Joanne Snodgrass is pragmatic, funny and focused. The renowned clothing designer and owner of Nouvelle Resort in Palm Beach has created a fashion sensation with her Kimini infinity scarf—an ingenious way to combine style and comfort in one piece that can be worn four different ways. It converts from an infinity scarf to a kimono, shrug, skirt or top.
A native of South Africa, the Palm City resident and her Kimini have won the hearts of thousands of women who had long suffered in cold theaters, meeting rooms and bipolar Florida indoor-outdoor climes. She also won the applause of the judges on the “Today Show’s” first-ever segment of The Next Big Thing—a nationally broadcasted, “Shark Tank”-style competition last fall.
Snodgrass, who had been traveling the world throughout the ’90s and became enamored with the Palm Beach area, said she’d always been interested in retail, but her interest and focus ramped up 13 years ago when she immigrated to the United States with her husband Avron Lipschitz, a plastic surgeon in Stuart.
“When I first came here I was fascinated by the direct selling message of QVC, and I think in the back of my mind I always had that as a goal,” Snodgrass says. The Kimini has been featured on QVC and is available at her boutique, Nouvelle Resort, on North County Road in Palm Beach, or online at mykimini.com.
Snodgrass, who had owned a stationery manufacturing company in South Africa, took her time and did extensive homework before diving into the fickle and tricky business of fashion design. Her husband was in school in Texas, so pragmatically she opened her first store in Dallas.
“I knew if I had a retail store, I would have the opportunity to make a sale every day,” she says.
When her husband was recruited to work at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in 2008, the family relocated to Baltimore. Snodgrass took the train to New York’s garment district to learn everything she could to create her own resort line.
“I’d traveled to resorts all over the world,” she says, “and while I’m not a beach girl, I do love the elegant dress for poolside and cocktails, and I wanted to create an elegant, flowing, sophisticated design to suit that purpose.”
When Dr. Lipschitz was offered an academic position at Johns Hopkins in 2010, the family decided to opt for the coastal Florida warmth and sunshine that Snodgrass had fallen in love with so many years before. By the time they arrived, Snodgrass, who had been studying and practicing, was ready to roll.
“I helped my husband set up his practice when we first got here,” she says, “and he in turn supported my goals and plan. The family support is strong.” She opened her boutique in October.
Snodgrass puts it into her usual pragmatic perspective. “Sometimes it seemed that reaching my goal has taken longer than I expected, but when someone walks into Nouvelle and loves the clothing and feels good about herself when she tries it on—that’s that ultimate feeling of accomplishment,” Snodgrass says. “And when I see my two daughters, Talia and Mina, creating and sewing their own designs or helping with photo shoots, it makes me proud to know that they are learning that hard work and sacrifice ultimately lead to success.”