The Natick-based fashion powerhouse NIC+ZOE started with founder Dorian Lightbown’s love of knits back in 2005 and has since morphed into a wide array of flattering styles for today’s woman. We chatted with Susie Mulder, CEO of NIC+ZOE, as she and her team busily prepare for their first brick-and-mortar store. Opening in the Shops at The Prudential in mid-September, Mulder calls the giant 2,800 square foot space “a learning laboratory.” Not only can you fill your closet with their collection of signature twirl dresses, popular perfect tanks and graphic grid pants, but this is also a test spot for the line’s newest concepts. On the horizon—an exciting home collection of knit throws and pillows. Here’s a brief glimpse into the world of NIC+ZOE.
Boston magazine: What’s the vibe for the new Prudential location?
Susie Mulder: The store will be very much consistent with the brand. It will have the comfort of luxurious fabrics, but also an architectural, industrial feel and modern edge.
BM: Dorian once said, “Every collection is designed to dress women for all aspects of their lives, eliminating the need for an outfit change in the middle of their busy day.” How important is this concept when a woman chooses her favorite pieces?
SM: NIC+ZOE makes a busy woman look good, so our women really make busy look good. They have full calendars, whether it’s professional, philanthropic, children’s school activities. Dorian’s initial concept was that there was nothing out there that was equally as comfortable and stylish enough to take you through a full day and into the evening. People really appreciate that with NIC+ZOE they get dressed once.
BM: How do NIC+ZOE knits fit into New England’s culture and weather?
SM: Dorian was born and bred in the area, so she’s been a part of New England culture. One special thing she does is 12-month knits. She’s innovative in how she manipulates the textures and yarns so that she’s able to make pieces that are as warm as you need them to be in New England and equally appealing to women in Texas and California.
BM: Describe your upcoming Fall 2014 collection.
SM: August really starts with an art deco inspired group. It’s modern and architectural with blacks, whites, grays and pops of blue. In September we introduce Tundra Wrap, which is a playful interpretation of a Russian tundra experience with a punk inspiration. That group will have warm cranberries and deep rich reds, as well as neutral beiges.
Color is at the heart of what we do. In Spring 2015 we’ll be introducing “colored neutrals,” which are our best-selling pieces in unique neutrals. Everyone knows beige and khaki, but Dorian creates a sand shell and mushroom as our take on those.
BM: Are there any particular fall and winter pieces you believe Bostonians will gravitate towards?
SM: Our signature twirl dress is something we started a few seasons ago, and now we do a combination of solids and prints each month. They’re flattering to all kinds of silhouettes and are very versatile. I can also see people getting excited about our new faux fur vest. The reaction to it has been amazing! We’ve also recently introduced scarves, hats and soft accessories that are appealing to people in New England.
BM: What does it means to you to be tapped by The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as one of the top 10 small businesses of 2014?
SM: It’s fantastic. You don’t think of Boston or Natick as a fashion mecca or a place for people seeking fashion careers. We have a ton of fashionable women here. I’ve always said, Boston is more than Nantucket Red and boat shoes. We’re honored and excited to be part of the top 10. If we can raise awareness of Boston as a place for fashion, this gives us a platform to do that.This is a paid partnership between NIC+ZOE and Boston Magazine's City/Studio