Mina Alyeshmerni grew up in the small and remote town of Syosset, Long Island. Her Iranian parents were both artists, and upon relocating to America wanted to stay true to their Persian roots and personalities (and also, spice up town-life a bit) by hosting Shebbeh Sher’s for their friends and family.
These gatherings, or meh-moun’s as they are called in their native language of Farsi, would consist of between 60-80 guests, all musicians, artists and poets, who would regularly assemble at each other’s residences to put on artistic shows. It was a night of song; a celebration of art, culture and happiness, and although a young Mina didn’t appreciate it back then (she laughs as she remembers her anger when a four-piece band chose to set up one evening right outside her bedroom window), she now thinks back on those memories with fondness.
In fact, it’s what inspired her to open her Brooklyn-based e-commerce shop in July of last year. Maimoun, lovingly named after those special nights of her childhood, sells unique clothing, accessories and art, an assortment of different designers and interesting ideas — kind of like the hodgepodge of creatives that once gathered in her home. “I like curating in all dimensions, so the store represents quite a bit of everything,” says the entrepreneur. “Just like when you’re visiting someone’s house, you come into contact with not just clothes and articles, but also pieces, sculptures and art prints. They surround you. I wanted that to be what Maimoun was like. A 3D aspect of coming into someone’s home and wandering around.”
Today, Maimoun has become one of Brooklyn’s most treasured spots to find rare and high-end finds like Parme Marin slides, a Clyde beret or a Vejas pink leather batwing jacket (ahem, #ineed).
Mina looks for timeless pieces from young, interesting designers and chooses stuff she likes personally, like the Mozh Mozh faux fur top from Brazil she wore during our chat — one she says she has no plans of ever circulating back into stock, laughing as she admits, “I definitely get high on my own supply!”
The way she curates that supply is very democratic she explains. “In the past, people would go to showrooms to find other designers that sat well with the designers they already carried, but for me I like to spend a lot of time on the Internet. I’m constantly surfing and finding people through Tumblr and Instagram. I’ll also check out international magazines in Ukraine, Seoul or Japan, because there’s always something interesting happening in those markets.”
Always a step ahead of the fashion game, the fashionista got her start working as a wardrobe consultant for television and film. It was there that she realized just how much she loved building a character around clothing. “It’s your first impression when you see a character come on the screen. It provides a three-dimensional storyline,” she says.
And that three-dimensional dynamic is what Mina thrives off of. Interacting and having engaging conversations with her customer: talking about where the piece is from and who made it is something she craves and eventually hopes to generate in her own retail space. But in the meantime, she’s happy collaborating with local vintage shops to host pop-ups. “It’s really the perfect marriage between us. I’m such an admirer of vintage clothing,” she reveals. “They’re bringing these unique pieces and I’m bringing these unique pieces. It’s totally non-competitive and a great environment.”
The mission statement of Maimoun, whether it be online, in a pop-up, or someday in a brick and mortar of its own, is to be a place where there is a constant dialogue between the brand, customers and designers — a sort of showcase for fashion and fashion lovers to come together and show what they’re made of… a “Shebbeh Sher” for fashion, if you will.
If you have any doubts, check out the website — it’s been carefully curated with the most promising, up-and-coming bands to narrate your shopping experience, uninterrupted. It’s no four-piece band outside your bedroom window… but it’s getting there.