Full disclosure: this is a long one, but I hope a good one! Comments are most welcome and would be really helpful as I continue to plan the series. Enjoy!
The inagural How She Does it post features two sisters who are both personally and creatively inspiring. Romaana & Saifra Zia, founders of handbag line Nyla Noor, left their past lives as cogs in the corporate machine to find their passion: creating bags for women who "aspire to achieve a life of balance." In fact, their signature wave design "is a symbol for finding balance amid the highs and lows of work and life." The bags are of course beautiful (I featured one in one of my very first posts), but also incredibly functional; many can be worn several different ways.
It's so refreshing to hear a brand speaking about personal fulfillment in a meaningful way. I was also excited to learn that the bags are created in as eco-friendly a manner as possible, featuring vegetable-tanned leathers and organic lining.
Clockwise from top left: Romaana & Saifra Zia, Mercat Convertible Messenger in Canvas, Portable Bag Hook, Mercat Convertible Messenger in Leather, Octagonal Clutch in Seafoam, Rectangular Clutch in Coral, Tall Rectangular Clutch in Marigold
Where are you from?
We’re New York natives.
Where do you live?
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone
What’s currently playing on your stereo or turntable?
Adele, Bon Iver, Foster The People, Matt Nathanson, Beyoncé and David Guetta
Do you have a DIY or décor tip?
We recently collected tall glass water bottles and painted them with some leftover paint we had in the house. We placed them on the top of our kitchen cabinets. They add a splash of color and added height to the room.
What’s the most memorable voyage among your travels, and where is your dream destination?
Our most memorable trip was a month-long journey across 8 countries in Asia, from Tokyo, Japan to Bali, Indonesia. It was life-changing and involved a lot of introspection, lots of food and breathtaking views.
What is your favorite restaurant in NYC, and what makes it special to you?
Stanton Social. It’s a great place to try all sorts of bites and share amazing food with friends. Who doesn’t like French Onion Soup Dumplings?!?
What has been your favorite find lately?
A vintage handbag in my mom’s closet. It’s an evening clutch made of red raw silk and has elaborate beading and a jeweled design on it. It’s one of those statement accessories that requires little more to make an outfit stand out.
Who are your role models?
My mom and my sister. Both are strong, independent women with a great sense of style.
What gave you the courage/inspiration to start your own business, especially in such a challenging economic climate?
Our parents. They have been unconditionally supportive of Nyla Noor. Having grown up in an entrepreneurial family, our parents have been very helpful with guiding us through such new territory. Also, our parents had a very successful handbag company themselves back in the '80s, so Saifra and I are really second-generation designers/ business owners.
What advice would you give to women thinking about taking the leap into small business?
Do your research and never be afraid to question things. As women, we are so often trained to do things that may not necessarily sit right with us, because we don’t want to come across as rude. Ultimately, it just sets us back. Never be afraid to follow your instincts and acknowledge if something doesn’t work for you.
How do you maintain the balance you talk about on your blog with such a busy career?
By being organized and making time for myself. Sometimes that means waking up 30 minutes early for yoga. Sometimes that means meeting up with friends for dinner after work. Lately, it’s been taking the time to curl up with a good book. Whatever it may be, I have learned that I can’t be good to anyone else or my business, unless I am good to myself.
I also asked this talented twosome to share some of their inspirations on Pinterest - just click the image to view the board they created!
I loved this perspective from Nyla Noor blog and it really puts into context the way these two wonderful sisters run their business & strive to live their lives:
What did you think of the first How She Does It? I'd love to hear your thoughts, what you'd like to read more of, or what you didn't like.