Nicole Manek is a Toronto-based sustainable fashion and designer and e-commerce entrepreneur, and a celebrity stylist for acts like The Jonas Brothers and Canadian country queen, Shania Twain.

Shoppers who don’t want to sacrifice style for sustainability have a safe haven at Life of Manek, Nicole’s digital lifestyle store for sustainable luxury at an accessible price point. Nicole takes luxury second hand materials and turns them into bags and hats.

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“I dress people up, I tell stories.”

Do you know where you got your drive from?
My dad has an incredible work ethic, which I luckily inherited. I’m also very driven by eliminating waste of any kind. Waste makes me crazy.

How do you stay self-motivated?
Tony Robbins! I respond well to a coach shouting at me; I would have made an excellent football player. I also have a tattoo on my wrist to remind me of my grandmother, who had it pretty tough, and how fortunate I am to be able to do what what I do and to keep on keeping on when the times get tough.

What would you say is your preferred way to network?
I really love discovering people and brands via social media, especially Instagram. I’ve formed a lot of lasting and inspiring relationships in the past couple of years. I love doing shows too; I met so many amazing people at The One of a Kind Show this winter.

How would you describe your process for deepening relationships?
Being honest and transparent; depth and trust always come from that.

What are your preferred tools for keeping organized?

I’m just getting into bullet journaling now. Also, my husband and I are big fans of making vocal reminders on our iPhones. There’s nothing quite like getting reminded ten times to do something to make you actually do it.

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Who has been your mentor in helping you find success?
She’s probably an unsuspecting mentor but, Julia Grieve, the founder and owner of Preloved is someone I really look up to. Figuring out how to produce large orders of clothing made from repurposed materials is no easy feat, and she does it with such enthusiasm. Also, Martha Stewart; I read her books while building my business… that woman knows.

What social issue does your organization raise funds and/or awareness for?

I’m planning a fundraiser this summer with all the proceeds going to Dress for Success. I also donate a lot of my designs to local school fundraisers and Because I am a Girl.

How and where do you continue to learn?
I’m obsessed with podcasts, and listen to a lot about online marketing. I try to take a course at least once a year to broaden my skill set. I’m taking a George Brown Class this spring to finally learn how to use my Canon Rebel. I read a lot… books, blogs, papers; they keep the mind churning.

Next, we want to get to know you personally! We know that being a successful professional has lots to do with your personality and also your behaviours. We are excited to learn about what decisions you make to keep balanced and have fun.

Do you have a fitness ritual that you live by?
I go to the gym three times a week but I don’t have a set workout. As long as I get in there and sweat for an hour I’m proud of myself.

How do you feed your soul?
Hanging out with my four year old son! He cracks me up beyond. I also adore cooking and am pretty sure if I didn’t do what I do I would be a chef (or at least try).

How would you describe the eating ritual that makes you feel most powerful?

My grandmother was Ukrainian and I grew up eating her food; it was like a warm hug. I bleed pierogies.

Also, the first thing I do in the morning is have an espresso. It’s a ritual I love and deeply depend on.

Who is your favourite personality to follow on YouTube?
Martha Stewart.

What type of content do you find most compelling on Instagram?
Lately I’ve been following a lot of visual artists and illustrators as I get enough fashion on a daily basis. I love @fabiomoon @meatwreck oh and @realmisspiggy

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What lifestyle brand would you say shares your values most?

I love the way Justina Blakeney mixes loads of thrifted items into her work, plus her amazing pattern mixing. I think different brands share different aspects of my values but there isn’t one platform that is an across the board for me.

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Who is your favourite artist?
Douglas Coupland and Cindy Sherman

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What is your favourite meal?
Lobster and french fries.

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What is your favourite sport to watch?
Baseball.

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Where is your favourite place to unwind?
My bed and Port Dover.

About The Author

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