What better way to spend a Wednesday night than at one of your favourite boutiques in Vancouver previewing a new collection from a talented local designer? On March 8, Jody Belanger (ILHSV Co-Founder) attended NLA Designs SS17 Sway Collection Launch at Fine Finds Boutique in Yaletown. NLA Design founder, Nicolette Lang-Andersen (pictured above on the left), is a South African born, experienced fashion maven who started her career in the UK and lucky for us she ended up here in Vancouver. Fine Finds Boutique is the perfect location to sell this fun-loving and versatile collection, with Durriya the boutique owner (pictured above on the right) being such a supportive and genuine woman in the industry. The event was a blast and Jody enjoyed getting to know Nicolette and spending time with the always entertaining Fine Finds Boutique team – all while sipping on champagne and shopping of course. See below for some moments captured from the event, along with a chance to get to know the woman behind the brand of NLA Designs. Cheers to great fashion stories to be told in this beautiful city of Vancouver!
- Where were your born and raised, and how did it shape you?
I was born in South Africa in a small farming town called Greytown and grew up in an equally small sleepy seaside town called Ballito. I think I had a pretty awesome upbringing and that not only was it where I was raised but also my family and friends from those years that have shaped me in some way or another. South Africa has the most beautiful, dramatic landscapes I have seen and is rich in culture and colour. I think this had a big impact on my style aesthetic today.
- What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
I don’t recall ever setting my mind on anything in particular, but I do remember briefly wanting to be an air hostess. Who wouldn’t want to explore the world and get paid to do it?! I was told that I would never get hired because I was too short so I gave up on that idea pretty quickly!
- What traits are you most proud of?
I like to think that I’m not afraid to attempt any creative ideas I have and give it 100% with everything I’ve got.
I’m a perfectionist, and although it can sometimes add hours of work to my task, I’ve never looked back and thought that it was a waste of time.
- Name a woman whom you admire and look up to and explain why.
My mom. She has ultimately shaped who I am today. She raised my brother and I, on the most part single-handedly, giving us everything we needed emotionally & physically and never without a smile, even through the toughest times. My mom has always been there to guide me and support my dreams, gave me the freedom to make big life decisions, letting me fall and having faith that I could pick myself up again and become the independent woman that she is. She is my best friend!
- If you were given 5 more hours in a day what would you do with them?
I would definitely put an hour towards catching up on sleep! More cuddle time in the morning with my son would be amazing – he loves snuggling up with us and insists his stuffed toy entourage join us – it’s the best way to start the day! An extra hour to fit in some more fitness and relaxation time would be fantastic. And I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t mention putting a couple hours towards my business.
About Her Collection
- At what point in your life did you find an interest in fashion design?
I’ve had a fascination with colours and textures for as long as I can remember. I recall at a very young age loving the colour chartreuse, which I think is a pretty random colour for a child to be into – I still adore it. I think design came a little later in the odd sewing projects, making dolls clothes, and my own simple pieces of clothing. They all seemed insignificant but now looking back, maybe they weren’t. It wasn’t until a few years ago working as a personal & fashion stylist that I started thinking about designing on a more professional level.
- Who or what inspires you in design?
There is so much to be inspired by these days, just by walking down the street – I can people watch all day. Rules about fashion and style have changed and anything pretty much goes now, it’s refreshing and exciting to watch. I get most of my inspiration from surrounding culture, colour, fabrics, street style and the aesthetics of different eras.
- How do you want women to feel wearing your latest collection?
I want them to feel alive, unafraid to show up, speak up, be who they are and have fun with the colours, silhouettes and patterns.
- How would you describe your brand to those who are being introduced to it for the first time?
NLA DESIGNS is a vibrant brand dedicated to creating beautiful yet practical statement pieces. It offers the familiarity and versatility of classic styles and silhouettes enlivened by bold prints and playful colour palettes. Each collection invites customers to play and experiment with styling the pieces to suit them and their lifestyle.
- When you hit a creative rut, what do you do to get out of it?
I’ve been lucky in that the last couple collections I’ve managed to maintain a full speed momentum while juggling a gazillion things through to launch day. But I find the couple weeks following launch my body and brain will just not have any more of it and I have to switch off. This usually involves stupid amounts of Netflix, some good wine, coffee dates and extra play-time with my son. There’s always an antsy feeling of wanting to get cracking on the next collection but I have to stop myself.
About Life as an Entrepreneur
- What was the best business advice you were given when you were starting out?
~ Don’t ever undervalue yourself and your time.
~ It’s easy to get distracted by others’ highlight reel but don’t lose sight of why you started this journey and your intentions.
~ Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day
(ok, this one wasn’t really offered to me as advice but I saw it on instagram once and I just love it!)
- What does success mean to you?
I think to reach this you need to feel accomplished in what you have achieved.
Generating a comfortable income from doing something you are passionate about. Being able to be in charge of your time and having a perfect balance between home and work life. Having a solid support system in place and friends to share your achievements with. Being able to pay it forward and leaving a behind a positive influence in whatever form that may be.
- What is the biggest lesson you have learned in running your own business?
It takes up a lot of time and self-motivation. Being prepared, organized and having a system, timeline and goals in place are key. It’s exhausting, daunting and overwhelming, and can leave you feeling vulnerable as you are sharing something personal with the world to see or criticize. But on the flip side it’s thrilling, energizing, revelationary, and extremely rewarding!
- What is your favorite thing to come home to after a long day at work?
My son and my husband – we like to put on a jazz record and do a little family boogie on the dance floor (aka play mat!).
- What has been your most useful tool in business?
Perseverance and self-belief.
About Fine Finds Boutique
It’s in the name. You’ll be sure to find some Fine Finds in this boutique located in historic Yaletown!
Fine Finds opened their doors in 2000 as a Furniture Store with some amazing accessories. It quickly became a destination boutique for all things pretty. Slowly it transformed the Finds from furniture to apparel, jewelry, handbags, and of course AMAZING GIFTS!
Fine Finds has become best known as the ultimate destination to find the precise outfit you have been dreaming of! With Jewellery, Handbags, Clothing and Hairpieces you will definitely find something that you love.
Our love and support of all things local has helped us become the Best Gift Store in Vancouver for nine years running (voted by the Georgia Straight). Fine Finds is the perfect destination when shopping for Birthdays, Babies, Anniversary, Hannukah, Christmas and of course to shop for oneself!
We hope you will visit soon to see for yourself!
Fine Finds Boutique