Fair Beauty within Reach

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NILA Karlín

Are you looking for a birthday gift, the last detail for the interior or a unique jewel? Do you want to brighten up the gloomy day?

No one tells you to deal with sadness with shopping therapy. However, if you want a moment of peace in an inspiring environment full of beautiful and fragrant objects, perhaps visiting the Prague concept store NILA is the best solution.

Eva Urbanová
Eva Urbanová, the founder and (co-) owner of NILA, which has been operating since 2011, is behind the whole project.

Get deep inside the story and narration of the founder and (co-)owner of NILA Eva Urbanová, who is behind the whole project, which has been operating since 2011. In the spring of 2019, a third, giant space in Karlín was added to the two existing shops in Vinohrady. Together with her husband, they founded the brand, which she is in charge of now. I’m interviewing only the female part.

We try to make meaningful what the customer buys. If they buy less but more luxury products, it is not about asceticism.

I’m meeting Eva in a busy Prague café, but her calm voice and narration evoke a friendly atmosphere, precisely the one which is sought-after in her shops, and I am immediately interested in the brand’s philosophy and business background. We are talking about start-ups, individual brands, inspiration, and travel.

Before the NILA brand was founded, Eva had worked as an advocate.

NILA Daily
NILA Daily

What made you leave advocacy and set up NILA?

I used to work a lot, up to twelve hours a day, the case which was over, followed by another, I was mostly disappointed with the male environment and the concept of work, I think it was a typical burnout and basically, I ended up my office work from one day to the next. I needed a break and get some rest.

My next question is heading to the workload and private life. How do you manage it?

So far, I am not separating business and private life, actually, they blend, and in order to really take a break, I need a strong impulse, for example, to go away – that is, to travel.

What is important, and how do you choose your employees?

In total, we have forty employees – both in stores and in the office, full-time and part-time. Decision making is intuitive; with my husband, we split everything into half. In the store, we pay attention to communication with the customer; to be in the same boat. It is essential for the seller to pay attention and decode the individual customers’ needs, sometimes we also deal with challenging situations in the store.

NILA Karlín
The new store opened this spring at Karlín.

Who and what are your customers like? What do you offer?

Our customer group does not want opulence; they prefer quality. Initially, we started with interior fittings and accessories, we gradually added fashion and other elements, such as brooches, jewelry, today we also have a part/store NILA daily, which offers cosmetics, cleaners, tea, chocolates. It is vital that everything we sell is made of sustainable materials, under ethical conditions, it should be of good quality to last and serve. In order to educate our customers to enjoy only what is good in life, and to know about the product’s durability. Basically, we offer brands from around the world.

Our “model” customer is a woman of approximately 25-60 years old. We think about what her day is like, what she does, what she might need, what she could be interest in and inspired by. We want to educate our customers, and at the same time to meet their expectations, it is also essential that the salespersons can correctly guess the customer’s nature and can advise them well.

We try to make meaningful what the customer buys. If they buy less but more luxury products, it is not about asceticism.

How can customers learn about NILA?

For us, it is crucial that the store is on the right, functional, and visible place – so the point of sale itself is essential. The main communication channel is social networking (Instagram) and, of course, when people talk about positive experiences and product experiences (word-of-mouth).

We use do not use the paid advertising as the main source. In our campaigns, we don’t show models, but people from our team, or our customers.

NILA Karlín
The new store opened this spring at Karlín.

What is your inspiration?

I draw ideas from traveling, for example, France is inspiring and its ability to mix old elements with new and the art of indulgence. Morocco is visually exciting, its colors, carpets, unfortunately, now the country is becoming a tourist destination.

I am currently thinking about Bangladesh; I would like to explore the textile industry there – even the alternative one – and I also want to see Japan and learn about their way of life. Here I always enjoy Beskydy.

What do you read/follow in the media? (I think that from this question and answer, we will learn about the roots of a business philosophy than from a direct question about business plans.)

I like magazines in English such as Delayed gratification, Idler, Holiday. For me, Salman Rushdie and the literary texts by Patti Smith, let’s say her book, Just Kids, are the primary sources of inspiration.

However, what I really enjoy watching are all sorts of podcasts, movies, and series in different genres – such as nordic Detective stories, artistic cinematography.

Text: Veronika Zavřelová, photo: NILA