I first became familiar with Lionette last month. I met Vanessa at the Professional Girls Night Out event. Her fervent passion for her company and product was one of the things I remember most about the encounter-that and the 4 sales (mine included) she made that night!
Lionette designs by Noa Sade is bold, exotic and enchanting, not unlike the two exceptional women at the helm of this flourishing brand. Vanessa Lee, who deals with Sales and Marketing, and Noa Sade, who handles Design/Product Development and Branding, were gracious enough to allow me to interview them about the success they've achieved since launching their brand in 2009, their partnership and the inspiration for the upcoming collection.
Check-in with the ladies of Lionette designs by Noa Sade and get details on the special WLLC discount! After the BREAK...
Please give a little background on how Lionette designs by Noa Sade came to be?
VANESSA: Noa has background in jewelry design, while I have roots in the fashion industry. We are good friends with great respect and admiration for one another…both personally and professionally. Noa had some stock from her old company and I brought it to montmartre to sell. It sold very well and a business between us was soon born. She believed we would make great partners, and she was right.
Lionette is a collaboration between 2 dynamic and uniquely talented women who just happen to be best friends. What strengths and talents do you each bring to the business that encourages the growth and success of the brand?
VANESSA: I am very social and outgoing…great at net working…firm, fair and [I have] friendly business tactics. My strengths include sales, through my passion for product and doing what I love-educating individuals on fashion and building strong relationships, we always want to do people good. I stay persistent [with] accounts I want to work with, sales can be a chasing game. Patience is a virtue, and one cannot succeed without good follow up skills in this business.
I love our designs and brand so much!We live and breathe Lionette. I don't leave my apartment without being fully adorned with our pieces.
NOA: My part designing and expansion of the line, always venturing the next territory in fashion and life style.With help from Vanessa's experience [in] the fashion industry, I work on the branding and the business concepts and strategy.
I love business and I love nurturing our baby business. I have [been] self employed since i was 21, so i guess entrepreneurship is a part of me. I always aspire to learn from great minds and create special ideas, designs and concepts, in fashion, first and for most, and then in branding, service and strategies.
What is the mission of Lionette?
NOA: In fashion, to provide a time less expression for untamed women of all ages through accessories and To give a tool that brings out the many female powers.
In business, to be a part of a growing group of companies that cares about integrity, empowerment of employees and civil rights. To be a multi-million dollar company and to create prosperity for our clients, partners and employees.
In the world, to build our "Untamed Project," an organization that works and promotes the fulfillment and achievement of individuals around the world. We don't know the face of this project, but we know we are going to direct any power we have towards this cause.
What are some of the challenges you've faced as entrepreneurs?
VANESSA: I believe building a website was challenging. It is a very new venture and finding the right talent to collaborate and translate your vision can be challenging.
NOA: Well for m.e the word challenge that you used so wisely. is the key for growth. The challenge is the actual step forward. If you feel comfortable for too long, you know you are not moving. So both of us welcome positive challenge, after all we are building a business for the first time and we face the new and the unknown on a daily basis. It is fun, scary and interesting.
Your brand motto is "Woman Untamed." Is this "wild," "devil may care" spirit an asset as female entrepreneurs?
VANESSA: Sure, why not? Sometimes "you gotta do what you gotta do," and not care so much about what people think. Don’t get me wrong, both Noa and I are the sweetest gals, but we are both fierce and full of fire. As female entrepreneurs, you [have to] have a vision with a strong head, and go after what you want with conviction. Are we afraid of the unknown and uncertainties, "sure,"… but we will not let it slow us down. It’s a wild jungle out here, eat or be eaten- we love to eat!!
NOA: However, we understand that what we give is what we'll get and so we try to operate out of good values and sincere care and we believe that we surround our business with the same energy.
"Woman Untamed" stands for a strong, confident, caring, sexual female image that is not afraid of being a woman. Whether its having a successful career or serving her children their dinner."Woman Untamed" is an invitation for all woman to empower them selves, each in the area she is seeking to grow and express.
We can help with the jewelry!
Is there a brand or company who you pattern your own business model after as an inspiration?
VANESSA: Hmmm…for me not really. There are many successful companies out there, of course, and I think, "Wow look at Juicy and the brand they built." or "Look at Ralph Lauren and Donna Karen." Where you see their name as household brands. Or look at J brand and every girl is wearing the latest, but I see Lionette as a brand we are building where we can have something for every woman. and whenever she wears our piece she will feel confident and empowered. We have [a] big vision to expand and venture into new areas, of course, but I’m not sure I have a particular business model we pattern after. Noa, what do you think?
NOA: I learned from my boyfriend to listen and read [about] successful individuals from many areas, mostly the wide business world. I admire any success story and I try to listen to their mind set more then anything. More then business plan, I tend to[learn] how they think, how they speak, how they act. To name a few: Richard Branson, Napolion Hill, Madonna, Tony Hsieh, Demi Moore, Dale Carnegie, Shai Agassi, one of my favorites.
The line is inspired in part by the female form and bold, empowered women. What are some of the "powers" we as women possess?
NOA: First off all, sexuality! [I've] lately started to believe that this power is what made men through out history afraid of women and [want to] tame them. Also, courage, honesty, motherhood, beauty, sensitivity, [and] natural confidence.
Do you think this inspiration by and connection to women is in part a reason why people often have such a deep connection to your pieces?
NOA: Sure. It's the energetic aspect of the attraction, as I've always believed, ones DNA runs in every part of ones work / labor / business.
Where can customers find the Lionette collection?
VANESSA: www.Lionetteny.com and stores like Montmarte NYC, Entree in Port Washington NY, and Fenwick in London.
Where are your 3 favorite places to travel?
VANESSA: [There are] so many- so hard to choose. Asia, Europe, Carribeans, Israel, I know it’s not 3. Noa will have even more!
NOA: Oh my! You have hit the spot! Traveling is my greatest joy and I think I can say the same for Vanessa. Please don't make me choose! Australia, Far east, Africa, Central America and of course, my sweet home, the Mediterranean Sea of Israel, which [is] the most special place in the world to me.
Your designs are heavily influenced by exotic and far a way places. How has living in NYC influenced design and business strategy?
NOA: Vanessa and I are so lucky to live in New York in those terms. New York allows us to be creative, wild, limitless, both in design and business. This is the number one thing I love most about NY. You can be whatever you want. You can be yourself. So, I say NYC is "influencing," sure, but it is more "allowing."
What are some of the crazy fantastic things that inspire you?
NOA: Pink Floyd music to me is a huge inspiration and its the closest thing to crazy perfection.
Thier music takes me to forever. I can just swim in the sounds.They are the love of my life.
Business-wise I am very inspired [by] my boyfriend, which is pretty crazy too!
Where do you like to shop?
VANESSA: Montmarte, and vintage shops around the world.
Since launching this brand in Summer 2009 what are some of the milestones you are most proud of?
NOA: -My partnership with Vanessa, creating employment for others, selling in 6 countries world wide in over 90 stores. Being recognized by People "Style Watch" and being shot for a magazine in an Oscar de la Renta dress!
Noa, you spent a year living in South Africa. What do you remember most about that experience?
NOA: How blessed I am with a good memory! (laughing) Cape Town is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. This city is a jewel in so many ways. I am very curious about the South African story and the big change in 1994, however; more then the breath taking mountains and the endless wild beaches along them, more then the wild animals in the Savanna, more then the African drums and dramatic art I mostly love the people! The friends I made there are a group of amazing, beautiful, people, whom I cherish so much [and, to] this day, consider as some of my best friends.I will never forget everything they did for me in a far, and quite wild, land. I love you, Amanda, Mali, Sunette, Franco and David!
What are you doing when you aren't working?
NOA: Yoga! Cooking, traveling, having fun with my bo friend and friends.
VANESSA: Spending quality time with friends and family.
Favorite fashion item currently in your closet?
NOA: My new hair jewelry made from white pearls. I swear, its gorgeous!
VANESSA: I would have to agree! Love it so much and my vintage Gucci boots. Great find in Santa Cruz!
What can customers expect from FALL 2010 Tribal Chic collection?
NOA: The unexpected!
**Thank you to Vanessa and Noa! Questions about Lionette or the jewelry business? Comment on the collection and tell us which pieces are on your "wish list!" Scroll down for Lionette discount info...
SHOP Lionette Designs by Noa Sade from now until December 10, 2010 & Receive 20% off of your next order! Log on to www.Lionetteny.com and use the Promo Code: LIKECRAZY to redeem! Powered by: Whatlookscrazy.com & Lionette Designs by Noa Sade