DREAM CATCHER: NICOLE DELAHOOKE
Even as a child, Nicole Delahooke was a builder with a big imagination. She draped sheets on her sisters and pretended they were going to the Academy Awards in couture gowns. She moved furniture around her room and made believe that she was creating pottery in her own ceramics workshop. Her parents encouraged these endless flights of fancy, so she grew up knowing that she could dream big and believe in herself. After receiving a degree in International Affairs from Westmont College, she found herself in a job managing international leather trade between American fashion brands and factories in China, Japan, and India. She took night classes at Los Angeles Trade Tech to learn how to sew, drape, and make patterns. She started making dresses in the garage of her parents’ home on a single-needle Juki and got a little family support from one sister who is a photographer and another who is a social media guru. Pictures of her pieces that they posted on her Instagram account led to a flood of inquiries about where and when the dresses could be purchased, and Delahooke was officially on the map. Just two short years later, they have launched into wholesale and will retail internationally with the upcoming Spring/Summer 2015 collection.
How long were you in business before you started to see real growth? What do you attribute that to? Two years. Endurance, patience, and brand strategy.
How do you organize your day to best optimize your time? Describe a day in your life. Staying organized and having a structured schedule. At the moment, a day in my life means waking up about 6am, getting dressed and grabbing breakfast en route to my studio. Lunch is usually in house, unless I’m in and out of appointments. In the evening I try to make it into the gym to sweat out anything negative that happened earlier in the day. Looking forward to this helps me stay focused. Lately dinner has been happening around 7 or 8 with friends or family.
What three factors have most contributed to your success in business and in life? So far, having the patience to stick to long-term plans, having an incredible family to pick me up when I am down, and a constant desire to learn, adapt, and improve.
If you could have a one-on-one meeting with any woman, who would it be and why? What’s the first thing you would you ask her? Donna Karan. I’d love to ask her about what kept her going when she failed out of draping class in design school and listen to the way she speaks about struggle and success. She’s a huge inspiration to me.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be… Building a bakery with my two sisters!
I gave up _____ to pursue my dream: My comfort zone.
The key to balancing it all is… Not sure about balancing it all, but to balance some things I believe one must balance oneself first.
My biggest challenge is… Getting enough sleep.
My proudest professional moment to date is… Launching the brand into the wholesale market at ENKVegas and Coterie with our SS ’15 Collection.
The most important thing I have learned so far is… That quick recovery is crucial for progress.
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
The three words that best describe me are… Curious, loyal, active.
My favorite place to go on vacation is… San Clemente. I love the beach anytime of year.
While on vacation I always… Read, eat, sleep.
My favorite scent is… Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey Cologne
My favorite movies are… Good Will Hunting, The Bodyguard, Bridesmaids.
My favorite food is… At the moment? Seafood enchiladas!
On my playlist right now… Steal My Attention, TokiMONSTA; The Other Side, Madi Diaz; Fashion Killa, A$AP Rocky.
My favorite author or non-business book is… The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer.
My favorite type of workout is… Dancing!
I rejuvenate by… Baking (with my sisters, preferably.)
What is one talent you wish you had? I wish I knew how to be an expert carpenter.
Who is a teacher or boss who inspired you and why? I look up to my dad as a teacher and have learned more about business and life from him than anyone.
A woman who inspires me is… My incredibly compassionate mother and my sisters.
I am most proud of… The work my mom is doing for autism awareness and early intervention for kids with special needs. Looking forward to collaborating with the Profectum Foundation in the future.
One thing I hope to pass along to my children is… Confidence.
Lately I’m inspired by… Erwin McManus and his recent Mosaic podcasts.