Winning as an entrepreneur means THINKING DIFFERENTLY.
Who is Nikki Harris?
Turning the unimaginable into couture fashion, Nikki Harris is the owner and operator of HGE Design a crochet fashion company. We are honored to feature her as our next shining star on Diamond Legacy Group Spotlight: Nikki HGE Designs.
Something that started off as a mere hobby to keep warm in the winter has evolved into a lucrative business with a philanthropic purpose. This spoke word poet turned designer is taking Baltimore's fashion scene by storm as she revolutionizes and weaves the art of crochet into the fashion industry. As a pioneer of changing people's mindset on the art of crocheting being haute couture fashion. Nikki Harris has worked with several celebrities and has been featured in countless fashion and hair shows and was recently showcased as a vendor for the 50th anniversary of The Americans for the Arts Convention in Baltimore, The Towson Heritage Festival, and Artscape.
Currently, her line includes hats, scarves, mittens, shrugs, ponchos, halter tops and custom design dresses. With production in place to include a "do-it-yourself" series which caters to the plus size divas. Or as Nikki would say fitting fashion for our "curvy fluffy divas".
Starting her crocheting business in 2006. Ironically, the same year her son was diagnosed in with autism. Through all her success, she remains focused on staying true to her mission to crochet for a cause as she honors her son by giving back and bringing awareness to autism by opening a non-profit that provides financial support for families with autistic children.
The love Nikki has for her brand is felt in every creation. As she loves what she does, she wants you to love it as well and we hope our audience enjoys reading her story.
What made you get started in your industry?
HGE Designs was a hobby that turned into a business out of necessity. I started making hats and scarves for myself. Shortly afterwards my son was diagnosed with Autism. Soon I was making hats and scarves to help pay for swim classes and therapy. Next we were helping build playgrounds and buying iPads for his preschool. That is honestly when the business was born.
Walk us through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did?
Our story isn't the typical business model. It was never intended on being anything but a hobby. I think a higher power honestly knew at the time I would fight harder for my son than I would for myself. I work for Baltimore City Fire Department. I literally was designing clothes and accessories without a name or logo. It was always about providing for him. My art became a stress reliever. It wasnt until I realized that I had a gift that could help others that the business planning began. Afterwards, I participated in local fashion shows and craft events. I was able to collaborate with Ms. Natalie Karyl, owner of The Dollhouse Boutique in Baltimore. It allowed me to gain exposure to a new level of clientele and fine tune my own skills. I have several shops that carry my work and relaunched my new website that is fully equipped for custom orders.
What do you consider are your specialty?
I think crochet portraits are my specialty. Crochet is an ancient skill and many people know how to do it. I believe my work stands out because I have my own flair. The portraits are definitely something people immediately recognize as my work. I have been privileged to create and deliver pieces to Ms. Lauryn Hill, Curtis "50 cent " Jackson and Pusha T.
Do you see yourself making this full-time?
Absolutely. The amazing thing about being an artist is the ability to constantly create something new. I take pride in the fact that I never become comfortable. I am always working to improve and grow as an artist and as a business.
What can we always expect from your company/brand?
-You can always expect quality handmade work. I love being able to provide unique pieces that are not mass produced in a factory.
What was the best advice you every received and why?
The best advice I ever received was do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. I eat, breathe and sleep all things crochet. Even when I am stretched to capacity with orders and projects, it never feels like work. Its a rush to be able to meet deadlines and make people happy with my work.
What tips can you recommend that you’d would most likely only share with a close friend or comrade on success?
Never stop learning.
Work like you are still trying to achieve your goals, long after you have achieved them.
Stay humble and stay grateful.
Favorite online resources such as Evernote or Dropbox that you use for your business?
I use Dropbox constantly. With photoshoots and applying to art shows it saves time.
Can you recommend one or two books that has been influential in your life?
One of my favorite books that I read consistently is The Secret and Elevation Has A Price Tag by Katie Marie Fickling. Every so often I reread them and my notes to help me when issues occur or just to motivate myself.
What can we expect from you and your company/brand in the next 5 years?
I am currently working on a non-profit organization to bring awareness to autism and supply financial support with daily living expenses for families. HGE Designs will have a brick and mortar location for custom designs and artwork. We will also be creating custom home accessories.
What do you think will be the next big change or shift in your industry?
I think custom designs and artwork will be even more popular. People want to be unique in every aspect of their lives. They want to have the conversation piece adorning themselves or their home and HGE Designs can do that.
If a young entrepreneur walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?
Stay ready and you never have to get ready.
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We hope you enjoyed reading Diamond Legacy Group Spotlight: Nikki Harris HGE Designs, blog as much as we enjoyed our interview experience with Nikki. Until next time, Happy Reading!!