Mi Piaci

A day in the life of Mi Piaci Designer Ellie Mills

Ellie Mills shares a day in her life as footwear designer at Mi Piaci and Merchant 1948.


I’m not much of a morning person so it takes a lot of will power and coffee to wake me up in the morning. Whilst I make my coffee I give Hector the flat cat some love with morning pats and cheek scratches.


My work day varies hugely depending on where we are in the season. We’re working on our AW22 range and are in the process of detailing all our designs to the factory. It’s a really fun part of the process of getting into the nitty gritty design details and construction where you have to put a lot of thought and brain power into how the actual shoe will be put together and function. We have 100+ styles to spec in for each brand so this takes up most of my mornings.


I leave the office for lunch most days. It’s so nice to get out and go for a short walk or a change of scenery (mostly to Daily Bread for the yummy coffee and great yarns). If I don’t feel up for a walk it’s nice to just take the time to sit outside in the courtyard at Teed Street and do some people watching, and maybe nip by Area 51 for some window shopping.

I also regularly stop by our Merchant & Mi Pi stores in Westfield Newmarket to have a look at any new product as it comes in. We’ve just launched our resort collection for SS21 and it’s so exciting to see an injection of fun summer colours and new spring product in store – bring on the sunshine! I can’t wait to spot people wearing them on the street!


Our work and business is so collaborative and we have lots of little discussions throughout the day – technical pow wows, thoughts for new styling that we might be missing, production issues all arise at various times with varying degrees of urgency. I deal with these as they come up or just after lunch when our development team start their day in the China office.


We have regular DHL’s sent from China with new samples – we’re receiving the very first round of AW22 prototypes at the moment. It’s honestly so exciting – it’s like a mini Christmas every week unpacking and seeing all our designs for the first time! From this we’ll send through comments on amends we’d like to make. It’s a constant back and forth developing our shoes, tweaking and changing different elements that affect the look and fit. The whole thing is such a rewarding process seeing your designs evolve into their final iteration.  


I’m a newly indoctrinated member of Les Mills Newmarket where I do classes a couple of nights a week. Otherwise, I do life drawing sessions in Eden Terrace. It’s something I love and previously dedicated a lot of time to at home in London and have continued it on over here, I find it really meditative and the outcome always surprises me as it depends so heavily on my mood. Sometimes the moodier the better!


I’ll grab something small for supper and usually have some ice cream for pudding – I’m
a sucker for it since moving over here, even in winter. Shout out to Duck Island for fuelling this addiction.

9:00 PM

 I FaceTime my family back in England before bed, mostly talking to the very top of my mother’s forehead or a blurry frame of the camera-shy family dog.

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