Nadine lives and breathes fashion and trends, as evidenced by the fact that she is easily the most stylish person at the BRIKA office, managing to look put together on any given day (which, let's face it, is no small feat). Naturally, her finger-on-the-pulse instinct on everything shopping and sartorial related goes hand in hand with her post as Merchandising Assistant, where she actively scouts new talent in the Maker community, analyzes URL and IRL retail trends and ensures BRIKA stays on top of what's hot in the products we showcase to our customers.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Truthfully? A singer/actress! I used to do Broadway plays throughout middle school, and was set on being a star. That never happened, clearly, but to this day I still wish I were a singer. Beyond my middle school years, I always wanted to be in fashion, or at least in some kind of creative industry. It runs in my family: my grandfather was a shoemaker (I used to watch him hone his craft in his studio), my aunt is a painter and my uncle is one of the best auto body painters in the province. Yes, the automotive industry is a far cry from fashion, but I was influenced by the hands on and creative natures of their careers.
How did you get involved in this industry?
My parents wanted me to pursue a more traditional, business-centric career, so it took a lot of convincing, but I finally took the plunge and left university to get a degree in Fashion Arts, where I felt completely in my element. I loved what I was learning; everything from marketing to sourcing, production to buying. Afterwards, I hopped the pond over to Nottingham, England, to get a degree in International Fashion Business. I was very fortunate to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company – an iconic Canadian brand whose roots are steeped in the history of Canada itself – right after graduating. After two years, I made the move to BRIKA, and haven’t looked back since!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
That’s tough! When I first started working here, I had to wrap my brain around the fact that there is a living, breathing Maker behind each and every product, whose raison d’être and creative process entirely belong to the product they make. It was crazy going from the business of mass production to really getting to know the Makers and the time it takes for them to make just one item. Going from this behind-the-scenes aspect to seeing it on display in store and witnessing customers’ reactions has been a lot of fun. Making the connection from studio to store has been the most satisfying part of my job, and armed with the knowledge that we are supporting their talent and craft can be overwhelming!
Other than that, I have to give my stellar team a shout out! I never wake up not wanting to come to work, and am fortunate to be able to work with a very collaborative and supportive group of talented people.
What is your favorite creative activity and why?
Does singing in the car count? If not, then it would have to be baking – I love making people try my kitchen concoctions.
What are your three desert island BRIKA product picks?
1. The Five Minute Journal
, because daily positive reminders are never a bad thing, and a great way to end your day.
2. Ceecee & Bee's lavender soap + scrub set
, because I've got to smell yummy for when a handsome man comes and sweeps me off my feet!
3. Pamuk & Co's Turkish towel
, for literally everything: picnics, bathing, to keep warm, to dry off. Multipurpose at its most beautiful.