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Meet Natalie Yaru of MANAM in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Yaru.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was always enrolled in art classes and camps as a kid because I loved to draw. Then came that age where I was so into clothes, that I was always bugging my parents to go shopping (I didn’t succeed often). I remember when I was 13, my mom gave me a book on fashion design and a sketchbook for Christmas. I guess she figured that I would stop whining about not being able to shop, if I just learned to make my own.

At around the same age, my journey in clothing construction began, when I started turning my Limited Too bikini underwear into thongs. All of my friends started wearing them, but I wasn’t allowed. I couldn’t stand to be the only 13-year-old with panty lines in my white Abercrombie pants. So, I just snipped out the bum, moved in the elastic edges, and sewed up the center.

At Woodbury University (many years later), I was able to fulfill my dream of creating my own fashion collection. From concept to product, we each created our own dream to show on the runway at the end of the year. From there, I knew I didn’t want to let go of creative freedom. So, I read a book on starting a fashion business, created a “To Do” List, and began chopping away at it. All the while, designing, patterning, sampling my first designs for MANAM.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
NO. Definitely not.

I have never once regretted my decision to become an entrepreneur. That being said, I am the type that is prone to learning things the hard way. Meaning, the road has been anything BUT smooth. Starting your own business takes a tremendous amount of mental, emotional, and even physical strength. I have made plenty of mistakes, I have let struggles of my personal life become so extreme that they get in the way, and I have been damn near taken down by things that should never have taken such precedence over my life. But at the end of the day, what I am building remains most important, and I have faith that I won’t ever slip far enough to forget that.

Money is a tricky thing to deal with when starting your own business. Mostly because you have none… I have tried my best to balance risky decisions with safe ones because you just do your best to decide what is worth it and what isn’t… while having no facts or figures upon which to educate your decision. All you can do is keep trying.

My leather pants just landed on the cover of Rolling Stone for God’s sake, and I can barely afford to buy toilet paper!

Please tell us about MANAM.
MANAM specializes in luxury leather clothing and accessories, and “loungerie” i.e. sexy loungewear that is comfortable enough to wear at home, and sophisticated enough to wear out. I am currently designing almost entirely in the women’s market, but I have serious intent to break into menswear after significant thought and study on the subject.

I love supporting American industry by running all of MANAM’s production out of Los Angeles, and I will always strive to bring you the finest in quality.

For those concerned with our extensive use of leather, I am seeking out leather shops which source from ethical farms and tanneries. In the event that I discover that those don’t actually exist, I fully intend to undertake a private farming and tanning operation one day.

I want MANAM to be a major player in supporting American industry and economy, and set a humanitarian example for appropriate compensation and treatment of skilled laborers.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Leather pants by MANAM
Hair by Mark Townsend at Starworks Artists
Makeup by Matthew Vanleeuwen at Starworks Artists
Styling by Lauren Ehrenfeld
T-shirt by Mother Denim
Nails by Christina Aviles

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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