With sixteen members across our Flagship store in Wellington, Design Studio and our two retail lounges in Auckland, the Yu Mei team could also be called a family. Like all families, each member has a life outside of that family, and, with this second life, questions that are seemingly standard may reveal a lot otherwise left unknown. Beginning with our retail staff, we decided to challenge this “unknown” and interview each other, using questions that leave nothing left unsaid or rather, unknown.
Charlotte “Charlie” Miller-Cooper, holds the position of Auckland Retail Manager for both the Commercial Bay and Newmarket Lounges. Memorable for her cat-eye glasses and sartorial quirkiness, Charlie is known for her fresh take on the classic. Charlie has been working for Yu Mei for over a year and you can find her working the 9-5 shift Tuesday to Saturday at the Newmarket Lounge.
Sweet Charlie stands in front of a Yu Mei installation
Tell us about yourself.
I’m almost a creative person, my Myers Brigg type is INFP and I am a Taurus. I share my birthday with Audrey Hepburn (another INFP), also born on the 4th of May which is also international Star Wars day, both of which have worked into my personality over the years. Half Audrey Hepburn, half Star Wars = Princess Leia / Charlie. I really like reading my horoscope, but I am a little on the fence about whether it’s true. All of my birth chart is Taurus, nothing else, set up fully as a Taurus with Leo rising. Hence why I have expensive taste, I like the finer things in life and I work hard to get them.
Before joining Yu Mei, I was working full time in retail and had completed my studies in special effects make-up. A lot of people don’t realise that it is quite a creative field, with lots of traditional art theory and techniques that go into practice. I really liked sculpting but my favourite part was colouring. The chemistry side was fun too, like mixing silicone to make prosthetics. You create the prosthetics, put them on, then do the make-up.
Charlie and her beloved Cat, Marmalade.
One of Charlie's favourite vinyls.
What is your favourite pastime?
My two favourite pastimes would be movies and music. I grew up around a lot of music, with very gifted musical siblings and a house full of vinyl records. My personal record collection is growing slowly and while I don’t necessarily have the patience to flick through them for hours, my Dad will skim off the ones he thinks I'll like. I’m working through a list of cult classic films but usually end up watching an old favourite. Aside from this, I like going out walking and hanging out with my cat. I love my cat.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is probably more on a classic side, but leaning a little bit towards eclectic - a classic piece with a fresh take like a sailor collar, or a blazer with a cut out. A little bit of vintage and second hand, mostly via local designers and sellers. Everything in brown and pale yellow. Some of my favourite designers/brands are Benjamin Alexander, Mina, Maryam Nassir Zadeh. My dream shoes would be Marni shearling/calfskin mules, or Bottega Veneta Puddle boots.
Among my favourite pieces in my wardrobe are a pair of platform clogs by Miista, my Club Yu Mei x Standard Issue crew sweater, and some vintage Calvin Klein sunglasses.
What is your favourite Yu Mei style/colourway?
The Suki Clutch in Pop Kelp or the Braidy Bag in Coconut Shell. There’s no inbetween for me: I like a really massive or really small bag. Coconut Shell is now my top colour and Pop Kelp was my favourite before that. Pop Kelp seemed like it might be tricky to wear but it's the perfect neutral. I’m not worried about colours clashing - if I like it I will wear it.
What do you like best about living in your city?
There are a handful of things I do like to do in Auckland. Firstly, the Academy Cinema under the library, you descend the staircase and your phone doesn't connect anymore, they show new releases and small boutique movies, classics and cult movies. Catch me there every Wednesday night - new releases and old movies are all $5 on Wednesdays. They sometimes play double features, like a focus on a genre or director.
Every second Sunday, I sell vintage vinyl records with my Dad at Central Flea market. He has an insanely large record collection well in the thousands. Central Flea hosts an ever changing roster of awesome vintage clothing and homewares sellers and of course the music is perfection.
Coffee Pen cafe in Eden Terrace, for the best cakes and desserts, always feels like a special treat.
If you could invite any four people to dinner, dead or alive/real or fictitious; who would you choose and why?
I have three:
Phoebe Bridgers - Major crush. I would ask her to perform.
My mum at my age to swap fashion tips and life advice.
You can find Charlie working the 9-5 shift Tuesday to Saturday at the Newmarket Lounge.