Sister duo Nadia Bartel and Michelle Coppolino have well and truly established themselves as a fashionable force to be reckoned with. Having launched their online fashion mecca THE CON-NECTION last year, tonight sees the brunette bombshells unveil their revamped platform, boasting a total website redesign as well as a carefully curated roll call of 23 of the world’s most progressive fashion brands and designers. Nadia and Michelle don’t believe in wasting precious time hunting for the perfect outfit or feeling the overwhelming pressure to wear current trends. The idea behind THE CON-NECTION is simply to connect style savvy women to a selection of wardrobe stables and basic items to be used season after season.
We chatted to Nadia and Michelle about how they filter through the best in global design, what it’s like to work with family and what we can expect from the upcoming sartorial season.
You’ve obviously both had an interest in fashion for a long time. Was launching your own e-boutique always part of the game plan?
N: Yes, definitely! I think growing up we always knew we would eventually work together. We are both business minded even though our personalities, style and skill set are somewhat different. We are both obsessed with the online world, especially the marketing side of it so an e-store was the natural next step. Our e-store also compliments my blog Chronicles of Nadia, which has always had a huge focus on my favourite shopping finds.
Starting your own business is a huge achievement, with plenty of risks involved. At what point did you physically sit down together and say “Okay, let’s really do this”?
N: Our only regret was that we didn’t do it sooner. I think we spoke about it for two years before we actually took action and got it done. We researched so much and at times you can think about something too much and talk yourself out of it, a gentle nudge from close friends and family gave us the final motivation to commit, and once we started, we slowly built on that momentum.
Has working together always been something you’ve wanted to do?
N: We always spoke about working together growing up, as there is nothing better than working with your best friend and someone that you trust 100%. Our personalities compliment each other perfectly so it works really well. Michelle is more creative (she has two degrees in Visual Merchandising and Fine Art) whereas I am a little more marketing and business focused.
What have been some of the challenges of launching your own business?
N: We have been able to learn so much in just under a year, and we still feel like we are learning every day. That is the best thing about starting a business from scratch you get to learn every aspect of the business. Our biggest challenge has been the technical side of our website. We put a lot trust in people such as coders and website companies and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Unfortunately, we have never had access to our backend until now. It has been extremely difficult, but it has taught us so much and to always trust our instincts.
Talk us through the buying process. Your site really does stock the best of the best, so how do you decide which designers and which specific pieces are a good fit for the store?
N: We are very selective with our designer mix- our store is all about picking pieces that truly represent our personal style. The Con-nection is all about finding the best pieces to fit into your wardrobe. We don’t believe in following the current trends instead we focus on staples and timeless items to be used season after season. We love every piece that we stock on The Con-nection store, and our re-launch will focus on curated edits and how to wear items season after season.
How do your individual styles differ? Does this ever come into play when deciding on which brands and pieces you’ll stock
N: It’s funny as sometimes I think our style is very similar, we both live in leather, oversized shirting, pantsuits and denim, but we style it up very differently. I am a little more classic (Mich tends to call it ‘boring’) whereas Michelle is a little edgier. She will throw on snake ankle boots and stacked rings where I will throw on a tailored blazer, heels and gravitate to neutral tones.
M: I think it’s the younger sis syndrome, but I am definitely the ‘cooler’ one. No, I think it’s so great we always love the same pieces, but we definitely create different looks. Nadia is all about understated glam – I don’t mind mixing and matching and having a little bit of fun.
What are some big trends we can expect to see coming through over the coming season?
N: Suiting is making a comeback and woo hoo we couldn’t be more excited. There is no better look than a perfectly tailored suit paired with a bold lip. The off-the-shoulder trend is still fighting strong, but we will see it combined with interesting arm details such as bell sleeves and textured embellishments. We have seen so many silk pieces dropping for October SS16 timing. We love how feminine silk is, and it pairs with leather perfectly.
Finally, is there a key piece (or pieces?!) that every woman must own as we approach winter?
Faux fur thrown over your arms is going to be a strong look this winter; we can’t get enough of it! Instead of going for classic tones, we love bold colour choices such as cherry, pink and forest green.
Photos by Liane Hurvitz