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Designer Miriam Fanning on the power of authenticity

Miriam Fanning speaks with The CEO Magazine on authenticity, overcoming doubt and trusting your instincts.

Miriam Fanning

Miriam Fanning is the Founder and Principal of Mim Design, a multidisciplinary design studio in South Yarra, Melbourne. The company specialises in a range of services including interior and industrial design, styling and custom furniture.

With more than 20 years of experience as an interior designer, Miriam has worked on several projects in the residential, hospitality and retail sectors. She was selected as one of 10 Australian entrepreneurs to be featured in a stunning photoshoot for International Women’s Day 2019, organised by the founder of Australian fashion label Mastani, Kudrat Makkar.

The photoshoot celebrates the rise of Australian female entrepreneurs and aims to inspire younger and older generations alike to discover and live out their true purpose.

We caught up with Miriam to find out what she loves the most about designing and what she wished she knew at the start of her career.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

A. Working with great clients. Visualising an idea or design and bringing it to life.

Q. What career achievements are you most proud of?

A. There are many things I am proud of. My career melds with my family life so I am proud of my two sons, my studio – with its brilliant team – and the ability to be a creative yet practical businesswoman.

Q. What do you wish someone had told you at the start of your career?

A. That you can have it all! No matter what, you can only work to your best ability and live in the moment. Quality time, direction, communication and production cancel out all aspects of trying to do too much.

Q. Can you share your three top tips for building a company/brand?

  1. Always be authentic and true to yourself. This includes being open and honest even if it means communicating things that clients don’t want to hear. They will appreciate it in the long-term. 
  2. Life is design, from the simplest yellow Post-it Note to a paperclip. We live it every day. Some of the best design outcomes spark from a simple idea.
  3. Live your brand; you are what it stands for. Evolve your brand and continue to be inspired because drive and inspiration work hand-in hand.


Q. How do you overcome doubts?

A. The best way of overcoming doubt for me, is not to worry about something I don’t know about or cannot control. Never doubt or underestimate your own intuition. Trust in yourself, your direction and your inspiration. Always try to think clearly and positively.

Q. What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

A. International Women’s Day for me is a celebration of women on a global scale. As women, it’s about our unity and how we live and celebrate our lives. This encompasses all groups collectively; respecting economic, cultural, political and social attitudes.

Q. Why was it important for you to be involved in the Mastani shoot?

A. Not only was it a celebration of diverse, talented women coming together, it was also a true reflection of authenticity. Mastani as a label speaks absolute authenticity from design to production. The Mastani story inspires me as each piece is considered, cared for and uniquely made. You can see that great care and joy has been part of the Mastani process; from the loomer, printers, weavers and seamstresses to the designers. I felt the authenticity of Mastani worked hand-in-hand with Mim Design’s values.

Mastani International Women’s Day photoshoot credits:
Wearing Mastani Label AW19 collection – Edit 1 – available online Monday 4 March
Wardrobe – Mastani Label
Photographer – Liane Hurvitz
Stylist – Jessica Alizzi
HMU – Chantelle Baker
Location – Studio Gallery Melbourne
Artwork – Kerry Armstrong Art
Floral – Flowers Vasette
Jewellery – Fiorina
Furniture – Grazia & Co

Artist Kerry Armstrong reveals the value of pursuing your passion.

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