Who’s in charge here?
Nicole Benoist, founder of MiniPinkBook and huntress of all things chic + affordable
The thrill of the hunt. I have loved it since I was a kid searching through the clearance racks with my mom. She was the first style icon I identified with — in fashion, beauty and all-around grace. What most people don’t know about her is the fact that she pulls it together on a shoestring budget. So I can officially say, I got it from my momma.
I always knew I wanted to work in fashion, even if I didn’t fully understand what that meant. After making my way though a six-year stint at University of South Carolina and an internship-turned-tour management gig with an iconic rock band, I hustled it to the epicenter of style. Cashed out my 401k and landed in 90s NYC. I cut my teeth at Todd Oldham and went on to manage PR for Chanel. From there, I launched indie design brands, produced NY Fashion Week shows and spent years writing and editing in the fashion editorial space. After setting up one of the first retail co-ops in the country, I knew I wanted to take it into the digital world.
So here I am…fueled with a love for style on a budget, a passion to share my greatest finds and a slight addiction to traveling the world. I invite you to experience MiniPinkBook — edited just for you.
“MINIPINKBOOK is like a curated Amazon for indie retailers — so easy to shop.” — MPB customer
“The pop-up experience reminds me of Oprah’s Favorite Things — with a party added on!” — MPB customer
How does MINIPINKBOOK make your life easier? We search high and low, boil it down to the very best and give you chic options — saving you time and money. Browse the best indie brands and retailers in FASHION, check out not-to-miss spots in TRAVEL, purchase our favorite items in the MPB SHOP and see our latest TV segments and print coverage in MEDIA.
Fashion, travel, family, discovery and above all — risk taking. Follow along to see where I’ve been and what inspires me.
roots in france
It’s been said that my family has an unbroken lineage dating back to Guillaume Benoist, chamberlain of Charles VII of France in the fifteenth century. That hardly translates to much now—except a lot of cousins and a strong sense of history. My relatives eventually made their way to St. Louis in the late 1700s. Fast-forward through the lives of a fur trader, chevalier of the Royal and Military Order and the first banker west of the Mississippi — with those genes, I couldn’t escape a love for adventure.
I left St. Louis at eighteen to become a scientist — yes, a scientist. When the University of South Carolina offers you a scholarship, you take it. But sporadic class attendance translated to a less than stellar freshman year (we won’t mention the G.P.A., but it began with a .8) and my scholarship vanished in a pouf of air. The rest of college consisted of several majors in rapid succession and — a bright spot during my second year — an unexpected internship with a local band. Little did I know they were about to become one of the most successful bands in music history. Things got busy fast, and I spent the next four years working for Hootie and the Blowfish.
I was one of those young women who were desperate to work in fashion but had no idea what that meant. Without much (any) career research, I cashed out my 401k at the wise age of 24 and moved to New York City. Countless interviews (somehow I’d thought the process would be easier) finally led to a job at Todd Oldham’s studio. Segue to the big league: I landed at Chanel, managing public relations and basically living in that overstuffed sample closet. It was the late ’90s in Manhattan and I was working for one of the most iconic brands in the world — and I was completely miserable.
california state of mind
Longing for sunny skies and warmer temps, I headed west. First stop was San Francisco (btw, it’s not that sunny and definitely not that warm) to work with an indie fashion designer. This was my first taste of a start-up, and I fell in love with every part of the process, from showing up at the factory in Italy to beg for an almost-on-schedule delivery of the collection to producing the show during New York Fashion Week on a less-than-zero budget. Soaring on an adrenaline high and still looking for that sun, I moved south to Los Angeles. There I formed my first official company and helped guide fashion and beauty startups through the launch process and those insanely critical first years in business.
A baby boy named Levi was on the way, and I headed back home to raise him around family in the heart of Missouri. Sweet baby Georgia arrived three years later. Meanwhile I stalked St. Louis Magazine as politely as possible, determined to become its first style editor. Persistence paid off. After four years of styling shoots, selecting fashion, writing and editing, I received a call from a real estate developer wondering if I’d be interested in spearheading one of the first retail co-ops in the country. I opened Collective at MX, a 3,500-square-foot retail space housing more than 50 vendors in downtown St. Louis.
the journey continues
As the Collective closed its doors and the internet tipped the world of retail on its side, I decided to create a different kind of shopping experience: a curated marketplace that did the editing for you. What if you could easily shop one site that gathered the best products from the best independent retailers and brands across the country? What if you were choosing from guaranteed-chic selections that were actually attainable? What if you had a one-stop shop that solved all your fashion shopping needs? The best-fitting boyfriend jeans. What to get your so-hard-to-buy-for sister for her birthday. That unforgettable statement piece to wear with your LBD.
Here we are. And I can’t wait to go on this next journey with you.