Grad Elin Dannerstedt is CEO and Co-Founder of NCLA Beauty
Born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, Elin Dannerstedt (pictured, left) and her family moved to Orange County, California when she was 16. After graduating from FIDM, she and her sister Anh-Thu launched LA-based NCLA Beauty, an award-winning line of nail lacquers, nail treatments, lipsticks, lip treatments, and nail art and accessories that has fans such as Bella Hadid, Taylor Swift, and Kendall Jenner, among others.
Fairly new to the U.S. and unfamiliar with the college system here, Elin chose FIDM because she knew she wanted to have a creative career. "FIDM was perfect for me and I'm so happy to be part of the FIDM family," said the CEO. "I did the first year in OC and then the second year in LA; I cherished my time there." She opted to major in Merchandise Product Development because she liked the balance of learning about the business side of the industry while still being creative.
"I loved going to class," she recalled. "I remember being so excited to study and I loved how hands-on school was. You really can’t learn everything in books and I value all I learned." FIDM's Career Center helped place Elin with her first job at Volcom where she worked in Pre-Production. "FIDM also helped me get every job after school before I started NCLA," added the 2003 graduate.
Elin and her sister co-founded NCLA Beauty in 2010 with a collection of nail wraps and nail lacquers. The clean, 7-free, and vegan formulas quickly gained a celebrity and media following. The beauty brand went on to collaborate with iconic names such as Beyoncé, Hello Kitty, Disney, and Barbie. "Every time we do a collab, we reach a new audience who might not have heard about our brand prior," she said.
NCLA Beauty, which has won awards from Allure and Nylon magazines, has since expanded to include color cosmetics made from clean ingredients with product names such as Venice Vacay and Down on the West Coast, inspired by the line's LA roots. "I sometimes cannot believe I have been doing this for almost 10 years," Elin said. "It’s amazing to work with my sister because we have so much trust in each other."
Elin said no day is the same at NCLA. She does everything from working on their website and social media, product development, chatting with distributors and the sales team, answering emails, and checking in on production. While it's plenty of hard work, she says it's also fun to own your business. "My favorite part is creating products, color stories, and seeing people around the world enjoy your products," she said. "It’s really an amazing feeling."
Visit nclabeauty.com to learn more.