Fashion isn’t just about the next best thing, or the representation of what it means to own a particular brand or what someone will think when they see you wearing it. It’s an accumulation of your life and your choices, which is reflected back through the clothes you wear and how you wear them.
This is why I created The Inspire your Style series - a look at style, not just from a fashion perspective but from a more holistic overview encompassing all aspects that play a part in you living your best life.
Over the next while I’ll be introducing you to women with brands and businesses that encapsulate what it means to be inspired in life, which will hopefully encourage you to make thoughtful decisions about showing the world the best version of you because it comes back to how you feel - if you feel good, you’ll look good (clothes + all!).
Which is why I am excited to introduce you to the Nikki, owner of The Nowhere Nation, a divine shoe store in Mosman, Sydney. Nikki is a passionate retailer who's focus on giving her customers an amazing experience is second to none, which includes bringing her online customers/followers along for the ride too via lots of sneak peeks and insights on her instagram @thenowherenation. I just love that Nikki is thriving and of course, putting out into the world fabulous, quality shoes that bring joy to women and their wardrobes!
WHAT DREW YOU TO SHOES AND RETAIL?
Shoes have always been my favourite things to buy! I have always found it easy to wear a statement shoe over and over again by simply changing the outfit. So I decided I wanted to really work on something I am passionate about and shoes are it! What drew me to retail is mostly connecting with people and my own love for shopping in real life. Shopping online is great, but you do miss firstly the tactile experience of touching a product but also the human experience of interacting with others. With my background in styling, I love to be part of the buying experience and help someone’s confidence shine through. Seeing someone put on a pair of shoes that I have spent countless hours getting into the store, and their face light up with a huge smile, that’s the best feeling!
HOW LONG HAS THE NOWHERE NATION BEEN AROUND, AND HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME??
The boutique has been open for just over 5 months but I have been working on it since July 2017. The Nowhere Nation name came from a conversation with my dad actually. We were discussing what I wanted the brand to represent a global fashion citizen, breaking the barriers of culture and countries so that clients can access amazing shoes from all over the world. We were working with the word “Nation” and then we paired it with “Nowhere” and it just seemed to resonate. To me, it is about a nation that is from everywhere and is everywhere all at the same time.
WHAT ARE THE VALUES BEHIND THE NOWHERE NATION?
The Nowhere Nation is one that is founded on the principle of luxury with soul, governed with integrity and ruled by beauty. I have captured these principles in our motto “Look Good, Do Good”. For my clients to “Look Good”, I continually search the globe for brands that are producing beautiful quality products that will make them feel amazing. Contrary to popular perceptions of the fashion industry, through the brand’s charitable initiatives we actually “Do Good”. The Nowhere Nation makes the experience of shopping into an act of kindness by donating $1 from every item sold in-store to Dress For Success Sydney and $1 from every order online with the help of our i=Change platform. It’s all about the people - our clients, our brand partners and those whose lives we can impact.
WHAT SORT OF EXPERIENCE CAN WOMEN EXPECT WHEN THEY SHOP AT THE NOWHERE NATION?
When designing the store, the idea of luxury with soul was my starting point. The luxury part is all in the interiors and of course the shoes themselves, the soul is really in the experience. My sister, Mikala and I, when we are working in the store, believe in truly connecting with every individual that comes through the door as their own person and really being honest with them. We want to ensure every pair of shoes finds the right home with someone who loves them; just like the designers who spent hours making them and that can only be done through true, authentic connection. We strive to make anyone’s interaction in the store whether it is for 20 seconds or 20 minutes, a meaningful one that brightens their day.
INVESTING IN SHOES IS ONE OF THE BEST (FASHION) CHOICES YOU CAN MAKE, BUT WITH SO MANY SHOES OUT THERE , HOW DO WE SPOT A WELL MADE PAIR?
To spot the quality of shoe on a shelf, the zippers, buckles, embellishments and stitching are a give away. If these are high quality, they will be sturdy, and add to the shoe’s aesthetic even if it’s a functional element like a zip. The lining of the shoe is important so leather lining is optimal as it’s durable and more odour resistant than synthetics. If you feel around with your hand inside a shoe, you want it to feel smooth and as seam free as possible. Once you have a pair of shoes on your feet, you want to feel to see if the shoes provide cushioning/padding for your foot. This is a sure sign that the designer has really thought about the person wearing these shoes.
AND ONCE WE SPOT THAT PAIR AND HAVE PURCHASED WITH PURPOSE... WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE SHOE CARE TIPS TO MAKE THEM LAST?
- A great protection spray!! In-store I sell Collonil Carbon Pro which is a high-performance water proofer that goes one step further than others and provides a net-like barrier around the shoe protecting it from water and dirt whilst still keeping the leather breathable. It’s been a godsend on my velvet boots this season - not one watermark to be seen!!
- Look out for when your soles or heel caps are wearing down and get them replaced by a shoe repair person. It’s cheaper to replace these than buy a whole new pair of shoes.
- For smooth leather shoes, it’s like our skin and needs to be moisturised every once in a while. A clear coloured crème on an old t-shirt rag will bring any well-worn leather shoes back to life. It will help to remedy surface scratches, prevent cracking and give the shoe a little shine. This also works to clean white sneakers!!
I'M ALL ABOUT THE CLASSIC SHOE STYLE FOR MAXIMUM WEARABILITY SEASON AFTER SEASON, CAN YOU TELL US YOUR GO-TO STYLES FOR SUMMER AND WINTER?
I think it really comes down to understanding your personal style and finding your own “classic styles”. The key to this is finding things you really love and that make you really happy to wear. For me, I love slides in summer, especially when they have some sort of unexpected, fun detail like embellishment or ruffles. I am a real winter girl at heart though, I love boots, especially ones that can be worn with not only with pants but skirts/dresses when it starts to warm up. My favourite pair is the Reike Nen, Ring boot in Copper Velvet (https://thenowherenation.com/collections/boots/products/ringvelvetcopper) (see image) as it’s daring and eye catching but the colour tones in with so many of my clothes. Sneakers are also such a great trans-seasonal style and are fabulous for travelling. They come in so many options these days that there really is something for everyone. My favourites at the moment are the Billi Bi, 7505 zip sneaker in black leather. (https://thenowherenation.com/collections/sneakers/products/7505)
WITH SUMMER AROUND THE CORNER WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE NEW STYLES?
I really love texture and so this season I am really excited for a lot more woven leather and natural fibres to come through. With slides still dominating the summer market, I have beautiful woven raffia ones arriving from Morocco that have been handmade, which are going to be divine. Summer is always full of parties and celebrations so you can’t go past a good block heel and we have just had some gorgeous arrive in store from a new brand Mint & Rose.(https://thenowherenation.com/collections/mint-rose) (see image) Lastly, fresh white sneakers are a must have, but get a pair that has a little detail and that can stand out from the crowd like our exclusive sneaker Esa by Italian brand Life.
AND IF WE'RE NOT IN SYDNEY, HOW ELSE CAN WE GET OUR HANDS (THEN FEET!) ON YOUR BEAUTIFUL PIECES?
You can visit our online store at www.thenowherenation.com or shop straight from our Instagram @thenowherenation
I hope you enjoyed meeting Nikki and are inspired to to purchase some keep-forever shoes! If you have any questions for myself or Nikki, pop them in the comments below!