We had the good fortune of connecting with Angelina Paldzyan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angelina, what role has risk played in your life or career?
To be honest, I’m generally not a risk taker. I believe in planning. I love excel sheets. I tend to stay very calculated with most of my decisions, but everything I’ve accomplished thus far has involved taking risks with little to no expectations in mind. Choosing to study fashion design instead of a major that would lead to a reliable career path was a risk. Using my savings to start a business was a risk. Reinvesting and releasing new collections are always a risk. Life’s about taking chances despite the odds against you. I’m still terribly afraid of them, but I’ve learned there’s no other way to grow. I always repeat the quotes “scared money don’t make money!” and “everything you want is on the other side of fear” to myself when I’m really having a hard time going through with taking risks. Whether they work out or not, you’ll still learn from them, and that’s a win in my book.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The birth of the brand is a bit of a messy story. I had always dreamed of having my own brand (and had tried and failed miserably when i was younger) but I never really had the right strategy or means to do it well. I ended up getting laid off at the start of Covid and began sewing and selling masks from fabric I had in my closet to get by. I did pretty well, and that gave me the confidence I needed to start my jewelry brand. So I started getting to work.
Throughout my journey in design, I had always struggled to find a signature style. I just wanted to try new things and create without boundaries. I eventually gave up on the idea of being defined by one style and created a self-titled brand with a design philosophy that resonated closely with me and mine. ANGELINA NATALIE, “for the ever-evolving individual,” because that’s exactly what we all are. I finally felt like I had a clear vision of what I wanted.
I worked on building the brand for months. Creating graphics and mock-ups myself, ordering samples and packaging materials took time and patience, but I was on my way. Towards the end of 2020, everything came to a stop when Artsakh, indigenous Armenian land, was attacked. As soon as war broke out, I didn’t care about the efforts I’d put into the brand anymore. I was more concerned about how to help my family and my people by donating money and raising awareness.
I impulsively spent a chunk of my savings on jewelry supplies and frantically created the “Defend Armenia” collection within a couple weeks. All donations from this affordable jewelry collection would go Armenian Wounded Heroes, including the money I’d spent in making & delivering orders. My ultimate goal was to give people that didn’t know about Armenia an incentive to donate and represent their support through wearing jewelry from this collection. I turned my empty domain into an online catalog and started taking pre-orders from people from all over the world. I expected very little orders and was blown away by the response. It was honestly incredible.
I ended up raising $4k in donations, which in retrospect didn’t seem like much, but it meant a lot to me. I’d put in a lot of heart, soul, and hours into hand-making all pieces with love. I was desperate for the world to see and hear us, even if it was just in my own online community, and it worked. To this day, nothing has felt more rewarding.
After the 44 Day War, I took a few months to recover from everything. My mental health was on a steady decline for months, but so was my bank account. I slowly gained my inspiration back and released my official debut collection in summer of 2021 called Metamorphosis. It embodied everything I wanted the brand to be. Growing, evolving, floating through life beautifully.
It has been an emotional and stressful journey getting here, and I’m not at all close to where I want to be, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that there is no “right time” to start anything. The right time is now. Forget about the resources you don’t have and get creative with the ones you do. Perfectionism only holds you back. I’ve also learned that confidence goes a long way. Challenges never disappear, but it’s up to us to face them with gusto and take control of whatever it is that intimidates us. I admit, I’m still learning how to conquer this… it’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either.
What I want the world to know about my brand is that it’s a product of hard work, love and resilience. My people have a history of rising from the ashes despite the odds, and that’s something I remind myself every time I feel defeated. My brand represents authenticity and self-expression. I’m so grateful for the support I have and can’t wait to put out more collections.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Los Angeles and honestly, I have not been out and about since the pandemic. That’s exactly two years now! I feel very out of touch with what’s in right now! My favorite coffee spot in downtown LA (Two Guns Espresso) was shut down recently, so I’d have to find a new one, but my ideal day out would definitely start out with a gooooood latte! Sipping on a hot mocha and heading to an art exhibit sounds like a great day to me. I’ve been wanting to experience the Van Gogh and Banksy exhibits so I’d most likely suggest those and follow it up with a laid-back lunch at an outdoor cafe. I’m pretty simple when it comes to hanging out… I don’t like to do too much and I don’t like staying out long. I’m really a homebody although sometimes I wish I wasn’t.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d really like to thank my parents. My mother always wanted me to be a doctor and I couldn’t stand the sight of blood, but she and my grandpa took me to all my art and fashion classes as a child. She helped me through my many all nighters in college, hand sewing flower petals and pearls onto silk chiffon dresses, making sure I didn’t have a meltdown. And my father, he’s always been my biggest cheerleader. When I’d doubt myself, he’d know exactly what to say to help me through it. Every time my sewing machine broke, he’d drop everything to fix it. I owe a lot to them. They sacrificed a lot to immigrate to this country and give me this opportunity at life. I couldn’t be more grateful.
Personal Instagram @aangelinanataliee
Brand Instagram: @angelinanatalieLA
Photos by Angelina
Models: @chinakellyy and @alemeda