Tala Al Taher, a student from University of California, Fullerton interviewed Nadia Rassoul, the founder and CEO of Noomi to get an insight on why she started the brand and the journey behind it all.
Was there a certain event or moment in your life that made you realize you needed to start this brand or was this always something you wanted to do?
The need to start this brand was something that increased progressively as the years passed by. I left the Middle East and came to Toronto to pursue my Bachelors degree. Although Toronto is now my home, a big part of me longed to be surrounded by that exotic, unique, colorful and vibrant Middle Eastern culture. So I began researching different ways to customize my own clothing and accessories online. I noticed myself enjoying this process and more importantly, the outcome! That's when the idea sparked - why don't I start a Middle Eastern brand? I didn’t think that it was a feasible option, given the high risk that goes into it, along with the countless time and resources. Things changed as I got closer to completing my undergraduate degree, the idea didn’t become so alien. My Masters degree is what gave me that final push of encouragement that I needed and I got so inspired by peers and professors. Following that I spent several months talking to graphic designers, suppliers, manufacturers, different companies and I attended various fashion and digital conferences. I wanted to make sure I learned so much and did all my research so I would be able to create something that I’m truly proud of. And I’ll be honest, the period of planning Noomi was such a stressful time from juggling my Masters, having work and starting a company, especially because I wanted to give my all to Noomi and truly create a brand that I have been envisioning for years. Finally, after months of the hard work and planning it all, the day came to launch the company - on the 25th of March, Noomi had its launch party and the website went live! I was mixed with so many emotions that day from the excitement of seeing my dream become a reality to being nervous from wanting to everything turn out perfectly. Regardless of a day full of rollercoaster of emotions, I’ll never forget that day. It’s now been several months since the launch and I’m couldn’t be more grateful of everything. The amount of support I have received warms my heart and I’m so thankful for it and excited for what’s ahead on this journey!
Where did you get the name of your brand from? What is the meaning behind it?
The name “Noomi” is my mother’s nickname. Her actual name is Nagham Kafil-Hussain. She is the source of my inspiration, my drive, and support system. She always told me just take in the beauty of the world and appreciate it. That’s what Noomi is - it’s created to inspire and capture uniqueness. Since my mother was always there for me in pursuing all my dreams and has all the characteristics of the brand, I thought naming the company after her would be perfect!
For your first collection, you had products named after women. What do the names represent?
My first collection included the NOOR, MAYSA, SARAH, MALAK, AND RAYA products. I named the products after my sister and my cousins. My family are absolutely everything to me. I moved across the world throughout my life but no matter where I was, they always made me feel at home. Each of us live across different parts of the world - Lebanon, UAE, England, New York, and Jordan - and regardless of us being away from each other and being away from our home, we always valued our culture and cherished it. And that’s exactly what the brand is - the beauty of the Middle Eastern culture so I thought it was a perfect fit as well!
What are your future plans for Noomi? And does your customers impact your decision making?
I have SO many plans for Noomi and I’m constantly working nonstop to fulfill the ideas I have and I can’t wait to share it with everyone! And yes, Noomi’s customers definitely impact the decisions of the brand! I love hearing what Noomi’s community has to say about the company along the way - Listening to customers and getting their insights is very essential for the company especially since I want to build a brand for them to proudly represent their culture. That is why talking to the Noomi community whether it is online or in person during an event is one of my favourite parts during this whole journey. Seeing all the hard work being appreciated and the love the customers have for the brand motivates me to keep on working and I’m so excited for what the future has in store for Noomi!
Want to be part of Noomi’s community? Follow @noomishop on Instagram!
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