#44 NINA BRENER-HELLMUND - takes us on a journey of values-driven global brand discovery with Cult Mia


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If you’re longing to discover a beautifully curated selection of fashion by designers and artisans who are located in out-of-reach places, then Cult Mia is your destination.

How we feel and react when we discover something new to us can be extremely powerful. The feeling of surprise, anticipation, novelty and newness trigger the release of dopamine.

Which intern makes us want to go exploring in search of a reward. So, it’s no wonder that discovery is a big topic for the fashion industry. It’s what keeps us coming back to search for new editorial content, or the latest drops from our favourite brands. And it means big business for online retail. But, what if discovery wasn’t just about capitalising on that dopamine rush, and discovery actually became the key to unlocking a decent living as a creative for a female entrepreneur or unknown designer in a far-to-reach location? It puts a different perspective on why discovery is such a big part of Cult Mia.

Nina came up with the idea for Cult Mia during her time at luxury trunkshow and designer pre-order business Moda Operandi. Competing against more than 100 businesses, Nina later applied to London Business School's accelerator programme, Launchpad, and won with her idea for Cult Mia. In 2019, Cult Mia’s first year, they onboarded over 70 designers from 25 different countries, including Georgia, Nigeria and Ukraine.

Following on from the launchpad programme, Cult Mia joined London Business School's Incubator programme and received more than £200,000 of resources and office space for the first year of business. Cult Mia has recently raised its pre-seed investment, backed by strategic investors and family offices.

What intrigues us about Cult Mia, is how the brand’s core values; sustainability, empowerment of women, inclusivity, and lifting local communities, drive Cult Mia and their partner businesses forward.

All too often we see brands being ‘inspired by’ other cultures, platforms selling ‘authentic’ clothing without acknowledging they are ‘taking’ rather than celebrating, honouring and creating rightful remuneration for the clothing. Cult Mia is here to make that a thing of the past.

When we consider Nina’s family background - her grandparents moved from Spain, Poland and the Netherlands to Mexico, where her parents were born and raised - and her international education, across Switzerland, USA, and the UK, it’s not difficult to understand why she has such an international viewpoint on life.

Nina is the daughter of parents who both achieved great things. Her is father a successful businessman and her mother was one of the first women in Mexico to complete a computer science degree before moving on to set up the computer systems for some of the biggest banks in Latin America.

Though her early career Nina spent time as part of The United Nations Women and Trade team supporting female entrepreneurs in underdeveloped countries by growing their micro-enterprises and connecting them to an international market. She also worked at Goldman Sachs in Geneva, covering Latin America.

In this podcast, Jodi Muter-Hamilton finds out all about Nina, her vision for Cult Mia, and the biggest challenges and opportunities ahead for her business, female entrepreneurs and designers operating in a global economy.



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