ELEVEN SIX WOMEN | MOLLY NUTTER
Video Stills by ELLIE CONNELL of @reelingfilms
Meet ELEVEN SIX WOMAN: Molly Nutter: A beautiful woman my path crossed with a few years back at an intimate Ravenwood dinner event in Upstate NY . I was immediately struck by Molly’s warmth, bold yet understated, cool style and her confident yet modest manner. I then came to learn of Molly’s successful career heading up Fashion Buying at the prolific late Barneys and for the French brand: Celine. A natural friendship blossomed with many common connections. Pre-pandemic, Molly left New York for a new venture taking a President role at the Austin, Texas institutional boutique: ByGeorge. We were inspired to capture Molly in some knitwear pieces from our Spring 21 collection in the place she now calls home at her 30’s era cottage nestled in one of the old, original central Austin neighborhoods.
Can you share with us your career journey as a fashion buyer to where you are today?
I definitely have a creative bent, but I’m also quite practical - fashion buying seemed the most practical application for a creative like myself who enjoys working behind the scenes, on a team, and thrives on solving problems. I probably couldn’t escape working in fashion if I tried (and I have!) – I’ve always been drawn to it. My first significant job was out of college, working at a small specialty store in San Francisco. The owner of the store was there every day, with the exception of when she was on buying trips. She knew every client, carefully selected everything in the store, and went to great lengths to ensure the store was beautiful and well-organized. The owner shaped my taste, my understanding of restraint and the importance of product integrity. It was the perfect foundation for heading out into the big world of fashion, to New York, where I quickly landed a job at Barneys New York as a merchandising assistant. This was when Barneys was still owned by the Pressman family – it was the best kind of circus! I met and learned from the most creative, smart, hilarious, irreverent, talented and fearless people in one small company. To say I was lucky to be brought up in that environment is an understatement – and I was mentored by a small group of women that kept me passionate and curious and loyal to Barneys as an employee for 19 years! From Barneys, I went to work for Céline at its US headquarters as their Buying Director – these were during the last of the Phoebe Philo years, when the company was opening stores throughout North America. I oversaw a team of buyers, trainers, visual merchandisers and CRM specialists – all of us responsible for bringing brand vision to life from Paris. It was there that it really reinforced my understanding that when a company has a strong identity and purpose and represents the best of the best in its field, it attracts people who are passionate and committed, just like Barneys. You find your gang of people who share a common goal and work together to ensure its success. When I left Céline (at the end of the Philo era) I knew I wanted to continue in that vein: work for a company at the top of its field, that made or sold product with integrity (and that I personally loved) and with people who love what they do, and have fun doing it.
From there, I began consulting, and this is when I was introduced to the current owner of ByGeorge, an Austin entrepreneur who’s changing the hospitality scene in Austin. Born and bred here, he’s keen to preserve what’s unique and special about Austin, and with eyes to the future. He took the reins from the long-term owners of ByGeorge, Katy and Matt Culmo, who had built ByGeorge into an Austin institution, and since he was expanding his company further, needed someone with some retail experience to give him a hand. That’s where I came in, and I’ve been in Austin now for nearly 2 years!
Long story short, I’ve come full circle.
On visiting ByGeorge on past trips to Austin, the multi-brand boutique felt like quite an institution. Can you give us insight to it’s the culture?
You’re absolutely right! ByGeorge was founded in 1979 – it’s 41 years old and has been the destination for Womens and Mens fashion in Austin, thanks to the hard work and vision of Katy and Matt. We have a loyal, dedicated customer base spanning from local luminaries to international tourists. I think the store has always carried the torch for interesting brick and mortar retail – with an Austin take. Anyone who has been to Austin can tell you how unique it is – an irreverent yet refined and still laid-back intersection of music, politics, creativity (and now tech) – in a setting that is charming and breathtaking at each turn. ByGeorge feels that way.
Outside of the new job role what are you loving about Austin? (albeit during the Covid-19 period!)
I love all the outdoor space in Austin – parks, enormous old oak and pecan trees, cacti, birds – with water everywhere. Barton Springs is, hands down, one of my favorite places in the world.
Have there been silver linings for you during this past pandemic year – business and personal?
Too many to count! I am fortunate to have a boss that trusted me and gave me space to get ByGeorge through a pandemic without micro-managing me or freaking out in general. His being a cool cucumber helped me do the same during a time when there was a lot to worry about. I had constant support from the original owners who wanted to ensure I was successful in seeing ByGeorge survive. And I can’t say enough about the ByGeorge team, our clients and the vendor community that really showed up to help ByGeorge make it to the other side.
In my personal life, I am grateful I had a moment to slow down and spend time with my husband Mark – we’d been living such a fast-paced and far-flung life for years – this was really a gift. I’m completely restless now, though! We both are – we miss traveling!!
Where are you dreaming to travel once the world heals?
As soon as we get our 2nd vaccination shots, we’re planning a trip to California to see my parents. I haven’t seen them in over a year – it’s the longest I’ve ever been away from them – in my life! I can’t wait to hug them both.
After that, I want to get back to visit New York (again, it’s been over a year!), and I’m dreaming of heading back to Italy as soon as we can.
Last book, movie, series you were moved by?
I’m typically an avid reader, but over the last year I didn’t have the attention span to stick with anything! I’m finally getting back to it now - I’m reading Shuggie Bain – each page breaks my heart, but it’s so beautiful I can’t put it down.
Over the last year I’ve watched so many movies and series I can’t even count. We re-watched The Sopranos from beginning to end – still brilliant. I loved The Last Dance, The Queens Gambit, The Crown, and re-watching old favorites – Stop Making Sense, Paris Texas, Down by Law, The Hunger.
Do you have a ‘daily mantra’?
Not a mantra, per se, but on days that seem especially daunting, I tell myself something like, “Okay, let’s do this”, or I exercise my sense of humor to put things in perspective. I feel pretty fortunate and optimistic each day – even through all of this – I like getting up and heading out the door to see what the day will bring.
What are you loving from the ELEVEN SIX latest collections and how would you describe our brand to your friends?
I’ve always loved the timelessness of ELEVEN SIX, and this season is no different. I am especially loving the Aria Polo Sweater (nautical stripe? Sign me up!) and the Nick sweater (first Men’s sweater!), which speaks to my tomboy side. Describing the collection is simple and goes back to everything I love – ELEVEN SIX is a timeless and well considered collection of knitwear made with integrity and great care by people who have passion for what they do, care about what they put out in the world, and enjoy themselves while they’re doing it. For me, it’s a perfect fit.