It’s hard to sum up everything Nina Rahal Kharey does in her professional endeavours, but here goes: Computer engineer turned burgeoning fashion designer, CEO, COO, CFO, advocate against gang violence, and mother. As the creative mind behind House of Nonie, she’s one busy entrepreneur who is pursuing her dreams, getting notice from the fashion world, and teaching her daughter that anything is possible. Overcoming the personal tragedy of losing a family member to gang violence and doing a complete 180 with her career, her can-do attitude it taking her places.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
My job is to bring confidence to women who like luxury in their clothing. I design womenswear that has been inspired by that of men. The clothing is simple, minimal, and refined, with clean lines. I conceptualize and design the clothing, pick out the fabrics, and manage my business on my own. But, most importantly, I’m a little girl’s mom!
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I started my own company because I thought about my clothing line every single day. It’s my dream. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do as a career. I want to have a career in something I’m actually good at and passionate about. I’m happiest when I’m designing clothes. Also, I want to prove to my daughter that it’s possible to do anything you dream of, as long as you’re willing to work hard and be persistent.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is when I’m feeling inspired, and sketches. I also love meeting my customers and getting to know them better. I love selling my clothing personally, therefore I’m not so focused in finding a boutique to carry me. I feel like I have more success when I’m talking to my clients. The most challenging is wearing so many hats every day. I’m the CEO, COO, CFO, and the office manager every single day. I dream and design, manage all the production and marketing, keep records of all the finances, and take every single call and email. It’s insane some days, but I’m slowly getting better at planning out my days and making small goals every morning.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Sickness. When I’m stressing myself out and spreading myself thin, my health goes down the drain. I get sick easily and feel too exhausted to do anything with my family. When that happens, I know I’m going to hard everyday. I force myself to take a day here and there and not think about anything at all.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Selling my clothing line all over Canada. I hope to have my business growing and employees hired to help me with selling.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Fear. I have a huge fear of failing. The only way I overcame it was by throwing myself in and forcing myself to just got with it. Every day I focus on the task at hand and taking things one day at a time.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success is having the freedom to be with your loved ones at anytime you want. For me, the 9 to 5 lifestyle doesn’t work – so I needed to get out of that. I want to make enough money to take care of my family and live happily, which for me is being with the people I love.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
My recent re-launch! It was such a positive experience.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Always start with a business plan. It makes you think of EVERYTHING that can go wrong with what you’re doing. I didn’t have one in place when I started my line back in 2009, and sure enough, I had no idea what I was doing. Now, I re-launched with an actual plan and it’s extremely helpful. I have a plan for everything and I know exactly how I’m going to get what I want. I also find having a solid routine helps. Being a full-time, working mom, who’s starting a small business on the side, it was really hard to juggle everything. The only thing that helped was having a strong routine which started early in the morning with a run.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
A small, hole in the wall restaurant called Starlite. They have the best pizza I have ever had! Been going there for years.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Curled up on the couch sipping on peppermint tea and enjoying a movie. Simple and boring.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I’m not huge on travelling, but when we need a quick get-away, Banff has never let us down.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Working in the field of engineering, but in some creative way.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support the Calgary Police with any anti-gang work they do with kids. That has always been in my heart as I lost my older brother to violence. Now, when I get the chance to go talk to kids or parents about gang life and what my family went through, I jump on it.
What to you is notable?
The ability to accept the need to change. You have to stay evolving and bettering yourself. That’s the only way, in my opinion, to be successful.
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