Connect
To Top

Meet Nikki Valentine of N.V.Me Designs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Valentine.

Nikki, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have always been fashionable and stylish. Starting at the tender age of six years old, when my mother let me pick out my own ensemblay (yes, I made up that word or it may be French, LOL) for my 1st-grade class picture. It was a red tartan jumper dress and it had a thin yellow stripe within the plaid print and I chose to pull that color out pairing the dress with a yellow turtleneck. I was fly that day, baby!

My Godmother was a model, fashion designer and master seamstress. I would always play in her closet and jewelry, but never thought I would become a Designer and Stylist myself. My friends would always have me do their hair, makeup or get their looks together for when we’d go out. But still no dice. I just loved making people look and feel good. Plus they wasn’t able to go out with me looking crazy. HAHA!!!

But what started me in the industry of fashion was a tragedy that I turned in to a triumph. I was in a relationship with someone for two years and we broke up because I found out that he was cheating on me and involved in other things that I did not tolerate. So I moved out of his place into my own to start over again. He called me one day stating that he wanted to get back together, that he was sorry and he’ll never do anything to hurt me again. Well, that wasn’t true. I had a little housewarming get together at my new place. My friends (male and female) were over and my girlfriends went next door to see my god-sisters place. My male friend was left at my place and the next thing I know, my front door was kicked in and my ex punched the guy in the face. The guy said that he was just a friend, that he had nothing to do with this and left (so I thought). Then my ex came after me and beat me up. He ran out of my apartment, as I ran to my bedroom to lock the door. I come out to see if he is gone and the next thing I heard was two gun shoots and a car speed off and crash. That night my ex was murdered.

I was devastated. I literally slept on my sister’s sofa for two weeks in a pair of his boxers, his t-shirt and one sock. I would not eat, bathe or go to work and ended up losing my job. One day I woke up and snapped out of it. I got off the sofa to get myself together and my life back on track. So I went home to take a shower, went into my closet to get dressed and realized I couldn’t fit any of my clothes. I wasn’t able to purchase a new wardrobe because I lost my job. So I literally tore everything apart and reassembled it into something new, something that I could fit. I didn’t know much about sewing, so I took an old pair of wide leg trouser jeans cut them open and hot glued it together to make it into a skirt. I was so hype at what I created.

It was All-Star weekend in Philly circa 2002. My girls and I decided to attend the festivities and stay at the Adam’s Mark hotel were all the celebs and ballers were staying. No we weren’t trying to catch a “Baller” we were there to have fun. So I wore my 1st creation (the hot glued skirt) and while walking in the hallway of the hotel rap artist Warren G saw me. He said, “Yo where did you get that skirt.” and my god-sister jump out and replied, “Oh she made that, she’s a designer”. I’m like, “No I’m not” under my breath. Then it was an AR rep or something right behind him and he said “Hey I need someone to dress my artist who is performing tonight, we’re not from here and don’t know where to shop” “Can you help us?”. So here goes my sister again, “Oh she’s a stylist too”, Me: “No I’m not”. The next thing I know, I’m being thrown in a limo heading to South Street to get this artist (he was from the group No Ends, LOL! I’m dating myself) a look. And that is just what I did, as my onlookers (my girls) watched me work. With no formal training in art, design, or even fashion, just God-Given talents and an uber eye for style, that is how N.V.Me Designs started.

I created urban designs out of your old clothing, which I’ve been doing since 2002. Today they call it Upcycling!  Mary J. Blige wore this black leather halter top I made from an old pair of leather pants. She rocked it in an Essence Magazine feature in 2002. I worked on a collaborative project with Miskeen Hand Painted and created a T-shirt that P Diddy wore in a music video and Eve wore a design of mine too. My career in fashion went from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. Local nightclubs created Fashion Wednesdays and would have me do fashion shows, boutiques wanted my designs in their shops and the people was loving my creative designs. I would walk in to places and people would say, “Hey you are that NV girl” and I’m thinking to myself like okay, how do you know me. They saw me on TV and I was in Philly Style magazine and didn’t even know it. My name was about to be known in these streets.

Then life happened…

I developed cancer after having my 2nd son, so I stopped everything N.V.Me to focus on my life and new baby. I also had post-partum depression and felt like my whole life just stopped. I felt like I was the only person that could take care of this baby and that N.V.Me Designs was over. Once I went back to working a corporate job I just let my business fall to the waste side. I was on a 12 year hiatus. Until 2015 I decided to start my business back up. I added a new T-shirt line and offering hair and makeup services to my portfolio. I left my corporate job of 8 years in 2016 and been doing N.V.Me Designs full-time ever since then.  It was hard, but the happiest thing I’ve done.

In 2018, I took a leap of faith, God brought me to Cali. I left my children (2 sons ages 16 and 25), grandbaby (yes I am a Mom Mom), family and friends to pursue my dreams and grow my business. I wanted to take it to the next level. I finally had the opportunity to do things all for me, my way. Now don’t get me wrong it was and still is extremely hard being away from them. But I’m doing this for them so they don’t have to struggle or go thru what I have been thru. I want to create a better life for my family. They are what is motivating me to keep pushing on.

July 22, 2018 was my 1st day in Cali.  My 1st week here I was already at the exclusive Soho House and attending private dinners with artist (where they do that at just moving to Cali). To being booked for photoshoots with actors and landing a gig on set for OWN Network for the reality show ‘Chad Loves Michelle’ with Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child. I came here to win, I’m not taking no shorts nor playing any games. I’m driven by faith, family and God. I do this because these are the talents God has blessed me with and I was brought here for a reason, to be of service to others. I want to make people look and feel good about themselves. I always say, “When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good you exude the confidence to take on the world’ and that is what I’m here to do!

Has it been a smooth road?
Most of my struggles I have overcome. Being molested at 5-6 years old, being abandoned by my mother at age 6, having both parents that were on drugs, becoming a teenage mother, being kicked out at 17, having cancer for 12 years and I’m still here. I still living. I’m still pushing through. I’m still thriving. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my life, period. Shit, I just told y’all what I’ve been through. And I’m proud to say that I haven’t let what I have been through determine where I am going. My experiences have molded me in to the person I am today and showed me I can handle anything that comes my way. Baby, I am strong black woman!

My biggest struggle to this day is self-doubt and overthinking. But my faith in God has been diminishing that. He has shown me that I can through him. He has blessed me in so many ways. He broke me down so that I could learn and know what is needed in order to receive all that he has for me. Moving here to Cali has taught me to be more humble, vulnerable, depend on others, ask for help and that it’s ok to let people in to my life. I was so used to doing everything on my own and never asking for help to realizing that everybody needs help or somebody at some point in their life. And being here in Cali alone has opened me up a lot.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the N.V.Me Designs story. Tell us more about the business.
N.V.Me Designs was created in 2002 by me. I had no formal training in art, design or fashion. I didn’t go to school for any of that. All my talents are God-Given, literally. I would dream it and wake up and know how to do it. It’s crazy!!! Unbelievable at times. But I just did my research, taught myself how to do things and put in the groundwork. I started off as a Designer by taking old clothing and redesigning it into something new and fly. Since 2015 I haven’t been doing much designing though, but recently working with other designers is bringing back my Mojo to do so. I’ve been pulled more to the styling side of it all and doing makeup. It’s all about the complete head-to-toe experience with me.  My specialty is curating classic looks with a bit of edginess, something there has to pop, catch your eye or make a statement. It can be a shoe or some detailing about your FIT. Style and quality is key! For makeup, all I do is enhance your already beautiful or handsome self. My makeup technique will be flawlessly you, natural but polished.

Everyone has there own “thing”. I think it’s just my East Coast, my personality, my flare, my realness, it’s just me! People notice me for my hairstyle, the clothes I wear (and I think I be looking regular smegular) and when I walk into a room.

Here is something I received recently from a lady I helped in a store that was shopping for work clothes. She purchased over $1200 worth of clothing (but it was a 30% off the entire store sale going on and I’m all about a discount, baby). She asked me for my card after helping her and she sent me this text message.

Saturday, September 21st

“You honestly have no idea the impact you made on my life today – you helped me find myself again, find some confidence, feel pretty. You kind of loose your identity when your kid/s leave home and I have to re-find myself and go out there and live my life for me now – you played a part in that today. Thank you. You pushed me out of my clothing comfort zone a little.”

And this is all the purpose why I do what I do! You don’t have to be rich or a celebrity to be able to afford a Stylist, to be able to afford me. I don’t do it for the love of money, I do it for the love of people and making them feel good and be the best they can be. That is what sets me apart from the rest!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The fashion industry will always be there, like the medical industry, it always needed. We can’t walk around naked all day! I would thou. LOL! I don’t really see any big shifts or changes because if you truly look at fashion and the history of it, nothing really goes out of style, its just falls out of trend. Everything comes back around again, it’s the circle of fashion. Like the ‘Mom Jeans’ and ‘Dad Sneakers’, everybody is rocking those high waist jeans and the big bulky sneakers. Which were hitting for in late 80’s and early 90’s. I feel like its the same styles but there may have a different element or texture to it. The fabrics have changed. I can pick up a Vogue pattern from 50 years ago, switch up some detailing about it along what is trending at that moment and it’s going to bang! All I may have done was change the texture of it but left the foundation. I’ve been seeing a lot of architectural futuristic designs but will that really be what is next?!? I can’t see it for everyday wear thou.

As for myself, I can’t answer that because my journey has been mind-blowing and what I thought I had planned for myself has already been planned by God and I’m just following the path  he has destined for me. And me making that statement is very different from how I used to be. I would have ran down to you a step-by-step play on how and what I would have planned for the next 5-10 years. Now I just go with the flow of things and doing so, I have had less stress in my life.

But I do eventually plan to have a non-profit organization to help women transitioning from whatever it may have been. I been thru a lot and I know the struggle and if I can help someone with their struggles and lighten that weight in any way I possibly can, I’m here for it.

My cause is to help through fashion. I want to offer makeovers or a place for the women to come to where they can get done up for a job interview or may need work clothes, etc.… Not always these women can afford to go shopping for clothing at a store or even a thrift store. So I’m here to donate a look, a feeling that will help boost their confidence to be able to take on the world.

Pricing:

  • Styling Packages starts as low as $100
  • Consultation is $55

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Getty Images, Rodin Eckenroth; Wire Image, Francis Jasper, Photographer; CMP Photos – Vernon Ray, Photographer; Chris Rouse, Photographer; Duff Images Photography; Andrew Kuykendall, Photographer

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in