Nov 14, 2021 News
“…you just have to keep believing in what you want and you can get it, you have to keep fighting; when it feels like it’s not working, that’s the time you get up and you keep fighting the most.” – Nicki
Kaieteur News – Philosophers have for centuries debated the theories of survival and its causation, as to whether this is determined by who is stronger and fitter or who is better able to adapt to the evolving environment within which one find themselves.
Last year saw the world experiencing what could only be seen as the 1918 Spanish Flu, the Great Depression of the 1930s, the more recent global financial and housing market meltdowns, droughts, floods, civil wars and the list continues; all unimaginable extremities and all around catastrophes, rolled into one.
Thrive or Survive?
The novel Coronavirus—COVID-10—first detected in Wuhan, China—quickly spread across the globe killing millions and infecting even more—brought with it an instantaneously changed environment, within which to survive or thrive.
Despite the lockdowns, and inherent detrimental socio-economic woes that have plagued the planet since—seemingly worsening though with light at the end of an ever extending tunnel—there are some that have managed to find ways to survive, and even thrive, despite the pandemic woes.
Woes, the likes of which previous generations have never experienced all at once, much less for such an extended period.
Jeff Bezos, perhaps best known as principal owner of the now household brand—Amazon—during the COVID-19 spike, managed to propel himself to becoming, in light of and despite the pandemic, the richest man in the world—however short lived, since he was surpassed by Elon Musk, who is now the first Trillionaire on earth.
Both men proved that technology in the 21st Century can be a most useful tool, to not only eke out a living in the digital age using tools such as the internet but thrive, even in a time of despair and looming global disasters.
Passion for Fashion
Despite Guyana’s shortcomings with its access to state of the art technology, and its internet woes experienced by all and sundry, there are some Guyanese however, that have recognised the need to adapt, in order to not just survive but thrive—especially with a COVID-19 pandemic and its ghastly effects on their lives and livelihood.
Nicolette Lashley, popularly known to her friends and mass of social media followers as ‘Nicki,’ is one such person.
This ambitious and largely self-motivated 23-year-old, has used her ‘passion for fashion,’ combined with a recognition of the need to adapt and using the internet as her principal tool, to not only build what is quickly becoming a local household name, as the place to source the latest, trendy fashion couture, but to also thrive and continue to grow, despite the despairs of a global pandemic.
Born and raised in Georgetown, this industrious young lady, in 2019 decided to establish ‘Pretty Lil Thang’ with the prime objective of ‘keeping it classy,’ with the attire she supplies and of course earn meaningfully, while doing something she loves.
This is since she had recognised that there could be value in her massive social media reach, not just locally but internationally. Convinced by the seemingly now cliché phrase, “if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life,” ‘Nicki’ told this publication that her love for fashion has been with her from her youth. But it was not until later in life, she realised that she had a unique talent for putting together aesthetically fashionable arrangements to wear that would mesmerize her friends.
Having attended the Morgan Learning Centre and pursuing studies in the business stream, Nicki decided to hone her academic business proficiencies coupled with her unearthed talent to establish a formal business back in October 2019—more than two months before the first reported case of the COVID-19 virus.
Recalling the genesis of ‘Pretty Lil Thang’ Ms. Lashley said, “I had a large following and I always wanted to get into fashion, so what I did was use my personal social media to build my business social media platform and then I went into an online business fully.”
‘Nicki’ told this publication that she has forever been a lover of ‘nice and classy’ clothing and “I was always popular on social media.”
She noted too that people would often times, in their remarks to her social media postings, “say things like, oh my God, I love this outfit, where did you get it from; you know how to dress.”
According to Nicki, very many times, even when her friends were preparing for a social outing, “they would come to me and say you need to put together this outfit for me.”
Speaking to her groundings that she eventually realised would be her personal foundation in pursuing her passion, ‘Nicki’ said as a lass, “I was always very, very outspoken, very brave, always the light in the room, everyone loved me.”
With a smile, she reminisced on inquires whenever she was not around persons saying, “oh god, where is Nicki, where is Nicki, that was me I was the little chatter box, never scared to go and talk to anyone.”
According to ‘Nicki’ that confidence growing up helped her to maintain her motivation and drive, “to push for whatever I wanted and that made me just keep going with my business.”
Born and raised in Georgetown, Nicki said she was always one to take a special pride in the way she dressed.
“I was always a lover of mixing and matching to put together a good outfit; everybody would comment and say I love how you put it together,” something she did until realising it was an actual talent that can be capitalised on—bolstered by her business prowess.
Pointing to this unique talent of having an ‘eye and imagination’ to mix and match different pieces of attire into an alluring blend, ‘Nicki’ said this is her niche, that will propel her business into a household brand not just domestically but regionally and one day internationally.
Clients, she said, “ would come to me for advise to put together their outfits” and explained as example as, persons soliciting her advice on what would best match with a piece of garment they propose to flaunt at some special occasion or informal gathering.
“So they trust in my work, so that made me say no, fashion is the right business to go into.”
Recounting that her business started prior to the advent of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, ‘Nicki’ noted in its onset, “when the pandemic came it really did slow my business down; sometimes once a week I would have like one or two customers or probably none.”
Not daunted however, ‘Nicki’ pressed ahead saying “I just kept pushing because when you love something, when you invest in a brand, when you believe in your brand, you have to keep pushing.”
She did concede however, that because her business was primarily based online, save for deliveries, she managed to recover largely in part through the use of technology, the internet and her mass of social media followers.
This contrasted against those that would have operated a physical boutique and did not fare as well, many since shuttered as a result of the pandemic and its economic impacts.
‘Nicki’ told Kaieteur News, “it actually ended up working out in my favour,” and pointed specifically to the restrictions imposed in relation to physical contact and social distancing and such like.
“Now everybody is at home and they are using the internet to look for clothes,” Nicki said and noted, despite the ‘shallow period’ at the onset of the pandemic, business has managed to bounce back “and I am here still.”
Describing her venture as the next “Fashionova by God’s Grace”, Nicki said her ambition include plans to expand internationally, since “I believe in my brand, and I know that it will go global,” and pointed to already having customers from overseas turning to her in search of her special skills.
“If my business is just a little local business right now and its pulling people from America, Barbados, Trinidad, all these different countries, imagine when I move up in the next two to four, even five years, however long it takes, what it’s going to be like.”
Explaining what sets her apart from the average online retail outlet where anybody with internet access and disposable income can make a purchase, Nicki said; it is her eye for mixing and matching various pieces to blend it into ‘class’ that is what sets her apart.
According to Nicki, it is not a case of simply ordering in bulk a number of dresses, or bags, shoes or some sort of garment and retailing it. Rather it’s about scouring through the legion of options internationally and bringing it together for the perfect blend, “this is what sets me and Pretty Lil Thang—@prettylilthangz592\1__nicki—apart from the others.”
Work Smart, Not Hard
Speaking directly to the current generation of youths now entering the workforce in an unprecedented global environment, Nicki’s advice, “do something that you love, because you don’t have to work hard, you can work smart, the internet is there you can use it to your advantage.”
According to Nicki, “you just have to keep believing in what you want and you can get it, you have to keep fighting; when it feels like it’s not working out for these few months, that’s the time you get up and you keep fighting the most.”
Adamant that, whenever “life is fighting you down, that’s when you need to stand up more,” Nicki said it was these principles that she applied to her life “and that’s why, I am where I am today, and I keep those words in my head all the time. You fight for what you want, believe in what you want and your business can become a success.”
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