Creating a powerful wahine movement - Miria Flavell's story

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I am so excited to interview Miria Flavell, who I had a privilege to meet at the event in Hamilton where she spoke to young girls about her journey. You might know Miria from social media as a makeup artist, kick ass mum, and a founder of a sportswear line - Hine, aimed at beautiful bodies of all shapes and sizes, made and marketed with so much love and empowerment (I am a big fan as you can see). If you follow her on social or ever witness her speak, you will know how raw, honest, and genuine Miria is which is why it is such a pleasure to have her on Kia Ora!

Tell us more about Hine. Starting and running your own business can be incredibly tough. What inspired you to start Hine and how has the journey been so far? 

Hine Collection is a women’s activewear brand that I launched in 2018. My aim was to cater to all women, no matter their size or shape. Our size range is XS-5XL. The reason why I started this brand is because I noticed there was a gap in the fitness clothing industry, to be honest, it’s clothes in general, but activewear was a huge one. I would see all activewear brands across social media only catering to the smaller figures. I had an issue with that and knew something needed to be done. I’ll be completely honest it has been a rollercoaster! So many ups and downs, failures, lessons, achievements - the whole lot. But I wouldn’t change a thing, all my failures became my lessons and every single one of those lessons moulded me into the business woman I am today.

Miria Flavell and her amazing models wearing Hine collection swimwear

Tell us about how it all started for you. What did you do before you became popular on social for your makeup videos & Hine collection and what was your mission / vision back then? 

Growing up I had a love for acting and performing arts, when I left school I went to a Film & Television school in Auckland  to pursue that dream of becoming a performer on screen but I ended up finding a passion for all the behind the scenes stuff! From producing, to directing, to editing, to wardrobe, and of course makeup artistry, I loved it all! I worked in the Film & Television industry for 7 years, I worked in Production Management for about 5 of those years, but in the end I realised makeup was what gave me that fire so I pursued that as a career.

Miria Flavell’s instagram make up shot

Have you always had a clear course / direction in mind? Do you have a goal / goals you are working towards?

Absolutely not, I am taking every small step one at a time, seeing where this crazy journey takes me. I have big big goals, so big that some people have laughed at me about it. The funny thing is - people laughed at me when I told them I was starting an activewear brand and yet here we are with our beautiful kaupapa that is Hine Collection, so I stay focused on those big goals and have an amazing team including my partner Chris right behind me.

I am so incredibly inspired by your connection to your roots and Te Reo Māori. Could you please share how it influences your work? 

Te Reo Māori is my life, it was my first language so we grew up speaking Te Reo Māori in our home and now my kids are speaking it too. I’m not sure how it influences my work because it’s me being me, me being myself. If anything, it’s a sense of connection, wahine Māori across the world connect to me and our brand because we have such a strong kaupapa Māori (Māori values) behind it and is owned by Māori with a Māori name. They feel that sense of connection, especially those that are far away from home. 

Māori goddess inspired make up collaboration - Miria Flavell (top left), Summer Brons (top right), Queenie (bottom left), Rhi Kaipo (bottom right)

Māori goddess inspired make up collaboration - Miria Flavell (top left), Summer Brons (top right), Queenie (bottom left), Rhi Kaipo (bottom right)

You have a very active Youtube and Instagram channels and recently started your own podcast. How do you find time for everything and do you have any advice for someone who is starting to document / share their stories online? 

I wouldn't say I have time because I always struggle to find time haha! It’s been a while since I uploaded on Youtube, but I honestly try my best to find time as I absolutely love sharing my journey, my experiences with others. My one advice to anyone is to be 100% yourself, be you, don’t change for anyone. That will always be your point of difference.

A lot of the times we see a glorified image of people on social which might cause comparison anxiety and feeling like you are not good enough. You make a point of sharing the raw stories from your life and being very open. Why did you decide to do that and what role do you see yourself playing on social media? 

Because I’ve been that person behind my screen comparing my life to others. One of the big ones was seeing those body images that I spoke about in the beginning - women advertised across social media always looked a certain way, there was so much Photoshop happening and these women were always half my size, it would make me feel like my body wasn’t right, like my body wasn’t normal. I thought enough is enough, all bodies are beautiful and should all be included! That was my hope for Hine Collection to showcase and represent as many different body types as possible across all our social media platforms. The reason why I am so open on social media is because I don’t want to paint a picture like everything is perfect and so easy, I show the real life, the ups and downs of running a business. I show the struggles of being a māmā to show others out there that we all struggle, you aren’t alone, it’s ok to be down, it’s ok to be stressed, we all go through things. But it’s about what we do next that matters, so I hope that by me sharing my ups (achievements / successes etc.) motivate them to keep going and that there is always hope for everything.

The Social Miria Podcast - Talks with Miria Flavell

You’ve achieved a lot in such a short amount of time. Something we’ve found through our past interviews is the road to success is never a straight line, but usually a wild squiggle. Were there any hardships during your journey? How did you overcome them and how did they help you become the person you are today?

If someone told you they didn’t have struggles then they’re lying! Haha no seriously, entrepreneurship is an absolute journey - so many highs and many lows. I’ve had many times where I’ve said I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and go back to a 9-5 job, it was an easier way out for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family, especially my partner Chris who has been my rock and backbone throughout the journey. We had no business experience whatsoever, so we have had to learn a lot along the way.

A lot of people now struggle with finding their worth in this world. What would your advice be to someone who is not sure what they want to do?

Look at my story, I went through 3 different careers to end up where I am today. It’s all part of life, never feel pressure to rush into things and don’t ever feel like you need to have your life figured out at a certain age, you have a lifetime of experiences ahead of you, enjoy them! You will figure it out along the way; you will find what fires your soul. 

Miria Flavell with her Hine Collection shipments

Do you have any favourite milestones / breakthroughs that made it all worth it? 

Favourite milestones, hands down, was moving into our beautiful warehouse! We were working out of our house garage for a whole year. That was honestly tough, the bigger the brand was becoming - the less moving space we had in there, it was crazy. We had our goal to move into our own space within 2 years; we remained patient and worked so hard, we ended up achieving it in a year. Another milestone was being able to retire my partner from his earthmoving job and to finally bring him into the business full time, that was another goal of mine within a year and it happened at the beginning of 2019. My two favourite moments to date.

What were the most valuable things you have done on your personal and professional path that you would recommend to others? 

Honestly it might seem cliche but it’s to believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you if you don’t even believe in yourself. Remember why you are doing it, use it as your motivation and never give up! People will always doubt you, as long as you have that strong belief in yourself you will be unstoppable!

Miria Flavell giving an interview about Hine Collection with Haka Nation film crew

Are you learning / pondering about anything right now that you would like to share?

My biggest lesson in the past couple of weeks has been to keep your circle close but to find the BEST support team around you that truly believe in you and want the best outcomes for you. Quite a lot of our struggles & failures that have happened in the past was because of the lack of support / expertise we had around us. Now we have the best team supporting us! We are so excited for the future with our strong team behind us.

And finally, whose story would you want to read about on here? 

Any of our young Māori Entrepreneurs!

Elina Ashimbayeva