Oishi-m: The quirky cool kidswear line that sells out in minutes



When it comes to the most challenging part of motherhood, most women would agree that it’s the juggle. Just ask childrenwear label Oishi-m director Miyo Fallshaw...

“The constant juggle and overcoming mother’s guilt is the most challenging part of motherhood,” agrees the mother of two girls (Mali, 7, and Jala, 5). “Being a mother today, we’re expected to be a good homemaker, a career woman, a hands-on mother… we can’t do it all.” For Fallshaw, by working hard she hopes to instil a strong work ethic in her children. “Running a business encourages our girls to have a good work ethic and strong ambitions, even if it means that they spend a few days at work with us during the school holidays.”

The tagline of Torquay-based children’s clothing brand Oishi-m [Oy-shee-em] is: “limited edition garments for skinny minis and chubba bubbas”. If you’re wondering, Oishi means ‘yummy’ in Japanese and the ‘m’ part signifies the brand being for “the mini one in your life”. Whether you shop online or in the retail store in Torquay, it’s here you’ll find limited edition garments that last (as Fallshaw says, they’re “the opposite of fast throw away fashion”). Kimono, vintage and retro fabrics are mixed together with denim and cotton to create unique garments that are as loved by parents as they are children. Throw in some quirky styling and it’s no wonder that their garments often sell out in a matter of minutes once released. This season, Fallshaw has expanded the brand’s offering to include bigger sizes. The range is now available from size 3-6 months up to 7-8 years.

One things for sure, you won’t miss a child wearing Oishi-m. Their designs are colourful, creative and above all, completely unique. We caught up with the talented mother to find out more about one of Australia’s most loved childrenswear brands, get a peek at the Hi Summer and Holiday collection (the Holiday range launches online and in store today), find out how she juggles everything and what’s next for her growing business…

Photography: Courtesy of Oishi-m | Go to www.oishi-m.com | Click on the video above to go behind the scenes on the recent Holiday shoot 


Motherhood is an intense learning curve…

It’s an incredibly magical and humbling experience to grow a human inside of you, followed by the most primal experience I have experienced in getting them out. Having a baby was the first time I had properly contemplated my mortality. Motherhood gets us out of our own self-centred being, and invites us to share the curiosity of learning with our children. Both my husband Andy and I are workaholics, so it has been very grounding to have children to share little moments and enjoy the simple things in life.


The advice I’d give my younger self is to…

Surround yourself with good people, those that inspire and support you. Move on from those that don’t facilitate that. There will be up’s and there will be down’s; learn from every opportunity. Even my first job, which at the time felt like a menial role, has taught me so much about systems and processes. I appreciate what I had learnt from that, and it helps me operate more efficiently in my world today.


I studied human movement (exercise and sports science), then worked overseas for Nike before finally landing a role running the visual merchandising department for Rip Curl in Torquay…

That’s where I met Fi who had founded Oishi-m. I was at university studying marketing and I needed to do case studies on a variety of businesses. At the time Fi was hand-making garments and doing some marketing here and there. I wrote a marketing plan for Oishi-m and it all snow-balled from there. I joined Fi as a partner to commercialise Oishi-m. Since then Fi has moved onto other projects and I continue to own the business and run it with an incredible team of working mothers.


Oishi-m’s limited edition garments are a mix of contemporary styling with a vintage infusion…

Fresh, unpredictable colours, styles and prints help to create surprise and mystery. It’s fun and a little loud and filled with energy and intrigue, just like the newborn babies and busy munchkins who wear our garments.


The new Holiday collection launches today


Inspiration for our brand comes from many different places. We are inspired by quirky Japanese styling and the mix and match confidence of children…

Small people are highly critical of what they do and don’t like – so producing something that not only appeals to the styling of the parent or present-giver, but also ticks the boxes for the little person who wears our garments, keeps us constantly on our toes and striving for something better.


Oishi-m is about letting children be children…

Our Australian designed and largely Melbourne made range is an eclectic infusion of clashing colours and patterns. Every garment has a touch of quirk. They can be dressed up or dressed down, and each piece showcases how unique we are. We’re not bound by what is trending, or what others brands are doing. We dance to our own beat and try and execute what feels logical. Our photo shoots are crazy-free-range-children-playing affairs and our retail and web strategy meetings consist of us chatting about what exceptional experiences we’ve had as consumers in our own lives, to try and implement them at Oishi-m.


There have been so many career highlights over the years…

In the early days having a web order from a person we didn’t know, having events where customers have travelled from interstate or overseas to attend, getting our garments on Offspring, winning the retail award in the recent Geelong Business Awards. Even being able to go away for a holiday and know that our team don’t need me as they are so capable and amazing.


This current collection was actually the first collection that I was the lead designer for (with the production/design team pretty much holding my hand)…

It was a really great experience in mixing and matching fabrics to identify what is the Oishi-m product vibe. It is full of bright pops of colour and neon highlights. High Summer is also our first venture into bigger sizes of 6-7 years and 7-8 years. As our customers keep growing, it has been a huge call out to keep giving them Oishi-m love. It has been incredible to see the response to the bigger sizes.


When it comes to juggling my work commitments with being a mother, I try to be pretty organised…

My husband and I have dates in our calendars for everything. He has his own businesses (that’s right, more than one!) so we juggle gnarly ambitious parents on both sides in our family. We have a lot of help at home. My Mum helps us a bunch and we have outsourced so we can work on our biggest value add’s (even in the home) and the things that really matter. There is also the beauty of so much being in the cloud, we can run sell-through reports and check-in on how our website or retail store is doing remotely – we’re not bound by physically being at work. It’s not only work commitments being a mother affects, but also making time for personal time. So many of us don’t put ourselves first often enough and it has been a learning experience to take more time for us.


If I’m at home, I procrastinate by tidying up the house…

If I’m at work, the shop is such an exciting and beautiful space to be in. Re-merchandising the shop and greeting customers is always a fun way to procrastinate from that big project that needs attention.


Give a mum a spare two hours of ‘no children time’ and you will be amazing how much work gets pumped out…

No time for phaffing about there. I have an uncanny ability to just zone into work and can end up sitting with my computer for hours at work or home in the evenings to look up a couple of hours later and realise how late it’s gotten.


The most challenging part of running my own business is that…

The buck stops with you. If something is a bit full on and needs addressing then it’s up to me to do something about it. There’s also so many facets to running a business… people, financials, cash flow, culture, vision, prioritising what’s here and now. Letting your own ego get out of the way and making decisions on what’s best for the brand can sometimes be hard.


Our girls have their own quirky style and it’s funny to see what product they are drawn to…

Mali is big on more unisex styles and for Jala, the pinker and girlier the better. It’s really interesting to see what styles from our collections they’re drawn to each release, sometimes they select things I’d never expect. I am one of those parents that let’s the kids sleep in tomorrow’s clothes so it’s just easier to get up and go in the morning.


My childhood was in suburban Melbourne…

Growing up with a close extended family with a mix of cultures (Australian, British and Japanese) I was always a little different but loved the independence and confidence it gave me. Food is a big part of our family making me a bit of a feeder when entertaining at work or home. The hustle and bustle of Melbourne is so far from what our girls are growing up with in coastal Victoria.


When Mali was two weeks old my mum offered to look after her and the first thing I wanted to cross off my list was a stocktake…

Looking back that sounds crazy. My ambition hasn’t changed much since having children. Maybe that’s the benefit of having the flexibility of my own business or maybe I’m just crazy. That was before we had our own shop and the business was just online and wholesale. It was a fair bit smaller so we could have super flexible hours. I was able to work in small shifts as you do in the 4-5 hour feed, sleep, nappy cycle. It helps that our staff and customers are like family and have their own families. With my second daughter I remember being as pregnant as a whale at a tradeshow. Fortunately we had a couch at our stand and I could “sell” and hangout with our retailers from the couch. By the time the next tradeshow came around, Jala was two months old and hanging out of a sling. It was really lovely for our customers to be part of her induction into the world.


My mother is incredible…

She is a hard-working woman who never gets phased. She moved to Australia from Japan in her late 20’s. Having come to a new country she has embraced the Aussie culture whilst not losing her Japanese roots. Her carefree nature mixed with a curiosity and unflappable nature are a great counter-balance of my overthinking personality. It’s not until we have our own children that we can begin to appreciate our own parent’s journey.


Miyo in a flash:

Coffee or tea: I more often crave a cup of Earl Grey, but am happy to swing either way.
Typical breakfast: Often I don’t have breakfast, doing a 16 hour fast until lunch.
On your bedside table you’ll find: A pile of books I have started, phone chargers.
Exercise of choice: Running, love the freedom of it and a brilliant way to explore.
Book you’re currently reading: There are many books on the go… The One Hundred Year Old Man who Escaped out the Window, The Happiness Project, Born to Run.
Heels or flats: Trainers for sure. There’s one for every occasion. Patent Black Air Max 90’s when dressing up or Retro Jordan 1’s for when you want to have a bit of retro pizzazz.
Pram: We’re out of pram usage now, but had a Mountain Buggy Urban that I loved!
Baby bag: I refused to have one. Either a cool Gregory Backpack or I stuffed things into my Building Blocks handbag.
Sunglasses: Paul Smith Dennett sunnies. My last pair of sunnies I spotted on a baddie in a Bond movie! Didn’t know how I felt about it.
Tidy or messy: A combination of both. Get on a tidy frenzy then lazy.
Dream travel destination: An island holiday with a right-hander surf break or a snow holiday. Both with the family.
Happiest when: We’re having a good belly laugh as a family. Seeing the joy in everyone’s eyes.


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