Label To Love: Misha and Puff | Mom Lifestyle Blogs |

Label To Love: Misha and Puff



One look at Misha and Puff’s popcorn knits and it’s hard not to instantly fall in love with the covetable knitwear brand. Founded in 2011 by ex-stylist Anna Wallack, Misha and Puff is now stocked around the world by such retailers as J. Crew. It all started with a love of knitting and after the birth of Wallack’s son Nadav, now 5, she turned her passion into a career...

These days, each piece is hand knitted in Peru by her talented knitting team.  “The knitting work that they do for Misha and Puff either from their home or at our knitting center (which provides day care and meals) allows them to support their families,” says Wallack who now also has a 20-month-old daughter 
Isadora. “We have grown to think of this work we do together as a true collaboration. Their talent never ceases to amaze. Each knitter takes great pride in the pieces she chooses to knit.  You will find her name on the hangtag. When you purchase items from Misha and Puff you are contributing to this collaboration. Families working together to benefit everyone.” We caught up with the talented designer to find out more…


I have really enjoyed the reordering of priorities in my life...

I used to have much more stress in my life and even though I am now busier than ever, I oddly enough feel less stressed. I have also relaxed a lot. I used to be rather controlling and uptight. I’m definitely happier now! There’s a freedom in being a mum and being creative. I’m so much less self conscious about what I produce because I think you realise how ephemeral life is when you have kids.


I grew up in a quaint New England coastal town...

As soon as I could, I moved to the city. I do think the way that I was raised has a lot to do with the way I live my life, in both business and family. I think my parents were excellent at parenting. I feel really lucky to have had such good modelling in that regards. I truly feel like it would be hard for me to be a better parent to my children than my parents were to me. There was so much love and guidance, and real attention given to our schooling and emerging talents.


My Mum was a school teacher...

She loved her job, but I think she also loved that she was around for us after school and weekends. My Dad was a newspaper editor. He worked hard, but he was around growing up too. I am pretty sure he was home to make dinner many nights a week. More than the work/life balance, they really instilled in me the notion that being in your children’s life is the most important thing. My husband and I both feel the same. No matter how busy we are, the children come first. That means being creative sometimes, and I am really lucky to have my Mum live so close by to help out in a pinch.


After art school, I worked for over ten years as a stylist in Boston, New York and Miami...

I travelled a lot and got burnt out by the time I was pregnant with my first. I took a year off when he was born and never really went back. Misha and Puff was founded when my son was nine months old. I had been knitting for him and loved it. Everything about the design process felt very natural and organic. I thought that this is the next thing I should do with my life.


I am very visual and respond immediately to colour, so that's where I usually start...

I am always inspired by vintage patterns and designs for children. I look for inspiration less in the fashion world and more in art and textiles. My oldest and I have been going to museums around Boston since he was a baby and when I can escape with him for a few hours we love it. I really enjoy seeing things through his eyes. He has been around the creative development of Misha and Puff his whole life and is also very visual and not shy about contributing ideas. The process of creating is always inspirational. I allow time for my hands to work things out that I can’t always articulate on paper. The act of knitting itself is a huge source of inspiration. I try to be thoughtful and efficient in the construction of each garment and not rely on a set way of doing things. I like reading about knitting and trying to translate old knitting patterns.


There are not a lot of companies doing what we are doing at this scale...

Hand knitting takes time and the quality control is tricky. It’s a complicated means of production because nothing about it is mechanised. Our hand-knit pieces are start to finish made by hand on knitting needles. Our knitters are amazing artisans with a long history and culture of knitting. Misha and Puff could never exist without them. I have been working with my group of knitters for over three years now and we are at a wonderful place where we continue to grow. My goal was never to stand out, just to be good. My standards are high, for quality, for materials, for ethical production practices.


I have a little girl now, so I am really enjoying the more girly pieces...

I LOVE the skating pond skirt. It’s easy to wear and doesn’t get in the way of her climbing and exploring. The tunic dress is a new style. Really easy to wear. It’s also short and looks great with tights and bloomers.


Let go because you can’t do everything...

Some weeks your house will be a mess. Some nights you will have pancakes for dinner. Some days emails will have to wait. Everything eventually gets done, but let go of ideas of perfection. I am sure I juggle work and motherhood like we all do it. Throw the balls in the air and just make it work! Sleep less. Bring the kids to the studio. I like being a working Mum and running my own business. That’s the example I want my kids to see. But I also want to be around them while I am doing it, not tucked away in a faraway office 12 hours a day. So I bring my work home and them to work.


I procrastinate by knitting...

But not knitting what I am supposed to be knitting. And cleaning. I NEVER clean, so I know I am avoiding something big if I start cleaning and organising my house. Although if I need to get something done, or I am feeling overwhelmed, I have found that taking an hour to do something creative helps me to focus on all the other stuff I need to get through.


My advice to aspiring mother entrepreneurs to to...

JUST START! It will never be as perfect or as ready as you want it to be, and that’s ok. Just get it started and you can perfect it along the way. This was a tough one for me because I am SUCH a perfectionist, but having kids has really loosened me up here. I have made mistakes certainly along the way, but I love that you keep getting more chances to be better, and do better. The business is not static, but like the days always changing and growing. In that way it’s fun to have my business growing alongside my children. Photos: Susie Cushner 


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