With Alaskan roots, Heather Nashelle has drawn inspiration from the changing of seasons and nature, juxtaposing angular gems and hand hammered metals, since she took her first metals class at University of Alaska Southeast. Heather discovered Bend, Oregon as a runaway bride bound for California to design, ironically, engagement rings. She created jewelry by night and watched as her designs flew off her neck the next day. Popularity was booming locally. Heather married, had her first of four sons, and found all the inspiration she needed to take Nashelle to the next level.
So she rented a warehouse in 2006 to facilitate her growing business and start her dream of selling wholesale. Dare to dream just 12 years later she’d be filling orders for Anthropologie and Nordstrom in the very same flagship production facility. Heather immediately knew that she had to pay it forward and give back in any way she could. It was and has been the heart and soul of Heather Nashelle and Nashelle Jewelry since the very beginning. By partnering with local charities and Feeding America, Fashion Feeding Hunger was born. Heather knew that donating a plate of food for every piece of jewelry sold meant she was always doing her share in our local and global community.
How did you get into the industry?
I spent my entire youth studying fashion. When I was 20, I stumbled on metalsmithing at our local University. I immediately fell in love. Coming from a difficult childhood, it was the first time that I felt at peace and able to articulate what was in my mind and soul. Once I started creating and selling, I immediately fell in love with what women loved and needed when it came to accessorizing. This inspired me to create my jewelry and lifestyle brand NASHELLE, where one plate of food is donated to families in need for every piece purchased.
Any emerging industry trends?
I am leaning in to the simple, drapey pieces that are gorgeous for layering. I love the look of a woman who is comfortable in what she is wearing and who she is; I feel the industry is doing an incredible job starting to embrace women for their true beauty. Authentic is the newest trend!
We’ve fully embraced this trend with our personalized and hand-stamped jewelry pieces to provide a special way for women to express themselves.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
I love that ecommerce is growing stronger and stronger. It allows for our family minded team to grow our presence as a global jewelry brand and work from home with our families when we need and want to. Challenges we are welcoming right now are analyzing our budget and profit margins so that we can increase our over all financial health. We welcome this strategy to our team so that we can work together to build a solid trajectory.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
The inspiration for my business is to create gorgeous jewelry that woman want to wear daily - jewelry that can compliment every facet of our personality as well as move gracefully into each part of our week; work, nightlife, date night, family time, and cozy day. My vision for my business is to continue to be a fully-focused brand that gives back all year round. My heart lies with families and children in need and I hope to help in as many ways as we can with Nashelle through our #FashionFeedingHunger initiative, where we’ve partnered with Feeding America and NeighborImpact to donate one plate of food for each piece of jewelry purchased. We also are in the process of bringing in perfume, candles and a lip line that will be involved in the giveback as well.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
Our focus right now other than adding the three new categories is to really work on our marketing campaigns and build our ecommerce presence.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Team work. Creating a product that is in simple demand. Keeping the brand fun, beautiful and focused on humanitarian efforts.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
My most difficult moment in business was when I grew the brand too big too quickly without understanding how to prepare for the immediate growth. I learned that it IS okay to grow, move quickly, take calculated risks and to dream huge BUT that it is equally important to plan for what to do if those steps come true. Having finances in place, a team in place, mentors who have walked before you, and advisors to help navigate the items that are not in your wheelhouse are essential.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
To be in love with our aethstetic, treated with respect, love, happiness and compassion (I say this part because a lot of our customers’ purchases are emotional ones). To receive high quality craftsmanship and fall in love with our mission and feel really good about their purchase knowing they are part of a national movement that is helping families and children.
How do you motivate others?
I speak openly and honestly about my life and what I have had to navigate. I use my journey as my art and share it publicly in speaking arrangements or on social media platforms.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Find what you truly love and identify your niche and sell it. People respond to your passion, don’t worry for a minute what others are doing and don’t ever let anyone deter you from what your calling is.
Competition will kill your focus and there is enough room from everyone.
What do I do best?
I am a great mother, listener, and am very good at understanding and relating to my fellow women. I am very honest and am good at speaking authentically and saying things directly as I see them. I am able to use my talents at studying color to design jewelry for my brand NASHELLE others to enjoy. I am excellent at taking risks and knowing what is best for growing my brand.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I am extremely strong in my faith. I am the best version of myself when I put my faith first, work out daily and honor myself.
What are my aspirations?
I aspire to be in my best shape so that I can grow old with my children. I have six kids from ages three to fourteen years old. I aspire to grow NASHELLE into a multi-category offering with a boho flare. Every single purchase gives back to families and children in need across the US by providing one plate of food donated for each piece of jewelry sold. I aspire to continue public speaking and to writing my book.
My Biggest Success?
My family. Growing my business far beyond what I had ever dreamed. Facing and overcoming my challenges with addition. Becoming fully comfortable in faith.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Walking my son through reconstructive skull surgery at five months old, facing my devastating addiction, leaving my marriage with four small children, and turning my company around from the brink of bankruptcy. Overcoming these adverse situations has equipped me with resilience, strength and faith that I am able to use in my everyday life and spread amongst others.
At this very moment, am I living my God-given mission? If the answer is no, I adjust ASAP.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Good people with integrity and grit who are also honest speaking and loyal. Most importantly, people who are authentic and comfortable in their own skin.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Anywhere where there is sun, the ocean and my children.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Perfume. I have an unhealthy obsession with perfume. And coffee - that obsession is even unhealthier. :) and music.
My Current Passions?
I am extremely passionate about Nashelle. I have dreams as to where I want to take it and I am obsessed with getting there.