Having sold $1 million worth of inventory in just 12 minutes this past February, what Nell is doing is clearly working, a situation that feels especially sweet considering how her love of fashion was dismissed as a frivolous pursuit.
“When I was younger, it was telegraphed to me that things like shopping were not serious, right? And those weren’t things that should be interesting to a serious or intelligent person,” she noted. “And now, I understand as the CEO of a consumer business, shopping and retail are massive industries that fuel the economy of every single country, so you can be intelligent and really interested in retail and shopping. You can be serious and be all those things, and you can also be a little not serious, and that’s okay, too.”
She’s had her share of doubters. “Like every woman,” Nell said, “I’ve experienced times where it’s been like, ‘Oh, cute little business,’ or, ‘Nice little side project.'” But, she also has the advice of her dad Bob Diamond, former Barclays CEO, and mom Jennifer Diamond. “One of the things my parents always told me was really to keep my blinders on and just focus on the job in front of me,” she continued, “and not pay attention to all that talk on either end.”
What she has paid attention to is the “incredible gift of perspective” she’s received from motherhood. “I’m somebody who takes things very seriously. I was that nerdy student in class who really freaked out if I didn’t get the right grade on a test, and it was a ton of pressure that I put on myself kind of my whole academic and early career to be performing at my best and really to be searching for perfection in many ways,” she described. “I didn’t ever want to make a mistake. Everything felt like it was the most important thing ever.”
But as an entrepreneur, error is par for the course. “Things go wrong all the time, and it’s not a reflection on our intelligence as business people. It’s not a reflection on anything other than humanity,” she said. “Having children has really reminded me of that.”