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Pioneer of the Week: Nina Clark from Nightire

Community Manager

Pioneer of the Week: Nina Clark from Nightire

We first chatted with our Pioneer of the Week, Nina, back in early 2017, so it was great to catch up with her to find out how her business idea has become a reality.

 

Introduce you and your business in one sentence.

 

Nina Clark Nightire.pngMy name is Nina Clark, @clarknina, and I'm the founder and designer behind Nightire, the Urban Sleepwear Co.

 

Tell us two interesting facts about you.

  • I’m bilingual - my first language is Afrikaans (a type of Dutch dialect spoken in South Africa, which is where I’m from).
  • I didn’t know a thing about fashion design (even though I loved fashion) until I started on this Nightire journey. Since then, I’ve taught myself a whole lot about patterns, sizing, materials, stitching etc. And learnt how to use an embroidery machine - from not really knowing how to sew on a button.

 

How did you start your business?

Nightire was born out of a personal quest to understand sleep, and all that it entails, a bit better…

 

It all started after many, many months of research into the sleepwear industry, a good look at the kinds of materials that would make a real difference to people’s sleeping behaviour, and a strong desire to head up my own business. After that, it was just a matter of getting EVERYTHING set up, from writing business plans and setting out financial forecasts, to doing the admin around business bank accounts, fulfilment companies and payment processors.

 

What made you start your business?

Like many folks I know, I have this thing called can’t-always-shut-my-brain-off-to-go-to-sleep syndrome. I overthink everything and I’m that person who constantly makes lists in my head and worries about things that I can’t change, all while lying in bed at night waiting for sleep to set in. This led to a few years of having a rather patchy sleep routine.

 

I began doing research into what could help a person sleep better and tried to apply it in my nightly routine: using black-out blinds, taking a relaxing bath, using no screens in the room (i.e. goodbye to Insta-sessions right before bed), and trying anything I could to keep my body temperature on an even keel. That included buying the right sleepwear, which, in turn, got me to focus on an industry that seemed like it had some room for innovation (and a bit more personality), which is how the idea for Nightire came about.

 

Not many people care what they wear to bed, which is a shame as you spend about a third of the day in your PJs!

 

What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?

That sense of accomplishment and pride when someone buys your products/ shares how it has changed their life. There is nothing better than seeing someone wearing (and loving) a piece that you have designed.

 

Also, being able to choose when I want to fit my life around work (but when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it’s not really work anyway) is such a treat too.

 

What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?

Quietening the voices in my head that insist that I can’t do this and pushing forward even when sales are slow, people are dismissive and the hype has died down.

 

Can you share an experience that really helped you take your business forward?

Pep-talks with my husband always help me to get out of my head. He really is my live-in cheerleader, and a great partner-in-crime, so to speak. Whenever I worry, doubt or am indecisive, he comes at it with such logic and a calm assurance that all will work out for the best.

 

Where do you work from?

My home office/ the living room. We live in a little one-bedroom in Angel which resembles Nightire HQ (with stock absolutely everywhere) far more than our humble abode.

 

What do you wish you knew when you first started in business?

What a tricky road it will be, how long everything takes to fully come to fruition, and what a lonely road it might seem like at times. If you don’t have a business partner, making every decision on my own and making every move as a one-man-band, can be overwhelming and insular.

 

What are your three top tips for your industry?

I now work in the fashion retail industry, which is one that I never expected to end up in. For this particular industry, I’d say:

  1. It’s not what you know, but who you know. So, get networking.
  2. There is so much competition in this space- figure out your WHY and what makes your offering different from the rest.
  3. It’s a fickle and superficial industry, so keep that in mind and don’t take offense when people seem too busy and important to care. 

Latest news?

The Nightire website is up and running, and offers styles for every kind of weather. The range consists of long sets, short sets and night dresses. Introducing 100% bamboo sleepwear sets that are temperature-regulating, soft to the touch, made with love and designed with details in mind. Keep your eyes peeled for more styles and ranges coming soon.

 

What would you like to ask the Voom Pioneers community?

What is your top tip for turning an interested, could-be customer into an actual, paying customer? I

n essence, what are your top marketing go-to’s and which channels would you recommend staying away from because

a) the results are underwhelming,

b) it’s way too expensive, and

c) very time-consuming to manage?