Melina Cortes-Nmili: Founder of lalla bee
I'm super excited to share with my latest It Girl, Melina Cortes-Nmili, founder of , lalla bee.
Melina was born in the Dominican Republic and lived in a small town called San Jose de Los Llanos until she was 12 years old. At that age, she came to Boston to meet with her mom who was already living here. Her life is in Boston, and she truly considers the city her home.
Since she was a little girl, Melina had an entrepreneurial spirit. "I remember when I was a little girl I would ask my mom for her old make up and then I would talk about opening my own make up studio and charge my friends 5 cents per session," remembers Melina. "From a very young age I had that urge, I didn't know or understand it but as I got older I knew I wanted to create something and not just anything but something that came from me, a project that introduced me as I am without me having to be necessarily in the room. That is the best way I can explain it. As a child I didn't know what it would be and I refined my ideas as I got older - but I can tell you I always knew I was going to create something and reach people through that something."
While others in her industry were pursuing degrees in fashion or fine arts, Melina pursued her MBA. From the beginning she realized that it would take a solid business foundation to make her dream a reality. Armed with perseverance and tenacity, for three years, she dedicated endless hours to learning the fashion ropes: conducting research, working with consultants and industry experts, attending trade shows, producing samples to check quality, etc. Finally, after more than 30 months filled with overcoming her fair share of obstacles, Melina launched lalla bee and unveiled its first capsule collection in 2016.
Melina truly embraces the diversity of colors, textures and patterns of her childhood - which are all reflected in her clothing. From her design studio in Boston, lalla bee’s structured silhouettes, colorful palettes, and painstaking attention to detail reflect the values and struggles of her past. Rather than following the latest trends in fashion, Melina’s designs are intentionally timeless. They are developed and made in New York from quality fabrics sourced directly from the finest factories across the U.S. and Europe. Like the self-made women who raised Melina, lalla bee’s dresses tell a story of strength, effortless beauty, and unwavering confidence.
“The kind of woman I envision wearing one of my dresses is a woman who is confident in her own skin. When she walks into the room, she owns it. She feels smart, beautiful, and her strength shines,” says Melina. “I firmly believe that she can and should be simple, fearless and beautiful.”
This past July, Melina showed her collection at the Dominican Republic Fashion Week and for her the experience was out of this world amazing. She is excited to announce that due to the success of DRFW, she will be presenting her Spring 2018 collection at Uptown Fashion Week which takes place during New York Fashion Week on September 13th at the Skyline Hotel.
lalla bee is currently showcasing the Fall 2017 collection on their website. I personally found the collection beautiful and interesting so I had to ask Melina what her favorite piece was. "Oh my, this one is tough. If i had to pick I would say the Selita dress (shown below). I love the sleeves and the model who wore this dress in the DR brought it to new levels of KILL. I mean she KILLED IT."
Here are a few of my favorites from the collection!