Nicola Freegard

Born in London, England in 1961 Nicola studied briefly at the London College of Fashion in London, and then began working in various areas of the music industry and book illustration. She moved to Los Angeles in 1984 to work in film and music production. It was this industry that sparked her interest in environmental design and recycling, after seeing the amount of waste that was created through film production at the time.

In 1990 she left Hollywood, CA and traveled around the US for 2 years pondering on what to do with this information and how she could apply it to her ideals and beliefs. She finally settled in Tucson, Arizona to set up her first eco-company. where she began creating soft home goods from eco textiles for boutique hotels and home decor from fabrics she sourced in places such as Nepal, India and Tibet and China.

For 10 years Nicola supplied soft goods to companies such as Ralph Lauren and boutique hotels and restaurants around the country. It was during this time she met with the co-founders of Vy&Elle, Jeff and Robin Janson who ran a growing recycled furniture company and architectural salvage company in Appleton, Wisconsin. Their company URBAN EVOLUTIONS, was an ideal extension to her own work, and they worked side by side for 7 years on home textile projects before launching VY&ELLE, which at the time was an off the wall idea about how to create something useful for everyday purpose from industrial waste.

The first products were launched in 2002 at the New York International Gift Fair, and were received with heartwarming response. Since then, the company has become a viable and challenging business that Nicola runs from the Vy&Elle studios based in downtown Tucson, Arizona, where she lives with her husband and child.