After being married for 19 years and two children later, I began to struggle somewhat with who I was. I started to ask myself what was next?
Interview Conducted by Vikki Hankins-Jones|
VMH: You are a very active mom, with a beautiful daughter and son, why entrepreneurship?
Nikki: As a global woman, born in the UK, moved to Nigeria with my parents and now residing in the States, I have always loved fashion and cared about my image. With God first, I lived life to the fullest, had fun, travelled and was finally ready to settle down. After being married for 19 years and two children later, I began to struggle somewhat with who I was. I started to ask myself what was next? Surely there had to be more to my life than being married, raising children and simply clocking in and out of a job year in and year out! While pondering the ‘what next’? Velvet Queen was born.
VMH: Entrepreneurship requires a certain dedication, discipline and the ability to get your message out there about your product, how do you maintain your motivation in these areas?
Nikki: Being an entrepreneur is definitely worlds apart from going to a job each day, spending the required number of hours and then clocking out. When I traded corporate for entrepreneurship, I traded working even longer hours, wearing many hats and being on my own for the vast majority of the time. Wearing all those hats was a little overwhelming, and I found myself trying to do so much and ultimately not being able to concentrate on the bigger picture. Having experienced entrepreneur life before, I knew I had to schedule my time so there was balance. I also outsource certain services that are not necessarily my strengths, which frees me up to focus more on strategic activities. I regularly attend networking events which allows me to get my message out, and I belong to a women’s leadership group where I get my daily dose of motivation. It also helps to have a good support system, which is where my family comes in.
VMH: What do you find is the most challenging area for getting your product into the hands of costumers?
Nikki: The most challenging area for me is brand recognition and ability for the customer to touch and feel the product. As an emerging and online brand, customers want the ability to touch and feel the product before committing to a purchase. For this reason, we are planning a Velvet Queen Shapewear tour in select major cities throughout the United States in the upcoming year.
VMH: You offer Velvet Queen Shapewear, what was your inspiration for selling this line of clothing?
Nikki: My style has always been sophisticated and clean, however, throughout different stages of my life, I became conscious about my body changing. I began to adorn and incorporate shapewear more and more into my wardrobe. You see, with my first child, I had a C-Section and nothing I did or could do ever seemed to help me smooth out that lower belly ‘pooch’. Being a woman with a high sense of fashion, walking around with a visible ‘pooch’ was simply not acceptable. The problem I found was that
shapewear on the market was either black, white or nude and made me feel like I was suiting up for battle every time I wore them, which was not a sexy feeling at all, and nothing I wanted my husband to see me in. I didn’t feel colorful, sexy or empowered when I wore them, but had no choice with the lack of options. The birth of a dream happened while I was preparing for a milestone celebration for my husband. I had just recently been laid off from my corporate job of many years. I was yet again considering the “now what?” scenario and in my musings, I told my husband that I was going to write to some of the major lingerie carriers and ask them to consider adding some they designed. Most women that I know are colorful, love warm, beautiful and sexy clothing, that positions them for success. Most especially, they love feeling and looking like a lady. My husband’s response changed the game by saying “why don’t you design the shapewear?”. Hmmm, I sat with that thought for a moment, the lightbulb went on in my head and Velvet Queen Shapewear was born!
VMH: Do you see yourself expanding or venturing into other areas of clothing/fashion?
Nikki: Yes! I recently added shaping camisoles to my collection and will be including an array of more colors and designs within the next year. I also will be adding post-partum shaping lingerie to help new mothers on their journey to getting their sexy back. My daughter is an up and coming artist who loves to draw amazing designs that she thinks up. We are considering adding a clothing line that our shaping line will help accentuate.
VMH: What are some of the practical steps you’ve used to reach customers online with Velvet Queen Shapewear?
Nikki: My products are on Amazon. I also run Facebook and Google product ads which has allowed me to touch women all over the globe.
VMH: Tell me about Velvet Queen Shapewear, what makes this item different from other shape wear items?
Nikki: The first distinct difference is color, of course! Velvet Queen colors are vibrant and bold. The truth is you don’t always feel black, white or nude, sometimes you feel pink, so having the opportunity to brighten up your foundation, brightens up your outlook, making you feel energized. Secondly, we have the frills. Having the ability to weave lace into the shapewear without taking away from the functionality, leaves Velvet Queen a feminine, sexy and flirty shapewear. Lastly is functionality. We have incorporated an inner hidden panel that reinforces the tummy area for that smoothed-out-look every time, leaving the wearer feeling empowered. Velvet Queen, unlike other shapewear heightens, titillates and elevates the status level of the woman who wears it, making her feel exclusive!
VMH: Any additional comments?
Nikki: We are a brand that caters to women who are vested in finding their personal style, no matter what stage of life she is in and we cover a range from size S to 2XL Every woman deserves to have her foundation and core reinforced, so she can stand strong and tall, irrespective of her size. As women we all have the potential to step up our personal look and style to the next level, and that is what Velvet Queen provides you!