Nichole Lynel is on a mission to make the world more beautiful. As a successful designer, author and entrepreneur, Lynel’s accomplishments so far have proven she certainly possesses the walk to match her talk.
Back in 2014, the young go-getter followed her lifelong desire to merge her talents as a creative and businessperson, taking a leap of faith with the launch of her own online boutique. Fast forward to 2021, the California-born business owner has now created, designed and produced a twenty-piece Holiday Glam Collection for Nordstrom. She was also notably one of three designers to create clothing for American Girl’s 35th anniversary fashion show.
But, behind these accomplishments are decades of trial and error, loss, and everything in between. Lynel’s time as an up-and-comer is the phase she is most grateful for, however. “That is where I found myself,” she tells REVOLT. “By losing everything, I found everything I have now in my life — it’s beyond my wildest dreams.”
Now, the fashionpreneur is walking into one of the most exciting and fulfilling years of her life, and she’s more than willing to share the gems she has learned along the way. In celebration of Women’s History Month, REVOLT had the honor of speaking with Lynel as she opened up about her journey to success, most valuable business advice, changing people’s lives and not “holding up the line.” Check out our full conversation below.
Prior to your first launch, you put in years of work. How important was it for you to trust the lengthy process?
I would say I have been in the process pretty much my whole life. I have been a fashion girl since birth. The ‘Remember the Time’ video was one of the early times I saw Black people being fabulous. Ever since then, I’ve been chasing my dream. I also have a family that encourages entrepreneurship as a career.
I didn’t take it seriously, though, until 2014 when I first launched the online boutique. On that journey, I had to learn everything myself. I didn’t have anyone to look to and everything was trial and error. I know we all want to avoid the struggle, but that is where I learned everything. I lost so much money, I lost relationships, I lost everything you can think of. It was all preparing me for who I am now. It’s the part everyone wants to avoid and people always ask me how to, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have that in their story. That is where I found myself. By losing everything, I found everything I have now in my life — it’s beyond my wildest dreams.
What’s the biggest business-related lesson you learned during those struggle years?
When it comes to the big things, don’t be cheap and also hire experts. There are certain things in your journey where you cannot afford to deal with amateurs. Also, ask for receipts. Lastly, trust your gut. Every time I thought it was wrong, it was wrong.
That’s interesting because in a previous interview with Forbes you said you “do what people respond to.” How do you know to continue trusting your gut in the event that people aren’t responding as you expected?
Again, I think you simply just have to trust your gut. I don’t believe that God would put it in your heart if it wasn’t supposed to be fruitful. The business side of it might change, but the actual thing does not. For example, I love a good selfie, but nobody was looking for my selfies. That is not what people come to me for. They want a full look … full outfit, so that’s what I give them. I design for the glamorous girl on the go.
The ‘how’ may change but the ‘why’ doesn’t, and you can’t be afraid to go after it. I have the Jumanji drums inside of me, and they’re still going every day. If you put that work behind it, you’ll never fail unless you give up.
How important is it to share opportunities with other rising entrepreneurs?
I know that this isn’t just about me. I love how I treat my team and how I make others feel. I know that I’m here to make the world more beautiful. Everyone that I come across, even if our working relationship doesn’t work out, they will leave me better. I think I make people’s lives better and more beautiful, and everyone around me will say that because you can feel my love and presence.
‘Holding up the line’ — that’s my main thing. When you do not pursue the purpose that God has given you, you are holding up the line. When you do not chase your dream and put it out there, you’re holding up the line. I have changed lives. I have put people in positions — not only just for me, but I have a whole team now who are full-time employees. A part of my dream is providing income for them.
I also have an amazing boyfriend, and we have a podcast where we are changing people’s mindsets on relationships. It’s just about changing the narrative, and we all talk about business and money, but there’s nothing that will take away love. When you go to bed at night or even when you have your alone time, love is all that really matters. All of that is important. I’m really passionate about that.
Tell us about your favorite career moment so far.
Walking into my own. In 2017, I launched my own boutique and within a few weeks, I almost had a sold-out site. That’s my favorite moment because I doubted myself and thought I needed someone outside of me to become successful. As a woman growing up, you would think you needed a husband or to be popular, but all along God had already given me everything I needed. Nothing will make you respect yourself more than completing something. I know I can do anything.
Who are some women you wish to highlight during Women’s History Month?
I would say my home team. My real life friends. Team NL exceeds and blows my mind. The brains behind building my business, which is my sister Melissa (@buildwithmel), my fashion icon Kara (@chinchillyonstyle), my design go-to Gilbeau (@itsgilbeau), mind and body Nic B (@imnicb), my clutch for everything Chiana (@chianajenell), hair and beauty Tamara NéCole (@Saddity_hair), shoes and productions Areial (@twelveam.co), and brand specialist Khalia (@khaliabraxton).
Women I watch and build with truly inspire me daily.
Think about your life this time last year. How much has changed for you, and how does it feel to look back from where you’re standing right now?
Oh, so you want to make me cry? I was just thinking about how I’m experiencing such a full circle moment. This time last year is when I met the love of my life. We were talking on the phone, and he was trying to get me to come out to Miami and see him.
I felt like my whole world was falling apart. I had gotten the things that I wanted — like, the apartment and car I always wanted — but I felt a tremendous hole in my heart. 2021 was my rockstar year. This was the year I got my chance to work with major retailer Nordstrom and also the American Girl partnership. This year changed my life financially and emotionally in every way. I really surrendered and gave it all to God, and he really came through for your girl.