A Morning at Merci Milo
To step across the threshold of Merci Milo — a small toy shop in the heart of Highland Park founded by our friend Caroline Rodrigues — is to step into a world of whimsy and enchantment that transports you to a state of childlike wonder, no matter your age. It is for this reason that Caroline’s sweet shop has become an absolute favorite of ours, our kids, and so many others.
We first met Caroline in her capacity as shopkeeper of the magical little jewel-box that is Merci Milo, but eventually, we were lucky enough to work with her as part of our collaboration with Ergobaby — for whom she lends her sharp and witty eye for curation and props. Of late, we are closely following Caroline’s most recent venture: An auction platform, called Joy Not Hate, designed to support AAPI creatives, and bring awareness to the challenges faced along their way.
We have admired Caroline and the worlds that she so artfully crafts for so long, and we are so excited to feature her and her new endeavor here today! Click below for some photos from an afternoon we spent at Merci Milo having a tea party, and skating around the block with Milo herself – and read on to learn more about Joy Not Hate!
"In April 2021, following the senseless and racist murder of Asian spa workers in Atlanta and ongoing hate crimes against those of Asian descent, I decided to launch the first @JoyNotHate_ as a way to bring local LA-based creative entrepreneurs in my network together to raise funds for Advancing Justice. I saw it as an opportunity to tell their very personal stories of being Asian and growing up in Western society, showcasing the resilience of the AAPI creative community and shining a light on racial discrimination they have each experienced. The women featured — all prominent women in LA’s AAPI creative community — each donated a range of products and experiences from their own brands that range from fashion and accessories to objets d’art and restaurant and museum experiences. The Los Angeles-based campaign successfully raised over $5000 for Advancing Justice, and we will continue to raise more funds.
I have now gathered a group of 20+ prominent creative women to launch the New York edition of @JoyNotHate_ and a second LA edition. These women — many of whom are public figures in the fashion, design and creative industries — will share their incredibly personal and often surprising stories of their experiences growing up Asian in America and the Western world. These women are donating products, services, and experiences from their businesses to raise funds for Advancing Justice — hoping to make a difference to what has been happening, and continuing to advocate for social justice issues.
The shop has also been a tremendous opportunity for me to give back. Every percentage of sales goes directly to the charity in need at that moment and time. I wanted to make sure that this was important in the way I was running my business, and always giving back will continue to be a big part of the reason why I started the shop."