Nicola Jaffer, owner of NIXZ stores, is passionate about helping women gain confidence and feel good about themselves
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Nicola, a mother of three, is a pocket rocket of positive vibes and self-belief. She is a self-taught fashion designer whose grandmother taught her to sew at a young age, and was given a hand sewing machine by her mother shortly before she died when Nicola was 16. Nicola took this as a sign and decided to live her passion.
After a working holiday in the UK where she did a stint at Wilkies – a dress shop for mature ladies – in Edinburgh, Nicola says, “I gained strength and came home to live my dream. I worked in a clothing store in Musgrave Centre for eight months before deciding to go it alone.” With start-up cash of R2 000, no bank account, no car and no fixed address (she was living with friends) the young Nicola made 50 units of clothing and started selling them at markets – many of you probably bought from Nicola at the Essenwood Market years ago – I know I did. She worked the markets for eight years before deciding to get what is now her flagship store, NIXZ, in La Lucia Mall. She made half her month’s rent in the first day! She now has successful stores not only at La Lucia Mall but also in Musgrave Centre on the Berea and at Hillcrest Corner in Hillcrest.
All NIXZ clothes are “proudly KZN”, made in a small factory Nicola has run since her flea market days. When asked what type of clothes she designs and who her target market is Nicola said, “Women over 30 and up to 90 years old. My clients are generally mature women with a modern mind-set who like natural fibres and who want to nurture themselves and radiate positivity.” She sees herself as an architect of balance and scale. “Your body tells me what to do for you – it says it all, as long as you are able to keep your ego out of the equation. I work in my own stores every day so I know who I am designing for. Being hands-on makes a world of difference.”
Nicola believes that people buy clothes not because they need them but to make themselves feel better. She says, “Colour lifts the spirit and is mood enhancing. Instead of conforming to trends rather invest in clothes that suit your shape and personality. Women in their 40s, 50s and 60s should develop their own dress style as they gain confidence with age. Be a leader and grow into your style. People always see your top half more than your bottom half, so good make-up is also essential as it creates harmony and finishes off your look. Women need to be colour coded to build a proper wardrobe so that the colours they wear work for each individual.”
This self-made success story that is Nicola Jaffer not only designs sassy, comfortable, casual clothes, but is also an image consultant. She runs makeover workshops teaching women how to be the best they can be and she serves her community by running an upliftment campaign inviting her clients to donate their old NIXZ designs to a shelter for abused women in Pinetown.
Nicola believes that no matter what your background or bank balance, if you remain true to yourself, positive and live your passion, you will succeed. One of her favourite reads is Outwitting the Devil by Napolean Hill – she quotes, “Whatever the mind of Man can conceive and bring itself to believe, it can achieve.” *
Nicola’s Wardrobe Basics for 2015
- Pencil skirt with pockets (pockets are sassy, confidence builders)
- Cigarette pants
- Classic linen pants
- Tapered chinos – stretch
This should comprise 30% of your wardrobe, the other 70% should be made up of tops in any colour that suit your skin tone and that work with the basic colours of the bottoms – navy, stone, white and black.
Upper Level, Hillcrest Corner, Old Main Rd, Hillcrest. 031 765 5815
Upper Level, La Lucia Mall, William Campbell Drive, La Lucia. 031 562 9593
Tags: designer, fashion, Hillcrest Corner, KZN, La Lucia Mall, makeover, Nixz, trends