Wired Women: Melina Nmili

1:30 PM

Wired Women profiles successful women with ties to Boston who are pursuing their passions. These women serve as an inspiration not only to myself, but to women and girls everywhere who are eager to make waves in their field. These fab women will be sharing their stories twice a month while sharing their experiences. This week I'm profiling fashion designer Melina Nmili of Lalla Bee. Melina moved from the Dominican Republic and recently made the decision to pursue her passion of starting her own line of dresses. 


Style Wire: You grew up in the Dominican Republic, what prompted you to move to Boston? 

Melina Nmili: Well, moving to Boston was not really my choice. My grandmother raised me in a very small town in the eastern part of the [Dominican Republic] so my mother could go to college, work, etc. My mother immigrated to the US when I was around ten years old and I followed when I was 12. So it was just a life transition; I really didn't understand at that time what that change entailed.  

SW: What did you find was the most difficult part about your transition to the US? 
MN: At such a young age the most difficult part was definitively school. I did not speak a word of english and kids can be pretty cruel at that age. That experience was definitely a character builder! 

SW: How does fashion in the Dominican Republic differ from fashion in the US? 
MN: Today we all have the ability to shop the same brands and to learn about world trends thanks to the internet and social media. When I look at both countries I honestly don't see many differences. Women in the Dominican Republic love to dress up. They don't care what the occasion is, they love to look good and stand out, and I love that about them!

SW: Starting a business can be intimidating much less your own clothing line, what made you decide to take the risk and pursue your passion? 
MN: I have always known this is what I wanted to do it was just a matter of when. I came to a point in my life where I felt that if I kept waiting for the right time, that time would never come so I decided to make it the right time. I knew in my heart of hearts this was it. I had a vision, I had an idea, I had a style and I wanted, I needed to see all these things come together. I was very passionate about creating something, a piece that came from me. To me, that alone was a huge win.

SW: Your collection has such an elegant and feminine touch, what was your inspiration when deciding the overall theme and mood of your clothing line? 
MN: When I design a collection I intend for that collection to be a visual escape; an elegant, romantic and sophisticated visual escape. That does not go out of style. My inspiration comes from my experiences. In my SS 2016 collection you will find many elements that were very much a part of my life growing up: grass landscapes, bee lines, and such. 

SW: How do you see your clothing line evolving over the next 5 years? 
MN: One of my goals for this time period is to continue to make my customers happy with a high quality product. I want to continue to grow at a steady pace, I want to evolve with my customers, and I want to continue to create journeys for them through my designs. 

SW: You're fully dedicated to your clothing line but you also have a family, how do you balance the two? 
MN: I will say right off the bat I could not do any of this without the network of support I have around me. I have a super tight network: my husband, my mother, and my sisters are an integral part of my success and I simply could not handle everything without their daily support. My family has always and will always come first. I am not going to lie and say it is always smooth sailing, sometimes it is difficult to  try and be a wife, read a story to your kid, put him to bed, and then go to your office to finish picking colors for a season. It takes work.

SW: What advice would you give to young women who are considering pursuing their passion full time? 
MN: It is OK to try different things and to fail once in a while. Stay true to your passion and to yourself. It is about living your dream not someone else's. Seek mentorship and mentor others. You can't please everyone. And the most important piece of advise I can give anyone: TRUST YOUR GUT and FOLLOW YOUR HEART.

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