Today we’d like to introduce you to Shenica Alexander.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Shenica. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Who at 14 knew that their career would be in fashion? Me! My 1st retail job, I was stuck in a room full of fur coats in a luxury clothing store to wrap Christmas presents for the customers. By the end of my 4-hour shift, I had sold 4 fur coats! I continued throughout high school working at every retail store open in the mall just to gain understand on how this business worked. I never conveyed to my mother this passion for fashion so when it was time for college she strongly suggested that I enrolled in the Special Education program at WSSU, however God had a different plan. He allowed financial aid to vanish literally and I had to come home during my 2nd semester of my 1st year.
Instead of giving up, I took the drive that my mother instilled in me and started adulting. I moved out of my parents’ home at 17, worked two retail jobs and enrolled in a fashion program at a trade school. It was now time to act on that seed that was growing since I was 14. The idea of Niko’s Fashions was birthed over 25 years ago at that trade school while working on a project in a fashion merchandising class. A small boutique concept selling women’s clothing and accessories, way before boutiques were a trend. We had to build it from conception to completion and I am proud to say I received an A on that project, however life happened and I never actually opened that boutique. I graduated with a certification in Fashion Merchandising and started my career in corporate retail instead. The grace in that is I didn’t have a 4-year college degree that human resources said was required to have a long-lasting career in corporate retail. How about it has been 23 years! We can’t let the world determine what God has predestined.
After 20 years as a senior buyer developing product for special sizes, juniors and kids from Department stores to plus-size specialty stores and eventually working my way up to an Executive Director Merchandise Manager position I decided to take the largest leap of faith in my life by leaving the financial comforts of corporate America and moving states to work for a family friend who owns a manufacturing company here in Southlake, TX. I knew God had something special in store for me, because of all that risk had to come a great reward. After working there a year as the Director of Product Operations I went to Kathy, my friend and owner, and discussed with her how I wanted to finally give birth to the dream that had been placed in me over 20 years ago by starting my own clothing business. Without hesitation she and the company supported me 100% in every way by being a dream pusher of my brands, from showing me how to set up a business accurately to securing a factory for production. At that moment, I knew God was giving me permission to create what we know today as Niko’s Fashions Incorporated, the parent company that houses two apparel brands – Divine Collections; a faith-based tee shirt brand and Nikki & Alex; a plus size fashion apparel brand.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When launching a business there will always be struggles. I refer to them as obstacles because they are just temporary objects in the way to fulfilling your divine purpose. Full transparency, at a point and time during the building of my brands, I was my greatest obstacle. God gave me a heart for serving and helping people grow and develop so I did that instead of cultivating my own. While doing that came me neglecting the time that I needed to spend on myself and my business. I struggled with why everyone else that I was helping was growing and becoming successful and I wasn’t. Jealousy never crept in, I just questioned God as too when was my time. It became an obstacle because I was putting my dreams aside, not fulfilling the plans that were set in place for me, but instead helping others fulfill their own. During this time, someone dear to me referred to me as the coach in a boxing ring, on the side pushing the boxer along, getting them prepared for their purpose. I never looked at myself as that person, a purpose pusher. So that alone brought peace to my decisions for supporting others. What was revealed to me while I was coaching others, God was pushing me towards gaining more wisdom, building up my strength and obtaining more confidence so I could be ready for “my time”. So, during that season God was also moving obstacles out of my way to make room for me. Now I don’t look at them as obstacles just building blocks for success!
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Niko’s Fashions Inc is the parent company that currently houses two clothing brands. Divine Collections which is a faith-based tee shirt brand that is sold directly to consumers. Our objective is to spread the love of God thru fun and bold graphic tees. My faith teaches me to be bold for Christ and I wanted to make sure that our consumers could experience that same holy boldness through graphic expression. Nikki & Alex is our new plus-size brand that focuses on the Curvy, Casual and Confident women. After many years as a buyer for multiple companies, I found that servicing the Plus size women was a larger passion that I needed to tap into. I obtained a great deal of knowledge, good and bad, about how to satisfy this special customer. I noticed that she was not being represented in most retail stores or boutiques sufficiently so I set out to develop a brand that is fashionably casual, offering novelty quality fabrics and most importantly, fits our curves properly. This brand is offered to boutiques for wholesale purchases as well as our curvy consumers. Our focus is to be represented in stores across America and become the go to plus brand for the future.
What were you like growing up?
I am an only child so being independent and having confidence were on heavy rotation in my house. Those traits were instilled in me at a very young age and have carried throughout my life. I found myself being the leader of the pack during school and extremely mature for my age. I was informed during my 25th year HS reunion from one of my friends that I was the “mother” of the crew! That summed it all up for me. I was a goal setter, very direct in my actions and thoughts and always laid out my vision. At the age of 16, I knew that I wanted to be in NYC doing something that related to fashion. So I set out to follow that vision and achieved that and more!
- Divine Collections $24 – $26
- Nikki & Alex starting at $30
- Website: www.nikos-fashions.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nikosfashions/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nikosfashionsinc/
- Other: Niko’s Fashions
Perisianne Shannae Photography