Nyla Rose by Natalie Lambert-Imalingat- Winner of Inspirational Mumpreneur at the 2014 MumpreneurUK Awards
When my daughter Nyla Rose was 6 months old and I was still on maternity leave from work, I was given the option of either being made redundant or being transferred to another department. Not really sure what lied ahead but willing to give it a go, I opted for the redundancy route and decided to set up my own business. I have always loved vintage homeware and fashion and saw a real gap in the market to combine both loves. I wanted to create a one stop shop for all things vintage. Of course there was only one name I could possibly name the business, and Nyla Rose (the business!) was born. I will refer to my daughter Nyla and the business Nyla Rose to avoid confusion!
The first 6 months of Nyla Rose were made up of me shivering on a local market stall and spending hours and hours on Facebook trying to get people to come and visit me! Gradually the word spread and I began receiving messages from ‘Likers’ all over the country asking to buy Nyla Rose goodies. It was at this point that I saw potential of taking the business online, and I closed the market stall and launched the Nyla Rose website in September 2013.
The first year of the website was me working 80 hours a week and basically surviving on zero sleep to get everything done! Nyla was only in nursery a few days a week so I would work round that and pull all – nighters when she went to bed, answering messages and doing marketing. There were so many times when I was so sleep deprived and exhausted that in all honesty I just wanted to give up and find a ‘normal’ job, but I would think about Nyla and how I wanted to make her proud and I would wash my face, put the kettle on and carry on, waking up 2 hours later to give her some breakfast.
Just when I was getting to the point that no amount of Kitkats and caffeine would fix, I reached the stage where I could take on staff to help (when I first realised this, sat there with my calculator at 4am one morning, I actually cried with happiness into my Kitkat)! The very next day I offered a job to my best friend of 20 years, Lindsay, who is now my Customer Services Manager (as it turned out, she is as fantastic as I expected!) I now have a small team of 8 that help me with the day to day dispatching and customer services whilst I work on management, finance and the strategic overview of the company.
There are so many things I love about the business I can’t even begin to tell you! Our vintage dresses are hugely popular and what is also very close to my heart is helping ladies of all shapes, sizes and ages to dress well and feel amazing in our clothes. We don’t just sell fashion- we build confidence, and unlike other companies we don’t have a ‘typical’ customer, but anyone from a size 6-26, between the ages of 25-70. Moving forward we will be using only ‘real life’ models in a variety of sizes to represent our customer base, and we regularly do competitions for free prizes as well as vintage makeovers to give back to our customers as much as we can. I very much see our brand as a hybrid between highstreet and vintage, and I hope Nyla Rose can take vintage style mainstream. It is genuinely such a flattering style that a lot of our customers are shocked by how good they look- and we help customers dress for their shape and body hang ups too.
Being a mum and a business woman is not the easiest thing in the world, but then again nothing truly worthwhile is ever going to be easy! You have to work incredibly hard to make it work and juggle like never before; and let’s face it, stepping away from the security of a steady pay packet is always going to be a difficult thing to do. On the plus side, you get to be flexible with childcare, have the freedom to make your own decisions and if you have any dreams, you aren’t relying on anyone else to make them come true- it’s on you! The good news is, as a mum you will already have a lot of the skills required to run your own business. You will already be both patient and resilient, and able to make tough decisions when you have to. In many ways, you are more qualified than most to take the leap.
For us, there are many challenges ahead and like with all new businesses, there are a thousand reasons why we could fail.
But there are many more reasons for us to succeed. Nyla has always been and will always be, my biggest reason. She is now 2 and argues with me whenever I answer the phone saying ‘Nyla Rose, Natalie speaking’. ‘No’, she says sternly, ‘Not Nyla Rose, Mummy speaking, me Nyla Rose’.
Sleepless nights and stress all forgotten. Nothing could ever be better than that.
Facebook: Search ‘Nyla Rose’ www.facebook.com/nylarosegiftsandinteriors
Twitter: @NylaRoseVintage www.twitter.com/NylaRoseVintage
Pinterest: Nyla Rose www.pinterest.com/nylarose1
Instagram #nylarosevintage www.instagram.com/nylarosevintage