Today, TEAMIKI is extremely pleased to have tea with Miki (Yep! TeaMiki).
Also affectionately known as the “Western Tsubasa Masuwaka“, Miki Toikkanen is the founder of Winkie Winkie, a gorgeous Finnish webstore which sells Asian Fashion wigs and beauty accessories. Miki is also an extremely creative professional photographer, and a well-respected style leader.
With so much on her plate, she freely shares her thoughts on business, photography, and life with us today!
IKI: Hi Miki! Thank you for your time today! We love that your name has the same sound as ours!
MIKI☻ No Problem! Yes, and that is cool! #TeaMiki #teamIKI .
IKI: What inspired you to set up Winkie Winkie?
MIKI☻I had been wearing wigs as my one top accessory item for a few years. Wearing a wig as an fashion accessory only had become my trademark on my blog in Finland. People would notice me on the streets and kept telling how real the wigs looked on me, and that they had no idea that the hair wasn’t really my own.
So I kept ordering them a lot for myself. And once my wig stock had grown crazy big, I got bored of some of them. So, I sold them on my blog. People went crazy and paid anything to get them from me.
That’s when the idea hit me. We started working on the business idea and products with my mother on January 2014 and on July 2014 we had our web store’s first opening and we had hit the jackpot in Finnish market in under a year.
IKI: That’s really awesome to hear! But it is not common to wear wigs in Finland, or be a Gyaru, is it? Where did the initial motivation to be a Gyaru come from?
MIKI☻ I was studying photography at that time when I started to figure out what should I make as my final exam at school. To show what I can do. I decided to prepare a magazine and I needed models. I had been cos-playing before so finding models from otaku community was pretty logical for me.
My schoolmate invited me to the Gyaru Finland Group and I set up a studio photoshoot meet. I fell in love with the girls and the style and as I needed some reference magazines from japan to prepare my magazine I just lost my heart to the style. I co-founded a blog “Royal Monster” and started to create my own style of Gyaru.
IKI: Where do you get the motivation to be a GYARU in Finland?
MIKI☻ The girls of Gyaru community in Finland are super fun and rare. I could be myself and their encouragement and love to my photography made me part of the group and I wasn’t willing to let go of that. Plus I love the contrast via-a-vis the usual gray girls of the country.
IKI: What type of Gyaru are you?
MIKI☻ I have always followed the style that Tsubasa Masuwaka prefers.
Onee-Gyaru might be the one I would call this style now. Tsubasa-chan is my idol and seems to change her style exactly the same time that I consider something new and more grown-up like. We have the same taste so I’m lucky to have an updater in my Instagram.
IKI: Wow! What are the key elements of Tsubasa-chan and Onee-Gyaru?
MIKI☻The key is the lighter make-up. Make-up has to be natural without people realizing how much you’ve actually worked for the look. Also the hair should be wavy and natural.
IKI: Tell us more about your favorite outfit/look! How do you pair the shirts/hats/boots together?
MIKI☻My favorite out fit is a mix up with schoolgirl and a sexy secretary! Small jacket with the Scottish pattern. Natural colors with a little effect. Also an gentleman’s hat is a perfect way to finish up the look.
IKI: Is there something you should never wear as a Gyaru?
MIKI☻This is only my opinion, but something that strippers wear in the strip club. Even with the ma*rs or D.I.A stamp on them, is not acceptable.
Gyaru should always remain cute and in a way innocent. If you have to watch out every time you kneel or bend, for that your undies might show, you have either picked the wrong item, or it’s too small.
IKI: What do you wear for work? Do you keep any Gyaru elements in your work wear?
MIKI☻I wear exactly the same outfits and wigs in my work. I only leave the fake eyelashes home~ I might add some accessories–such as glasses– with the outfit.
IKI-Where do you take your influences from? Blogs, magazines, media, other gyarus, friends?
MIKI☻Tsubasa Masuwaka and ViVi magazine.
IKI: How did you get so good at photography?
I started photography on already very young age. The first time I discovered a camera was when we were on a holiday visiting the beautiful island of Greek. I took about 20 pictures of a flower tree that grew right beside our hotels gateway. After that, I started documentary photography based on my schoolmates in elementary school.
By the age of 15, I had used photography as therapy for myself to get the worst frustration out of the very serious bullying that I had faced for all my life. The photography helped me to pass on my feelings and also to handle the feelings better.
I entered entrance exams for a media school called Av Heltech of Helsinki at that time, in 2009. I wasn’t aware before that how big of a part photography had been in my life before and how I got into the school was a mystery.
The one photography professor who had become my greatest inspiration, Erkki Soininen, taught me something that changed my whole idea of my future–I did one serious photoshoot with a few models and I came to discover my true potential.
My talents grew in one year and I had become really good. My teachers were amazed at where I had hidden my gift for such a long time. Many professional photographers were also amazed! So, by becoming aware of my talent and letting out my true potential, I finally turned out to be that kind of photographer with a pure passion for the job as that professor, Eki, had told me I would become one day.
IKI: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
MIKI☻ Only one thing: Do not be afraid.
Don’t fear to put yourself out there, and do not fear you may fail. I am just an aspiring entrepreneur myself and I can already tell that without my willpower and constant belief in what I am doing, I could have never ever dared to dream about anything like this.
Be proud and be daring–you will get much further than you ever imagined if you will not give up on believing in yourself.
We hope you have enjoyed this interview as much as we did! ♥