On meeting Melinda Nizeti you would find a friendly, hardworking and unassuming person. However, underlying that is a thoughtful business woman who is using a clever strategy to grow her label NIZETI.
Starting a Business
Melinda started her label NIZETI in her spare time, while holding down a full-time job. She initially wanted to sell handbags. A family member warned Melinda not to lock into a long-term lease without testing her business. A long-term lease meant 3 months deposit and fit-out costs, as well as a long-term contract to pay the rent. Melinda didn’t want to be locked into a big financial commitment with her new business and untested products.
Melinda decided to try selling the handbags through casual leasing of open pop-up spaces in shopping malls. She liked the sense of urgency with the pop-up spaces and was able to move a lot of stock. The customer feedback that she received helped her to change the direction of her business into designing and making high quality garments for women.
When the business started to make enough money, Melinda quit her job to work full-time on the label. Still wanting to keep overheads low, she moved into casual leasing of pop-up shops. Melinda brought in some self-standing furniture and clothes racks. She also used whatever fixtures were in the shops and then added removable signs and stickers for decoration and to change the look of the store.
Melinda thinks CasualLease.com is a great idea as she found it difficult to find temporary pop-up spaces. She tried approaching shopping malls and shop owners directly but found that they wanted long-term leases and were not open to the idea of casual leasing.
Melinda has now rented by the month for the last 4 years and would recommend it to anyone starting out with their business. The pop-up shop complements her growing web-based business.
Cutting fabrics in store is a new addition for Melinda, which helps her to manage bridal group orders and custom orders for clients, e.g. a different colour fabric for their selected dress. Each piece is designed by Melinda, hand cut in store and then made locally. NIZETI offers sleek, minimalistic and timeless designs using quality fabrics.
Melinda has found casual leasing beneficial in a number of ways. By keeping her costs low she has had the flexibility to grow her label into what it is today. She still loves customer feedback as it helps with her clothing designs and the direction of her business. Meeting Melinda in person also helps to generate word of mouth recommendations that build her client base.
Melinda is now thinking about using pop-up shops to test out an expansion of her business into multiple locations.
References & Credits
Interview with Melinda Nizeti, founder of NIZETI
Photographs kindly provided by Jessica Bellamy of All the Lights Photography