“Real Women, Real Work” is a Darling series about everyday women who work in various fields including business, entertainment, science and education. We want to get to know the WHY behind their WHAT and get an inside look into different industries.
Sunnie Brook’s professional resume is anything but lackluster with experience as an entrepreneur, celebrity hairdresser and brand spokesperson. Despite her list of skills, her first love has always been design. Today, she along with her husband Miki Bauer, lead MIROHAUS, a luxury home and custom furniture design brand.
With the awareness that a home is a sacred space, the couple sought to create a brand that encapsulated the places they love around the world and that they wanted to take home with them. Today, MIROHAUS has grown to encompass handmade and curated homegoods and furniture, as well as a getaway experience, inspired by their travels.
“We noticed a lack of locally handcrafted furniture and homegoods that had a personal connection to the artist as well as the home they lived in,” Sunnie said. “Over the past few years, we have been going to Palm Springs—our home away from home where we go to reset—and we wanted to create a collection that encompassed that experience.”
Darling got to chat with Sunnie about how her love for aesthetics helped her launch her own brand and what makes MIROHAUS unique.
Growing up, what did you imagine you would be?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a dancer like Paula Abdul. I think because she reminded me of my mother.
How does your varied professional experience play a part in what you do today at MIROHAUS?
Design and architecture have been a big influence in my work as a hairdresser since the beginning of my career. It’s where I’ve always looked for inspiration. Many of the principals in design and architecture apply to hairdressing—emphasis, balance, alignment, contrast, repetition, proportion, movement and white space.
About five or six years ago, I started going to Palm Springs to recharge from my busy schedule in Los Angeles. Having the highest concentration of mid-century, modern architecture in the world, I knew one day I would want to have a home there. Fast forward a couple years, I met my now husband, Miki Bauer, who is a furniture and interior designer who shares my passion for design.
Together we bought a Modern Alexander in Palm Springs that we wanted to make into a custom design experience. We named the house MIROHAUS, which means “one who celebrates the world of home.”
Influenced by the textures and silhouettes in the desert, we created custom pieces in each room for guests to enjoy. Throughout this last year, MIROHAUS has developed into a furniture and homegoods brand that other design enthusiasts can shop, use to make custom design studios or stay in. Our hope is to add more home experiences and collections in the coming years.
What was so special about Palm Springs to you and Miki that you decided to create a collection inspired by it?
As design enthusiasts, we fell in love with the simple yet thoughtfully designed homes there but even more so the desert landscape. It is simple but full of life and complex in the way that it expresses its soul to the world.
One of our favorite quotes by Frank Lloyd Wright is, “Space is the breath of art.” Spending time in the desert does just that. We wanted the collection to capture the elements that have given our artistic hearts a sanctuary from the busy city life.
We wanted the collection to capture the elements that have given our artistic hearts a sanctuary from the busy city life.
Tell me about the three sectors of MIROHAUS: homegoods (SHOP), custom furniture (MAKE) and the Palms Springs experience (STAY).
SHOP is our thoughtfully handcrafted furniture and home goods made in Los Angeles. MAKE is about telling your story through custom design. STAY is a home design experience in Palm Springs, CA.
If you could pick three words to describe the aesthetic of MIROHAUS, what would they be?
Minimal, natural, timeless.
What’s it like running a business with your husband? How do you guys separate business from life outside of work?
I really enjoy collaborating with him. We have very different skills sets but common passions that work well together. Miki is the logical mechanical part of the business. He likes exactness, systems and is very skilled at management.
I am more of the heart of the business. I ask questions like, “How does this make people feel? What type of experience will this give? Why does MIROHAUS exist?”
Work and life blend together especially when you have a new baby! We do try to limit work after 6 p.m. and on the weekends. In the earlier years of being an entrepreneur, I would work at all hours. Throughout the years, I realized the value in having downtime and recharging.
Throughout the years, I realized the value in having downtime and recharging.
How have you guys had to adapt your business plan throughout the pandemic?
We had planned to market the business in a more person-to-person way, but we have had to take that model online more than we originally planned. It’s made us get creative! Pandemic or not, when you own your own business you have to be able to pivot and be quick on your toes, especially in a world that changes quickly.
What is the purpose behind the company’s “Home to Heart Initiative”?
We believe change starts in our homes and extends outward through our collective actions. As business owners and parents, we wanted to do more than design beautiful furniture and home goods. Our desire is to create a lasting impact with our customers beyond their homes and into our communities for future generations.
With every purchase, we will donate five percent of our profits to be equally split between the following three charities that we have carefully selected whose missions are close to our hearts:
- Tackling Homelessness: New Story Charity
We believe everyone deserves a home. It is estimated that 150 million people are homeless worldwide and 1.6 billion people around the world live in “inadequate shelter.” New Story Charity pioneers solutions to end global homelessness through 3D-printed homes and pays rent for U.S. families facing homelessness.
- Tackling Racial Justice: Black Lives Matter Los Angeles
We believe in a just society. Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police. Black Lives Matter Los Angeles is a movement that exists to work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.
- Tackling Childhood Hunger: No Kid Hungry
We believe our children are our future. Millions of kids face the school day on an empty stomach because there is not enough food at home. No Kid Hungry aims to end childhood hunger in the U.S. through school meals, programs and family nutrition education.
Who are some of the women in your support system who have helped along your career and personal journey?
There are two women who have been significant in my journey over the years. One I call my “Oprah” (It’s not really Oprah, but she is wise and insightful). She has believed in me since we first met at 18 (almost 20 years ago) when I first started my business. When I had doubt or was wrestling with hard business and life questions, she was always there, available to listen and offer advice. My other friend has known me just as long and has a wealth of knowledge in the start-up business world.
For women who are interested in owning their own business, what advice would you give them?
- Read “The E Myth” to see if you are truly an entrepreneur.
You might be a technician or a manager.
- Find a mentor doing what you want to do and see how you can help them.
Offer your time or service in some way to learn from them. You will avoid a lot of mistakes learning from their wisdom and experience.
- Look into doing a lean startup to test an idea/concept before making the financial plunge.
Knowing what you know now about career success, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Take each day one step at a time. Be patient with yourself and know all you can do is your best. The potential to fail can feel scary at times, but if you look at taking a risk as an opportunity for discovery, you might be surprised what you learn and where your journey takes you.
As 2020 rolls on and homes serve multiple functions—the office, gym, local coffee shop and kids’ daycare center—MIROHAUS will help you bring wellness in your home and rethink your space. The brand blends professional and personal while maintaining a sense of personal sanctuary. Sit back and relax and let MIROHAUS design your space!
To learn more about MIROHAUS, follow along on Instagram, as well as Sunnie to learn about her journey as a new mom and business leader.
Images via Laura Angelone