Budding Virginia Beach fashion designer creates petite clothing line

At 5 feet tall, Nicole Stephens may be small in stature, but she wants to lead the way with the new clothing line she designed specifically for petite women.

Stephens, a 2016 graduate of Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in textile and design, is busily preparing to launch her business, Naya Petite.

A solopreneur who designs, makes patterns, cuts and sews the sample pieces in her Virginia Beach home, Stephens said she will hire seamstresses as her fledgling business grows and then look to a manufacturer in Bali.

Her dog, a black Labrador she found nine years ago, and her business share the name Naya, a Sanskrit word that means “to lead.”

“I was living with my grandparents and going to college so I snuck her in for two days,” Stephens said. “They told me I couldn’t keep her so I went out, worked three jobs, went

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