Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility spotlight – SOCO & The OC Mix

Meet Sarah Choi of Miel

The stylishly trendy Miel fashion boutique isa destination for many Orange County fashionistas. Owner Sarah Choi talks about the business.

Q. Tell us about yourself and what you did before opening your business, Miel?

A: “I am a fashion design graduate from New York. I designed handbags and pursued a career in New York. Then I moved back to SoCal where I grew up, & continued my career at Guess as a handbag designer. I majored in womenswear & always wanted to pursue my dream of having my own line of women’s apparel & owning a small boutique that would possibly carry my brand. I eventually left Guess & started designing & manufacturing my own brand, Percée in Los Angeles, which eventually led me to open Miel here at The OC Mix.”

Q. What challenges do you face as a small business owner and how do you overcome them?

A: “As a small business owner, the biggest challenge & a blessing is having to do everything, from buying the right styles of clothing & accessories to managing various employees, as well as working as a salesman. My next challenge is to get our website back on track, which is almost like another full-time job!”

Q. What do you like best about having your shop at SOCO and the OC Mix?

A: “We are located outside of your usual “shopping mall” which gives a unique shopping experience for those who are looking for that “special something.” I’m also a big fan of searching for great places to eat in Orange County and I think The OC Mix is like a hidden gem for newcomers!”

Meet Milk and Honey Baby

Meet Milk and Honey Baby’s Founder and Designer Nichole Horiuchi. Milk and Honey Baby is an upscale baby boutique with beach & boho inspired styleapparel, shoes, blankets, dolls, organic gifts and toys for children up to age 6. Nichole was born and raised in Huntington Beach, Orange County. With a background in fashion design from CSU Long Beach, she has been influenced by a beach lifestyle, travel and a love for good design.

Milk and Honey Baby originated in 1996 as a wholesale company, manufacturing the brand locally in Orange County. In 2011, Milk and Honey Baby opened its first brick and mortar retail boutique in Costa Mesa, CA.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you face as a small business owner?

A. “I feel the biggest challenge is the changing retail market. Competing with on-line baby retail. I try to market on social media as much as I can and get our name out there.”

Q. What do you like about having your shop at SOCO and the OC Mix?

A. “I love having our store at the OC Mix. Next year will be 7 years since we opened. We were one of the first stores here and have seen it grow over the years. It’s exciting to be a part of it!”

Marin Von Blom of ARC PIZZA HOUSE

Meet Marin Von Blöm, half of the team behind ARC PIZZA HOUSE. Marin and husband Chef Noah recently introduced ARC PIZZA HOUSE at #SOCOandtheOCMix. The restaurant features a menu of unique wood-fired pizzas. This new concept is now an extension of acclaimed restaurant, ARC, and is located in the space formerly occupied by Restaurant Marin, which will be relocating to a new home on the Newport Beach Peninsula in early 2018, when the von Blöms’ DirtySexyHappiness Hospitality Group will debut a new culinary concept.

We chatted with Marin about being an entrepreneur.

1. Tell us about yourself and what you did before opening your restaurants.

Both Noah and I have always worked in restaurants, Noah has trained under some very amazing Chefs (Restaurant Daniel in NYC) and my first restaurant job was at the OC institution of Tutto Mare at Fashion Island. Noah had always been true to course, but I dabbled in the IT world. I realized quickly that I was too much of a people person to be stuck behind a computer on the daily; I worked in restaurants at night and IT during the day. Even though I decided to be in the restaurant business to avoid computers, I find myself back at a computer often reconciling the books for the restaurant! I always know that the energy of the restaurant and the people who work and dine there is waiting for me when I finish up :)

2. What challenges do you face as a small business owner, restaurateur and how do you overcome them?

Being a small business is always difficult, I think the hardest thing for Noah and I was getting our business off the ground. Going from restaurant employee to restaurant owner is a huge step, and many people have to trust you as a person and rallying people behind our ideas was hard. Once we opened, the idea became a reality and many more people saw value in what we wanted to create for Orange County.

3. What do you like best about having your restaurant at SOCO and the OC Mix?

Too many things to just say one! But top two –first, the ownership of SOCO, Scott Burnham and Bryon Ward are both amazing business men and visionaries. These two gentlemen have spent more time with Noah and I, going over plans, talking about new ideas, and where the business is going. They are mentors more than landlords!!

Second, our fellow shop / restaurant owners! We love being amongst other small business owners. Seeing others who are pursuing their passion in life creates the authenticity and feel of SOCO. Without all the hardworking people who make it happen, it could just be another strip mall in OC, but together we all make SOCO a reason to visit.