Weda Atlanta

WEDA Atlanta

Womens Economic Development Agency

Spotlight On Grads Cont Reading

Darling may have always had an interest in fashion but there was no telling that her dream would turn to a successful career when she began selling jewelry that she would purchase from manufacturers and then sell out of the trunk of her car.

“I started selling jewelry to the parents and teachers at my kid’s school, and I quickly started turning profits, which inspired me to create a small business and that’s how I came to WEDA.”

The steps and practices of being a small business owner, Darling says she learned from WEDA and its Atlanta Microenterprise Initiative program, completing the AMI program in January of 2008. Unlike many aspiring entrepreneurs who find WEDA through the local Small Business Administrations, she came upon the organization through online research. With keywords like “women” and “small business,” she began a course that would lead to her thriving business.

After a brief period of finding out more about WEDA and its services, she started the AMI course where she was exposed to the organization’s comprehensive start-up program. Of everything learned in her AMI class, Darling cherishes the camaraderie of her AMI classmates the most.

She says, “Being among 14 other dynamic women and learning about other people’s passions was inspiring. AMI taught me how to focus on one thing and to make that flourish. A person can have a ton of great ideas but you have to have a solid base in place in order to attain the latter. Through AMI, I learned invaluable skills such as which type of business entity to create, trademarks, branding, bookkeeping, pricing my services, being a more effective communicator, as well as my 30 second elevator speech. There is an unlimited amount of knowledge that you can obtain through taking the course, and to this day, I still revert back to my modules for guidance.”

Nikki Darling, through her image consulting and retail operation, seems to have a mission of making great fashions accessible to every woman. Earlier this year, she helped to organize Swapnista, an event where Atlanta women got together to exchange clothing. also allowed for donations to Darling’s other project she co-manages with Keren Charles, Operation Prom. She and partner in fashion, Keren Charles started a chapter of the organization in Atlanta to offer prom dresses to girls who would not otherwise have the perfect dress for that very special occasion. Recently, she was featured by Atlanta’s FOX 5 and said of her work,

“I want them to take away whatever that is bothering them or has caused a setback in their life. I want them to come in here, feel like a queen and leave here with that same emotion,” She continued, “There’s a lot of women and children that do not get to benefit from the things that we take for granted. So we want to show them what it’s like so they can have something to look forward to.”

In addition to her philanthropy work, Darling is actively working as Director of the Retail Owners and Sales Professionals Director with the Atlanta Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce where her main focus is to bridge the gap between designers and major retailers to help ensure product placement. More information can be found at www.ambcc.org.

Furthermore, Darling and members of her agency have been actively working as PR Specialists alongside Melisa Brown, Founder and CEO of The NY FAME, which showcases the talents of emerging and established Fashion Designers during NY Fashion Week. More information on NY FAME can be found at www.thenyfame.com.

In an economic climate where many working professionals have to pick up extra skills and sometimes work, Nikki Darling is an inspiring example of how to reach back to your passions for opportunity. Although she still is active as a Paralegal, she says that her business is moving her further away from her old profession.

“I’ve gone from five clients to 25 clients and as the word begins to manifest and the demand becomes greater, I will be forced to reposition what is most important to me, which is growing my business, and leaving a legacy for my children and grandchildren. The state of the economy positions us into thinking that we have to have a job to get to financial happiness, however, I believe it’s following your passion and being creative on how you can turn that passion into financial gains, and I’m on the path to getting to happiness!”

Image Consulting services by Nikki Darling & Co., are available at their brick & mortar located in the historic hotel row of Downtown Atlanta at 227 A Mitchell St., Atlanta, GA 30303. For more information, please visit their site, http://www.atlantaimageconsultant.com.

 

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