Like many entrepreneurial women you are holding down one job (designing bathing suits) while working hard to launch your own business www.milagrosclothingdesign.com. Tell us about your “day” job designing bathing suits. After all these years can bathing suits really be re-designed and improved?
Nadine: The design is really based on the fabric prints. The silhouette really does not change that much. You have your basic triangle top, halter top, tankini top, bandeau top. Then as for the bottoms you have scoop, side ties, and boy shorts. And you have your one piece.
Starting from high school what has been your career path?
Nadine: My high school teacher encouraged me to take a patternmaking class in F.I.T. I was learning how different garments were constructed. It was a great experience. When I attended F.I.T. I was an intern for Gabriella Zanzani, a ready-to-wear clothing company. After I graduated FIT she offered me a job. It was a great experience and I had the opportunity to work with a high end clothing company. It was fun working behind the scenes for her fashion shows. My second job was with Anakha, a bridle company. I worked very closely with the customers on creating their dresses. I was working for her for three years. My third job in the industry was with Liz Lange Maternity, another high end company. My present job is with Inmocean, a swim suit company. It’s one of the largest manufacturing companies in the USA.
Where did you get your interest in becoming a clothing designer?
Nadine: I got my interest while watching my grandmother fixing garments, from hemming a pair of pants to altering a shirt.
When did you first starting thinking about developing your own clothing line? And how did that happen?
Nadine: A lot of my friends would constantly ask me to design something for them to wear, or they would go thru my closet to find something that they can borrow. I did some thinking and then decided to go with it.
How long have you been developing your own line? Is Milagros Clothing Design the original name of your own company?
Nadine: I have been developing my line for four years. Yes, Milagros is the original name to my company.
Who are the target women for your line of clothing? What is the price point you are aiming at?
Nadine: My target ranges from women in their late 20’s to early 50’s. The prices are affordable, anywhere from $30-$200. I carry lines from different designers as well as jewelry, candles and lotions.
Eventually how far do you expect to expand your designs, i.e. into a broader range of clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, and accessories?
Nadine: I would like to expand my designs into handbags, and candles.
What do you think are the keys to you growing your own design company successfully?
Nadine: To me the main key is having good relationships with vendors and customers.
What is your vision for your business? How do you want to develop it? For example, will you focus on selling through other boutiques, start your own retail outlet(s) or concentrate on selling on-line?
Nadine: My vision is to open a boutique on a main avenue. I will continue to have Fashion Brunch events. I want to keep my line elite and exclusive I don’t think I’ll have my designs in other stores. I want my boutique to be special, and want my customers to feel special.
You are doing an interesting thing by having showings of your line in your apartment. Tell us about that. How did you get the idea? How is it working? What are you learning from the experience? When is the next event?
Nadine: One day I was watching the E channel on a show about the top ten millionaires, and one of them caught my attention. He is a self man made millionaire. He started his retail shop in his home which inspired me to do the same. I took my 2nd bedroom and turned it into a boutique. To attract customers I wanted to have a grand opening, I came up with the idea of having a Fashion Brunch. What woman wouldn’t like to shop, with enjoying some hors d’oeuvres and catching up with good friends and making new ones? I host Fashion Brunches every three months, four times a year. Every Fashion Brunch has a different theme. I brought the idea to two of my friends. One of them is Ricky Lizalde from Project Runway. I carry his lingerie line. My other friend is Cris Iraheta, and I carry his t-shire line “Too Many Stars.” They both thought it was a great idea. My favorite part of the event is that I have the chance to socialize with friends I don’t see that often. I’m learning hands on with merchandising, and accounting. I also get feed back from my customers. Sales doubled for the Fashion Brunch that I hosted in January which was my 2nd event. Customers sipped on mimosas while others enjoyed complimentary manicures and massages. I’m so excited I can’t wait to host the next one. My next event is scheduled on April 10th. The theme for that one is Sex and the City. To rsvp for the next Fashion Brunch log on to www.milagrosclothingdesign.com
Is anyone else helping you develop your own business? How are you financing the development of the business?
Nadine: I received help from friends and family for events. However I’m the only designer. No one has helped me to develop my line. I have a full time job and I’ve been financing the line myself.
What advice can you share with other women who are either thinking about starting their own business or already have started one? What are the keys to success in your mind? What are the biggest mistakes to avoid?
Nadine: The advice that I can share with other women is to do your research from A to Z. Learn as much as you can about your business first. Also try to find a good mentor. Try to get recommendations from other business owners that are in your field of business. Be surrounded by positive people and stay focused. Your hard work and dedication in time it will be rewarding.
What do your parents think about you launching your own business? What do they do?
Nadine: My mom thinks is great. She is very proud of me. I know if my grandmother was here she would too.
Where did you grow up? Have you always lived in Jersey City?
Nadine: I grew up in Brooklyn New York. When I graduated from the sixth grade my mom decided to relocate to Union City, NJ. Years later I relocated to Jersey City. It’s a great city. It’s hip and trendy. Everything is near by. It’s like a mini New York City.
When you are not working, how do you spend your free time?
Nadine: I try to spend my free time with my family, and friends. Or I’m enjoying some of my activities like golf, belly dancing, watching football, and baseball. I enjoy reading a good book. I also like to watch a really good comedy movie. Sometimes I need a good laugh.
We are always looking to find good restaurants, i.e. where the locals go. Do you have any suggestions for Garden State Woman web viewers?
Nadine: The restaurants that I can recommend in Hoboken are: Teak, Madison, Margarita, Zafra, and Cucharamama. In Jersey City I recommend: HardGrove Café, Bar Majestic, York Bar, Azucar, Iron Monkey, and Latin Lounge.