Hey everybody, it’s ya gurl Nij and today I want to give y’all the 411 on New Jersey based designer, THOMAS LAVONE. I got the opportunity to sit down with him and ask a few questions regarding his nearly two decade career in fashion. Yes, you read that right! And might I add, he’s still going strong uhkay??! Despite the trends and forever changing market, the brand Thomas Lavone, continues to pave its own way and blaze trails…utilizing adversity to become its university. Check out what he had to say in our interview at his very 1st Pop up Shop in the East Village this past weekend!
Who started the brand and why?
I started the brand. After being laid off from my job as a technical designer, I knew that I wanted to take to take my craft to the next level and make a business out of it.
How has the brand managed to stay relevant amidst the trends and in an industry that’s seemingly over saturated?
Through God’s grace and direction, the brand continues to grow. We’ve experienced all the pains of growing a small business, but what we have learned has been invaluable. You must stay encouraged even when it feels you aren’t growing fast enough.
Where do you see the brand in the next 5-10 years?
In 5-10 years, we see the brand successfully growing in small boutique retailers, e-commerce, and in international retailers. We see expanding our footprint globally as a goal that is totally reachable for us.
What can potential clients expect from a Thomas Lavone piece?
Clients can expect more whim and less fuss…in essence, true craftsmanship from this brand. Size inclusion is apart of our DNA, so expect to see more of it.
5. Is there anything else you want people to know about the brand?
We will be intentional in bringing forth our vision of quality women’s lifestyle wear to the marketplace.
I guess you can say this serves as an official mic drop moment!
As one can see, Thomas Lavone is a brand which prides itself on the classic, timeless and chic everyday woman…yet he still manages to design a piece that is just right for you.
Lastly, in case you missed the Pop up Shop, no worries I’ve got you covered! Check out the inside scoop on it here!
Ok, so on Saturday April 14th, I attended the 1st ever Sistahs in Business Expo in Newark, New Jersey. Shout out to my hometown for hosting!!!
Ayyye ayye! LOL, ok now that’s out of my system!
It’s only been a few days after the event and of course, they haven’t officially announced a 2nd event, but I am speaking it into existence…and I want to give you 5 reasons why you’d want to attend the next one.
#1 WALL TO WALL MELANIN
I’m here for all my melanin rich chicas who are pursuing their purpose, increasing their bank and cash flow and who are also helping to provide their communities with service. The Ramada oozed with melanin and it was just inspiring to see so many black girls under one roof slaying in their businesses, giving words and wisdom and simply relishing in their melanin rich selves!
Y’all remember that clothing line from back in the day right?? For Us By Us…and that is exactly what this event provides – keys to success for all the brown girls with dreams…yea that’s me, you and the sistah in front of you uhkay??!!
#3 SHOPPING & NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY
I’m all for shopping major retailers for some things, but there’s nothing like supporting a sistah who has the same product you need. By supporting her, you are putting money back into your own community. Moreover, you get to meet other women ‘preneurs, who (for lack of a better word) are doing the doggone thang!
#4 WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
Each woman on the panel had so much knowledge to offer and you can tell from the passion in their eyes, that each woman aint come to play! Get ready to slay your goals and snatch your life! #pointblankperiod
#5 HELPING TO SUPPORT SOMEONE ELSE’S DREAM FUELS THE FIRE FOR YOU TO PURSUE YOURS
Seeing other women actively pursuing their goals should get you so excited until you hit the ground running in pursuit of yours! The time is NOW! As I am saying it to you, I am saying it to myself. Forget fear and pursue your God given purpose with everything you’ve got. Also ask the Lord to surround you with people who will help you in this process and it shall be done! (words of wisdom from MC Lyte during the panel discussion).
BONUS: UNEXPECTED BLESSINGS
It’s more than just the free prizes, because you never know why God has you in a certain place at a certain time. Maybe it’s something you need to hear, someone you need to meet…so always keep in mind that your steps are ordered, Proverbs 37:23.
If that’s not enough motivation, then check out all the behind the scenes footage on my vlog below.
In closing, shout out to the host & CEO Aisha Taylor Issah once again for the success of her event, and to her entire team. I am certain that it took a whole lot of team work to pull this off! Check the website though because SIBEXPO is scheduled to make a few more stops in other states. The next stop is actually in Philly at Temple University on July 14, 2018. Again stay tuned to the website for more information because this is an event, you do not want to miss!
On Friday, April 6th, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Fashion Fair’s “Shade Matching Event” at the Lord & Taylor location in Manhattan!!
Yaaas I know right??
It took place on the rooftop terrace on the 11th Floor of the historic building. Can I just say that I had no idea this space even existed! Nevertheless, it was beautifully decorated and the quaint atmosphere provided the right ambiance for fashion, makeup and all things FABULOUS!
The Regional Account Executive, John Wesley, did a fantastic job of giving us some history and as a result, now I have a new found respect for the brand. Mrs. Eunice W. Johnson, the visionary behind Fashion Fair, is legendary for being the FIRST to create a line of makeup specifically for women of color. And for the first time in makeup history, we were the target audience! Can we take a minute to salute the late Mrs. Johnson??
Mrs. Eunice W. Johnson. Picture obtained from the Fashion Fair Cosmetics Instagram page.
Next, we were introduced to lead makeup artist April King, who would provide an up close and personal demonstration of the latest products, giving us some insight on what she does on a daily basis. Not only did she go through the entire process from skincare to foundation, but she also used ya gurl Nij as a muse! While painting my face, April answered our questions so gracefully and effortlessly. She also taught us novices some tips and tricks to snatch a face, the purposes of the different brushes, and also how versatile Fashion Fair’s products are- many products have more than one purpose. It is apparent that Mrs. King truly has a gift for makeup artistry and supporting the needs of her clients.
After this Masterclass, I walked away with these 3 gems:
Fashion Fair caters to women of all ages. The attendees ranged in ages from late 30s to late 60s, clearly showing evidence that their products compliment women at different stages of life. All women deserve to look and feel beautiful and Fashion Fair, I must say ,delivered that experience.
The makeup did not feel heavy on my skin. Instead my skin felt light, breathable and so natural. Needless to say, this face was the talk of the town darling!
As I watched each customer leave the counter, I could see smiles, sighs of satisfaction and as one seasoned woman said, “Eat your heart out!” Clearly she felt “Unapologetically BOLD…Unabashedly Beautiful!” It is evident that Fashion Fair prides itself on creating experiences and relationships with their customers.
The event ended with final remarks and pictures galore of course. So be sure to catch all the behind the scenes moments on my YouTube video below.
In closing, I have high hopes for Fashion Fair and that the legacy started by Mrs. Eunice Johnson will continue to live on for years and decades to come! If you have never tried Fashion Fair, I highly recommend you give it a try. Your face will be in good hands…satisfaction guaranteed!
Thanks for reading and I will catch y’all on the next post.
Ok, so guess what?? Spring has officially arrived and here in Jersey we were in the middle of a STATE OF EMERGENCY on Wednesday!!
I know, I know, horrible right?
Well since I didn’t have the luxury of looking out of my window and seeing the flowers blooming and hearing the birds singing…I did the next best thing. I used this “not-so” snow day to peruse the online racks over at Avenue Plus Size Clothing to bring you a few of my favorite things.
#1 – I am so ready to toss my winter coat out of the window and swap it for this FLOWER EMBROIDERED DENIM JACKET . And I’m here for the floral embellishment uhkay??!! It’s lightweight, super cute and screaming for me to shimmy in it. *insert twirl*
#2 – These legs have been hiding under leggings and stockings for way too long. Needless to say, they’ve been begging me for some sunlight! So this MEDALLION GRID SHEATH DRESS would be just what the doctor ordered.
#3 – As much as I love wearing boots, I’m also ready for my toesies to get some sun love too. Last summer’s tan is all the way gone but this EMMA STUDDED BUCKLE HEEL would set these toes all the way free hunT yaaaas!
#4 – If you’re like me, then your phone is always on E…I’m still trying to figure out how when my phone is dry as all get out LOL, but whatever though!! I need this CHARGING CROSSBODY BAG in my life like asap.
#5 – I’m ready to set these church muva arms free uhkay??!! And I love a top with some cut outs…I’m all for keeping things classy yet sassy at the same time! So can I just snap my fingers and this Criss Cross V-Neck Tunic appear in my closet pretty please??!!
And there you have it- 5 of my favorite things from Avenue’s spring collection! I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know which item was your fave! And OMG, I almost forgot for my big spenders…use the code AVSAVE35 for $35 off your purchase when you spend at least $125.
See you all soon,
xx, Nij ♥
PS, you’re always welcome to connect with on my other social media platforms:
Hear ye! Hear ye! I’m on my way to becoming DEBT FREE!!
Why: Debt has become a monkey on my back and I just can’t do it anymore.
How: My first step was purchasing Tiffany The Budgetnista’s book, “The One Week Budget.” I didn’t follow everything to the letter but I did modify her method to suit my situation.
Also, in 2017 I decided to make better money choices and also did better with saving. Joining Qapital, increasing my credit union deductions, paying off credit card debt and student loans [and of course spending less] were tips that I used to snatch my coin back.
To add to the list, I even created my very 1st Penny Challenge Jar as a Christmas gift for my mom, but I wound up making one for myself too. Check out the video and let me know if you plan on making one of these jars, so you too can save extra money! The challenge starts January 1, 2018 so I wish you all a Happy New Year and declare 2018 to be the YEAR OF THE GREAT COIN SNATCH!
One of the things I love about fall is the FASHION!! Needless to say, I was all in when Avenue Plus Size Clothing gave me an invitation to peruse this season’s newest looks. I was like:
LOL, but since I can’t do that, I narrowed my wish list down to the 4 items featured in this post.
For starters, sweaters are a staple in EVERY woman’s closet because they are so versatile. A good sweater can be worn so many ways depending on the material, color and overall look you’re going for. And in case you didn’t know, I’m all for the gaudy and embellished look, so yaaas hunT bring on the sheer and bling! Both sweaters were rather dressy so heels were definitely the option for me.
Now on to the dresses…I love floor length dresses don’t get me wrong, but I also love to show a lil leg at times too. It’s all about balance right?? Not to mention, I had just recently purchased some new thigh high boots that desperately needed to be worn (insert laugh) so I seized the moment!
Check out all the looks and let me know in the comments which one you liked best.
Stone Embellished Choker Sweater
Velvet Burnout Bell Sleeve Dress
Lace Shoulder Pullover
Floral Embroidered Cold Shoulder Dress
Also for behind the scenes footage, check out my very first haul video below:
As always, thanks for stopping by and I will see in my next post… xx, Nij ♥
1 week agoby iamnijahjAs I said before, 1)check that FRUIT before you catch FEELINGS uhkay??!! 2) We MUST guard our anointing. If he/she is tryna lead you out of the will of God (I DON'T CARE WHAT POSITION THEY HAVE, HOW MUCH MONEY THEY HAVE, HOW MUCH THEY CLAIM TO LOVE THE LORD ETC), then you gotta shut the door on that or else you will ALWAYS come out on the losing end...and I'm not doing those kinds of relationships anymore. #pointblankperioT#repost@whateverywomanneedstoknow
4 days agoby iamnijahjThis is your Monday morning reminder that YOU ARE WORTH IT! If errbody and they're daddies/mommas/cousins etc got access to "it" then chaal let'em have it. Especially for us singles, we do NOT have to share or beg for anything. You are the apple of God's eye so we ought to carry ourselves as such. That being said, you have to ask yourself, "Is what they're giving all they have to give or is that all they want to give you?" Lastly, make your decision based on the facts/current situation (what it is) and not solely your emotions/feelings. #repost@pastoreghe_kennedy
5 days agoby iamnijahj[Moment of Transparency] Cocky? NOPE Conceited? NOPE Confident? YOU GOT IT! It took me yeeeears, more like decades if I'm being honest, to get to this place and will not allow anyone/thing to move me. To give you a little insight, I've always been chubby but I didn't know that I was chubby until a small framed adult pointed it out and made it a point to do it every time she saw me. I realize now that the enemy used her to sow seeds of low esteem into my life. So yes, for years I suffered because she would
6 hours agoby iamnijahjSiiiis, here dis message uhkay??!! And FELLAS too, make sure you and ole girl are spiritually connected FIRST. Because uhh as for me and this house, I'ain finna let nobody put this flame out. It was dull for a long time, but ya gurl caught on fire for Jesus!! #repost@rae_thechristian_princess
4 days agoby iamnijahjYaaaaay for this 1 MONTH ANNIVERSARY of @lovenotesuntilwemeet !!! Be sure to check out all my previous posts, the backstory on how it all began and also stay tuned for future content. It's all about LOVE...letters, poems and prayers to future bae uhkay??!! PS, Although I haven't met him YET, I know he's out there being great and preparing to meet me as I'm being great and preparing to meet him. Hence... #lovenotesuntilwemeet ❤
1 week agoby iamnijahjTruth.com.org.net etc...the beauty of REJECTION/HEARTBREAK/BETRAYAL is that it teaches you to depend on God like frfr... Yep it hurt, but years later I can see the growth and maturity in myself...and most importantly I've learned (and still learning) to depend on God and God alone uhkay??!! So yes, pain def has a purpose. Just allow the Lord have His perfect way and to take you through the process. #repost@realloveoverlust
1 week agoby iamnijahjChaaal Charlie is even standing on the Word! I got a saved cat yall lol! Seriously though, everyday he either sits/stands on my bible or notebook while I'm either reading or writing.