We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole R. Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Last year brought about rapid changes for many of us. Personally, I’m glad that being at home made me revisit and commit to regular mediation practice. It’s been the greatest and most fulfilling change in my work-life balance that I could imagine. Regular meditation helps me to be more grounded and make better decisions. It makes me a better friend and a better business owner.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets me apart from most other bow tie brands is that I create all the prints myself! I design the fabric right here in the US with a producer that uses eco-friendly printing methods. I am proud to produce my fabric and finished goods here in the US. All of our masks, bow ties, pocket squares, and lapel flowers are locally made with care.
It has not been easy to get to where I am now. Funding was and is still an issue. I have overcome many of those challenges because of prayer and savviness. I prayed that God show me resources and then I worked to secure them. Networking helps.
I’ve learned that hard work and good timing equal success. I can never reach a point that I would say “Hey look! I made it!!” because I’m constantly evolving. But I would say that sometimes opportunities come when you are not ready and faith will make you take the leap and make it happen. You won’t come out on top 100% of the time but at least you will have the success of lessons learned if not more.
I’d like the world to know that yes, black women can succeed in a “menswear” industry and that bow ties are not just for the guys!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I absolutely love visiting LA!
*The first stop would be Randy’s Donuts, right outside LAX. We must grab at least one glazed donut each.
*Another “must-visit” location is The Getty. I am in love with museums and there is always plenty to capture your attention there.
*I love thrifting so a visit to Buffalo Exchange on La Brea is surely on the list.
*If we get tired and need a quick boost of energy, we can stop at Erewhon Market for a green juice shot with cayenne. Gives a needed kick in the attitude.
*For a quick excursion that makes you feel thousands of miles away, we’ll go to Catalina Island for a day trip. You can take the ferry over from Long Beach but make sure to pack some Dramamine. It can get choppy! Anyway, being on Catalina Island is almost like being in the Greek Isles. It’s lovely and serene. I suggest the glass bottom boat ride.
*As a designer of course I love fabric row and the fashion district. There are bound to be great finds in there.
*Delicious street tacos abound in Venice beach. We’d travel there and Santa Monica Pier for some good, clean fun.
*I am a workout type of girl so we’d take some time for a hike through Runyon Canyon Park too.
*After dark, we’ll take some photos at the LACMA lights. It’s something about that glow that gets me every time.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a huge shout out to Gina Ramcharan of Idea Manufacturers. She has helped me in so many ways over the past few years with getting a better plan for my brand and helping with execution as well. Most resources I have found since 2018 have been introduced by Mrs. Ramcharan. She’s the best!
Kristina White-Chagani. Tiffany Hunter-Clay. Brandon Yarbrough.