|Born||New York, New York, United States|
|Residence||New York, New York|
|Education||Parsons School of Design|
|Occupation||Jewelry and fashion designer|
|Known for||Graphic fine fashion jewelry|
Mimi So is a New York City based jewelry designer, known for a "distinctive and definitive fashion vibe" and a large celebrity clientele. Her company was founded as a partnership with luxury conglomerate Richemont, which subsequently sold its interest to Mimi So.
Born in New York City, the daughter of Nancy and Richard So, she is the youngest of three siblings. Her parents struggled after immigrating to the United States from China, but eventually opened three jewelry stores in New York’s Chinatown. She began to work in her parents’ store at 8 years old, reluctantly at first, becoming a third-generation jeweler.
Pursuing an interest in graphic design, she graduated from the Parson’s School of Design and initially worked at an advertising agency. Due to her mother’s sudden illness, she returned to the family business, and managed a family jewelry store.
Mimi So Brand
Returning to her jewelry roots, in 1998 she opened her own boutique at the corner of 5th Avenue and 47th Street, in Manhattan’s Diamond District. Following in the footsteps of her mother, she was one of the first women to open a store in the largely Orthodox district. Building a celebrity following beginning with David Bowie and Iman, her limited edition designs were frequently worn by the stars of HBO’s Sex and the City.
In 2004, Compagnie Financière Richemont, the conglomerate that owns Cartier and several other international luxury brands, formed a joint venture with the designer, launching Mimi So International. The primary goal was international expansion, resulting in the opening of flagship stores in New York, Beverly Hills and Tokyo, with Japan distribution supported by Cartier. The agreement entitled Richemont to purchase full control of the firm after seven years. But after two years, Richemont proposed to take majority ownership immediately. Instead, preferring to maintain control, she bought out Richemont’s share in 2007. Fashion designer Carolina Herrera has been on the Mimi So International Board of Directors since 2004.
Before and during the partnership with Richemont, she advised and designed collections for sister brands including Cartier and Piaget, and designed the first jewelry assortment for Montblanc. In 2012, she was selected as a featured designer by De Beers for the Forevermark Diamond campaign.
In 2005 Mimi So opened a three story penthouse overlooking 5th Avenue in New York, which featured a designer salon and a glass enclosed client cafe within a jewelry workshop. Designed by her with support from architects Yabu Pushelberg, it is a modern interpretation of the classical jewelry atelier townhouse, where the retail showroom sat on ground floor, with design and production floors above. Yabu Pushelberg also co-designed her Japan flagship inside the ground floor of Tokyo’s Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi department store, and a boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
According to her Council of Fashion Designers of America biography, she is known for fine jewelry with graphic designs featuring organic shapes, clean and asymmetrical lines, and bold fluid movements. She was elected to the Board of Directors of the CFDA in 2012.
In 2003, Harvard Business School selected her business plan as a case study, after which she became an annual guest speaker. A&E’s Biography Magazine featured the designer as a subject, and in its advertising campaign. In 2012, television show 1stLook NY (New York NBC affiliate) produced a biographical video profile, that was also broadcast in the city's 13,000 taxi cabs for two weeks.
- "CFDA Member Directory".
- "Professional Jeweler article: Richemont Partners with Mimi So".
- "Asian Women in Business Entrepreneurial Award Biography of Mimi So".
- "Parsons Red Magazine Alumni Updates 2006".
- "Women's Wear Daily article - So Bright".
- "Women's Wear Daily Article - So Serene on 47th Street".
- Elle, Issue 187 Feb 2001.
- "Working Mother Magazine article on Mimi So".
- "Asian Women in Business Entrepreneurial Award Biography".
- "WWD print and web article - Richemont Acquires Stake in Mimi So".
- "Japan Times article describing store revamp and addition of Mimi So".
- "Fashion Week announcement of Carolina Herrera joining Mimi So board.".
- "Women's Venture Fund Biography of Mimi So".
- "De beers website Bio of guest designer Mimi So".
- "New York Social Diary article and photos describing Mimi So Penthouse".
- "Haute Living magazine article describing Mimi So Penthouse".
- "Young Hollywood Online - Q&A: Jewelry Designer Mimi So".
- "JCK Magazine - Show Me the Bunny: Mimi So's Rabbit Rings".
- "WWD Article - CFDA Toasts Its New Members".
- "Harbus Magazine Article".
- "A&E Biography Magazine Advertisement".
- "NBC New York Video - Profile of Designer Mimi So".