Serena Mitnik-Miller

The three of us are inspired by Serena - her artwork, her aesthetics, her being a working Mama and of course we love General Store.   We are excited to be hosting a raw, medicinal and aphrodisiac chocolate-making class at General Store so we decided to get to know Serena better!  Her interview inspires me to be more creative, balance work and motherhood and to just follow my authentic self.  Hope it inspires you too!  Enjoy!

WH:Can you please tell us about your childhood?  Have you always been artistic and interested in aesthetics?

Serena Mitnik-Miller:  I was born on the east coast and raised in Hawaii by my mother who lives and breathes creativity - I cant remember a time when we weren't painting, creating or fixing up a rental.  We didn't have a TV and spent a lot of time outdoors, on the beach or in the woods collecting pieces of nature which always found a place in our home.  Both my parents are artists so I think in a way it was inevitable that I would pursue creative endeavors.

WH: Your work is so beautiful, calming and delicate.  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

SMM: My work is meditative and therapeutic so I think the end result mirrors my process.  All aspects of my life inspire my work.  Nature is where I find the most peace and I have spent almost all my life along the coast, but I can find inspiration anywhere from the desert rocks to the city streets to vintage textiles...  I like to live with my eyes wide open.

WH: Can you please tell us about your process of opening the general store and the journey it has taken you on?

SMM:  Mason and I never planned to open General Store it just kinda happened, a storefront on Judah opened up and we thought what the heck, we'll sell some stuff in the front hoping to make enough to pay rent so I could paint in the back.  That was over 7 years ago.  In 2012 we partnered with our friend Hannah Henderson and John Moore to open our second location in Venice.  General Store is an extension of our lives and what we live with.

WH: How has your life and work changed since having your son?

SMM:  Life has changed for the better.  I feel like a totally different person with a whole new perspective on life, while trying to stay true to myself.  Everything has slowed down, I sleep a lot less and I find myself staring at him for hours, just amazed that he is our son.  I work a lot and love what I do and that has not changed;  I am just less efficient and can only do what is most important. 

WH: What advice do you have for women when starting their own businesses?

SMM:  Just go for it!  People always ask how we did it.  We definitely didn't have a business plan or any plan at all, we just took it day by day with hard work and optimism.  I would say start small and trust your instincts, have a look around and do something totally different than everyone else. If you truly believe in what you're doing and love it, others will notice.

WH: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

SMM:  I hope to be a mother of two continuing to live and work creatively, actively involved in our community and causes that need our attention.  I dream of having my own studio outside of our living space continuing to balance motherhood and my own work and traveling the world every spare moment we can.


WH: Thank you for your time and words Serena, we look forward to seeing what you create next!

Portrait by Lauren Ross and General Store photo by Mariko Reed