Nicole Pollock is lending a fashionable hand to busy Los Altos women trying to balance careers and motherhood. And with good reason – she’s one of them.
After a decade of working as a marketing and advertising professional for several local high-tech companies – including most recently in Google’s Commerce Division – Pollock recently changed professional gears and became a high-end fashion consultant for New York City-based Carlisle.
Pollock, a Class of 2000 Los Altos High graduate, said she made the career switch shortly after the birth of her son, Benjamin, now 10 months old. Her new role allows her to enjoy two vastly different roles simultaneously – mom and business owner.
“I really wanted to enjoy this special time in my life and put my attention into (Benjamin), but I still wanted to do something for me as well,” said Pollock, who began her new business earlier this summer. “I think it’s a constant battle for women when they start families to make that choice.”
Still, Pollock readily conceded that her new career choice requires plenty of support from those around her, including her husband. She also turned to another mom – her own – to provide a helping hand.
Together, Pollock and her mother, 20-year Los Altos resident Linda Oloff, hosted their first invitation-only trunk show in August. The event transformed Oloff’s Los Altos home into a weeklong fashion boutique for local moms and business professionals.
“If I’m going to be working hard on something and taking time away from my baby, I want it to be something I enjoy,” said Pollock, who drew inspiration to become a Carlisle consultant based on her mother-in-law’s 16 years as a consultant for the company. “Luckily, I have a lot of support. My mom helps me so much. She’s supportive – I couldn’t do it without her.”
Oloff, meanwhile, said her decision to join her daughter was multifaceted. The arrangement gave her the opportunity to spend more time with her daughter and grandson, while also supporting her daughter’s desire to have a career.
“She should have something of her own – and I’m happy to help her do that,” said Oloff of Pollock.
Forget the mall
Oloff and Pollock said they also recognized an unfilled need among busy Los Altos women. They determined to provide a relaxed, individually focused experience for those who simply don’t have the time or will to brave mall crowds.
“People in Los Altos – and the surrounding areas – don’t necessarily want to go to Valley Fair mall to go shopping,” Oloff said. “People want to be nearby because they don’t have a lot of time.”
Pollock said she aims to provide the personal touch by hand-delivering orders of garments to each customer’s home or workplace.
“We try to create an environment that people enjoy coming to and an experience people want to come back to. … It’s about the individual experience and that individual attention,” she said.
The duo noted that there’s also more to their business than simply trying to create an agreeable environment for customers. Carlisle’s garments offer high quality without department store markups, Pollock said. Carlisle garments, she added, are made from fabrics that originate from the same Italian mills as Prada, Valentino and Chanel lines.
“The clothing speaks for itself. You don’t have to be a salesperson,” said Oloff, who noted that the pair is slated to host a second trunk show Oct. 16-22.
Pollock said that while she’s hoping to see her business grow in the future, she’s focused on enjoying the time she has with Benjamin while simultaneously embarking on her new career.
“I’m working harder now than I did in the past 10 years, but I’m having fun and I’m enjoying it,” she said with a chuckle. “That’s the weirdest part of it all.”
Local mom and daughter start home fashion business - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier