership?
JL – Compromise and a lack of ego. Mimi and I have pretty different eyes, but we always end up meeting halfway and the result is usually something better than we would’ve each done on our own.
MIMI – I think that we understand each other really well, because we know the artistic process, and we can talk in more abstract ways without having to explain things in much detail. It’s like we can talk in code or something. On the other hand, we sometimes wish one of us were more of a business, sales or PR guru.

What has been the toughest part of this journey?
MIMI – I think that the toughest part is understanding how to fit in with an industry that expects seasons and newness all the time. We are about timeless pieces that are not tied to any season, but i’ts hard when people expect to see a new lookbook, new styles, and new colorways attached to specific seasons.

What do you take into consideration when coming up for your designs?
JL – Function and purpose. We try to be pretty minimalist in our designs and stay away from details that are purely decorative, but have fun with color and materials.
MIMI – We try to take both practicality and aesthetics in equal measures. Joanne always has an eye out to make sure our bags are functional and practical, and I tend to be more obsessed with the little details, the colors and textures.

In your opinion, what makes the perfect bag?
JL – The perfect bag should carry just what you need. I’ve been carrying our Cooper Mini nonstop for the past year. It’s just big enough for my Henry Wallet, keys, phone, one of those rolled up freebie totes for unplanned cargo, and it’s a crossbody so I can keep my hands free.

Where do you go for inspiration? Do you wait for it to come or do you seek it out?
JL – we have the tremendous advantage of living in NYC where inspiring things and people are everywhere. But recently I’ve been getting more inspired by getting out of the city and into nature and open spaces, to process my own thoughts and shifting perspectives.
MIMI – I think its a combination of both. I love finding inspiration in unexpected places, like a paint job in the subway, or zooming into the pattern in the airplane seat. I think that if you keep your eyes open, inspiration is all around.

10. It seems like you both have traveled lots- what is your favorite place and how has it impacted your life?
JL – I backpacked for 2 months right before my move to NYC, and one of my favorite cities was Helsinki. The city has a strange desolate beauty to it and the people just don’t give a crap what you think when it comes to personal style. It was also the first time I’d traveled alone for an extended period and it forced me to put my guard down and trust strangers. I met some great people who took me in and I’m still in touch with them.
MIMI – My favorite place remains a little camping place in Patagonia called Paimun. It is no longer what it used to be (which happened to many remote places) but I still think about it often. The road to get there was treacherous and i remember that once, we were visiting and a truck that was delivering food to the closest convenience store (which was a tiny shack) slid off the road and fell off the cliff. There were cans of food and splashes of rice and flour and bright colored candy spread all over the bamboo covered mountains side next to the lake. I remember being traumatized and also having that vivid image filled with bright colors and strong emotions embedded in my mind. I went to this place many times throughout my childhood and I feel like I learnt so much about people and nature.

Who is your favorite artist and why?
JL – I love the drawings of Sol LeWitt. There’s so much discipline and study. The scale and repetition is mind blowing but ultimately, they are really minimalist. I’ve also been really interested in Cindy Sherman, I love how she explores different characters and portrays herself in untraditional and extreme ways. I think it’s a bit of commentary on “fashion,” how makeup and costume can make people see us in a certain way.
MIMI – From a more timeless perspective, I think I’d say Matisse. I know that its a very popular choice, but I love his sense of color, space, and his use of patterns. I also love his cutouts.

I know that Eayrslee was founded over burger and fries- what’s the best burger joint in BK?
JL – Five Leaves is still one of my favorites. Putnam’s in Clinton Hill also has a great burger (and doesn’t hurt that it’s just down the street from my house).
MIMI – We always go to 5 leaves, they have a delicious burger. The James, which is closer to our houses is pretty amazing too.

Joanne- love that you call your company your “baby”! What do you think the future holds for your now toddler?
I’d love to add shoes and/or outerwear to our line, my ultimate dream for the baby is for it to one day grow up into a store/ cafe/ neighborhood hangout. I also started pottery recently, so maybe it will have a pottery sister at some point and become a whole lifestyle concept.

Mimi- what is it like having a company baby and a human baby? How do you find balance?
This is a hard question, and I think that none of it would be possible without an amazing partner like Joanne. It’s hard to find balance, and the truth is that Joanne is the key to it all. She keeps us on track and pushes me when I’m not responsive (she forwarded me this questionnaire three times :).