Nicole Bridger, Nicole Bridger Designs, Vancouver
A passion for creating a line of socially conscious clothing inspired Nicole Bridger to launch her business, Nicole Bridger Designs in Vancouver, BC. Her company creates clothing made from sustainable fabrics and ethical manufacturing. The majority of her products are manufactured locally in Vancouver and fair-trade factories are used for any overseas manufacturing.
Trained as a fashion designer, Bridger first paired up with the owner of Lululemon Athletica to co-create Oqoqo, a casual eco clothing line. She was awarded Canada’s first Eco Designer of the Year in 2010 by FTA. Learning essential business skills at Lululemon Athletica, she was then ready to put her design and business sides together to create her label for socially conscious contemporary women's wear. The first Nicole Bridger retail location was opened in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver in May of 2011. Her store also acts as a community building space for different kinds of events and fundraisers.
Q. What services has Women’s Enterprise Centre provided you and how have these services helped you?
A. Women’s Enterprise Centre made it possible for us to take our business to the next level by providing us with growth loan. It has enabled us to expand and plan for taking our brand forward.
Q. What inspired you to take the leap and start your own business?
A. I have known since I was 16 that I wanted to create my own clothing line. I wanted to create something that would impact positive change.
Q. What’s the biggest lesson you learned when starting your business?
A. I have learned that it is important to keep track of finances. It helps me clearly understand what is happening with my business. I have also realized how important it is to listen to my inner voice. It helps me stay true to our company philosophy; to “do what is right for the Earth, its People and Spirit.”
Q. What is your greatest strength as an entrepreneur?
A. Authentic leadership and vision! I am dedicated to contributing to positive change in our modern world. We sew into each piece of clothing our affirmation labels that say ‘I am love’. This is a reminder to the wearer to speak kindly to herself and to others, and help spread positivity throughout her day.
Q. What personal lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur?
A. Do your best - it’s all you can do! Don’t let the highs and lows define you, persevere and stay connected to your truth.
Q. What are your goals for the business?
A. I plan to my make my business a lifestyle brand that is made sustainably and ethically. We will diversify from women’s products into men’s, children’s, basics, denim, accessories, bags, shoes, fragrance, beauty and house and home. We plan to have retail stores in select cities around the globe. It is also our plan to create co-op style factories in developing countries around the world that help to restore those communities.