Collecting vintage fashion finds is no joke for Natasha Nicole, founder of NN Officiel Vintage, the designer spot Kourt loves to support and shop for rare throwback designs. We chatted with Natasha, the mastermind behind the online store that stocks the coolest labels and hot-ticket items from the ’90s (and other decades), to learn more about how she turned her passion project into a successful career. Read the full interview below, and shop our favorite picks from her store at the end.
When and why did you start your company?
“I officially started NN Officiel in the spring of 2018. I have always been into vintage and secondhand clothing since I was young. At first, it was because secondhand clothing was my loophole to wearing designer pieces I could never afford. I was in thrift stores, garage sales, and various clothing exchanges sifting through arbitrary items to find those one or two special pieces. As time went on, vintage and secondhand clothing became not just a loophole for my tight budget but a part of my style and identity. It was then that my hobby became my passion and business.
My mom and close friends had been telling me for years that I had a real eye for finding great vintage pieces but encouraged me to share that beyond my own closet. I thought they were crazy, but I said to myself, ‘What do I have to lose?’ So with a lot of hesitation and a lot more courage, I decided to curate a little collection of my best-found pieces online. One of my first clients was the creative director of men’s jewelry at Dior, and I was like, wait a minute?! I’m on to something! In 2018, NN Officiel was open to the public with a lot more pieces and no hesitation.”
What has your career path been like?
“My career path has been all over the place. In my early 20s, I was doing makeup and hair, gradually making my way into the fashion scene. Then, I worked as a secretary for a financial products company. A couple of years later, I became a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, raising my two amazing sons—but trust me, this is a full-time job too (haha). During that time, I moved from Texas to Israel, Italy, then France. Things didn’t work out between my ex-husband and me, so I decided to pack my bags and kids to move to the South of France. From here, I started NN Officiel, while taking care of my two sons on my own, and I’ve never looked back.”
What’s the core mission of your brand?
“My core mission is to bring back those unforgettable pieces and styles from the past that made us feel excited about fashion. My favorite era is the late ’90s and early 2000s. I believe this era was one of the coolest and most innovative, fun, colorful, and sexy times. So many of the pieces that I have had in my shop are things I remember seeing on MTV and VH1 music-video countdowns back in the 2000s. I will never forget the Chanel ski hat on Cam’Ron’s ‘Oh Boy’ video. This is one of many visual references I have lodged in my head when I am out on my treasure hunts. Just to get the chance to actually find and touch these pieces and to see them on my beautiful clients is so fulfilling.”
What’s your favorite thing that you’ve sold and why?
“I think my most favorite piece was a mint-condition Christian Dior snowboard from FW 2004. This piece was so rare, I literally couldn’t find another one for sale online or anywhere. Another piece that I’ve found but is not sold yet is a Swarovski Crystal Dior nameplate belt from the SS2003 runway. It’s probably the most amazing and rarest piece I have ever found.”
What has surprised you the most since starting your company?
“I think what has surprised me the most is how much people actually appreciate what I do. I was so reluctant to try this business just because of the simple fact that I didn’t believe in myself. I had so many people telling me I should try to start it for a long time, but I just thought it was a silly idea.”
What’s a lesson you’ve learned as a founder?
“I’ve learned that having your own business is an enormous amount of work! But it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done next to being a mom. NN Officiel is like my third baby. The more attention and effort I give, I can get so much in return. Going from a stay-at-home mom to having my own business was such a huge change that I am grateful for every day. To wake up and do something you love for work is a blessing, and I continue to learn new things every day through my business.”
What can we expect in the future for NN Officiel?
“You can expect more beautiful and even more rare pieces in my collection. I want to see everyone wearing my finds. I eventually want to branch off to create some of my own original designs and dabble in some cosmetics. I’ve got some things in the works.”
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