Dazey LA founder Danielle Nagel was determined to build a brand that matched her values - and her maximalist aesthetic.
When Dani Nagel launched her fashion brand Dazey LA she had one ambition. “I wanted to do everything differently. I wanted to do things the right way.”
Six years later, the self-proclaimed maximalist and graphic-design obsessive has achieved exactly that – and more.
Today, Dazey LA clothing is known for its bright, colorful aesthetic and its commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion. Nagel herself has also become a well-recognized figure in entrepreneurial circles, thanks to her willingness to share insights into her business journey on social media.
This month, she and Dazey LA are among the merchants showcased as part of Afterpay’s Make It Your Way series, which celebrates business owners courageously carving their own path and setting their own terms for success.
Before founding Dazey LA, Nagel spent several years working as a grahic designer for major US fashion labels. It was during this time that she came to understand the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
“I remember once designing men’s t-shirts [featuring a graphic I didn’t like] but it’s what they wanted. And they ordered 5000 units of it, and I remember walking out into the warehouse – and being confronted with the sheer quantity of what racks and racks of 5000 t-shirts looks like. I [had] a very visceral reaction and [realised] I was inadvertently part of this terrible process.”
I realised I was inadvertently part of this terrible process.
When it came time to launch Dazey LA, Nagal was determined to institute ethical and environmental standards, and today every Dazey LA piece is produced locally in Los Angeles.
In the early days, Nagel says the biggest struggles came from within.
“The biggest challenge was actually gaining the courage to step out and [launch the business]… and also just maintain clarity and stability during that time.
“Because I feel like the biggest beast is often [the one] in your head. [Starting a business] is just a constant emotional rollercoaster. And it really takes a few years of running your own business to realise that the highs and lows are just a part of the process. You have to learn to roll with the punches.”
You have to learn to roll with the punches.
Today, though, Nagel wouldn’t have it any other way. “What’s so fun about entrepreneurship is that there’s no ceiling to what you can accomplish. I just love pushing the envelope […] and reinventing and reinventing."
One of Nagel’s favourite parts of running Dazey LA is the creative side. “We are a clothing line full of bold and colorful designs, and I create patterns and silhouettes to empower the wearer to be a little more bold in their everyday life."
“I’m obsessed with graphic design, fashion and interior design… and I love bold patterns, maximal design and color.”
Nagel also loves connecting with her customer via social media. “I love sharing the process with my audience. Ever since Dazey started it was all about connecting with my customers and being real and very transparent with our audience. I’ve really tried to bring them into this journey with me.”
Early on, she realised that her young customer base would appreciate a platform that allowed them to spread payments over several instalments. “That’s why we brought on Afterpay. And as soon as we installed it people [told us] ‘Thank you, this is awesome’. And the day we installed it we had a huge sales day.
“It’s definitely a game-changer for small business."