A Story in the Making
By Deyana Koleva
Deyana KolevaUnexpectedly, Diana&Nicky came to fruition out of sheer necessity. Back in 1991 in Bulgaria, I had just become a mother to a wonderful baby girl, who I couldn’t really provide for –my factory salary wasn’t enough to support us both.
When the communist regime fell and democracy swept the nation, I remember I struggled to find necessities for my newborn such as diapers, formula, and especially clothes due to shortages. So one day, the idea came to me that I can just make my own clothes- how hard could it be- babies are tiny, after all? It turned out to be quite difficult actually– from making a design to finding material and sewing the parts together to form an actual dress- but it had always been my dream to create something. I was never afraid of hard work- I just never knew where to place this particular talent in. My passion turned out to be making clothes for my little one.
After time, my clothes became better and better and on another day, another idea came to me: “Why can’t I sell these clothes to mothers in the same situation as me?” And with no business degree, I registered “Diana” as the first baby clothing company in Bulgaria, although it only operated out of my rental apartment. But I knew I needed to scale to stay on top.
My daughter Diana became my business companion. She and I would travel across the country in my Lada to buy merchandise. I would go store- to-store and ask if anyone wanted my product- clothes I had made as well as the ones I had bought. The leftover items I would sell on the street. Not very fabulous, but starting a business never is.
But at one point, I realized I had just enough capital to scale, so I hired three seamstresses to sow my designs. I also invited my parents to come to the capital and help out with my newest addition to the family – a bubbly baby boy named Nicky. And so the company’s new name became Diana&Nicky – the inspiration and reason behind the business in the first place- my children.
In 1997, I opened my very first store on the first floor of my house. And to this day, Diana&Nicky –both store and workshop- stands on the first floor of my house – not a prime spot for a store. Yet with no resources spent on marketing, Diana&Nicky has become an established presence in the parent community in Bulgaria.
I have been asked before about this, but I have no formula for success- perhaps a combination of sleepless nights, tireless hard work, a bit of luck, and unwavering motivation. I know what motivated me at times when I had lost hope was simply putting enough food on the table for my children- something any parent can relate to.
Diana& Nicky today is first and foremost a family business incorporating my personal values of quality, integrity, and desire to be an aid to parents and parents-to-be through such a life-changing moment that is having a child.
Now, I am going through the process of starting this business all over again. I know Diana&Nicky has a lot to offer to U.S. parents and caretakers.I have run this business in Bulgaria for almost 25 years now, and I want to bring the same high-quality children’s clothing and personal approach inherent in all family businesses, as well as our overflowing enthusiasm to our U.S. customers.
I strive to have an assortment of contemporary, quality (yet affordable) clothes with a simple, fun, yet luxurious look. We focus on a wide range of clothing for infants and toddlers. I hope dressing your little one in our clothes brings excitement to both of you. I really appreciate you allowing Diana&Nicky to be a part of your and your precious one’s lives.