13 Questions with Danielle DiFerdinando, Founder & Creative Director of Danielle Nicole
When it comes to getting dressed in the morning, do you ever struggle to find the perfect accessories? Here at MM we know the importance of finding the right accessory and lucky for us, we discovered Danielle Nicole.
Danielle DiFerdinando is the Founder and Creative Director of Danielle Nicole, a whimsical accessories company that has worked with some of the worlds largest companies such as Disney, Warner Brothers, and HBO (to name a few.) Every piece of DiFerdinando's work is beautifully crafted and gives any outfit that extra pop that will make you stand out from the crowd. Not to mentioned she started her brand at only eighteen and landed her first major order with Bergdorf Goodman at nineteen, talk about a boss babe! But where does someone even begin when starting their own accessories company? We sat down with the face behind Danielle Nicole to talk about her journey, how she stays inspired and her tips and tricks to Making It In Manhattan.
Growing up, did you always have an interest in working in fashion?
Yes, I've always had an interest in fashion growing up. It was part of my life, I read every fashion magazine and spent my weekends at the mall shopping in the stores and watching the trends. I remember my first trip to NYC when I was a little girl and drove down Times Square and Seventh Avenue and seeing the billboards, and I told myself this is what I want.
What was your first job in the industry and how would you say it impacted your career?
My first job was working at Gucci 5th Ave store in NYC, during my freshman year. I also interned at Bergdorf Goodman in the personal shopping department under Domenica Paradisi where I learned all about the customer’s needs.
When did you begin “Danielle Nicole” and what was the inspiration behind it?
I started Danielle Nicole when I was a freshman at FIT. I have always loved accessories and wanted to create handbags and accessories that had a fresh and forward-looking interpretation of luxury at an affordable price. My first handbag was handmade and took me more than 28 hours to create!
You’ve collaborated with so many different brands, from Disney to Game of Thrones, and even The Rugrats! What has that been like?
It's been a dream to work with these companies-- to recreate their storytelling in a modern spin!
Do you have a favorite collab to date? And if so, why?
One of my favorite collaborations was working with the New York Ronald McDonald House where the kids had the chance to design a bag. The theme was: design a bag that makes you smile as it relates to your favorite thing about New York City, superheroes, animals, and nature!
How would you say working with larger heritage names like Disney has impacted your company?
It’s an honor to work with Disney, Warner Brothers, HBO, and Nintendo. Each property brings a different group of followers and fans. It’s great to design for many different styles and make women feel beautiful and proud.
Where do you turn to for inspiration when designing a new collection?
I like to look back at vintage artwork and research the character’s personality and take those characteristics and apply them into a modern and whimsical way.
What did you wear to your first interview?
I wore a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress for my first interview. It was my first designer dress, and I still have it today!
We have a lot of young people out there applying for their first jobs, what qualities do you look for when hiring someone to join your team?
The most important thing is passion and drive. Love what you do and keep an open mind so you can grow and learn from all your experiences. Try to think outside of the box. Especially in today’s fashion and retail sales environment, it’s all about trying new things!
If you could go back and tell yourself something before starting your company, what would it be?
Don’t ever stress. Always stay calm and think through all the possible solutions before making a decision. Everything always works out!
What has been the proudest moment of your career thus far?
When Oprah bought 5,500 tote bags of mine and flew me down to Atlanta Georgia to meet her and Gayle King.
Who have been your biggest mentors in the industry, and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
I have a few mentors. Mindy Grossman from Weight Watchers is my mentor. She’s such a strong visionary who can bring together different industries to create something so special and impactful! She tells me never to stop. Don’t take NO for an answer and you can conquer anything as long as you put your heart and time into it.
What is your #1 handbag essential that you think every woman should carry?
A beautiful yet functional soft leather satchel that women can carry their lives in. For example, laptop, lunch, notebooks, gloves, and etc. Oh yeah, I can’t forget about color! Corals, nudes, and pinks are the perfect neutral colors go wear going into spring.
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