As some of you may recall (rewind almost two years ago now) I was working with the beautiful Natalie Rolt of Natalie Rolt Designs on a custom number for our Wedding reception in Santorini, in her humble little warehouse studio. There was something about Natalie's enthusiasm, risk-taking and anything is possible attitude and approach to design that initially drew me to her and from the get go had me very confident that she would be able to execute my dream dress, even though at the time I had no idea what that was yet.
Fast forward two years, and she had outgrown that humble DIY warehouse studio of hers and was moving into a large, high ceiling, dreamy white washed beach side studio, which was previously a gallery space, drenched in the most gorgeous natural light. Quite different to the vision of Natalie when I first discovered her, taking over the back room of her parents house... which is where it quite often tends to begin for a small start up. Coming from a background in fashion myself, I was so delighted when I learned the news that my Yiayia (who's life had been fulfilled with a very successful career of making high end wedding couture) was unable to make my dress, that Natalie was able to - and boy did it exceed my expectations!
Having watched Natalie's journey and success over the last few years, I couldn't wait to sit down with her to talk fitness, happiness, business and everthing in between and share her infectious lust for life with you all...
"The best memories happen when they are spontaneous and I am a huge believer in going with the flow." - Natalie
ABOUT NATALIE ROLT
What do people close to you call you? Nat and NR.
What is your star sign? Aquarius
Do you believe in them? YES… if they are happy ones!
Describe yourself in 3 words… Generous, happy and humble
Describe your personal style in 3 words… Effortless, chic and street-glam
What is something nobody knows about you? I use to be a national ballroom dancer and it's something that is slowly becoming known to my friends or family who won't let me live it down!
Are you a planner or spontaneous? The best memories happen when they are spontaneous and I am a huge believer in going with the flow.
What does a normal day in your life look like? Wake up super early, head to a Lisa Burns Booty Burn Class, race home to get ready, grab my fave Dimattina coffee to drink on the way to the studio and arrive by 8am. Then its straight into prepping for a team meeting and pump everyone up for a productive day!
Whats your morning/night routine? Literally - eat, sleep and repeat the above with the exception of catching up with friends and family for drinks or dinner throughout the week.
What keeps you motivated? My staff’s ambition and drive to do better within their position every day - this is beyond motivating for me to kick my butt into gear!
Best thing you do for your health? Drinking lots of water, exercising once a day and a healthy/fresh diet.
What is your biggest distraction/cause of procrastination? Multitasking - not writing a list of what I need to do and because I’m running around like a headless chicken, I get distracted and find something else to do. But really, my list is never ending so I should just utilise my post-it notes!
Do you prefer Summer or Winter? Summer!
Favourite form of exercise? Boxing and Lisa Burns Booty Burn classes.
Coffee or tea? Cawfee!!!
Whats is your usual bedtime? 10pm.
What do you do when you're stressed? My skin is definitely not shy to visibly let me know I’m stressed - haha.
What is your favourite scent? Byredo Flowerhead Eau De Parfum
Done up or natural glow? Natural Glow - @whitneyandrewsmua has got my makeup style down packed!
Hair done or messy? I’m 50/50 from Sunday - Wednesday you will catch me with messy hair styles and Thursday - Saturday I’ll be done up as I don’t want to scare our customers away - haha!
Statement eyes or statement lip? Honestly, I am neither!
Favourite beauty product? O Cosmetics Balm + Lanolips + Laura Mercia
Most worn item of clothing? My slip style dresses + grecian pants - HEAVEN ON EARTH.
What makes you most excited? Hearing girls say how beautiful we made them feel in their piece of Natalie Rolt.
What makes you most nervous? Public speaking and confrontation.
What is your pet peeve? When someone doesn’t tell you that you have something in your teeth and then you capture your reflection an discover it yourself!
What did you want to be when you were young? I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer even from a child - my favourite thing to do was make my barbies clothes and myself paper clothes.
Favourite place you've visited? Santorini and Berlin.
Next destination on your travel radar? My first trade show trip to Hong Kong - excitement overload!!!
"I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer even from a child - my favourite thing to do was make my barbies clothes"
ABOUT NATALIE ROLT DESIGNS
How did Natalie Rolt Designs come about, what made you initially decide to start it up and why? Originally learning to sew and the love of fashion came from my mum and nan who taught me all the old school methods of sewing. Which lead me to further my knowledge by studying Fashion Design and Technology. In my graduating year I wanted to have a business to go straight into and I thought what better way to test if girls liked my designs than opening up a monthly market stall and VOILA I’m sitting here pinching myself!
How long have you been in business now? We are in our 4th year!
What is the concept behind your brand? Our concept is not only within the interior design of my space but within the designs and services we provide directly to our customers. Our customers can express their own style and create their own look with the wheel of colours and prints available to choose from for each design. Choice is a beautiful thing and opens an avenue for our style consultants to offer their recommendations of styling tips and tricks. We do not stop there… we are a destination that can assist you from head-to-toe. A creative space bringing to you our very own in-house professionals to offer beauty services - to complete your look.
Describe your business in 3 words… LOVE, hard work and dedication.
What would you say is your unique selling point? The endless amount of fabric and colour options for our clientele.
What is something signature to your brand? Is that all our designs are sewn in-house by ladies who have been in the industry for decades - the best of the best is under our roof for you to visit our studio and see them in action!
What is something most people wouldn't know about your business? That 50% of the team are childhood friends and together we are all an NRD family with infinite friendships.
Have you made any resolutions for your business in 2017? To keep following my heart and to be proud of every achievement or learning curve that the business crosses paths with.
What are you most proud of in your journey to date? NYFW - still pinching myself.
What has been your biggest challenge to date? With the business growing and employing/managing more staff members is something I never really took into account that thats where the majority of my time would be spent. Being a complete all-rounder to every position within the label whether it be assisting or implementing better processes is definitely the most challenging but incredibly rewarding at the same time.
Who is your dream client? Kendal Jenner or Bella Hadid.
Who inspires you? Watching friends or new friends that I have met from the industry or even in a completely different field, doing so well is SO motivating.
Where do you look for inspiration? I see it everyday. Anything that catches my eye I will use my phone to capture or write it down and its sort of become my little black book of inspiration to always reflect on.
Are you a planner or spontaneous when it comes to business? I am 50/50 as I am definitely a planner when it comes to my label but love when a spontaneous opportunity arises!
What is success to you? Happiness.
Would you consider yourself successful? If the above question defines my definition of successful then yes - I am SO happy but my goals are never ending and continuously developing.
What can we expect from you this year, what are your plans? Wait and see...
What would be your advice to someone starting a small business of their own? Put your whole heart into it and surround yourself by supportive and motivating people.
"Just keep doing what you love and it will be portrayed in your work."
What is your favourite trend? Slip dresses!
A trend you loathe? Velvet!
Do you consider instagram work or play? Work and play because I enjoy doing it!
Do you feel your instagram is a true representation of you and your brand? Absolutely - it represents who we are and what we do whole heartedly.
How do you deal with negative comments/feedback - do you delete, respond or ignore? I love to respond to all comments and direct msgs on our social media pages as I want to come across as a real person who deals with every positive, negative or constructive criticism with integrity.
How do you deal with competition? Not believing in it as I am not out to compete, just here to do what I love!
If you had to choose one - Black or White? White
Gold or Silver? Gold
Which Olympia design is your favourite? Queen
What is your favourite quote of all time? Kill them with kindness!
Words you live by: Treat others how you would like to be treated.
Best advice you have ever been given? Just keep doing what you love and it will be portrayed in your work.
NATALIE'S TOP INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTSMon Palmer: mon_palmer
Sheridan Tjung: sheridantjhung
Olympia Creative: olympiacreative
Monica Rose Style: monicarosestyle
FOLLOW MORE OF NATALIE'S JOURNEY
CAMPAIGN IMAGESModel: Elle from Chic Management
Stylist: Zoe Van Zantan
Make Up: Whitney Andrews
Hair: Jaimme Lee Creative
Florals: Sheridan Tjhung
Photographer: Jeremy Cho
Chair: Slightly Garden Obsessed
Stool: Event Artillery