We are delighted to share with you our interview « Questions and Answers » with the CEO and Founder of Couture Fashion Hause Nina Naustdal.
Carla MARTIN: Please introduce yourself for those who do not know you yet. Kindly tell us about your background and your business? How did you decide to create your business?
Nina NAUSTDAL: I was born and raised in Norway. From age of 7-19 I was representing my country in track and field. I fell in love with fashion and design from an early age, inspired by my grandmother who was a seamstress by profession and I pursued my studies of fashion designing at Esmod.
After graduating from fashion school, I moved to London where I combined my love and passion for fashion designing and I launched my own eponymous brand in May 2011. I opened my first Boutique on Walton Street, and now I work by appointment only from my new showroom in Chelsea.
CM: What was your path to the role you have now?
NN: I started designing from a very young age with my Grandmother who owned her own fashion boutique. She taught me all about fashion and design and really inspired me to start up my own fashion line. I went on to study Fashion, and when I moved to London, I opened my first store and just two years later I was awarded London retailer of the year in 2013.
CM: What does a typical working day look like for you?
NN: Having a London based Atelier and showroom allows me to be personally involved in every process of design and production, guiding my design team on each step and ensure the highest quality and flawless finishing up to the standard of our customers. I also have my own in-house press and marketing team that I work with daily, focusing on my various personal appearances, TV and Red Carpet, as well as product and celebrity placements in the UK and internationally.
CM: Tell us what is your success mindset?
NN: I firmly believe that “Normal is boring”, thus all my pieces are handcrafted into masterpieces.
My premise is reflected in all my designs as I take inspiration from exquisite stones to create my designs that results into glamorous cocktail dresses and gowns in fluid, and jewel-toned Italian silks. Each of my signature pieces, created for brides or kids alike, bears the finesse and finish of a masterpiece. The attention to detail, the colour contrasting and the delicate and crystal embellishment remains a trademark that is never compromised.
CM: What was your biggest challenge on the personal side also business side?
NN: I am very passionate about my work, but I am also very passionate about my family as I have three young children. Juggling the two can be difficult, however, I find that my inspiration for designs can come from both work and personal outlets like travelling, so I try to take time for each in order to pursue my dreams and make sure both my family and business requirements are met day to day.
I also find that the main challenge within the world of fashion is competing with other brands. For my brand, I am constantly trying to reach more people and compete against the big brands internationally.
CM: I would like to know what is the best advice in business you have been given? may I ask who gave it to you?
NN: I learnt from fashion school that it is so important to know more than everybody else, to learn the industry inside out so that you are always prepared and better than your competitors. That is the inspiration for the next generation. Know your craft.
CM: For a young entrepreneur, what advice would you give?
NN: I always follow three simple rules:
- Create a great team around you.
- Don’t be scared of making mistakes and taking risks.
- Network and make contacts.
CM: With everything you have achieved, what you would say your greatest achievement is?
NN: On top of being an established business woman and an award-winning fashion designer, I was able to raise my three children during the growth of my successful brand. Over the past 8 years, my couture dresses can be seen in many different magazines and on A-list celebrities.
I also consistent TV presence starring in documentaries both in the UK and internationally.
CM: What was the most challenging moment in your life? And how did you manage to overcome it?
NN: I would say moving to a new country, getting settled and open my own business alone was one of the most challenging moments for me. However I have never been scared of taking risk and I always believe in myself, I believe if you work hard anything is possible.
CM: From your entire professional experience, what was your most exciting project up to now?
NN: Opening my store in London, was one of the most exciting projects so far.
CM: What is your business current focus?
NN: My focus is to give my clients the best customer experience by creating handmade and fitted clothes according to their dreams.
CM: What charity do you support?
NN: I support many different charities like Caudwell Children, Little Princess Trust, etc. I have helped and donated dresses to raise money for many charities around the world.
CM: Who inspires you today?
NN: I would say Karl Lagerfeld is a role model of mine. I admire how he created such a strong trademark, made himself into an icon and built an empire.
CM: Do you have a secret talent?
NN: I believe if you have a talent you need to use and show it to the world.
CM: You found your passion, in your opinion how does everyone find their own passion?
NN: In my opinion, the best way to find your passion is to believe in yourself. Don’t be scared to try new things and be yourself. Then you will find what you love.
CM: If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
NN: If I had the power I would change the world where there is no sickness.
CM: Thank you very much Nina for your time and kindness to answer my questions.