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Dressed to Thrill

Pushing the limits keeps designer Nicole Paloma clothed in success.

Growing up surrounded by art, Nicole Paloma found a way to channel a young rebellious nature into a design scope people love. Faith, talent, and a perfectly timed birthday gift led to the beginning of Nicole's continuously unfolding success. Her mother was a single mom and photographer who took Nicole to museums and art galleries. Nicole's grandmother and great grandmother were professional seamstresses. When Nicole received a check on her birthday from her grandmother, it came with specific instructions about what not to do: the money was not to be spent on gas or bills. It had to be used for something for herself. No one was surprised when Nicole purchased a sewing machine. That was thirteen years ago.

A stay-at-home-mom with kids in Montessori school, there was no extra money to spend on non-essentials - like the cute pants with the ruffles at the bottom that all the girls Nicole's oldest daughter's age were wearing at the time. It was Nicole's mission to recreate those ridiculously expensive boutique-style pants for her daughter but first things first, Nicole had to teach herself how to sew. "Surely, I can figure this out. It can't be that hard." Pants for her daughter was the first item of clothing the designer made, "except there were no ruffles on the first pair and it took me six hours. It was mind-blowing and the bobbin thread was my arch enemy." Nicole laughs easily at herself as she recalls the experience. She is incredibly determined when she sets out to do something so, even then, "I'm gonna make those damn pants."

If the sewing machine is the instrument that puts Nicole Paloma designs in motion, and faith along with gifted creativeness is the foundation, then the side of Nicole that is always pushing the limits is the catalyst that has propelled the brand's success. Once Nicole learned how to do what she does easier and faster, her daughter's closets filled quickly and extra money began to roll in. After eight months of sewing, a rep from a long-time children's clothing line discovered Nicole's creations and asked her to put together a collection to sell wholesale. The rep came back with exciting news - and sales to show for it - that Nicole's first twelve-piece collection of children's clothing was a great success. Things took off immediately and became a bit overwhelming for the mother of an eight-month-old, a three and a half-year-old, and wife to a husband who worked insane hours; not to mention the business of selling clothes in multiple places. It was a necessary decision for "all-or-nothing" Nicole to put the sewing machine away... for the next two years.

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, is where the brand was born. After moving there with her family, Nicole got involved and made some of the most amazing friends she's ever had. Not long after, Nicole started her business. She had several stores along the eighteen-mile Seaside stretch carrying her kid's line. The designs went to market immediately and became available in showrooms in Dallas and Atlanta. Nicole Paloma grew in business savvy while her designs grew in popularity. "Why wouldn't I make an item a little shorter for someone or take in an item because we're all built differently?" The magic behind the customization was exciting for Nicole Paloma customers. It got to the point where Nicole could no longer sew in her back bedroom. She had to secure space. Space that would optimally pay for itself.

Nicole learned there was zero profit margin in kid's clothing - at least not the way she was doing it. It wasn't long before the shift to women's clothes was made. Nicole found a ruffle fabric before anyone else was using it and made a long skirt out of it. A store picked up the item and within a five-month period, three thousand skirts were made and sold. They just couldn't keep the item in stock. This long stretchy skirt has ruffles that move a little when you do. "It's almost mermaid-like. It's insanely comfortable. Insanely flattering and looks good on everyone." It became one of Nicole Paloma's signature pieces.

Like most creatives, Nicole Paloma is grounded in her "why" and responds with passion. She believes her "gift of design" is purposed to reach and connect with women - especially those in recovery. Nicole's openness about her own journey through addiction and being in recovery contributes to the magnetism she possesses. Her couture, bridal and street designs are not just about how you look in them. Most importantly it's about how you feel in them. This is the basis for her designs. "We're so attached to being involved in what our outside looks like, but how you feel in something is going to determine how you carry yourself. We all have areas on our bodies we think are unattractive. If we feel like what we're wearing is highlighting that then we're going to walk differently." Nicole sews and runs her business very much like recovery - embracing the imperfections and putting one foot in front of the other. Removing any pretentiousness. Being real.

Nicole Paloma has set out to bring healing to other women through Love Sewn (#love_sewn) - a for-profit business with a mission to inspire women - those recovering from addiction, mental illness and abuse - by giving them an opportunity to work during their rehabilitation. "My mom always told me that I could do anything I wanted to and I freakin' believed her."

Nicole Paloma's signature lines are comfortable, versatile pieces designed to fit a wide range of body types and appeal to a range of women. To learn more visit nicolepaloma.com.

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