Today we’d like to introduce you to Chanelle Harris.
Chanelle, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in Milwaukee, which isn’t known to have a big fashion scene. Cheese and Packers, yes fashion, not so much. When I went shopping, it was predominantly with my grandmother at local thrift stores. It became a shared ritual and bond between us, where she showed me the value of clothing and versatility for a low cost. I learned how to create my own identity with limited amounts of money and created my own style. Many people may have thought shopping at a second-hand store with their grandmother wasn’t “cool” or trendy, but she made me feel like I was part of an exclusive scene. A world where only the best shoppers could spot out the quality items and determine what price was worth your find. My nonexistent fashion utopia was created instantly. I was her understudy, absorbing all the ins and outs about thrifting. To this day, she’ll tell me about her latest finds describing how “Bad” an item is and how much she got it for. By the time I was in high school, shopping at malls had become a distant thought, as 90% of my clothes were from thrift stores.
I created NELLO Vintage May of 2019 in Georgia after returning from London, UK where I graduated with a master’s in Health Psychology. During my time abroad and studying, I was exposed to the fashion scene that I missed growing up. I fell in love with a mix of street and proper London style that everyone seemed to have a piece of. Although I was intrigued, school seemed more important at the time, and I neglected my creative side while I figured out life after graduating. During this break, I had a spiritual awakening that sparked NELLO. I reclaimed the importance of loving all the intricate and creative parts of me that I forgot about. Similar to the clothes at a thrift shop that no one cares to rummage through, but if you find a piece that speaks to you, it changes your perspective on what is your identity/style and how you integrate it. As a doctoral student now, I especially strive to mold my many creative outlets and keep them at a high priority. We are always told to have a work-life balance. I think a purpose-creativity balance is more important. Don’t just live any life, create an experience with purpose.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, it hasn’t been a smooth road, I don’t think anything in life is a smooth road, but that’s what makes the journey interesting. The toughest part was actually starting NELLO and the biggest struggle was believing in myself and having the motivation to put energy in what I wanted to create. It has all been a learning process, just like my personal experience evolving. I think NELLO is reflective of myself and is growing to reach customers in the process. Another struggle is trusting myself in what I pick for potential buyers, that people will also see what I see and the potential of an item. I want to go into those stores that people don’t have time for and show them that it is sustainable, and you can still wear whatever you want. Sometimes you have to see items styled before they look approachable. A final struggle, which hasn’t been easy, is not keeping the fresh items I find, It’s a constant reminder that I have a bigger goal to share with my eye with others.
Tell us more about the business.
NELLO was inspired by my own spiritual awakening to the importance of fully loving myself and wanting others to share my love of expressing creativity and self- reflection to the world through style, art, and clothing. The name NELLO is a combination of my name and the symbolism of the lotus flower and self-regeneration. I am inspired by previous generations style because the pathway that I have traveled on to reach this height of self-empowerment was passed on from my upbringing, and those who have broken barriers in the creative arts industry so I could share my passion through NELLO today. I hope that the products that NELLO provides to each customer inspire them also to find their unique purpose to share with others to promote self-fulfillment.
NELLO is a curated thrift brand that is non-binary to any form of fashion and promotes positive self-love with sustainable clothing through artistic expression.
Goals: Provide sustainable clothing without compromise of creative expression: affordable hand-picked items that are in good quality despite the manufacturing date of the product. The style has no timeframe, constantly evolving into a new identity or self is important for overall wellbeing and the reflection of what you show to the world is a direct reflection of yourself.
Inspire consumers to embrace style (self) over fashion (conformity): with the removal of cost barriers and limitations to keep up with fashion trends that are popularized in mainstream society, NELLO encourages collectors to push the limits of the normal conditioning of their image. Style is emphasized instead of fashion to remove any binary forms to promote positive self-love in whatever piece of clothing gravitates to the collectors.
Increased self-esteem: Not only does NELLO encourage collectors to feel comfortable in the products that we provide, but we also hope to increase the collector’s self-esteem to make every choice in their life with the intention of self-improvement, self- appreciation, and positivity to others.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t really believe in luck. I like to think of it more like intuition, and if you trust your intuition, things might happen more in your favor. If you don’t, maybe they won’t but, I’m optimistic that things happen for a reason and bad luck isn’t a loss all of the time, maybe just a lesson. I’ve second guessed myself about buying an item and then felt bad later about not getting it later. At the same time, I didn’t let keep me down, and new opportunities to expand on my brand continue to present themselves.
- Website: www.NelloVintage.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @nellovintage
- Facebook: NelloVintage