10 Minutes With: Miansai Founder Michael Saiger
May 1, 2017
In the Miansai universe, curiosity and creativity are intrinsically intertwined in one artful journey. With its headquarters located in the lively Wynwood Arts District in Miami, there’s more to this brand than just beautiful jewelry. Starting in 2008 with the production of a singular bracelet, the brand has since grown into a multi-category accessory lifestyle brand. Miansai takes raw materials and metals and transforms them into sleek designs for both men and women.
We sat down with founder Michael Saiger to learn more about the nostalgia-inspired brand.
Neiman Marcus: Tell us about the history of Miansai.
Michael Saiger: Miansai started while I was in studying at the University of Miami. I began creating pieces for myself, and my friends would ask me where I got them. By my senior year, I was selling my designs to boutiques in Miami, and the business grew from there.
NM: All of your products are crafted from the highest quality materials—where are these sourced from?
MS: In addition to the thought and consideration each Miansai piece receives, the same amount of time and energy is spent on sourcing materials. All items are crafted with the highest-grade quality available, including French calf and Italian leathers, custom-made US Military grade rope, and Swiss and Japanese timepieces. We work with international vendors as well as vendors based in Miami.
NM: Describe the brand in five words.
MS: Refined. Minimal. Classic. Timeless. Elevated.
NM: Tell us how being situated in such a robust artistic and creative community impacts the brand.
MS: The studio is a reflection of the neighborhood and embodies a sense of vintage Americana through a timeless lens, which is mirrored in our designs.
NM: What sets a Miansai timepiece apart?
MS: Our timepieces are accessible and well-priced for the quality and the technology behind them. Our M24 features a sleek two-handed Japanese quartz movement, and the M12 features a Swiss-made quartz movement.
NM: Hooks and anchors play a big role in your collections. Is there a story behind these symbols?
MS: I grew up on the water, and I used to visit Florida a lot as a kid. The usage of rope in the collections ties back to sailing. We see that a lot of men can relate—they don’t usually wear jewelry, but they wear our pieces because of these elements.
NM: Aside from two flagship retail locations, Miansai has mobile retail units, including a 1958 Airstream and a 1965 Piaggio, that visit events and festivals across the US. How did this idea come to life, and how do consumers react to them?
MS: The airstream came to life in 2012, before we opened our locations in New York and California. It was a way for our young brand to get familiar with retail, without the huge investment of a brick-and-mortar location. It’s become so popular that we added a vintage Piaggio, and we will be adding a second airstream and a vintage Fiat to our mobile retail fleet this summer.
NM: What’s next for the brand? Can you share any secrets?
MS: For our FW18 collection that launches in June, we’re working on fusing different metals together as well as new closure mechanisms. It’s something I’ve been developing for almost nine months, and I’m excited to debut it. We will also be expanding our Fine Collection and Leather Bags, so more to come and look out for in those areas as well!