Entrepreneur Talk: Terra New York
- Terra New York’s Nolita cape
- Marie Saeki, left, and Yurika Nakazono,
photographed by Mimi Ritzen Crawford
If you’re looking for chic rainwear, here’s a name you should know: Terra New York. We spoke with co-founders Marie Saeki, who also has her own pr firm, and Yurika Nakazono about the line and scored some business advice, too.
- We met through…
MS: My husband, Takamichi.
YN: He’s been cutting my hair for over 10 years. At the time, I was with my French boyfriend
and he was with Marie, who’s French, so he always said we should meet. Then I was looking for a job,
she hired me [at Marie Saeki PR] and we became friends after that.
- The inspiration behind Terra…
YN: Marie and I have always talked about doing something together. And I’ve been thinking
about this concept for a long time — working fashion events, I always had a problem finding
something really cool and good looking to wear every time it rained.
MS: We started looking around and couldn’t find anything that was fashionable and technically perfect….
- And by technically perfect, we mean…
YN: The things you find in the market are not really heat-sealed and completely waterproof. Our designs are. We have ventilation holes. Our pockets face the other way so water doesn’t seep in.
MS: A lot of the details were inspired by ski and sports clothes.
- The name Terra comes from…
MS: The word Ter, which means three in Latin — for two founders and one element, water.
And Ra is pilot code for rain. It’s also the sun god of Egypt, which we loved,
because in the future we want to help countries that are too dry.
YN: Our goal is to change something in the world once we become a bigger company,
like bring clean water to villages or dig wells. We want to give back.
- Most challenging part of owning your own business…
YN: Production. Finding the right factory.
MS: And following your cash flow. Be aware of your cash flow, what it is, when you can spend and when you can’t. Even if you have thousands of orders, if you don’t have the cash flow to do production, it doesn’t help.
- We couldn’t run our business without…
YN: Each other.
MS: Sometimes your energy and your believing in the company can be down — but it’s not always
at the same time. We pick each other up and that’s really cool.
- When you have a business partner…
YN: Communication is key. And even if you’re friends, you should always have a contract.
MS: Because even if your relationship is good, when money is involved, you never know
how people are going to react.
- Best business advice I’ve ever received…
MS: Don’t hesitate to ask your friends for help. I’ve been in the fashion business for a long time and, honestly, people are so nice and ready to help.
- As an entrepreneur, you should never underestimate…
MS: If you have an idea, you can do it if you really want it. But just don’t underestimate
the amount of work it takes, that’s for sure.
- And never be afraid of…
YN: Confrontation. We’ve said from the beginning, if you think anything, tell me right now or the day after. Because if not, it’s going to be small things piling up and then we’re going to explode.
- My perfect rainy day involves…
MS: Wearing Terra! I’m kidding. I love to ride my bicycle — it’s fun to see people
running around in a storm trying to find a dry space.
YN: When I have my kids, I love jumping around in water puddles. But I also love
going out to a museum when it rains.
- What’s next…
MS: We have a collaboration with this young artist Charles Billot. He shot a video for us in Jamaica.
YN: We’re developing our accessories more, then men’s and children’s and maybe dogs. We eventually want to do a lifestyle brand and take care of every kind of extreme weather.
More to explore in Style
- Style 5.11.23 Mother’s Day: Life is a Beach for Michelle Li
- Style 5.11.23 Mother’s Day: Elissa Santisi & Franny Keller
- Style 5.9.23 Mother’s Day: Carla Rockmore Follows Her Inspiration
- Style 5.8.23 Mother’s Day: Telsha Anderson-Boone is Building a Legacy
- Style 5.2.23 Mother’s Day: Becky Malinsky Wants to Finish ‘The Power Broker’