Meet D. Ni'Cole! She has fallen in love with fashion, and used her talents to become a wardrobe stylist. Having faith, her platform has carried her into success! Read her story below:
D. Ni’Cole, tell us more about yourself!
This is the part that I actually cringe speaking on! For the most part, I'm a 30 year old Southern Belle pursuing her fashion dreams. However, that's a bit vague so I'll go a little deeper. Actually, I'm a big personality wrapped in this fashion gift that has somehow inspired so many women across the globe. I'm a business owner of a fabulous brand that's still in the beginning stages and I have no idea if it will be a success, but every day I choose to give it my all in order for it to be a success and possibly place me in the position to help people, inspire people, and change the way people view Black female fashion influencers. I'm complex, soft, creative, a mess and a masterpiece, and a woman determined to make it.
What inspired you to become a wardrobe stylist?God. Honestly, I don't have this incredible story about me being in high school making my prom dress or how I've always dreamed of being in fashion. That would be a total lie. I prepared my future to be in law. Yes, an attorney. Probably could still attend law school; I might even make a pretty awesome attorney but I knew that I wouldn't be happy in a courtroom quite like I would be styling clients and preparing a fashion platform for my audience. Now don't get me wrong, I've always been into fashion. As a kid, I would lust over the JCPenney fashion catalogs envisioning myself in every piece of clothing. As a teenager, I would spend hours looking at fashion magazines and visiting fashion websites like Baby Phat, wishing I could have every inch of the apparel in my closet. Fashion styling came natural to me. Instagram was just a gateway for me to express that, leading me more into the passion that already burned on the inside. I heard God tell me specifically to do fashion and I've been in it ever since. Six full years and I haven't ventured into no other industry.
Why is fashion is important to you?Fashion is psychological. Fashion is emotional. Fashion is therapeutic. Fashion is a self expressive vice that allows me to vent and show my many moods through clothing. Fashion isn't just garments; it's art that so happens to come in a size 18/20 for my body, allowing me to do whatever I want to. Bold colors, bold prints, glitter/sequin, leather, lace, and golds just help me to usher in myself to show the world.
Explain your journey that got you to this point in your life.I was starting my second year in my graduate program. Studying Political Science at Jackson State University, I started to feel myself disliking the idea of me being an attorney. To the outside world, being Dr. De'Shundra Gibson, ESQ would have been the appropriate title for such a talented young woman. However, for me, fashion spoke a different language that I understood clearly and refused to not listen. After graduation, I was lost. Even with such a strong calling on my life, I still didn't feel I had direction. Frankly being without a job and a recent graduate, I began to become depressed and ultimately wanted to commit suicide. In the midst of feeling pain, I still heard God clearly in regards to creating my virtual platform, Style by D. Ni'Cole. I already owned the name of the company but didn't take it serious. Going through that dark stage in my life made me want to try something different, so I did. I perfected virtual styling and my platform began to grow. I found myself working with fashion brands and collaborating with other fashion bloggers/influencers and stylists while still making sure I continued to be consistent with my own brand. It's been a tough one. I stepped out on faith and moved to Atlanta. I'm just now able to breathe and keep up with the work. It's been a challenge but honestly, I wouldn't appreciate something if it's handed to me without thought. I'm proud of the work that I've done but I could do more and I'm going to do more because I know that with much to obtain, it's required that I put more work into it. I'm ok with that.
What is a typical day like for you as a stylist?For me, I wake up with a prayer and I start with emails. I'm running my online apparel line and style platform at the same time. Once I send out emails, I'll get on my platform throughout the day, while fulfilling orders with my online store. Depending on the day, I could be styling a client via personal shopping or I could be preparing for an online brand consultation. I need to be more organized with things, so I recently hired an assistant. She's pretty dope. Get things done and I love how her personality blends well with mine. Right now, I'm preparing for my style tour and teaching style in Atlanta with a stylist friend of mine, Mo McKenzie. She's a freakin' style phenom. I have my hands in so many things because I'm trying to figure out where my lane needs to be without stepping on any toes. I've even introduced fashion eCourses online and will be adding more fun and fashionable elements to my platform. Styling is just one part of the equation; there's so many more components that actually goes into the Style by D. Ni'Cole brand.
For other women who want to become a stylist, what are a few tips that you can provide for them?Whatever you do in the fashion industry, make sure you're doing it because you love it versus just for the money, and do everything with integrity and be open for constructive criticism. I'll be the first to say that I have messed up more times that I've actually got anything right. You fail to continue to try again, not sit in misery. Styling is more than just making an individual look cute. It's a business venture that can help you become an incredible force in the fashion industry and be able to showcase your talents worldwide. For those who are just starting out, start small but think big. Collaborate with people who have the same interests as you do. Build a portfolio, get a website, and develop your online presence when promoting yourself. When you build your portfolio, style your friends or family members first and get a photographer to take the photos of your work. As far as the website, a domain is literally $12 for one year; there are plenty of outlets like Wordpress and Wix that allow users to design their websites. Developing your online presence isn't hard at all. Find how you want to showcase fashion. Is it celeb fashion? Is it everyday people? Is it a mixture of both? Do you want to showcase virtual look books, or do you want to showcase your own work? These are questions you want to ask yourself. Shadow a stylist in your area or get a job in a department store/boutique gaining practice on styling the mannequins or customers. There's no universal way to get into styling. In all honesty, just do it!
Why do you believe that Women’s Empowerment is important?
Women naturally have a tendency to be in competition with each other versus uplifting each other. Society teaches us to compare each other and look down on one another for the attention of a man or be named the "most _____." You know? Women's empowerment is not only about uplifting each other but also helping each other. There's so much money to be made out here and there's no reason why you and another woman can't be in the same industry or different industries winning together. It's all about mentality and expectations. If you have the mentality to help a fellow sister, there's an expectation to create an everlasting trend of love, support, fellowship, and sisterhood. That's why its very important to outline the need for power's empowerment and use it as a positive force versus a Saturday afternoon cupcake event of false hope and Instagram likes.
What are some future goals that you have for yourself?Eventually, I want to have my own clothing line featured in several stores like Macy's and Neiman Marcus and purchase my own style studio and warehouse. I've realized that I'm next in line for fashion royalty and I want to be a powerhouse with a successful blog, fashion influence, and several brand collaborations that will help me to hire people who look like me and don't look like me be in fashion to dominate.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Rich. No, honestly! I see me as a multimillionaire with several successful businesses and as a philanthropist. I'm not growing my businesses for myself. I'm fine with a regular job. However, Style by D. Ni'Cole is bigger than me and is going to create opportunities bigger than me from a God bigger than me. That's how I see things. Period. Everything is going to work according to plan set before me to accomplish the goals and visions given to me by an incredible higher power who loved me before I even loved myself. Loved me so much that he gave me something that I could never deny: influence.
What name would you like to be called by? D. Ni'Cole