Entrepreneurs Julie Vendal and Nadia Al Zagir Balling started the designer curtain concept &Drape in the spring 2018. With a background in design, roots in an old curtain family and both a successful career within advertisement, we’ve asked them about their courage to start anew and the passion behind.
How and when did your passion for interior design and curtains start?
Julie has always been surrounded by curtains and beautiful textiles since she was little, as her grandparents and parents ran a big curtain sewing production. Julie of course never wanted to work with the traditional curtain industry, but as very body knows, never say never! Nadia has since she was little been interested in fashion and interior design, with her favourite childhood hobby being redecorating her room over and over again. Since then Nadia studied fashion design, and textiles and interior has always been a natural part of her life and career.
How and when did you decide that it was time to follow your dream and start a new business?
It was work-wife love at first sight. We are good university friends and discovered how well we complement each other. We are each other’s Yin and Yang, both professionally and personally, while we totally agree on dream- and life values. So a late summer day, it went really quickly from talking about our shared passion for textiles, design and taking a modern, curated aesthetic approach to the traditional old school curtain industry, to building our website by ourselves in a week at home, to launching &Drape - just the two of us. The ambitions are high and dreams big. It is a fun journey together, that has only just begun, and we love it.
Tell us a little about the idea behind the &Drape concept.
Our vision is to create beautiful atmospheres with custom-made curtains. &Drape represents a contemporary and curated aesthetic design approach to made-to-measure curtains. Our aim is for &Drape to operate within the intersection between design, interior and fashion, that is where the magic happens.
You have just opened a new showroom and studio in Copenhagen, why?
We want people to be able to experience and feel our brand universe up close. Our new showroom and curtain design studio is our first. We worked from home and from coffee shops for 1½ years and called Julie’s beautiful apartment an "apartment showroom". Our new showroom is located in the historic Designhouse in Frederiksgade 1, just beside The Marble Church. When arriving in the morning, we feel so grateful and lucky to work in such beautiful, inspiring surroundings.
As mothers, how do you juggle private- and work life?
We are still learning to find the golden balance. We try our best to give ourselves the freedom to create our own ideal daily work life that suits where each of us are in life just now. We created &Drape while Nadia was on maternity leave, and now Julie has just had her first baby. So, our family is a big part of &Drape. To us, &Drape is a lifestyle, not a job. And we love and are grateful how we can intertwine business and pleasure. Our aim is to start each day at the office with a daily practice and mediation together.
How do you relate to your passion and work during the current COVID-19 crisis?
In times like this, we think it is very important to keep a positive mindset. We focus on the opportunities that can arise in times like this, and give ourselves space to innovate, reflect and come out stronger and more focused. We are all in it together, and will come out stronger, together.
Is there anything else that you’re also passionate about at the moment?
In &Drape we have a strong passion and focus on collaborating and playing in the intersection between interior, design and fashion. We believe by combining different creative and cultural perspectives and collaborating with other brands or creatives, fantastic beautiful things happen.
Passion; also known as dedication, as hunger, it is the desire to destroy oneself for one’s art. To tear down, move, or start over in order to rebuild and expand. The feeling of not being able to let go. It is a human condition that most are bound by.
Even though we are JUST human, JUST women, JUST female, we all have that drive that makes us ‘more than’. It is what makes us-, our stories-, and our creations unique. From a job, to a child, to a hobby gone wild, we, and you, are more than JUST female. We have gathered some of the most inspiring Danish women that we know for a talk about passion, creativity, and the balance between worklife and homelife.
Let their inspiring stories, trials and errors be a reminder that we all can struggle, we can fail, but something will always have us return to that same place of passion. And maybe the point is not necessarily to succeed, but to have given it your all, and grown in the process.
Tell us about your passion, struggle, and successes!