Creatives in Crisis | Natalija of Natalija the Label

Creatives in Crisis | Natalija of Natalija the Label

Well, life sure is different right now!

A month ago we were talking about meeting each other for coffees and drinks at the pub, or having date nights in our favourite restaurants. And now it's isolation this, and quarantine that. So I wanted to put a piece together that reminds us all that we're here and in the trenches together! We're each others' best allies and life support through this. 

The incredible women interviewed over this series are from all over the country. They're artisans, business owners and freelancers I've walked my creative journey with. As such, they've all be hit in various ways by the crisis and have generously shared their journey over the past few weeks and months. I hope you'll be inspired by their stories, encouraged to connect and gleam little rays of wisdom from the way they've pivoted & adapted during this time! 

Let's get to know Natalija Bouropoulos.
She is the designer behind sustainable fashion label Natalija. 

Natalija in the Oversized Silk Shirt in the Core Collection.

1 | Thinking back a few weeks, what was the last normal day of work for you like? (Before COVID-19 hit and self isolation was a thing). What did you do in it? What were your plans for the next few months? 
I would spend a lot of time in cafes meeting with other like-minded women in business - hearing their stories, celebrating their wins and brainstorming solutions to problems they are facing. If I wasn’t there, you’d find me working from home or visiting my local Sydney makers and fabric suppliers.
If anything, this time has strengthened our plans for the next few months - it has helped me to realign NATALIJA to work with, not against, the large-scale shifts in the industry with a stronger desire to build a brand with sincerity, producing ethical fashion whilst contributing to the world in a more positive way. With the intention to better connect with our women, and engage in an open and honest dialogue with our community. We are here to listen, and work alongside the women who wear, and love our clothes. 

2 |  How has the space you're working in changed/ work flow changed? 
I already work from home, so it was a continued meshing of motherhood, busily running the business and trying to find balance daily - my space hasn’t changed too much!

3 | What is the greatest challenge you've faced in the last few weeks? 
The reality of it all, running a small business is hard - I often juggle a lot, and stretch myself too thin. I really felt the pressure, was slightly vulnerable, and faced many challenges as an independent label. It has been difficult to let go of control for fear things will fail. But it is in letting go of this that I will empower the universe to run its course and create “magic”.
I needed to trust my timing, and celebrate my tenacity and commitment. Take this moment of pause to reset, to reconsider my "normal” practices and make them better, more efficient, more purposeful. I needed to adapt and make changes that will be more sustainable for my business, for my family, and most importantly, for myself.

4 | What have you implemented into your daily schedule to keep yourself sane? Stay creatively motivated? Or are you embracing this time to take space for yourself? 
Having a business, being a mother, wife and everything else you find your hours in a day get filled up quickly. So one moment I make time for every day is 30 mins of exercise in my living room while Elle is napping. I do functional training; this half hour helps me to reset and get into a healthy mindset (not only for myself, but for my family). I also love burning Palo Santo in our house, I do it every week to get rid of the negative energy and bring in positivity!

Natalija wearing the Button Front Cotton Dress with Elle.

5 | How do you stay connected with your family, friends, and business friends? 
I love being around my family and friends, so to not be able to spend time with them, has been difficult. Though being able to video call (almost everyday) has kept me connected.
From a business/brand perspective, in times like these we wished to create a resource that knits our community closer whilst we are physically apart. We’re Here For Women is a place for women to come together online through words of inspiration and affirmation. Starting with an instagram page, we hope it instils confidence in this uncertain time and reminding us all of our strength as individuals and as a collective. What are the words you most need to hear right now? What is it that you would like to say to a dear friend or family member, to remind them of their strength, their beauty and what makes them so special.
We hope that whilst this idea was born amongst this global issue it becomes an ongoing platform to share, support, promote self love and inspire our community of women to step into their power.

6 | What are some things you'd like to do / you are doing during self-isolation that you maybe wouldn't have considered if you weren't confined to your house? 
I’m someone who collects cookbooks but only ever really makes one of the recipes and simply uses them as book-shelf fillers! But I have found this a perfect opportunity to cook (and bake) my way through the books - it’s not only given me a fun activity to do with my little toddler, but has made eating so much more enjoyable.

7 | What have been your go-to pieces to wear in your wardrobe during isolation? 
It’s been tempting to fall into the habit of sweatpants now that I’m working from home. Though I’ve always dressed to feel good and with the current times, having that same mindset is so important (it’s nice to not wear pyjamas all day!). For me the Scoop Neck Cami is on high rotation, it’s about keeping it comfy yet chic - I’ve found myself layering it under knits or wearing it with our Cotton Modal Rib Pants.

Natalija wearing the Silk Modal Stretch T-Shirt

8 | How can people use this time to curate their wardrobe / take stock of it to make it more sustainable? 
Now has never been a better time to take care of what you own. Get to know how to wash different fabrics, I am a firm believer in handwashing as it is gentle on the garment but also far less environmentally damaging than drycleaning. Storing items correctly, hanging or folding so that the shape doesn’t get distorted. By being more mindful and putting more love into your clothes will deepen your appreciation towards the garment. 
To treat each piece in your wardrobe with love, NATALIJA has created a Wardrobe Care Video Series here to show how easy it is to hand wash, remove stains gently and mend your garments; we also have a care guide and best tips here.

9 | Many of us work in isolation or away from people a lot of the time. Any tips for staying sane and creative in self isolation? 
I think no matter what position you're in, time for relaxation and self care has never been needed more to maintain a healthy mindset. Some may be blessed with more free time than others, I know that being a mother my days are a blur of making meals and managing messes, negotiating nap times and bedtimes, and also working from home. Though when my house finally falls quiet from little footsteps at night, some much needed relaxation time and indulgence in life's little pleasures is called for:

  • Getting lost in a good book
  • Putting your thoughts onto paper with journaling
  • Savouring each sip of coffee in the AM, and your favourite vino in the PM
  • Connecting with your body through movement and stretching
  • Catching up on much needed rest

10 | Is there anything we can do to support you & your business through this time? 
It would mean so much to show NATALIJA support, so we’d love for you to share in our journey to sustainability by connecting with us on Instagram. We also launched our ‘Core Collection’ online (with new items coming in June too), so if you would like to invest in beautiful pieces made to last and transcend seasons, then sign up to our newsletter you receive 10% off your purchase with us. If you wish not to purchase, by signing up is more than enough support!

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