Innovator: Nadine Noky

Venice resident and former military woman Nadine Noky wanted fashion to show her veteran pride, so she founded Lady Brigade for female vets.

By Chelsey Lucas September 3, 2015

by Chelsey Lucas

Photography by Alex Stafford

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Nadine Noky, Founder, Lady Brigade

Venice resident Nadine NOKY, a former radar technician who served in the U.S. Army from 2002-2007, lamented over the lack of chic apparel options for female veterans when she returned from her tour in Iraq. So Noky, 30, founded Lady Brigade, a clothing line dedicated to letting women veterans and service members wear their military pride in style.

Noky released her first design, “Any girl can wear heels but it takes a woman to wear combat boots,” on her Etsy shop in March 2014 and sold all 20 shirts at about $25 each almost instantly. After the social website Buzzfeed featured Lady Brigade in February, she had to scramble to keep up with the demand. (Totes are $12 and hoodies are $40.) What started as a hobby has almost become a second full-time job, says Noky, who works full-time as a designer for the Sarasota international packaging company

From finding U.S.A.-made shirts to building a website and her brand, Noky referenced start-up podcasts and books to launch her business. Now she’s ready to start looking for a business partner. She also plans to purchase a building on Venice Avenue and open a storefront by fall 2016 so she can expand her product line. (Visit to help.)

“People always say write [your business plan] first, but I wouldn’t have learned what I know about my business [that way]. Take action,” she says. “Do something every day that brings you closer to what you want to do.”

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