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Men's jewelry is on the rise and Miami-based brand Miansai has (almost) everything to do with it. It all started when Michael Saiger, founder of the eponymous brand (the name stems from his own, combined) decided to show up his ex girlfriend in a DIY dorm room showoff at the University of Miami in 2008. Six years later, the former business student finds himself at the head of an international luxury accessories company, and he runs it all out of a brightly colored, anchor adorned factory on the outskirts of Wynwood.
But let's step inside the colorful, anchor adorned building, where every single jewelry piece is molded and strung together by hand at different assembly stations, and then packaged and shipped across the globe to high end luxury boutiques (the first store he ever sold to was BASE on Lincoln Road), major department stores, and his first flagship in Soho.
It's a two story factory- design and sales take place upstairs, while manufacturing and shipping roll out downstairs- with an outdoor wooden deck up top for beer breaks and barbecues, and current plans for an expansion due to Miansai's speedy growth, as the brand will be releasing a women's line of jewelry this spring.
"When we first moved in, this neighborhood was nothing. Wynwood was nothing. When we were moving in there was a bum walking by, butt naked on crazy drugs. It wasn't the best of neighborhoods. When we first started Miansai, we were in a place in Downtown so we wanted something that could be accessible, but I didn't want to be over there, so we sort of stumbled upon this place. I didn't want to move the business to New York because I love it here and I didn't want to deal with the cold anymore."
"It's like a one stop shop in here. If we need to prototype something, we have the capabilities to do it. I like having that control. There are some machineries that we don't have, but for the most part we have everything we need. And if we don't, then we find someone who has it."
"It's always been the kind of place you want to go to work. It's laid back, but we take work very seriously because that's very important to me. It's my baby. Sometimes on weekends we'll do barbecues or after work we'll have some drinks."
"The brand's classics are our hook, our anchor, our screw cuff bracelet, and our other cuffs. Since the beginning, those are our core so those are always popular. Our new watches are popular now too. It depends on what kind of price point you want, really."
"My whole thing was to make things for a guy who would wear a watch; something that's casual and just doesn't feel like jewelry. For the first couple of years I said this isn't jewelry. It's completely different from what others are doing. We were the first and that's kind of why we grew up so quick."
"We train all of our jewelers. Most of them didn't come in with [experience] but some of them did."
"We're going to go into different categories. We'll only stay in accessories, and we'll just grow organically like that."
"I think that I will open a store in Miami, but maybe not until 2016 or 2017 based on the location where I want to be. Right now Wynwood doesn't have the traffic that I want yet and I don't want to be on the beach. In Design District there's no traffic yet. I kind of want to let that area build up a little bit and then open it. But my next store will definitely be L.A."
"The women's line is very cool, but it's still very Miansai so it's just going to be a little softer. I want to be that brand that everyone and anyone can come to and you're going to get the most unique things out there and the most quality. That's my dream for the brand."