Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Zabal.
Nicole, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve always been interested in the fashion industry. I took my first sewing class in high school and fell in love with the idea of creating a finished garment. While I was a freshman at NYU, I did my first internship at a women’s apparel company where I was able to immerse myself in numerous aspects of the business and it became clear to me that I would love to launch my own clothing line (someday!). After doing internships with multiple apparel companies, a fashion magazine, and a PR agency, I ended up getting my first job at the fashion PR agency where I had been interning during my senior year at Parsons School of Design (yes, I also transferred colleges along the way!).
For the next ten years or so, I worked in public relations, marketing, and sales–not always in the fashion industry, but that was always where I knew I wanted to be. In 2015, I left my sales job of five years to help my brother with his start-up software company. At some point along the way, I finally felt like I was ready to start my own company, and working remotely for my brother allowed me to have the downtime I needed to start sketching out my ideas for my clothing line and putting the wheels in motion.
It took months and months of planning and figuring out how to source fabric vendors, get patterns and samples made, and find a garment factory. Being from the east coast, I really had no clue how to navigate the garment industry in Los Angeles, so I was doing a lot of Googling and trying to network with people who could help me. In 2017, I was ready to get my first collection produced and was lucky enough to have parents that wanted to help fund my first production run. I launched my debut line of 11 different styles on my website in May of 2018 and since then have been trying to grow my wholesale business. My line is currently sold in a handful of boutiques on the east and west coast and I’m hoping to be in a lot more stores soon enough!
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?
My biggest challenges along the way are trying to stay positive and not sweating the small stuff. I’m such a perfectionist and having to rely on other people for certain things that are out of my control is sometimes very uncomfortable. For example, when I did my first production run with my garment factory, there were issues with certain styles — some sizes were inconsistent and the wrong labels were sewn inside the garments. I remember thinking it was such a big deal at the time because I needed everything to be perfect, and that’s just not how it works in the garment industry.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Nicole Alex – what should we know?
My company/brand is called NICOLE ALEX. We make luxe loungewear and basics for women and everything is designed and made here in Los Angeles. Our garments are constructed from bamboo cotton fabrics that are buttery soft and have some really amazing qualities like being anti-bacterial and moisture-wicking. What makes the brand unique is that all of our tops and dresses feature a built-in shelf bra, so you don’t have to wear a bra because there’s built-in support. It makes me really proud to put my name on a quality product where everything is done both ethically and locally.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think having the mindset of always being a student is critical to being successful. I’m constantly learning new things and asking people for help, which is something that I used to struggle with. I used to think I could figure everything out by myself, but that’s really not the case in business.
- Retail prices range from $60-$98
- Website: www.shopnicolealex.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @shopnicolealex
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shopnicolealex