AB: Where were you born and raised?
NA: I was born in Dagestan, Russia.
AB: Where are you based today, and what brought you there?
NA: In Dallas, Texas where my husband is based. Together we've built our home here where we raise our two (soon to be three kids). I only moved to Texas once we got married.
AB: What got you into fashion? Earliest memories/ influences?
NA: I always loved fashion, never thought I would ever make it a career. Growing up in communist Russia it was always enforced to have a "proper" and "serious" career, either as a doctor, lawyer, or working for the government. Fashion was definitely not regarded as something that was acceptable to pursue. I went to college, and graduated school to satisfy my family. At the time, it felt like the right thing to do. We often times had to conform and weren't really able to venture down creative paths, so to speak.
My earliest fashion memories go way back into my early childhood. Growing up with Communism, everything was so very scarce and utilitarian. People literally owned 1-2 outfits they would constantly rotate out on a daily basis, and have one dressier look that would be worn on special occasions. That was it. I was very spoilt by those standards; my mother, uncle and aunt traveled often, and always brought back cute outfits from there travels across Europe. I got to enjoy fashion from a very early age. Plus it was a big perk of being the first and only baby in a big family. I am blessed to say that I was very well looked after, and very well dressed for those times. I specifically remember having these particular tops that when you pressed them, they made a noise; something completely unheard of in Communist Russia. I wore and showed them off with a lot of pride.
AB: How did you develop your personal style?
NA: It was, and still is a constant evolution. I am a Cancer by horoscope, so as such I'm a creature of mood. My moods tend to change on an hourly basis as times, and so does my style. I can wear 3-4 completely different outfits in 1 day. With that being said, I've made a lot of mistakes, but I think I am probably the most comfortable in my skin and my clothes now. It's the fun part of growing up.
AB: What do you do for a living? How did you end up doing it?
NA: I co-founded a start-up called The Tot. It's a curated one stop shop for conscious parents who wish to purchase items of luxury for their children without compromising safety. Our product selection and the brands that we carry are strictly clean and non-toxic. This is something that is very near and dear to my heart being a mother myself. We only sell products that we personally test ourselves with our in-house experts who contribute to our site. The Tot has set its own standards in safety and this is something we'd like to drive home.
AB: Tell us a little more about The Tot. Why did you launch it?
NA: When I became pregnant with my son, I was overwhelmed by the endless search for registry essentials. There was no one place online where I could find everything I wanted, but more importantly a place I could trust. So I spent months researching anything and everything pregnancy and baby related. Eventually, it got to the point where I thought why not put all this knowledge to good use, and build a site I personally was looking for and could not find - a curated online luxury destination for our babies.
The Tot is still such a new company full of "MomPreneurs" (entrepreneurs who are mother) and working mamas that are committed to bringing better, cleaner, safer products to families all across United States. Our mission is to create an unbiased and trusted resource for parents so we employ a network of mothers who test, review and write for us as well as real experts from pediatricians to nutritionists, lactation consultants, women's health experts, OBGYM's, child psychologists, and educators that contribute to us in a meaningful and thoughtful way.
We test everything ourselves for safety; from cleanliness of ingredients, functionality as well as use, and will not sell anything that hasn't been tried and approved by us!
Moreover, I want The Tot to become a community where parents can connect with one another, talk about their experiences or the challenges they are going through and most importantly, know what their options are, and how to make educated choices when it comes to their consumer health and health of their babies.
We want to empower women and shine the light on small businesses trying to make a difference by creating better and safer products so we want to give them a platform to do that.
Lastly, our hope is for The Tot to become a beacon for the best and safest baby products in our market segment. We want to be a trusted curated one stop shop that parents across the world trust.
AB: For those who don't know you, describe yourself?
NA: I am a high-energy, super loyal person who's quite outgoing. At times I can be quite loud! I love to cook. I love crafting with my kids, and traveling is one of my favorite things to do.
AB: I absolutely love your style. Tell us a bit about the style tricks you store up your sleeve. What are the rules to follow?
NA: Thank you!!! And I love yours!!!!
I think investment pieces in your wardrobe should mainly comprise of coats and jackets, and handbags! They'll never go out of style and never let you down. Everything else can be mixed and matched, and bought for a fraction of the price! Improvisation is key.
I shop a lot on sites selling vintage pieces from my favorite designers like Celine or Chanel. But most importantly you should wear what you feel most comfortable in, that will make u carry yourself with confidence. That's the golden rule I always abide by.
AB: Name 5 designers you are very loyal to at the moment?
NA: Rosie Assoulin, Rodarte, Mary Katrantzou, Prabal Gurung, Céline, Chanel, Aquazurra, Valentino, Loewe, and Emilia Wickstead! Love them all.
AB: Where do you shop?
NA: If I shop online it’s almost always at Matchesfashion or Farfetch, otherwise I shop via designers directly.
AB: Favorite pieces in your wardrobe right now?
NA: A vintage Chanel jacket. I’m obsessed with Chanel tweed jackets.
AB: If you had to choose: new or vintage?
AB: Dressed up or down?
NA: Dressed down.
AB: What is your take on trends?
NA: Some I like, and some I don’t. I especially don’t like when trends become too mainstream; it’s always a clear sign for me to stop wearing that piece. The trick is to make everything your own.
AB: A cool brand to watch right now?
NA: Hunting Season, Edon Chou, Barrie (for anything knitwear).
AB: A style no-no?
NA: Daisy dukes. I really dislike daisy dukes. Never got them.
AB: A fun fact about you no one knows?
NA: My friends call me a tornado, because I come in, throw all their plans out the window, and shake them up! I love spontaneity.
AB: What's next?
NA: Can't wait to meet my baby girl in February!!!!
Header image courtesy Man Repeller