In our last blog you learnt all about Paula, this blog is all about me, Nina! Usually Paula is the one who writes all the blogs as she has a gift for writing, so be kind as this is totally out of my comfort zone.
I'm Nina, the one who hides behind the camera and doesn't like to show her face! I've always hated being in front of a camera and am way too critical of myself, its something I'm trying to get over as life is too short but it runs deep and I can't even explain why. I'm an over thinker, and creative, I can create a whole dramatic scenario in my head over the smallest of things.
I'm a romantic, who loves love. I can't watch love island because I believe in the love stories then it upsets me when they split up after! Haha.
I was born and raised in good old NW London, the middle child, with an older and younger brother. I've always been creative and as a young girl I loved nothing more than spending time in my room drawing or making clothes for my Sindy Dolls-Showing my age right there!
It was at Secondary school that I discovered that girls could be right bitches, and kinda gave up on them, bar my bestie and a few others. I guess it was these years that made me even more critical of myself and cemented my lack of confidence.
After my A-levels, I completed a foundation course in Art and Design at Camberwell College of Arts, and then decided to apply to do a degree in Fashion Design at Westminster university. Looking back, I'm not sure it was the right choice for me but I really wouldn't be where I am today if I had followed another path. This is where I discovered screen printing, if I remember rightly I didn't particularly do that well on that project, not because of my printing ability. Projects were graded on a whole body of work not just the finished article. I was fascinated with the processes of printing and would have loved to have delved more into it.
I learnt a lot over the 3yr course, but maybe didn't take it as seriously as I should have, you'd think a creative subject at university would be a breeze right, but we were in more than most other courses and it was bloody hard work! We didn't just go in for lectures here and there, we were expected to be there all day everyday. I gradually ended up not giving a fuck and spent way too much time at the bar, enjoying a social life and then pulling all nighters to get my work in on time. I never learned my lesson. Sometimes, I really wish I could go back and do things differently. It was in my third and final year ...the crucial year...that I fell for a boy. I was too distracted by our budding romance and my final collection suffered, one of my tutors ( a right bitch who never liked me anyway) ripped me to shreds in front of a load of 1st years who were standing there wearing my collection. I was mortified and burst into tears. It wasn't constructive, it was mean... and it didn't motivate me to buck my ideas up in the slightest. I pretty much gave up, went in less, finished my collection at home. I got a pass for that project but I didn't get selected for graduate fashion week and I totally understand why, but it was painful to take at the time, it's what you work towards over the 3 years so I felt like a massive failure. Even though my grades averaged a 2:2 I ended up leaving with a third because its a creative subject and I guess the grades didn't really matter.. but I was fine, I didn't care to appeal it by that point, I was glad to be finished. I never wanted to see a sewing machine again in my life, I had completely fallen out of love with designing and making clothes. The course sucked all my passion for it away.
BUT, I left Uni with a boyfriend, who now, after 17 years together is my fiance and baby daddy. Now that's a complete result, better than any degree right! He, on the other hand, got the girl and managed to ace his degree!
I flitted from job to job for a little while after Uni, never really finding anything that felt right. We moved out to Hertfordshire because its fecking expensive to buy in London! I then decided to do a short make up course and worked in make up for a year or so, stopping when I was 38wks pregnant with my first. I decided to be a full time Mum, it's what I always thought I would be and a decision that I will never regret. I spent the next few years of my life making and popping out 3 boys in total! What was I thinking ey!!? I got my old sewing machine out and started making baby bits and fell back in love with it, even though I ended up not having any spare time to do it as they got older and more demanding! It is the hardest job I've ever done, but I am so happy and blessed to have been able to be there for all 3 of my boys, see all those firsts, not missing out on anything, taking them to playgroups. Which is of course where I met Paula, a like minded badass with a wicked sense of humour. I have made some amazing Mum friends and having started this business, have connected with loads of women in business and the support is unreal, my faith in females has been restored, I mean obviously there are still the mean girls out there somewhere but hey ho.
Once my boys were all at school it was time to think about what was next for me, I knew I didn't want to go back to doing make up, over the 8yrs away I didn't miss it at all and things in the industry were so different, as was I. During a playdate with Paula we got to talking and the idea of doing something together came up, it then took us another year to finally get our asses in gear. Which was probably a good thing, I wasn't in a great place mentally during that year and had some issues that I needed to deal with. I got help and I'm so glad I did because now I'm out of it I didn't quite realise how bad I was. It's a story I don't really want to go into in detail right now, but my Insta inbox or email is always open to anyone who might be struggling with anxiety issues. Once I was in a better place I was motivated..I dusted off my old squeegee and showed Paula how to screen print, nipa threads was born. I was back being my creative self and it felt amazing!
We have so much fun coming up with our slogan clothing, we love to be sarcastic and take the piss and we are slowly finding our tribe of people who relate and it's honestly the best ride! We want to put smiles on faces, and we love giving you the option of colour combinations and seeing what you all choose. Part of the reason we decided to give you so much choice was because myself and Paula's tastes are so different. She loves the more in your face combos and I'm a bit more subtle! Who are we to decide what colours everyone will like? When we are unsure on a design we will put it to our facebook group (we all need good tribes- go join if you haven't already!) to get their opinion because at the end of the day its not about us, its about YOU, our beautiful, fabulous, badass customer! We love working together, we complement each other and have different skills we bring to the table. It works. It has been tough working over the last year, having to be apart. We are so grateful that we have continued to be busy despite the pandemic and we have made it out the other side still in business, when so many others haven't been so lucky.
I know that regardless of all the mistakes I made or wrong paths I thought I took, it has all led perfectly to where I am now.
Next goal for us is getting a little unit to work from, as handy as it is to work from home I have a 10yr old boy hitting puberty who pretty soon will want his own bedroom!! God help me when I have 3 teen boys to deal with, I will be racing out the door to work whenever I can!!