Read On: Fashionable, wearable SoCal moments
I heard the other day that Amazon took in more than 500 orders per second — per second — and nearly 50 million orders in total on Cyber Monday this past week. It’s impossible to even conceive of just how massively e-commerce has altered the holiday-shopping equation.
But it’s important to note that some businesspeople are still out there fighting the good fight to do things small- and old-school. Pounding the pavement and selling to stores. Taking a great idea and seeing it through. Hoping to get spotted amid the deafening din of the retail circus.
I’m talking about Lysa Nalin.
Nalin is your basic independent, self-made woman who has never taken the easy path. As an actress, singer and dancer, she encountered a succession of misogynistic men who made it clear that the way to career success would be for her to compromise her morals. She refused.
“I decided that I’d rather starve,” she said.
Being intelligent and resourceful, Nalin was able to switch gears and become a professional photographer. And a very good one. She mentored with celebrity shooter Harry Langdon, learned the tricks of the trade, and has done well for herself capturing Hollywood red carpet and other events for better than a decade.
But Nalin has also had this passion to shoot other stuff — namely, the world around her, nooks and crannies of her native Los Angeles that people never see — and then pass that unique artistic perspective along.
That’s where Nalin had her brainstorm. She was sitting in her father’s swimming pool in Encino on a hot summer day when she thought, wow, this water is beautiful. Wouldn’t it be great if I could take it with me wherever I went?
The notion gave Nalin the idea to photograph the water and transfer it onto fabric as wearable art. The problem was, no one could transfer a print with sufficient quality to make it work.
“I started researching it, and the price for what I wanted to do with four-color printing was just astronomical,” Nalin recalled. “I was determined to make this work. I just needed the technology to catch up to me. And now, it finally has.”
Printing on fabric remains an expensive process. But digital advances now make it possible — and exquisite. Nalin has elevated scenic photography to a new level of fashion and artistic expression in a line of scarves — long and lustrous body wraps that take away your breath as eye-popping fusions of art and nature.
You can now find Nalin’s luxurious silk and soft cotton scarves at stores all over Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Monica and the San Fernando Valley, including in Burbank at the Bell Cottage gift emporium on Magnolia Boulevard. They’re also available at the Ron Robinson boutique in Fred Segal stores. And just this week, Nalin crafted custom human-sized scarves and throw blankets to promote the launch of a new special-collection, Andy Warhol version of Barbie — in tandem with Mattel.
The library of her scarves includes digital prints of a peacock’s tail, a giraffe’s colorful hide, palm trees at sunset along Wilshire Boulevard, a midnight shot of the L.A. nightscape looking down from Mulholland Drive — and the water inside that Encino swimming pool, the crisp blues shimmering underwater.
Truthfully, the captivating scarves need to be seen to be fully appreciated. They are indeed like nothing you’ve ever laid eyes on. And while they aren’t cheap, they are reasonably affordable as a nice holiday gift — priced between $130 and $160.
“It’s all about the quality of the fabric I can print on now,” Nalin said. “The method makes the designs jump out. They really adhere to the fabric. And they won’t fade. You can wash them.”
While you can buy the scarves online at lysanalin.com, it’s the dozen or so boutiques carrying Nalin’s scarves that embody her entrepreneurial spirit. It took good old-fashioned fortitude to create the product; literal legwork to land the scarves in stores and now a huge effort to get them marketed and noticed.
But it’s starting to happen.
“I’m on a mission,” Nalin said. “I’m going to keep adding to the library of landscapes. And I want to put them on all kinds of things. Throw blankets. Big body pillows. Hats. Dresses. The beauty of it is that there’s really no limit.”
Nalin also has the goal of getting her scarves in all of the big hotels and aligned with the souvenir industry. But no matter what, as a businesswoman putting her smarts and artistic eye to work to create something bold and original, she’s already a success.