Maker in focus: Mi Cocina
Mi Cocina was born out of necessity. In 2014, after over twenty-five years of designing for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, Nike, Coach, and then finally his label called Ubi-Ind Denim, Ulrich “Ubi” Simpson had his AHHA moment in the kitchen.
That year, Ubi and his wife welcomed their daughter Gabriella. During one of the many sleep-deprived nights, his wife cornered him in the kitchen and said, “Look, I don’t do mornings, and I don’t do breakfast, so I need you to manage mornings.” He thought that’s not a bad deal considering he already wakes up at 4:30 am, so he started spending a lot more time in the kitchen cooking and prepping meals for the family. He soon realized that cooking was not a delicate task, and of course, being sleep deprived, he kept burning himself. He thought, “This doesn’t make any sense. Why hasn’t anyone figured this out? Isn’t this a big enough industry?” Everyone’s cooking and none of the products in the market are functional unless you purchase a BBQ glove, which always seems to be a bit awkward looking. He wanted a functional product that looked great in the home while entertaining guests, but also could withstand a weekend of camping up the California coast.
It was then that he saw an opportunity in the market for durable, modern-looking kitchen products that are made for everyday use. It didn’t take long for Ubi to create the Mi Cocina collection of durable, versatile pieces for the cooking, camping, and gardening that get better with time. “The beauty of denim is the more you wash it, the softer it gets.” The dirtier things get, the better the product looks. The Mi Cocina collection is made from denim that is washed, sewn, and laser etched to create a simple modern aesthetic with no nonsense function and timeless appeal.
What started as a shakedown by his wife has now landed the brand in over 110 stores across the U.S. — everywhere from the Guggenheim Museum to gardening stores to small boutique mom and pop shops. All products, including a few complementary fashion pieces, are proudly made here in California.