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Q&A: X NIHILO - Jenny Hsieh

1) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where the desire to design came from?

I’m the Founder, Director and Designer of X NIHILO. After obtaining a Diploma of Design Studies, Bachelor of Fashion and Master of Fashion and Textile, I debuted my career in fashion by winning the QDOS gold award presented by the Design Institute of Australia. With 16 years in the industry, I’ve always loved what I do and enjoy the design/ development process. And realised fast fashion is killing my passion and felt I was making landfill every day and working for brand messages that I couldn’t relate to. With the goal to produce an honest range of leather, I’ve decided to quit my job and that is how X NIHILO started in the first place. Where we create quality leather goods that are comparable to the price, as well as embrace slow fashion and build a platform where I can fulfil my passion.

2) How would you describe your own personal style?

Confident, minimal and most importantly practical. I believe everything should be there for a reason. I love my staple items like a white T-shirt and jeans (I have too many white t-shirts) and add a pop of colour with blazers (I think I have one in almost every colour)!

3) We love the clean, chic look of X NIHILO pieces. Do you have a particular go-to bag for every day?

Yes, my favourite bag from our range is the Eight bag in the original size. It is designed to be extremely versatile where it can be converted into three different shapes for styling and comfort purposes. The strap is also designed to be easily converting this bag from shoulder to crossbody extremely easily. When wearing it in the shopper style, it fits my 13-inch and A4 documents when I’m on the run for work. On the weekends I convert it into the tote style.

4) You have an ethical approach to crafting X NIHILO pieces and we know that you are PETA approved. Could you describe your process?

We are proud to announce that X NIHILO is officially on the People for the Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA) Angora wool and fur-free list. All leathers used are by-products of the meat industry and we are also against the use of exotic leathers on X NIHILO products. This acknowledges that our merchandise is not supporting slaughterhouses and factories where animals are cruelly treated for their wool or fur. As we continue to grow as a brand we look forward to working with PETA a lot more and learning how else we can create an even more ethical company.

5) Do you have any mentors?

Yes, I certainly do! I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to come across people who are extremely experienced in their field. I believe it is important and a must to have mentors in life whether you run a business or not to seek advice and opinions for different aspects and challenges. Currently, I have five individual mentors who I seek from time to time and their specialty ranges from product development, production, wholesale, business, start-up as well as branding and sustainability. I also mentor others from business owners, new start-ups and university students.

6) What sets X NIHILO apart from other leather goods brands?

We embrace slow fashion. As a designer, I do that by creating timeless designs with a quality that will last. With design, we focus on durability and functionality. Furthermore, we don’t ever launch by seasons but by collections. At X NIHILO, we do not launch any new products unless we are 100% happy with them. And that is the reason why we have become known as a brand to have hero products that are founded by our brand DNA.

7) What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur so far?

My biggest challenge and learning is to go out of my comfort zone and experience a lot of trial and error. This is especially important for being an e-commerce based business. Algorithms are changing rapidly and it is important for X NIHILO to find a model within the digital sphere that works for us and be agile to changes.

8) What advice would you give to a young emerging designer?

By the time you are ready, you are too late. So if there is something you want to do, start now. Start early to allow yourself time to fail, because you will and learn from experiences to accelerate.

9) Who is the X NIHILO woman? What would you like women to feel when they wear a X NIHILO piece?

The X NIHILO woman prefers to live a simple and uncluttered lifestyle and follow the minimalism principle. She does not support conspicuous consumption and avoids shopping with fast fashion brands. She prefers to invest in quality rather than quantity and has a curated wardrobe of staple pieces. At X NIHILO, we intentionally made our logo to be small and placed in a discrete location on the bags because we want our X NIHILO woman to wear her name and not ours.

10) Lastly, what’s next for X NIHILO?

Where do I begin! We are one of 12 designers handpicked by the Australian Fashion Council to be part of the AFC Curated 2020 program so there will be many exciting things to come! We are also planning for international expansion and that means pop up stores, new designs you'll love, refocusing on corporate social responsibility and producing fresh new content you will love.