Becoming a household name in apparel is a major challenge for any brand. NONIE, a design label with a mission to do good for the planet, achieved this status through its values, innovation, loyalty, hard work and determination. Inspired by the small business’ purpose, growth and exposure, we selected NONIE as a Doing Good category finalist in our 2022 Tales of Triumph Contest. Let’s get to know this amazing company.
About Nina Kharey, founder of NONIE
NONIE is the brainchild of Nina Kharey. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Nina’s parents moved to Canada from India back in the 1970s and worked in the garment manufacturing industry. She grew up watching them sew and create.
My dad manage[d] a knit factory while my mom was a seamstress for a menswear company. Both of them loved their work and I got to run around in it, falling in love with the process of art becoming something to wear. I kind of always had it in my heart but it wasn’t until I lost my older brother that I decided to get serious about what I truly wanted to do.
Nina earned a degree in engineering and set out to apply her skills to change the game for apparel.
In 2015, Nina launched NONIE, a small and innovative design label, out of a passion for design and textiles. It has not always been a clear cut and easy journey.
We are small so this is hard – I'm a mom of two with this business just getting going.
How NONIE serves Canadians
Nina has always prioritized Canadian manufacturing as she firmly believes we need to support our own economy by creating jobs for Canadians. On top of that, when the pandemic hit, NONIE retooled their factory to provide medical-grade masks – which were in high demand across the nation.
How NONIE innovates for people and the planet
NONIE is disrupting the fashion industry with its good-for-the-planet, made-in-Canada, innovative garments. During the pandemic, Nina recognized an unspoken need and started exploring ways she could provide unique textile solutions for frontline workers. Leaning on her engineering experience, she began to make antiviral garments.
If that innovation wasn’t impressive enough, Nina also engineers her products with sustainability in mind.
Instead of promoting consumerism, I want to promote buying less, but better. Buying a piece that is a mainstay in your closet – one you can mix with others and is made from quality products so it will last. We will always need clothing, so I want to bring something to the table that will actually do its job – look good, last through time, and protect you, all while protecting our home.
The fabrics NONIE uses are sourced from post-consumer products and her garments are fully recyclable, helping to keep textile waste out of landfills. “Our garments can be recycled up to 6 times to make new fabric,” says Nina. NONIE’s garments also do not leach microplastics into waterways when washed.
We introduced innovative clothing, helping consumers make better choices for themselves and for the planet. Our fabrics contain the technology to self clean and restore moisture back into the skin (by 21%).
How Nina plans to grow NONIE
We have the basics, but there are so many more pieces for both men and women coming.
Beyond expanding their product line, Nina is a true entrepreneur and believes strongly in collaboration with others.
I hope to work with local communities that are also doing good for Canada and the environment by having collaborations. I believe in Canadian entrepreneurship, and I've met so many amazing people doing very cool things. We can do so much more together!
NONIE is a company worthy of admiration. It’s more than just a clothing company. Nina’s business helps deliver more for Canadians and the environment.
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