She's the Sh*t: Milicent Armstrong

Meet Milicent Armstrong, a down to earth go-getter who started her own business, Artemis Designs. Artemis Designs is best known for its one of a kind kilim loafer shoes handmade from Turkish flying carpets, but Milicent’s collections include other shoe designs, bags, and some home goods. Artemis Design’s pieces have been featured at fine retailers including Steven Alan, United Arrows of Japan, Anthropologie, Tuckernuck and Of A Kind--so it’s kind of a big deal!!

Boston, MA

Favorite part of your day:
Drinking a latte in the morning and doing work on my computer before anyone else gets up.  Second favorite is getting into bed at night.

You mentioned the other day that you took email off of your phone… can you shed some more light on your decision to do that and how it’s affected your work/life balance?
That lasted for about 3 hours….until I realized that the only way to get photos from my computer to my phone was via email.  I originally decided to delete the Mail app on my phone, because I noticed that I would check my email constantly from my phone, but never actually reply from there.  So checking my email obsessively on my phone was really pointless.
In general I’m trying to use my phone less, and less.  If I go out to dinner with friends or Brian, I’ll leave my phone at home. Just having it in your purse makes it easy for your mind to wander to other things and not focus on the people you are with. I can feel an enormous difference in my experiences with people when my phone is there versus when it is not.  I remember the first time I left it at home and didn’t bring it to the dog park with Brian and Gerry. Normally I would be using the time “productively” to instagram something for Artemis, but I didn’t and I focused on having fun with my dog and Brian, and not having the temptation to work was sounds so lame but I still look fondly on that dog park visit, and now I try to never bring my phone when I’m spending time with Brian or friends!  There SO rarely is a real emergency where you would need to have your phone.  Here’s an article about how just having your phone physically on you reduces the quality of time you spend with someone. Even having it on your desk (article) will reduce the quality of your work.
What was a major benchmark since starting Artemis that made you say to yourself, “woah this is actually working!”:
I remember the first time we were featured in a publication- it was Daily Candy- it was so exciting.  Getting a wholesale order from Steven Alan, before we even had a website was an exciting benchmark.  

When you see a stranger wearing your shoes or carrying one of your gorgeous bags, how does that make you feel? Do you ever say anything to them?:
It makes me so happy to see strangers with my products! I also love hearing when people make connections with other people because they both have an Artemis product on them, or they recognize the product on someone else.  I always say something to people when it makes sense (I don’t chase someone down the street!). I love to make the connection with the wearer and find out how they like the piece, how they found out about us, invite them to visit my studio, etc.  I love to make the wearer feel connected to the brand.

If you were to meet someone who was thinking of starting their own brand and they asked you for a few words of brutally honest advice, what would it be?
The first advice would be to make sure that you have a great product, something that someone else isn’t already doing better than you.  That’s the most important thing- make sure you are selling a new or significantly better thing, it’s the only way you are going to compete and get people excited about your brand.  
Second piece of advice is to just go for it!  You will learn so much on the way that you could have never prepared yourself for….so don’t not start because you don’t feel prepared enough.  

Girl Crush:
Probably Lulu DK

Favorite STIK product and why:
I love my white pom pom hat!  It is warm, comfy, and the pom pom is just adorable.
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