By: Danae Edmonds
Super excited to introduce you to this month’s It Girl! Treasure creates some of the most beautiful handbags and accessories I’ve ever seen! Her style is impeccable and definitely transfers to her brand Nikki & Mallory. She sits down with us to share how she got started, her goals for the future, and some honest advice about wanting to start your own business.
Name: Treasure Mallory
Age: 21 in Spirit. 34 by Birth
Job Title/Company: Owner/Designer of Nikki&Mallory Handbags
Education Background: B.A in Radio T.V Broadcast & Fashion Design
- Tell us a little about who you are.
Treasure is really my name, J. I’m from Pasadena, CA. I’m a true Cali girl. A laid back, free-spirit w/a touch of edge. I come off very serious but when you get to know me I’m such a clown. The beach is my sanctuary, fashion + music give me life. I love laughter, crazy adventure, traveling & shopping. Did I mention shopping?! Always been infatuated with the arts/expression & the esthetics of designing which is why I started my own business.
- What sparked your interest in starting Nikki and Mallory?
After changing my career twice, being lost & completely miserable working for other people, I prayed for a creative outlet that would allow me to ‘just be me’, feel complete + generate income. I was always creating little things, altering my clothes or making stuff I couldn’t find at the mall but never thought anything of it. When I enrolled in the Fashion Design Program, it sparked an interest I’d been overlooking for years. In school, I was learning how to construct garments but secretly teaching myself how to make bags – it just made sense and felt right. My teachers found out what I was doing & suggested I create a line of bags for the my Graduation Showcase. I was the only one in my class with an accessory line and after all the positive reviews and constantly being asked “can I buy a bag?”… balls to the wall, I turned that funny name my mom used to call me ‘Nikki Mallory’ into a business! (Nikki is my nick name, Mallory my last) It’s very true to who I am, my distinct personalities & style.
- Who are you most influenced by?
Strong minded entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid. The mom & pop shops, the small business owners and artisans that started out of their homes and now have corporations. The independent artist, creators and designers that are overlooked by the mainstream and later on adopted by mainstream. The people don’t follow trends and comfortable doing their own thing. The bold individuals who bend the rules a little and make a way out of no way, respectively.
- What was your first job and how long did you hold that position?
Sony Pictures Television was my first real job without the training wheels. Working there was seriously a dream come true. I landed a position as a Traffic Assistant in Television/Distribution for Syndicated Programs (gibberish? I know) but shortly after a year I was laid off under a merge that fell through. Best day of my life. The experience was amazing, my cubicle pretty dope but 3 months before the lay-off I was looking for a “way out”. I knew that 8hr days of confinement with an hour break for chow-time couldn’t be how I spent the rest of my life. I loved my time there but it was too mundane for me.
- Can you share a career defining moment with us?
My business is still pretty fresh. I’m not sure if I can say I’ve had a defining moment yet. I have a long way to go and so much I’d like to accomplish. What I do have are moments that confirm this is what I should be doing. One moment in particular (and very recent) was when the Wardrobe Department from “The Carmichael Show” reached out to me and requested a couple handmade bags to use on the show. One of the Costumers was someone I would always talk to on a show I had worked previously, the other was someone I met and would run into occasionally on set. They both knew Nikki&Mallory was something I’d been working on and saw a bag of mine at our season wrap party. And honestly after our show wrapped that was that! What I NEVER expected was for them to reach out to me a month later! The day before getting their email, I was in my design room going through levels of emotions about finances, work, all the ups & downs a business can bring…just weirdo shit. I got their email, we versed about the type of bags they wanted. A couple days later their intern came to purchase and pick up the order and I literally stood at the front door as she left, thanking God and saying to myself “never again will you question this business”…the fact that they remembered me & felt that MY bags were good enough to be put on a show, spoke VOLUMES to me. I love them, like, in a real way 🙂
- What were your initial goals with your work? How have they evolved?
My initial goal was to have a small online boutique. Just a business to call my own that specialized in eclectic/custom made bags. My business is constantly evolving but its so crazy to get orders, special requests, to see my bag on the red carpet or to have people stop me and ask “where did you get your purse?” It blows my mind to have people interested in my art. I just launched in Oct of 2015 but if this is what’s happening in 6 months I’m excited to see the next couple years!
- What do you think is the most important life skill you learned from being an entrepreneur?
Wow…Patience. My patience was to shits before my business. Some people move at a snail pace, I like to get things done, fast! I’ve really learned to be patient with the process and accept the journey for what it is without comparison. God’s timing has shown me that all things happen in the manner they’re supposed to if you just ‘lean with it, rock with it’ & remain patient in the midst of his work. I started to look back on all my accomplishments and noticed that, more of my success came from the moments I was patient. And all of my failures came from me trying to rush everything and do it MY way! “Have Patience” is so cliché but true. It’s like trying to grow out your hair after a bad weave or perm. Girl, that overnight growth is NOT happening overnight! So fall back & let it be.
- Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
My ultimate goal is to have a business that’s in a position to create opportunities for the people around me that are passionate & dedicated. Whether that be family, friends or strangers, I started my business through trial/error, reading, asking hella questions and figuring it out on my own. I would love to be of support and assistance and lead the way for others. Definitely travel the world, collaborate on projects with other artisans and house my bags in other countries. Have a gorgeous house in the hills with a crazy view of the ocean with a Kardashian type family. NOT. Lol. But honestly, while all that sounds ideal, I do have solid dreams/clear visions for my future but I’m not that “5 year planner type”. I’m just happy to wake up each day & embrace what’s happening in the now. Even if its not perfect.
- What is a typical day like for you?
I love waking up early, giving thanks and at some point incorporating a workout or meditation. Other than that, every day is so different and I love it! I run my business by myself so, I try to split my week into “Business” (photo shoots, editing, creating newsletters, blogging, purchasing supplies, updating my site/etsy, watching tutorials etc.) The other half is for “Creating” (illustrating designs, building patterns, cutting fabric, designing).
- What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in the process of pursuing your dreams?
Time management has been the biggest obstacle by far. I’m pretty sure I have it on lock now. People don’t realize it but I actually still work in Television. Now that I have different business goals & opportunities surfacing, I don’t work as much as before but, when I launched Nikki&Mallory I was working 10-13 hour days and would be on set face down in my computer working (in my down time) and still coming home to design! My schedule was bananas!! But, so is my dedication and focus. Distractions are a joke to me & I refuse to let anything get in my way of being great so, I had to work twice as hard. Because of that, I was able to invest in my business with no financial assistance or loans. Honestly I’m a bit of a work-a-holic and everyone around me knows it. I actually LOVE it. Might need a work-a-holics anonymous class at some point but…yea, I don’t mind it.
- What is the best piece of advice you have received?
My mom always says “If you don’t have a plan, you become a part of someone else’s plan”. That advice resonates in my head every time I feel tired, lazy or procrastination is creeping in. It makes me want to hustle that much harder & educate myself to become that much wiser so I don’t ever fall into “someone else’s plan”… again.
- When do you get your best ideas?
They’re so random! Honestly, I get my best ideas when I’m not seeking ideas! When I need ideas they’re nowhere to be found! Lol, silly ideas.
- Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
When I decided on gathering ideas for my first business, I had a “sub-business” idea that I wanted to incorporate with it. I created a 6 month goal for the 2 and immediately starting purchasing things in preparation for launch, setting meetings with manufacturers etc. but found myself putting more focused on the initial business and really falling behind and slacking in the other. It was really a waste of time and money. Not sure how I expected to succeed at both simultaneously with the two ideas being completely different and needing different attention and focus but I was really spreading myself thin. Needless to say, I launched one idea and put the 2nd idea aside. I will definitely revisit it at a better time but not until I’ve used up all my energy for the success of Nikki&Mallory.
- How do you unwind?
Doing absolutely nothing with a head of bed hair. Throw in a couch with a good movie, basketball or football game, I’m in heaven. Even a day at the beach, catching up with my crazy friends/family or endless laughs with my boyfriend helps me unwind…there’s usually a strong beverage involved in 2 out of 3 occasions. It’s really great.
- What would you tell someone else who wants to start their own business?
If you’re looking to start a business do it because you’re passionate about it. Not because of money or how “great” someone’s Instagram pictures look. (It’s so lame and I see it happening all the time) If there’s no passion behind it, you won’t put in real work and there’s no success without work. I promise I work harder for myself than I have EVER worked for anyone else BUT I enjoy every second & wake up excited to do it. Prepare yourself for the ups & downs, days where you make money and days that you don’t! Be willing to take the good with the bad & know how to motivate yourself to keep going through it all. Most importantly, be yourself. I can’t stress enough how staying true to you, will benefit you mentally and your business overall. There’s leaders who create the way and followers who walk on paths that have already been paved – Believe in yourself, don’t expect support from everyone & go into it with a leaders mentality, heart, perspective and be ready to build a foundation from ground up. It won’t be easy, but if you TRULY love what you’re doing and who you are while you’re doing it, the journey will be so much fun and rewarding!
- What do you hope people take away from your story?
I hope that my story can enlighten people to strive harder & embark on their own goals with a realistic approach. My journey has been nothing short of easy. I’ve struggled, been down to my last and completely uncomfortable at times but I don’t believe in settling for less. This world is too big to stay stagnant or complacent. If you want opportunity go out and take that shit! Time is too precious, don’t wait for it to come to you!
- Anything we missed that you would like to share?
Not that I can think of… If there’s anyone whose trying to start a business, feeling stuck, has questions or just needs some encouragement, I’m here to help! Genuinely help.