For Jordana Woodland, mom of three and CEO of Naked Princess, taking a few extra moments to get ready makes all the difference to a woman's day, and helped inspire a business that she hopes to build into an empire.
“Ever since I was a young girl I would look at my mom and watch how she got ready," says Woodland. “Women don't do that anymore. We're always on the go, and with me being a mom it seems impossible. But it's so important to take a few minutes to take care of yourself. I admire that."
Woodland, who has collected centuries-old perfume bottles and vintage lingerie from all around the world since she was a teenager, says that she has always been intrigued by the “concept of the boudoir," and wanted to create a line made especially for women that made them feel sophisticated and comfortable there. Her brand, Naked Princess, is meant to offer small but significant luxuries for a woman's life.
The Naked Princess fashion line is comprised of clothes that can be worn on a lazy day inside or a fashion-forward afternoon out. “It's meant to be fun and easy, you can wear around the house, or you can go on a lunch date," says the former model, who actively creates the clothes with the ease and comfort of the consumer in mind, “A lot have built-in bras. I am always looking to make things that aren't too fussy, maybe buttons but no zippers. Our pajama sets are best sellers."
With hundreds of SKUs and distribution through nearly 200 spas, boutiques and specialty stores around the world, Woodland says a focus on timeless styles, fabrics that feel and look nice like velvet, silk, and organic cotton and an array of colors from neutrals to bolds are paramount to the longevity of the brand.
Woodland first introduced her brand to the public via its stand-alone retail store on the Melrose Place Shopping District of Los Angeles in 2014. After gaining a steady local following, the Naked Princess founder says she began dressing celebrities, arming stylists with wardrobes for their high-profile clients, and adapting lingerie looks into red carpet worthy head-turners. The love from Hollywood elites like Lady Gaga and Cindy Crawford, helped with Naked Princess's recognition, “People noticed us getting on covers of magazines," says Woodland.
“When you walk into a beautiful store it was a great way for people to connect with the brand immediately. We had different collections, scents, lotions, and fabrics to touch. Our store put us on the map," says Woodland.
Later, she added beauty to the lineup to fill the void she saw in the industry-simple, fuss free products. “When I started the beauty line I wanted to make sure it was easy," says Woodland. "I know the whole trend of makeup, foundation, and contouring. That wasn't in at the time." According to Woodland, Naked Princess's beauty brand is based on essentials to make every girl feel beautiful. “The line is quick, on the go," she says. "Something you would have on your vanity; a collection of lip glosses, or really fantastic massage candles that you can light up for 20 minutes, blow out and use the soy wax to massage yourself."
Photo Courtesy of John Russo
The Naked Princess CEO says ultimately it was a “combination of things" that lead her to launch a lifestyle brand, which she did in 2011 when she was only 29 years old. “Starting when you're young is one of the most difficult things," says the entrepreneur. “I know what I want. I have a vision. You then either hire somebody to put your creativity on paper or you do everything yourself."
Woodland says that because of her clear vision for the brand, she likes to be involved in every stage of the entire creation process. To wit, even though she hired a creative company to create her logo, she quickly decided “'I can do this myself," and then she did. "When you're building a brand, you have to understand who your customer is and that's difficult in a world today when people's likes and dislikes are constantly changing," says Woodland. "From branding to voice messaging, I'm extremely hands-on with it."
Born in the Philippines, the CEO started modeling when she was 19 and says she was always around makeup artists, which instilled in her a love of cosmetics. “I was really involved in modeling, but I have always been interested in being in front and behind the camera.," says Woodland.
Although it may seem like she chose a high-flying and stressful career, Woodland, who is based in LA and Montana, says balance is the secret to her success. “I'm in Montana because of a previous relationship, but I love it for [my kids], and for me," says the mom of three. “It's gotten me to get into the hobbies I have now, here we have a ranch and horses. We snowboard and ski every weekend. I really appreciate nature out here, the quality of air and the quality of time. In California, everyone is so focused on getting from one place to the next. It's a great contrast which I love."
In order to build more buzz for her brand, the CEO says she is currently focused on trunk shows and pop-ups as a way to introduce new consumers to her product assortment. “People don't always trust a new brand," she says. “To go out and meet people and have fact time. Show how to wear. When people know something is available for the specific window, they want to take advantage of it."
Photo Courtesy of John Russo
“When you're building a brand, you have to understand who your customer is and that's difficult in a world today when people's likes and dislikes are constantly changing."
As far as sales go Naked Princess isn't lacking. “The line has been selling really well with women; because you really understand the quality of it when you purchase it," she says, adding that by inspiring women's loungewear, there is a ripple effect to bigger trends. "A lot of women are wearing silk at home and transitioning them to the red carpet."
Ava Tie Tank. Photo Courtesy of Naked Princess
In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.
For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.
Believe it or not, I am happy about that.
The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.
It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).
These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.
So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.
Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.
The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."
In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.