Belleboss Series – Nadhisha Lu

THE SIXTEENTH INSTALLATION OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES

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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are.

Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way.

1)Please give us a little introduction to yourself ?

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My name is Nadhisha, I’m 28 years old and I am a born and bred Sydney-sider. I work as a hair stylist for an amazing business called Gather and Stitch who specialise in hair, makeup and wedding couture. I also work part-time at an exercise/weight loss studio and I am in the middle of creating a line of vegan shoes! I was born in Australia and have pretty much remained in the same area most of my life. I have an older brother who recently moved to Boston in America – he’s a super genius and is doing his masters at Harvard.

I have great supportive parents and I’m so lucky that I can call my mum one of my best friends. I’ve been married to an amazing, supportive, encouraging, generous man for nearly 3 years and we have two adopted senior babies who are our life!

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2) Could you tell us about your first online business and how your love for fashion grew?

When I was visiting Sri Lanka in 2013, I was inspired by all their jewellery stores and just on a whim decided I wanted to open an online jewellery shop. Back then I was really into big chunky, costume jewellery.

I pretty much landed back home in Australia and set about making a logo and creating a website.

I studied visual communications at university so it was pretty easy for me to make a logo.

I ordered wholesale jewellery and jewellery components and sold costume jewellery and some I had made myself. I think I had the business for about a year before I shut it down because I was working full time, coming home and packing until about midnight and repeating that most days.

I lost my passion for it and couldn’t make it grow with my full-time work responsibilities. I learned that if I didn’t have time to commit to my business

I was never going to give it an opportunity to grow. What started out as a passion, slowly had become a chore.

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Two years later I quit my full-time job and decided to concentrate on things I loved.

I had already quit buying anything made from an animal after watching Stella McCartney’s video on the leather trade in India, and I was in the middle of my journey to becoming vegan (I was vegetarian at this stage).

I’ve always had a passion for anything fashion related (especially designer fashion) so I decided to turn my quest for vegan designer bags and shoes into a blog and thus Huntd was born.

My blog slowly grew from finding vegan bags and shoes to mainstream fashion (but always vegan) and now I have incorporated food, beauty and my personal life, making it a lifestyle blog.

Once you turn vegan and learn about its positive effect on not only your health and the animals but also the environment, you sort of gain this responsibility to look after all three aspects. I try to buy ethically wherever possible, but I admit that I still do buy fast fashion and am working on cutting that down. In terms of my footwear line, I made it one of my top three priorities to have them made in an ethical factory, where the workers were paid well and were happy, and to have the materials as eco-friendly as possible.

I think it’s becoming really important to consumers these days as people are becoming more aware of the effect that their consumption has on the planet.

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3) Could you tell us more about your work with Gather and Stitch? (What do you love about it, what the business is about etc)

Gather and Stitch is a wedding couture, hair and makeup business founded by an amazing girl called Helani in 2010! Helani makes one-off bridal wear pieces and we have a team of close-knit hair and makeup artists who form the beauty side of the business. I love working with the team.

We all get along which makes going to work, not really seem like work and it makes the frequent pre-2am wake-up calls not that bad at all!

I think we’ve made a name for ourselves within the Sydney wedding industry for our modern bride “look” – the bride who wants to enhance her own natural beauty whilst being comfortable but on trend.

Because of this, we tend to have the loveliest clients who are always so lovely, fun and a pleasure to work with!

4) Who are your biggest influences/inspirations ( could be fashion related or general!)

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In life, my biggest inspiration would be my mother. As most mother’s, she’s worked hard and sacrificed to make sure that my brother and I had a good life. She brought us up to be kind and caring and I truly believe I am the way I am today because of her. She’s also worked her way up in her career and has never stepped on anyone else to get there. She has a million friends who love and adore her which I think is a true testament to her character.

I definitely hope I am just as loved as her when I’m her age!

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Fashion-wise, my biggest influence would have to be Stella McCartney. Her vegetarian fashion empire is known worldwide and I love that not everyone knows that her bags and shoes are vegan! I think people are genuinely surprised to hear that such a high-end designer would actually choose not to use leather or fur in her designs. I also love that her materials have been developed with the environment in mind and that her team has developed their own materials made from recyclables and eco-friendly fibres.

I’m always taking inspiration from the amazing women in my Instagram circle.

Girls who inspire and empower other women are my type of gals! I’ve formed some amazing friendships through Instagram – it’s amazing how you can connect with people on the other side of the country/ world who you would have never met otherwise!

5) What would be your top tricks and tips for people who wish to lead a more vegan lifestyle/ animal-friendly lifestyle?’

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My top trick if you’re looking at adopting a vegan diet is to do it in small achievable steps.

It’s very hard to go cold turkey so I’d say go vegetarian or pescatarian first. Then once you’re ready, you only have to eliminate a few simple items from your diet to become vegan. In the time in between, I would suggest doing your research and trialling out difference cheeses, milk, ice cream and chocolates that are vegan to see which ones you like and don’t like. If you can’t cook, then I suggest watching lots of youtube videos or Instagram videos and learn!

Cooking means that you have the freedom of feeding yourself and you don’t have to rely on your parents or someone else to make you a meal. The most common question I get asked by girls is how can they become vegan when they live at home with their parents and rely on their cooking. Again, my first advice would be to learn how to cook and then get your mum or dad to buy you one protein in their grocery shop – like tofu and a whole bunch of veggies. Cook up a big batch of stir-fry or Thai curry for the week and you can then add anything vegan or vegetarian that your parents happen to cook.

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When it comes to fashion, I think the only way to cut it out is to educate yourself.

Watch videos on the leather industry – that’s how I literally went cold turkey. I suggest watching Stella McCartney’s video with PETA if you want to easily adopt vegan fashion – it’s very confronting.

6) What do you feel has been your greatest success to date / what are you proud of when you look at what you have accomplished?

I think my upcoming line of vegan + ethical shoes is what I am most proud of. I have been working on them for 2 years and what begun as some sketches has turned into a final product.

I am excited to work on the marketing side of things in the new year and on the website and see how they go. I am starting off with one style and then progressing onto other styles.

I have worked really hard to make sure that the manufacturers I am using are ethical and treat their workers fairly and I have worked with them to find eco-friendly materials for some components of the shoe.

I found that in the vegan fashion market there were very little luxurious, yet ethical/eco-friendly options in terms of shoes, so I hope to bridge that gap to give us more options! It’s really exciting to see something that was a teenage dream slowly turning into reality.

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Another little proud moment for me was when I was approached to write ethical fashion articles for the international online and print magazine Trend Prive Magazine last year.

I wrote a few articles for them and it was so exciting to see that my writing and opinions could reach such a huge audience. I was very grateful for the opportunity and used the chance to speak out for the animals but also to just talk about what I loved – fashion!

7) You have travelled quite a few places for your work and your blog. Where has been your favourite place and why?

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I didn’t travel here for work or for the blog but my favourite place in the world so far has definitely been New York. I’ve always been a Sex and the City type of girl, I could watch reruns all day every day.

Carrie is my favourite. Her love for clothing and accessories definitely influenced my love for fashion, especially with how she just dressed in what made her feel fabulous, and not necessarily just following the crowd.

The atmosphere and vibe in New York were just so inspiring. The buildings, the people, the energy and the outfits, all combine into a place that is really unique.

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8) Do you have any advice for anyone who is aspiring to be a hair stylist?

I kind of just stumbled into my role as a hair stylist. I was lucky that Helani, the founder of G&S was a friend and had seen me do my own hair. She somehow saw something in me which I never knew existed. I think if you have a knack and a feel for hair or if you love doing your own hair or even your friends, just keep practising. Watch Youtube or Instagram videos and then practise it on your friends or family. I think when someone in the industry sees that you have a natural talent or a passion for hair, they may approach you, just like how Helani did with me.

Try to put your work on an Instagram page and tag pages with a large following and use popular hair related hashtags. You never know who might be watching!

9) What has been the best advice that you have been given or a value that you live by?

I think since I have been in the blogging and Instagram world, I have met so many women who have helped me grow and have gone out of their way to support me. I take the motto – women supporting women very seriously and always try my best to do the same to anyone that needs a little motivation or support whether it be a friend or an instafriend. I think these days there is so much competition within the social media world, but it’s so lovely to see such amazing women who are empowering other’s to follow their success.

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10 ) Could you tell us more about how you met your husband? How has he influenced your work and outlook?

I met my husband through friends and we quickly became good friends. He is probably my biggest influence and supporter when it comes to my blog and business. He started his first business when he was 19 and is currently running 3 business’.

He’s very motivated and succeeds in anything he puts his mind to. He mentors and advises me when I try to take on too much at the one time and he gives me great advice on my business, especially since I’m still in the newborn phase of the business.

His attitude is what I love the most about him. He is always positive and tends to see the good in every situation. He is the most generous person I know and he works really hard so that I can achieve my goals and dreams. He’s also the one I drag around to take my blog photos. He always pulls through with the photos (even when I’m being a monster) and he makes sure I get things done!

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3) Do you have any special plans or dreams for the future?

Well for the near future I am concentrating on my vegan shoe line. I hope to launch early March and then from there I will be designing more styles and even adding a few pieces of apparel. I’m really excited to see where that goes! Blog-wise I am looking forward to adding recipes and videos to the blog and making it an all-around vegan lifestyle destination.

That’s it for this interview, but remember a Belleboss Interview comes out every Sunday. Just scroll down below and click the follow buttons to keep updated. Until then

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