The Interview — Natalie Steen, Creator of The Nat Note
Welcome to Talking Top 10, a recurring series in which we feature the founders, CEOs, creators, and leaders who are shaking up their industries. Ahead, read our Q&A with Natalie Steen, and keep scrolling to shop her Top 10 must-haves.
Natalie Steen is the creator of The Nat Note, a weekly newsletter delivering ready-to-shop styles for women, children, and home. Each Monday, subscribers receive a curated selection of products that Natalie compiles into collages—or “Notes”. She says to thinks of these as “a virtual note dropped in your inbox from yours truly, sharing products that catch my eye each week.” The featured products are a reflection of Natalie’s personal style, which is fresh, colorful, and inventive.
Natalie, a Cuban-American, was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She received her BA from the University of Virginia and her JD from The University of Pennsylvania Law School. Natalie lives in Houston, TX, where she works for Vinson & Elkins LLP.
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Tell us about The Nat Note. What inspired you to turn your fashion blog into a ready-to-shop newsletter?
The Nat Note is a weekly, fashion-focused newsletter that delivers ready-to-shop style suggestions for women, kids, and the home in signature collages—the “Notes”. I came up with the concept when I returned to work after maternity leave—I wanted a consistent and organized way to share brands and products I found while shopping online. I also love the idea of being the email in your Monday morning inbox that you actually look forward to opening.
How does the process of creating a Nat Note work?
It mirrors the way I shop throughout the week—I shop online, I go down Instagram rabbit holes, I go on eBay and Etsy hunts, and I hear from friends (or strangers) who find something that reminds them of my style. I carefully select the products I want to feature and compile them all in collages on Sunday after my son goes to sleep—just in time to reach inboxes on Monday morning.
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What does a day-in-the-life of Natalie Steen look like?
A typical day fortunately starts and ends the same way—hanging with my husband and my one and half-year-old son, Whit. In between (and after Whit’s bedtime), I’m tackling my to-do list and inbox, working on projects, and allowing myself a shopping-related distraction.
Besides running The Nat Note, you’re also a full-time lawyer and mom. How do you balance it all?
I don’t! Each day is different and requires me to devote more or less time and attention to any of these roles. I try my best to wear all my hats at once—but the keyword here is: try.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since launching the Nat Note?
Getting my husband to believe that I’m “just looking” and not actually shopping when I peruse the internet for items to feature on The Nat Note. Just kidding—I strive to share products that are new, different, and the best of what’s “out there”—some weeks that’s harder to do than others.
How about the biggest win?
The connections I’ve made through the Nat Note are what I find most rewarding—whether it’s a female entrepreneur growing a brand, a fellow creative who I’m fortunate enough to work with in some capacity, or a subscriber who reaches out because something I shared helped them in some way. These relationships are the most exciting and encouraging part of it.
Give us the lowdown on your all-time favorite places to shop. What retailers frequently appear in your newsletter?
While there are some high to low constants (Shopbop, Moda Operandi, Net-A-Porter, Matches Fashion, H&M, Zara, J.Crew), there’s nothing that gives me a buyer’s (or rather, a finder’s) high like discovering a deal or a one-of-a-kind find on sites like 1stDibs, Chairish, UAL, eBay, Etsy, and The Real Real.
What are the most treasured items in your closet?
Those items that carry personal meaning—a charm bracelet my grandmother passed down to me, the pair of heels my great-grandmother left Cuba wearing, special gifts from my husband. I also hold on to all the clothes I wore while making my most treasured memories—like that time I wore the same (white!) dress to my future sister-in-law’s rehearsal dinner that she wore the night before (we still laugh about it today—it was my first wedding, but really… what was I thinking?!)
What advice would you give to someone who wants to take on creative a side hustle similar to yours?
Don’t underestimate the non-obvious ways that a creative side hustle can be fulfilling. The act of creating and sharing something with your world (aside from maybe being scary and time-consuming) can provide therapeutic and monetary benefits, sure. But the potential to use it to grow and connect with others in ways you don’t anticipate is real—and should be the best motivator to start.
What’s next for Natalie Steen?
I just launched Polimita Club, a collection of resort wear for children made from limited quantities of vintage and retro-inspired fabrics. Each piece is limited edition and made in Texas from salvaged fabrics reminiscent of the 60s and 70s. With trunk show plans on a pandemic-pause, I’m working on getting our e-commerce site up and running!