Elsa, Mila's mother, lives in the countryside of Bordeaux.
Creator of the MOKA brand, Elsa likes to use her 10 fingers, is very inspired by the world of childhood. She thinks and makes adorable leather moccasins for the little ones' feet. MOKA combines quality with cowhide leather and original creations with design motifs. I let you discover her background, her inspirations and how she achieves her little wonders.
What is your background?
I studied in Paris to become a graphic designer. But in the middle of the second year, I realize that this is not what I want to do. I realize that there are too many constraints for me, I naively thought I was going to draw all day, but that wasn't the case. I decide to give myself time to find my domain. The world of childhood has always attracted me. This domain allows me to use my ten fingers, it's an inspiration without limits! I started by creating cuddly toys, music boxes and doing some sewing. Then I started working with leather, a raw material that I particularly like. It was from there that I thought and worked on the leather slippers. This idea allows me to combine leather with the world of childhood while allowing me to have fun and let my imagination run wild.
Where does the name MOKA come from?
I must admit there have been several attempts! And MOKA arrived. I wanted something short, efficient, simple and above all graphic.
Who is behind the MOKA?
We are a small family business because I work with my brother who came to help me. On my side, I manage the creative. I create all the motifs of the brand, both animals and small characters. As a graphic designer by training, it is a real pleasure to be able to imagine them. For his part, my brother manages the commercial part. All decisions are made as a team.
What are the brand's values?
We try to be a brand with a certain ethic. That's why we looked for our service providers near us. For the moment only our raw material, leather comes from Spain. We are working every day to find an alternative that would allow us to produce 100% Made In France. We want to offer our customers simple, practical and qualitative products and to highlight craftsmanship. Know where it comes from, how it's done. For a long time, the Dordogne was the cradle of the shoe industry and the practice of leather. I like the idea of bringing to light a heritage that has been forgotten. We also take care to optimize our raw material as much as possible. We calculate as best we can to use as much leather as possible on one and the same skin. We use the few scraps left to make the underside of the fringes, so there is no loss.
How do you realize the patterns?
Every morning, I have a new idea! Behind my computer, I try new things every day. I have patterns with the different parts of my slippers, so I print, cut, assemble and it gives me prototypes. There are also challenges since I have to take into account technical constraints. Once drawn I order the leather, white broken leather always the same. The printing is carried out at a printer in the Bordeaux region, with solvent-free inks, therefore safe for children!
Once the patterns are made, where and how are MOKA moccasins made?
For the clothing we have chosen a workshop in the southwest of France that employs seamstresses specialized in the field of footwear, experts in leather work. In this workshop, cutting and assembly are carried out by hand, with precision and know-how. Finally, with my brother, we provide the packaging. Kraft boxes on which we place a MOKA stamp.
So leather is your favourite material, why?
Yes, we use high quality and flexible cowhide leather from Spain for the manufacture of our moccasins (for the moment). There's nothing better than a soft sole to discover walking. The ideal for the child is to discover these new sensations as if he were barefoot. The MOKA moccasin allows it to do so and is safe because it will not slip unlike socks.
What are your inspirations?
Everything inspires me. The hardest part is not finding inspiration, but making choices. In both animal and character collections, there are many different models. They had to be reduced, I tried to target the audience, that's what conditioned my choices. My favorite character is the one with the little ears made with the fringes.
Any desires, any projects for MOKA?
Full! For the moment the time of realization is 3 to 4 weeks because we are at the beginning, we hope to be able to shorten this time quickly. We also have a big project planned but I can't say any more at this time. We will also participate in the next Playtime and propose new models!
Finally, some advice on finding the right size?
Simply measure your child's foot. Either directly on his foot or you make an impression of his foot by twisting it onto a sheet of paper with a pencil.
On the product sheets we have put each size with its equivalent in cm, so it will be more convenient for the parent. We go from 3-6 months to 24 months (18 to 24).
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