My first real memory of Natalie took place on the corner of Franklin and Hillsborough street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It was our sophomore year of college (I had just transferred to UNC) and Natalie was my neighbor in the Tri Delta house. Natalie had been friendly every time I’d seen her since move-in earlier that week, and so when we met up walking back from class, I was glad for a familiar face. As we walked and chatted, she asked me if I had a boyfriend back home. Run of the mill 19-year-old girl chatter. I must have hesitated before I said no, because she smiled knowingly and said “so you don’t have a boyfriend, but there’s a but.”
I think this was a pretty accurate first impression Natalie – warm, friendly, but she didn’t beat around the bush.
Natalie quickly embraced me into her group of friends, where she was known as the loveable hippie. She never answered her cell phone, she didn’t have her driver’s license, and she had a bohemian California style that stood out in North Carolina. She loved fishing, hiking, sports, and anything to do with animals. On the other hand, she was a bookworm – I have had more in-depth discussions about fictional literary characters with her than anyone else. She was fun, easy to laugh, and always a little bit silly. The thing that stood out the most about 19-year-old Natalie though, was how seriously she took her friendships. She had a close knit group that I was lucky to be adopted into, and she was fiercely loyal to all of us.
Nat once offered to go retrieve all of the copies of the daily newspaper from campus because there had been an article published about our friend’s little brother that was less than flattering. I can still see Natalie standing in the doorway, tote-bag at the ready. She figured if she took all of the papers, no one would read the article – problem solved.
Natalie was always up for anything. We would leave the library in the middle of a late night study session and I would drive us to the Cookout drive-through for banana peanut butter milkshakes and quesadillas.
On nights that no one else wanted to go out, we would go just the two of us, talk to anyone and everyone, and have some of the most fun, memorable nights of college. Once on a drive back from the beach in North Carolina, we pulled over for a sign that said “free puppies.” Here is a picture of Nat with the puppy that she came this close to taking home:
In Punta Cana, Nat eagerly agreed to sign up with me to ride horses on the beach. While the horse I was given refused to go faster than a walk, she laughed and breezed past me, galloping across the sand on her horse, “Champagne.”
When I asked some of our friends the way they would describe Natalie, these are just a few of the gems I received:
“If Natalie had a spirit animal it would actually be a golden retriever, she's blonde, happy if you're happy, free spirited yet intelligent, and will occasionally nuzzle your arm for attention.” BB
"Nat has the perfect balance between her laid back Cali attitude and dedication to things she's passionate about. Plus - she's always down for a good time!" CD
“While I never specifically envisioned Nat going into fashion, in hindsight fashion has always been part of her life. Natalie is timeless in her own way - a mix of on trend and authentic boho, her wild blonde hair always perfectly messy.” TK
"It's hard to describe Natalie in just one sentence, if you've ever met her, you'd understand. She's a California girl at heart, but there's no mistaking that southern sass. Natalie will out wit you any day of the week, but she'll also be the first by your side when you need a friend. She's one of the most interesting people I know, while being one of the simply sweetest souls." RI
In many ways, Natalie is not so different from how she was when I first met her. She does drive now (A Subaru Outback), and she’s gotten a lot better about answering texts, but she’s still the same sunny, spontaneous hippie-at-heart. Since she has joined me in Dallas, we have jumped right back into our usual adventures, the biggest and most exciting being Harper & Tucker.
Some people are blinded by Natalie’s natural sweetness, her happy-go-lucky attitude, her ability to be such a good friend, her instinct to help others. That’s a mistake. Though glimmering just under the surface, her strength, determination, and intellect are just as bright, and a big part of the reason I chose her not only as my friend but also my business partner. She would never say it, but she excels at just about anything she puts her mind to. I’m just lucky that she chose to open a store with me instead of following one of the other plans she thought about along the way…Like getting her Ph.D. in Psychology, or going to law school.
I’m excited for you to get to know Natalie as I have. I know you’ll feel her kindness and humor in her blog posts, and glimpse her unique and easy style in our collections.