I had the privilege of meeting Naadine earlier this year, and have been impressed with her ever since. Naadine owns an art studio and collective in Santa Ana, California, called Great Over Good. Her mission is to spread creativity and greatness to anyone who comes in contact with her brand. Great Over Good is home to several full-time artists, and regularly collaborates with other creatives through workshops and events (fun fact: all of our Bloggers Giving Back events have been held here!). Today, I want to hand the mic to Naadine because she has some seriously wonderful things to say about everything from fashion to starting your own business. Let’s get started!
1. Please introduce yourself — who are you and what do you do?
My name is Naadine Koi and I’m the owner and creative director of Great Over Good, a creative collective that specializes in workshops, events and studio space for artistic individuals. I grew up on the East Coast and dabbled in different industries, including fashion design and visual merchandising. Then I moved to California to pursue a career in the arts, and ultimately settled on something that combines my love of creativity and people: curating. And that’s how Great Over Good was born! I’ve been on the West Coast for eight years now, and Great Over Good keeps me in tune with the arts and the fashion industry, which remains a big love of mine.
2. Can you give us the lowdown on Great Over Good?
I wanted to give the space a name that didn’t sound like anything people had heard before. My thought was that when someone heard the name, they wouldn’t know what we do, to give it an air of mystery. It feels great knowing that I can put a Great Over Good sticker anywhere in the world and inspire someone. They don’t ever have to know who we are or what we do, but they can be inspired to reach for greatness.
If I were a physical space, I would be Great Over Good. Our different residents would be my diverse personality traits. Jr., our tattoo artist, would be my badass fun-loving thoughtful side. Haleh, a photographer and painter, would be my maternal, nurturing and artistic side. Nate, a graphic designer, would be my down to earth, rustic, designer side. Each resident embodies a different interest, the things that I love, and that inspire me. The events and workshops we organize embody my energy and passion for learning. There is nothing I love more than having people gather in our space; I get this overwhelming feeling that everything is going to be all right.
3. What inspired you to start Great Over Good?
I wanted a space where I could create, where I could make a mess and my mom wouldn’t tell me to clean it up before I went to bed. When I was growing up I was heavy into collages, I used to spend hours and hours cutting things out of magazines to create these big fashion inspiration boards. I would make a huge mess when I was creating these boards, and my mom would always get annoyed and tell me to clean it up. I remember thinking to myself, “this is bullshit! I can’t wait to get the hell out of here and have my own space.”
Well, I did just that.
It’s nice to have my own space to create and think outside the box, and yet at the same time be surrounded by so many incredible people. Our residents keep me constantly inspired and push me to keep striving for greatness; it’s a motto that we all live by at Great Over Good.
4. Did you have any struggles or obstacles when starting Great Over Good?
One of the biggest struggles I faced when getting started with Great Over Good—and something I continue to struggle with to some extent today—is finding an audience who is receptive to and invested in our vision. It can be challenging to reach people who are interested in what I do, especially since there are so many people that do similar things and it can sometimes be hard to stand out from the crowd. I worked extremely hard to get people to notice me, to notice Great Over Good, and to listen. But in the two years I’ve been doing this I’ve come to realize that it’s all about consistency, about not giving up. Find what works for you and stick with it; don’t get distracted by what others are doing. Just keep your eye on the prize and with time you’ll start to see yourself getting closer to your goal.
5. What’s the future of Great Over Good?
We really want our workshops to grow, we want people to know that Great Over Good is a place where they can come to develop their skills, to network and to get inspired. In the next few weeks we’ll be launching our much-anticipated Photoshop 101, a one-day training workshop that will help participants master the basics of visuals and graphics in order to crush their competition. In the long term, I plan to open up several Great Over Good locations around the world in order to spread our message and continue growing our collective.
6. You’re a total fashionista. How would you describe your personal style?
Is “hot mess” a category?! Because I feel like that sometimes; I’m all over the place. Half the time I don’t even know what the hell I’m doing. At least once a week I ask myself “is this still trendy?” I never know the answer. I work so much it’s hard to keep up, but I just make do with what I have, and I do what feels comfortable. Every day is different for me; one day I’m meeting with clients and doing photo shoots, and the next day I’m scrubbing floors and sorting the mail.
I love mixing and matching prints, patterns and textures. If I had to narrow it down, I would have to say that I’m a leather and lace type of girl. I like really sweet, sophisticated girly looks mixed with sexy and edgier pieces. You’ll see me pairing comfy classics like a cotton maxi or jogger pants with suede booties, a leather jacket and a touch of gold, like a bold necklace or bracelet.
7. Do you have any tips for people who want to develop their own sense of style?
To me, it’s pretty simple: Find what you feel comfortable and confident in and own it!
8. If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps, what would it be?
Be a risk taker. Nothing in this business is guaranteed. You have to work really hard and stand up for what you believe in. Get shit done!