Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop Name of Love – Photos by Bridget Badore
“Everything we craft – from our product to our message and how we deliver it comes down to design,”
Name of Love co-founder Merrill Moskal explained in our interview below, “In that sense, our creativity through design drives what we hope is our contribution to bigger conversations surrounding female unity, entrepreneurship and empowerment.”
Helmed by Merrill and co-founder Simona Popvassilev, Name of Love’s thoughtful approach to design has made a powerful impact in the bridal industry. Driven by the pillars of community, modern life and personal style, Merrill and Simona are leading the charge in streamlining the shopping process for bridesmaids everywhere. Though as you’ll see more of in today’s studio visit, our time with the talented duo proves that their mission stretches far beyond the confines of a single wedding – as they hope that each piece in their core collection can be worn (and loved) time and time again.
Having only recently launched and with Name of Love’s contemporary ethos, we were interested to learn more about Merrill and Simona’s thoughts on their brand’s new beginnings, how they each respectively start their days as budding entrepreneurs and the important role design plays in empowering their growing community. So without giving too much away discover our morning with the designers below and take a virtual tour of their gorgeous studio featuring moments from our visit captured by Bridget Badore for The Style Line.
I’m Merrill Moskal.
I value my friendships above anything else, my friends are my support system – we lift each other up. Which I think is why we developed a brand around that core idea. Traveling to new places and having new experiences in life is what it’s all about – and if you are lucky enough experience it with your friends and family that’s even better. Proud to be Canadian, but absolutely love my life in New York. This city has a heartbeat that keeps you motivated to be the best version of yourself.
I’m Simona Popvassilev.
Ditto on all of that. Maybe that’s why we’re best friends!
Give us a refresher on Name of Love’s initial inception. How do you hope to see the brand evolve as it becomes more well-known?
Merrill Moskal: The initial inception of the brand was from both Simona and I being in our best friend’s wedding.
Our friend, The bride, was really frustrated with the lack of options that were out there in the price range that she felt comfortable asking us to spend. We thought to ourselves “There has to be an easier way to do this,”… now there is.
Simona Popvassilev: In terms of evolving, we’re excited to grow the collection (already working on it!) and soon branch into accessories, collaborations and bridesmaids gifts. Launching a NY showroom is a dream, as well as shipping worldwide (yay). But all in all, we will stay true to the core vision and not try to be too many things. We hope to see it grow to become the stand-alone online destination for bridesmaid dresses – the first thing that comes to mind. As of right now, no one is really in that spot – that’s where we’d love to be!
Let’s talk about new beginnings. With Name of Love only having very recently launched, what excites you the most about building something that’s entirely your own?
Merrill Moskal: What excites me the most is being able to create the right environment and culture for the brand.
I’ve had the pleasure of working for a few amazing companies in the past that really invested in their employees and made the whole operation feel like we were working towards the same goal together. And some by comparison weren’t so community oriented. The ethos of our brand is that, “what is not possible in the name of love” we intend to work and live by that sentiment and I think that is what will make us successful.
Simona Popvassilev: Definitely agree with MM – culture is crucial. Starting NOL from scratch has been beyond gratifying. Being in the driver’s seat and making our own rules is scary – but also incredibly satisfying when you see the reward and the positive response. I feel like we’ve birthed a child and now we are raising it.
With the above theme in mind how do you begin your day when it comes to Name of Love and your outside commitments? What are a few of your essentials?
Merrill Moskal: I always start my day reading my TheSkimm email with coffee. I need to know what’s going on in the world, everything is relevant.
Also, I used to really struggle with falling asleep so I also have recently started forcing myself to work out at least 3 times a week. If you don’t get a good sleep you can count on having a rough morning, and I don’t have time for that anymore!
Simona Popvassilev: I start my day with NOL emails, coffee and breakfast at home before I head out. The morning catch-up (and me-time) is really important for me. A few days a week that also means waking up at 6:30 for barre-yoga, which always feels so hard but helps me stay focused throughout the day.
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
Merrill Moskal: What are you good at?
Simona Popvassilev: What drives you?
How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and how do you think Name of Love is playing a role in this?
Merrill Moskal and Simona Popvassilev: I think creativity is the ultimate form of self-expression – it drives innovation and thought-leadership, which is what makes the world go ’round. In the case of NOL, design is our primary form of expression and is at the core of what we do. Everything we craft – from our product to our message and how we deliver it comes down to design. In that sense, our creativity through design drives what we hope is our contribution to bigger conversations surrounding female unity, entrepreneurship and empowerment.
Modernity is something we’re seeing a lot of within this new wave of fashion and lifestyle brands and it’s also something we talk about in our stories as it pertains to some of the world’s bigger conversations. In your mind who is the Name of Love woman and what makes her modern?
Merrill Moskal and Simona Popvassilev: The Name of Love woman is always top of mind for us. One of the things that inspired us to start the company was the ‘idea of her’ from an excerpt we love – ” She is driven by love… and her compassion is her mark of confidence”. The NOL woman finds her confidence from the love she shares with her closest people.
She’s modern in that she’s informed, worldly, busy, witty. Ultimately, all of these things driver her aesthetic choices and what she’s drawn to – beauty, great design, understated – with a twist. That’s NOL.
How would you advise the next generation of designers, makers and creatives to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?
Merrill Moskal: I think you have to have your own “ah ha” moment, but with that you truly have to do the work, nothing comes for free. We worked on Name of Love for over a year and a half before we launched. Also you have to believe in yourself and your vision to really sell it to the rest of the world, part of being an entrepreneur is managing your own emotional state – you’re going to have very high highs and very low lows but you have to learn how to navigate through both of them.
Simona Popvassilev: … And learn to watch, listen and research. With creatives, (like us) there’s a strong need to express and push-out (your ideas, your product or whatever it is you make).
But the most important thing is to listen and watch the world around you to truly understand how to position your craft for the world, where it fits, and how to reach the people you are trying to communicate to. Doing what you love is great, but there’s nothing more gratifying than seeing your audience connect with your brand and what you do.