The story of nu nues… a dream brought to life
Updated: Sep 27
A quintessentially South African phrase often uttered when a particularly adorable moment is experienced, has its origins in the French language - nu nues [pronounced nooh - noohs] meaning ‘naked / bare’. What this refer to is the French effortless and minimalistic approach to dressing little ones like mini Parisiennes! Here in South Africa, environmentally friendly nu nues is all about classic baby and toddler wear that is plastic-free and locally made using only fair trade, natural textiles to make this world better for our Lé Petit.
Rochelle Bailey, owner of nu nues, shares how she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey: “I have had two sink or swim moments in my entrepreneur timeline. The first one was when my son was born and I found myself with a five-week-old baby in my arms, not knowing what I was going to do when my UIF money ran out. So, I decided to open a small design agency. After a few years of not enjoying what I was doing and finding it very difficult to juggle having a son at home with me and being an entrepreneur, I had a second defining moment. I decided to start doing what I really wanted to do for a long time, which was obviously fashion focused.”
And right there, in the middle of a pandemic, nu nues was born!
Rochelle bought two domestic sewing machines, bought some fabric and started from there. With no formal training in fashion design, what followed involved a lot of ‘self-teaching’ from YouTube, like learning how to lockstitch. Once full production was underway and the nu nues online store was live, Rochelle was working from her son's bedroom which was not ideal. She knew then it was time to start renting space… and that was when things really took off!
She explains: “The most important part of this journey has been having my son around me while growing the business. My objective was always to have him close by while I worked doing something I love.”
As is the case for most businesses, Covid presented a trying time and, while nu nues has fortunately gone from strength to strength, it wasn't enough. Rochelle knew that she needed to have the combination of a physical retail store as well as an online store. Why? Because she wants people to come in, feel the fabric, get a sense of the quality and know that they have the option of continuing to buy her products online after they have experienced them first-hand. “I do believe that it's essential for my business to have the retail outlet, which is why I was ever so grateful that SOKO District contacted me. I wouldn't have been able to enter the retail arena without the space and support SOKO District provides. I am convinced that it's a strong sense of community that's going to bring in local companies such as mine and allow us to bridge the gap between an online store and finding our place in the retail market,” Rochelle concludes.
The full range of nu nues baby and toddler wear is made from 100% cotton. Memory blankets and décor now also form part of the range.
Visit the nu nues website here. You’ll find the first SOKO District in the bustling heart of Jozi at Rosebank Mall, 50 Bath Ave, Rosebank. For more information visit the SOKO District website or watch the launch video here: https://youtu.be/9udCS_7EMPM
Each brand within SOKO District has a completely customisable space which means customers can easily find and recognise their favourite store. From a shop-fitting perspective, nothing goes to waste. Even shop branding is carefully recycled into stylish shopping bags after use.
NOTE: All Covid protocols are in place.
SOKO District at Rosebank Mall Operating Hours:
SOKO District is operational under the adjusted level 3 restrictions:
Mon – Thurs: 9am-6pm | Fri: 9am-7pm | Sat, Sun and Public holidays: 9am – 5pm
Follow nu nues on Instagram @nunues_sa and SOKO District on @sokodistrict or keep up to date with on Facebook @nunuesinsa and @sokodistrict. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #SOKODistrict #SOKORosebank #RetellTherapy when you are sharing your SOKO District experiences.