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Meet Cristal Nicolas of Vivienne Michelle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cristal Nicolas.

Hi Cristal, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I started my business in 2020. I got my permits online because everything was closed. I got an LLC do not recommend. Lol, I got my permits in and my website .com in march 2020. I had a couple of meltdowns before actually buying inventory a couple of times. I would drive to downtown and like sit in my car and cry and drive home. I was really anxious and scared lol. August was my first real buy & I didn’t launch my website until November. So for about seven months, I was paying for Shopify without actually having anything on there haha.

I grew up reselling clothes. We would shop at the thrift store out of necessity. Before it was cool or whatever. We went to the thrift store for clothes because that’s what we could afford. I used to make my barbie’s dresses from socks for fun. I went to college for fashion design. I started selling clothes on eBay as soon as I hit 18.

I do come from an entrepreneurial background. My parents had a party, event planner, and rental place. Nico party supplies. I built their first website when I was in 4th grade. Taught myself HTML for fun lol I was that kid that sold hot Cheetos and Gatorades at school. In 2nd grade, I was selling pokemon stickers. 3rd grade was calculators that looked like cellphones and 4th, 5th grade I used to sell Mexican candy. Middle school and high school was carrying two backpacks one for school stuff and one for snacks to sell.

College I sold clothes on eBay, Poshmark, Depop, craigslist, buffalo exchange, and crossroads. I worked part-time and interned and this and that but whenever I really needed money fast I knew I could list my closet lol. I also started my social media venture in college. Applied to a job on craigslist. Worked for skinny bitch apparel for about two years.

I don’t know where I’m going with this can you guys edit this? Apologies. I’m really nervous I don’t know how to answer this 😅 are emojis allowed?

Long story short I love clothes. I went to college for fashion design eventually I want to design and create my own products. I currently sell new and vintage clothing. Everything in my past helped with the growth of my shop. Like I do my own social media, but I have a background of working social media for other brands and I feel like that’s a big help. I went to school for fashion design so I have the background in knowing about trends and forecasts and all that it really helps. & I worked in the fashion industry for five years. I know about fabrics and textures and patterns and the time and cost a garment takes.

So I launched my website in November 2020. I went back to work after being laid off for covid November 2020. I worked full-time in the fashion industry. I tried to work on my business on the side of that. And then in July 2021, I decided to quit my job and do my business full-time. I have 2 kids and everyone around me was like your crazy. 😂 & I was like well yeah but look now I have two options I either swim or I swim. I obviously can’t drown; I have kids. Do not recommend. You should probably wait till your business takes off and then quit. But so I quit my job went full time on my business. Started doing pop-ups. Because my website was not making enough revenue. So I started doing pop-ups. Pack up my tent, racks, and clothing. Los Feliz flea, small events at breweries, and then I got involved with emo nights and goth night events at clubs and bars. Anything I could do get my brand out there.

By January 2022 I was doing 2 to 4 events a weekend. Club Nocturno at catch one Friday night from 9pm to 2 am followed by Silverlake Flea from 6.30 am to 6 pm. followed by a brewery event on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. & always there was someone with me. I’m a one-man business but it’s definitely been a group effort. Jenny “tropicorpse shop” started doing flea events with me and someone one of my friends would always join me on my club and bar events. It was the hey want to go out? But I have to set up my table. But ill drive and buy you a drink. So it became the let’s hang out. While I work lol. So I started doing really good with my pop-ups and presence at events.

But I have kids. Single mom of two amazing daughters and it’s hard trying to figure where to leave them. Throwing them up in the air like 1 2 3 not it someone grab them. Haha, So I did want to expand my online.

I started reaching out to influencers, a lot of no’s, a lot of not even answers. & then I started working with Paige Brad. Who has been absolutely great.

My online picked up more than my pop-ups and it’s been crazy trying to handle both. I feel like I’m failing at supply and demand because like literally overnight my demand grew and I can’t keep up.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?

My therapist said I have this fear of being great. And I should write down why I feel I don’t deserve to be great.

Guess what? I do deserve to be great.

I don’t think any of my external struggles have been that big as my internal struggles.

We’ve been impressed with Vivienne Michelle, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My shop is called Vivienne Michelle named after my daughters. Vivienne is 5 & Michelle is 8. the name has too many characters for instagram so it became VxMClothing. I sell new and vintage clothing. Catered to the more alternative, goth, all-black outfit girl. I pride myself in transparency and creating community. I’m from the San Fernando Valley and I’m always excited to participate in pop-ups and vending events here in the valley. But I do also try to go to Los Angeles, Silverlake, and OC area. I love meeting new customers it’s always exciting. You can follow us on social media under @vxmclothing on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Tiktok, and Instagram. Shop online and in person at one of our pop-ups.

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
I love the community! Have you been to one of the San Fernando outdoor markets? It’s literally the whole community getting together and coming out. The tias vending. And the family coming out to support. Great vibes all around.

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