For Anine and Nico Bing, love is a marriage of opposites. “The best things in life come from differences” says Nico, co-founder of ANINE BING and husband to Anine. We recently caught up with Nico at the ANINE BING headquarters, sitting at the communal picnic table where employees gather for healthy lunches delivered three days a week. In light of Valentine’s Day, we asked how he and Anine met and what keeps their relationship strong. At this request, he reddens slightly—he’s not used to being the one in the spotlight.
Over the years, many people have gotten to know Anine via her social media presence and public-facing role as the Chief Creative Officer for the brand. But Nico plays an equally important part overseeing the garment production and operations of the company. Blessed with a vibrant personality, contagious energy, and a laugh that bellows throughout the office, Nico is the company’s life force in many ways. It’s not uncommon to see him “hollering” at an employee across the room, only to thank them for their hard work, or to recognize a new employee on their first day with a high five. But beyond his fun, easygoing personality and natural sociability lies a discipline that’s resolute. “Anine is the free spirit. The one who goes with the flow and lets things happen. “But I live by a schedule. If I’m two minutes late to a birthday party in Los Angeles, it’s a no-go for me,” he shares, with a smile on his face and gleam in his eye. “That was a big challenge for us at the beginning.”
A story every ANINE BING employee learns upon entry is how the company’s Creative Director, Emma Sandvik, introduced Anine and Nico. “Six months before I met Anine,” he says, “Emma pulled me aside and told me: I found your future wife.” Solid move, Emma.
When they finally met six months later at Nico’s apartment in Turkey, the connection was instant. They’ve been inseparable since that first meeting. “You know when you know,” he says, rolling up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo, which proclaims this very thing. “That’s a huge phrase for our brand, and for me and Anine as a couple,” he says. “We’ve put it on t-shirts, signs, stickers: You know when you know.”
Back to the notion of opposites attracting one another, Nico speaks matter-of-factly about his and Anine’s differences. “I’m attracted to everything that makes her different from me. I wish I was the kind of person who could act spontaneously and turn left when the directions call for a right,” he says. “But our unique approach to life is what makes it fun. Some of life needs to be scheduled and some of it should be spontaneous. Balance is everything.”
With that, he says he has another two minutes before he has to go. “You can see it on my face, right?” (Editor’s Note: He’s referring to his anxiety around being late.) So we cut to the chase and ask about the proposal. “Anine had a little apartment in Beachwood Canyon,” he begins. “We would hike up to the Hollywood sign every day, so I proposed on the top of the hill when we got to the sign. It may sound a little cheesy but it was more about catching her during our morning routine when she’d least expect it. That’s what I liked about it—the simplicity.”
That ease and authenticity is likely why their relationship has thrived. “What kills most relationships,” Nico says before wrapping, “is the expectations people have. The impossible ideal of perfection.” And with that, he hops up to be on time for his next meeting.