Your Neighbors: Meet Nadia and Olivia DeMarinis
Published 12:05 am Thursday, January 26, 2023
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Nadia and Olivia DeMarinis, identical twin sisters, have transformed their passions into entrepreneurial efforts. Growing up in Boca Raton, Florida, both Olivia and Nadia enjoyed being outside with frequent access to the beach. “We learned early in life how to skimboard, skate and surf. With those sports came a lot of appreciation and respect for the Earth. It also got us thinking in broader terms of long-term sustainability to protect it,” Nadia said.
Nadia and Olivia also learned from the age of 4 they excelled at soccer. It didn’t take long for them to take it to the next level to play club soccer. “We knew we wanted to play Division I soccer, and we started seriously narrowing down our preferences in the eighth grade. Knowing we were a package deal we wanted a school with both a strong soccer and academic program,” Olivia said.
With multiple state cup champion titles under their belts, spots earned on elite teams and programs, and the drive to succeed, the DeMarinis sisters were standouts. Maintaining straight A’s and a hard work ethic made the top schools in the country all serious contenders. “When we visited Wake Forest it really seemed to check all the boxes,” Nadia said.
The college athletes are both majoring in studio art with a minor in entrepreneurship. “Our dad is in advertising, and at our house creating something was frequent. Our grandmother was also an incredible painter. It has inspired us to design as well,” Olivia said. “A couple of years ago we began prototyping RetroXO, which is now a custom and one-of-a-kind hat company made out of materials that have been repurposed. This has allowed us to get back to our commitment to take care of the Earth, and hone our passion for fashion and creativity,” Nadia said. “Another element to our business is that we sponsor athletes that are passionate about their sport. In Florida, if you skimboard or surf you need to get sponsors. It’s not always easy to get a sponsor. We wanted to be able to use our brand for good for anyone willing to work hard at their sport.”
Taking around four hours, each hat is made with thought and care on their sewing machine. “We love thrifting and going through bins to find hidden treasures for our hats that we create. We also enjoy the process of thinking of something original and unique. We didn’t want to mass produce anything because it felt less special,” Olivia said. “A lot of our inspiration comes from retro art. We like to highlight specific years like the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.”
Although the majority of their RetroXO products are online (retroxoelements.com/home or @retro.xo), the sisters have found popup shows to be quite popular. “We are also part of the Wayfard Fashion Club at Wake Forest, which shares our mission of sustainable clothing production,” Nadia said. “Everything we brought to the pop-up shops sold out, so that was exciting to see how well received it was in the Wake Forest community. What we’ve learned is the importance of working at your craft. You do have to be passionate about what you do.”
As the college athlete sisters continue to hone their business skills, they have found the harder they work the luckier they get. “This business venture has been very rewarding and has us thinking about the future. Maybe we’ll have a storefront, or we’ll have a traveling RV. We’re excited to see where it takes us. Knowing that we get to do what we love and reduce products ending up in landfills is rewarding to us. Whether we receive a request to translate someone’s idea or design, we enjoy the process from start to finish. Oftentimes we’ll be working on the hats before practices or games. Scheduling our week out to allow for our business, school and soccer is key,” Olivia said. “We have been grateful for such supportive family and friends who have encouraged us along the way.”