My name is Nicole Florence Atieno. I am a 22 year old designer and business woman living in Nairobi, Kenya. My Fashion Company is called Kendra’s Fashion House. I also have a Retail Store where I stock clothes from other local designers
I would say I am happiest when I bump into someone “wearingKENDRA”, (i.e wearing some of my design pieces.) The joy is really unexplainable; to think that someone would wake up in the morning, look at everything in their closet and pick something made by ME... it really is everything to me.
My greatest experience of all time though, in terms of my career as a fashion designer, was when I walked down the runway at the end of my very first fashion show in Nairobi back in 2012. I was 18 years then. Honestly I was so exhausted, I didn’t even have the time to glam up. I walked out in some old ‘flats’, but the applause and the smiles on everyone’s faces just made the exhaustion and the stress all worth it.
I love the feeling at the end of a successful fashion show.
The long days and nights of rehearsals, production and handling finances just becomes worth it at that instant.
My worst experience, hands down, is this one time I had a failed fashion show. It was in 2013. I organized a combined show with a couple of upcoming designers (though I was the main host). The event was so poorly attended and everything was just so disorganized. It was truly an embarrassment and even worse, a financial set back. I’m glad to say that I haven’t had a failure like that one again. I can say, that memory keeps me on my toes. I consider myself an “organizing freak” now.
I consider myself very interesting :-). I am the classic artist; emotionally aware and creative. I can sing, act, dance, draw, design, write and play the piano. I’ve always been good in the arts, considerably better than the sciences. I think I’m interesting because of my artistic nature. My artistic nature allows me to create and I think that’s quite interesting. However, if I was to point out just one interesting thing about me, I would say it’s that I have both very extroverted and introverted tendencies as well. This makes it possible for me to be different versions of myself based on the surroundings.
My biggest challenge in life has truly been managing and growing my businesses. It’s quite difficult due to problems in things like accessing capital, among other things. It’s also been difficult balancing the business with school and social life. I feel like I have found a good balance now, but at first it was quite difficult. I had to give up other opportunities while in university so as to focus on my company, Kendra’s Fashion House.
I am passionate about many different things. I’m passionate about developing Kenya. I would like to live to see a day when we our local industries are flourishing and when the unemployment rates are mitigated by employment opportunities from local companies and by successful entrepreneurs.
I’m also passionate about humanity in this sense; I have a lot of empathy for the social injustices taking place in different places in the world. Yes, black lives matter, women’s lives matter, the lives of people living in war torn areas matter … and every human being should be treated with dignity. I am strongly passionate about that.