DESIGNER PROFILE – Nicole Encinosa

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What is your employment status?
NE: Designer and Founder – Cabrera Designs

Please summarize your professional career in 1 to 3 sentences; what should everyone know about you?
NE: I have national and international experience in business, design and entrepreneurship. Twelve years of design and manufacturing industry experience, having worked in product development, design, manufacturing, production, retail and marketing. Armed with a background in accounting and management, I bring a broad understanding of business operations and administration to every touchpoint.

Why did you choose to be a designer?
NE: In hindsight, I’ve always had a creative side. As a young girl, I remember wanting to be a cartoonist, sewing small articles of clothing from scrap fabric around the house and always being interested in learning how to make things. However, I never thought of going into a creative career. Instead, because I enjoyed working with numbers and was interested in business, I pursued a path in accounting and management. After living in New York for about a year and a half in my early 20’s and walking by the Conde Nast building every day on my way to work, I finally realized I wanted to be part of the fashion and design world.

What steps did you take to become a designer?
NE: After moving back to Miami, from New York, I was working full time in an accounting position but wanted to immediately begin my journey exploring and transitioning into my new career path. First step, I started designing women’s wear apparel pieces and worked with a tailor to create samples. At the same time, I worked with a graphic designer to create a logo and website. Shortly after, I moved to Los Angeles and began formal training in fashion design at the Art Institute of California. After graduating, I worked full time at a clothing label manufacturer. In 2011, I moved to Hong Kong where I designed handbags and worked as a freelance technical designer for a fashion designer providing technical drawings for her swimwear line and worked closely with local factories. After about a year in Hong Kong, I moved to Sydney where I was for the next eight years. While in Australia, I worked as a Design Assistant for a commercial textile company, as well as, launched my own business designing and hand-making leather handbags and accessories.

If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
NE: Aside from design, I also have a passion for health, nutrition and fitness.

What do you like about what you do?
NE: Working with my hands; designing and thinking creatively; making and seeing the final product; seeing someone else appreciating my design/product.

How has your work evolved since you began your career?
NE: I am more confident about my designs and skills.

What advice would you give to young designers?
NE: It is not easy, so be patient, don’t rush and don’t give up.

What’s your motto?
NE: Be honest and authentic.

Other (feel free to tell the readers anything about you that we didn’t ask)
NE: Interest categories (fashion): Apparel, activewear, handbags

Interest areas: Development, design, manufacturing

Style: Clean lines; neutral basics with colorful accessories


Born and raised in Miami, Florida. Lived in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Sydney. Background in design and manufacturing, as well as accounting and management. Founder of small business, Cabrera Designs, where she designs and makes handmade leather handbags and accessories.