The MNY Spotlight
Meet Courtney Toll and Annabel Love, co-founders of NORI
We are Courtney Toll and Annabel Love and we are the founders of Nori! We are both graduates of Wake Forest University where we were sophomore year roommates. We have remained best friends since graduation and are now business partners in New York City. Courtney Toll is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nori. Courtney began her career in the consulting space and quickly noticed that she was lacking the tools to help her achieve that polished and wrinkle-free look. After over a year with the group, she found herself feeling stagnant in the role and returned her attention to an idea she fostered while in school. After raising money from family and friends on weekends and after work, Courtney left her job in September 2019 to pursue the creation of Nori: an innovative handheld steam iron designed to remove the hassle from ironing. Her Co-Founder and Nori’s Chief Operating Officer, Annabel Love, joined her in March of 2020. Annabel grew up in the Bay Area where she was exposed to many different startups and fostered a fascination for entrepreneurship. After she graduated from Wake Forest University, Annabel began her career in interior design where she mastered the art of supply chain management and design. Once the co-founders adopted Nori as a full time job, they allowed their passion to carry them through the very rigorous and lengthy product development process. Nori launched on Monday May 24th 2021 and is available to purchase on their website at www.nori.com.
What inspired you to create the Nori?
Our story begins in a cramped New York apartment. I, Courtney, was living and working in the city for the first time, having accepted an internship at a professional research firm where I was tasked with maintaining a professional wardrobe. I was extremely eager to make a strong first impression (appearance included) and was understandably discouraged when I would wake up in the morning with a wrinkled blouse only to find that… I didn’t have the space in my apartment for an ironing board, I didn’t have the time to deal with inefficient and leaky steamers, nor the funds to support a recurring dry cleaning bill. I would instead wake up in the morning, turn on my hair straightener, straighten my hair and then use that same heated device to press out the wrinkles in my clothing. I quickly realized that I was not the only one turning to these wrinkle-removing DIY hacks and asked Annabel to join me in identifying a better way.We were inspired to create a product that is built for the modern working woman. We wanted to create something that would allow this woman to do it all while still achieving that effortless and professional look.
a modern wrinkle removing solution inspired by the technology of a hair straightener. The powerful combination of fabric specific heat settings and a deodorizing steam solution allow our customers to obtain a dry cleaning-like finish in just minutes at home. Gone are the days of clunky ironing boards and leaky steamers.
Who are some of your entrepreneurial role models?
We look up to so many different entrepreneurs that have inspired us and encouraged us to take this journey! Some of our entrepreneurial role models include Sara Blakely, Emily Weiss, Nancy Twine, Jen Rubio, Whitney Wolfe, and Katrina Lake.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of creating your own product / business?
So far, the most rewarding aspect has been strangers coming up to us saying how badly they needed this product. It feels great to create a unique product that people actually want and need!
How do you find time for yourself while managing a startup?
We both believe it is important to take time for yourself when you need it. My favorite way to unwind is a bubble bath at night- it makes the world of a difference to me!
Why is it important to you to empower other female entrepreneurs?
We think it is not only important to be a cheerleader for other female-run companies, but share our mistakes and learning opportunities with other female entrepreneurs. We have been grateful to have spoken with female founders prior to launch and they helped us avoid some major mistakes. We hope to do the same for other female entrepreneurs!
What draws you to the Mestiza brand? How do you like your new Mestiza pieces?!
We both love all the beautiful colors of the Mestiza brand; These are gorgeous pieces that will make you stand out and are different from other items we have in our closet!
Having invested such time in differentiating our product from market competitors, we were instantly drawn to Mestiza’s individualized patterns and designs that feel purposefully unique to this brand.
Prepping the Jody Midi for the Nori Press!
Where are you wearing your Mestiza piece next?
I am wearing mine all summer long!! It is the perfect piece for a night out or a fun daytime event, and I can’t wait to pack it with me on my summer travels!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to create their own product / business?
Go for it and make it happen! Everyone has ideas, but few people have the courage to take the leap. Think about small steps you can take to de-risk your entrepreneurial jump. Talk to as many people as you can about the idea, think about what type of capital you might need to support it, and never turn down a phone call...you never know where a conversation might lead. Work hard and trust your gut, you will be surprised how far that can take you!