Nanela of London
I haven't blogged this year and what better time than to share that I have been working on my Fashion brand, www.NanelaofLondon.com a brand that specialises in accessories inspired by hair and travel - adjustable satin bonnets, satin scrunchies, ankara print headbands and face masks inspired by my travels to Ghana.
After my travelling with curls YouTube series last year I found different ladies from around the world had a common essential travel item - satin accessories, whether that be a satin scarf, satin scrunchie or satin pillowcase/bonnet; something to protect and tie your hair with, which curly doesn’t have a scrunchie around their wrist?!
Check out my YouTube #TravellingWithCurls series, with curlies from: Switzerland, Aruba, USA, Dubai & Indonesia
Where do I even begin? A little back log on how it all began.. Read on
Before lockdown I hadn't touched my sewing machine for a few years, living and working in London, it is very fast paced, headphones in and a tunnel vision commute into the city to work.
Eat, sleep, work, repeat. (With the occasional travels thrown in)
February 2020 - I travelled to Italy and upon my return was when the pandemic was new and just reached Europe, I was advised to self-isolate, with no symptoms but because I came from at the time a high risk country, which triggered my anxiety severely and resulted me not going into my 9-5 work.
I self-isolated at home for 12 days and was so depressed and anxious, but in this time I re-found my passion and purpose and started sewing again, dusted off my 15 year old sewing machine and it kept me busy which helped tremendously.
I started sewing headbands for charity to raise money and awareness for Teens Unite a charity that supports 13-25 years who have been diagnosed with cancer, they have personally supported me, when I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer and and I wanted to give back, I managed to raise £95.
You can donate here:
March 2020 - September 2020 - The pandemic unfortunately got worst and then lockdown 1 and 2 happened, which meant I was put on furlough and then put at risk of redundancy from my job.
This period enabled me to sew more headbands and now facemasks, where I created an Etsy web shop as the Direct Message (DM's) process via instagram was no longer working for me and Etsy allowed me to do safe and secure transactions for my UK and International customers.
This was the turning point for me, where I realised, you can't have only 1 source of income, I joined a weekly zoom business call with some business buddies, who are budding entrepreneurs, where we shared, motivated and encouraged each other to work on our businesses; I attended online masterclasses, did some research, put my sewing skills and experience to good use and joined whatsapp groups with other like minded people.
October 2020 - I went back into the office, some form of 'normality', short lived and 3 weeks later... Another national lockdown.
November 2020 - This is the 3rd LOCKDOWN now in the UK, back on furlough and uncertain of my job, I don't do very well with erratic change and the unknown, I'm sooo over it now. rolls eyes, triggers anxiety again!
With my background in fashion & textiles, this ongoing lockdown and furlough life, I had to do something - light bulb moment - start a business sewing handmade accessories for those that love to travel and take care of there hair.
December 2020 - January 2021, I finally get myself a business mentor, who helped me excel from helping me come up with a new business name, as I was previous called 'Sewing by Lea' now Nanela of London, which is an acronym of my name and London being the city where I'm from.
Janie adjustable Satin Bonnets & Scrunchies in black and Purple available to shop at www.nanelaoflondon.com
These next 3 months, was where I registered my business, did more research, fabric sourcing and buying, sewing and sampling my products, learning how to do some basics in finances, costs and budgets, thankfully I was able to raise the funds through the making of face masks, headbands and one of my biggest scrunchie wholesale order for a curly hair salon, with this money, I reinvested it back into the business and realised I can't do all of this by myself, (and breathe) so I hired a web designer to create my website and a graphic designer to create my logo.
During this time, I pitched to potential clients, I had a lot of no's, no responses/being ignored, wanting to give up, questioning myself if it is worth it, all that doubt seeped in, my sewing machine broke and the 'constructive criticism' was all too much and I eventually broke down and cried, I was so overwhelmed, still am sometimes, but thankfully the love and support from my family and friends have been amazing they have all gone above and beyond in believing in me and of course everyone in my circle now owns a Nanela of London handmade accessory; I am truly grateful to them all and I am happy to be expanding and sharing my business with others in my online hair and travel community, where I have come across likeminded individuals who have already fell in love with my products and brand, you know who you are, you are amazing!
Most importantly, I began to believe in myself and what God has ordained for my future.
February 2021 - I officially launched my brand, created a website and new brand name.
Nanela of London was born!
My why is to inspire others to follow their dreams, I knew from a young that I wanted to work in fashion and after studying fashion & textiles at college, numerous work experiences, unpaid fashion internships, temporary fashion & bridal jobs; that the best option was to do it myself, so here we are!
With my love and enthusiasm for natural hair and travel it made perfect sense to make accessories for the things I am most passionate about.
I may not be able to travel at the moment, but my accessories have and that brings me joy that someone on the other side of the world loves the handmade products I've made, whilst protecting, embracing and styling their crown.
'Starting and launching a business during lockdown, not only helped my mental well being, but also helped inspire others to follow there passions, dreams and creative hobbies'
To the future, hopefully no more lockdowns, more sewing, future safe travels and plenty of wash hair days.
Thank you for reading, hope this inspires you to keep going!
Designer & Seamstress of Nanela of London
Use Discount Code Lea15 for 15% off
Follow my Instagram's: Curl_Lea_Travel and @NanelaofLondon for updates and BTS of all things, hair, travel and start up business life.
I will be attending my first ever pop-up event for Nanela of London on the 5th June 2021, an event that supports emerging entrepreneurs & new black businesses of African & Caribbean decent, you can get your FREE tickets below: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/black-culture-market-tickets-151545746407
Business Mentoring Service: Step by Step 10 follow on instagram @steps10_2019
Graphic Designer: MariaKrauze.com follow on instgram @maria_krauze
Web Designer: Supportalservices.com follow on instagram @supportalbusinessservices
Start ups in London Libraries: https://www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centre/start-ups-in-london-libraries#
Registering a business: Gov.uk
Free resources: Youtube Tutorials, Canva Templates
(I would also advise on having an accountability partner, this can be a trusted person you can share your ideas and visions with and level up)
Nanela of London Limited is a registered company (13097887)
All rights and images belong to Nanela of London