Each one of us has a God given talent. We all aren’t entrepreneurs, but we should strive to share our gifts with others. Nikia Williams, Esq. of Durham, NC is a great example of making your passion your business.
BRI: When did you realize you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Nikia: I think it started back in college. I was a business major with a concentration in entrepreneurship. That was in 2005 and at that time I wanted to have my own small business.
BRI: You own two businesses, Photography by Nikia and Zuri Couture Jewelry. Which business did you launch first?
Nikia: The photography business launched first and the Zuri Couture after that.
BRI: Are both of those businesses managed under you company Creative Esquire, LLC.?
Nikia: Yes both businesses are under that umbrella. I choose the name because I am an attorney. I practice law during the day but during the evenings and the weekends I have my own hobbies. I’m an attorney but I’m also a very creative person.
BRI: I love that each item in your Zuri Couture line is handcrafted, so each item has its own unique flair. What’s your inspiration behind the creation of your jewelry?
Nikia: I have to go to how I started the business. It really began out of personal need because my ears are not pierced. I have extremely sensitive skin and I can only wear clip on earrings. I don’t know if you’ve seen the clip on earring section in your local jewelry or accessory store, but the options for fun earrings are limited. I decided I wanted to create earrings that were fun, young, trendy, and something that reflected my personality. It started off with me making them for myself, then friends and family as gifts. I started to post the earrings on Instagram and Facebook and people began to inquire about how they could purchase the earrings. Instagram really contributed to the popularity of Zuri Couture. Zuri is my sister’s name. Zuri means beautiful in Swahili. The inspiration is from a line of ethnic prints, such as African wax print fabric. The whole jewelry line has a lot of bold fabrics and bright colors. It’s for people that want something unique that no one else has. It’s perfect for women who are natural like myself. If they wear short or updo hair styles the earrings are a great way to accessorize.
BRI: Natural women love button earrings!
Another thing I really like about your accessory line is your prices. You’re giving people the option to look great but not have to spend a lot of money. Other earring businesses geared towards natural women raise the price because they know we like the product.
Nikia: Exactly, I think that with me being a student and always having to do things on a budget. I understand the economy that we are in. People want to save money and they also want to look nice, so I’m glad it’s affordable for people.
BRI: I read on PhotographybyNikia.com that photography is your passion. Do you feel that more of your creativity is seen through your photos versus your accessories line?
Nikia: Yes I agree with that. Photography started out as a personal hobby of mine. I’ve been doing it a lot longer than the accessory line. I always loved taking pictures as a child and as a teenager. When I attended high school in Durham I took photography as an elective and I loved the class. You know everything is digital now, but back then we used film. You could take your pictures and then go into the light room and develop them. My instructor was amazing and very hands on. I learned a lot about lighting and composition from her. After college I continued to take pictures but I had just a regular point and shoot camera. Then sometime after college I upgraded to a semi-professional digital camera. I took some additional photography classes at the Light Factory in Charlotte. That’s where I learned how to properly use a camera. I started taking pictures for friends and family. Then, kind of like the accessory line people just offered to pay for my services and the rest is history.
BRI: Ok wow, so people asking for your services played a huge role in making you an entrepreneur.
Nikia: Yes both businesses began as hobbies not with the intent to begin a business. So my journey as a business owner in that aspect was non-traditional. There was no business plan and no marketing plan. I didn’t know a lot about social media. As things started to come together that’s when I decided I need to get my plans in order.
BRI: Is it difficult to own two businesses?
Nikia: Not for me and not yet (laughs). If things continue to go as they have it may become difficult and I may need some additional help.
BRI: What advice can you provide to other young entrepreneurs that are just starting out?
Nikia: I have two things. First is to be consistent. I believe that you earn your place in whatever you do by being consistent. For example, when I began taking photos I was just ok. I had to continue to practice and learn. I did some photo sessions for free so I could get more practice and sharpen my skills. Or I would offer photo sessions at a discounted rate. It’s important to allow yourself to be a beginner. When I got to the point where I felt my images were good, I started calling myself a professional and charging for my services.
The second is being passionate about what you’re doing. Money can’t be the sole motivator. Photography as well as the accessory business is something that I would do for free because I love it. Now am I going to do it for free? No. But I would do it for free because I really enjoy it. So your passion has to motivate you. Passion encourages you to stick with something when things get hard. For people who may not know exactly what their passion is, I would encourage them to think about something in their everyday life that they love doing. Some people are very fashionable and may make good fashion stylists. Some people are good at baking or event planning. We all have little hobbies that we like to do. I would encourage people to look at the things they are already passionate about and say how I can do it for profit. Your passion keeps you inspired, pushes you to do new things, learn more, and improve your craft.
Learn more about Nikia and her businesses by checking out the links below.
I hope Nikia’s journey inspires you as you work to acquire your own business or to discover you passion. If you have any questions about entrepreneurship, Nikia welcomes the opportunity to connect. Contact her here.
Thank you Nikia for sharing your story!