Nicole Banks is the owner of Shop Pretty Pieces. She serves both in store as well as online. Nicole has a varied background in IT, Marketing and Design, but has a love of fashion and image consultant.
What inspired you to start Shop Pretty Pieces?
Pretty Pieces was birthed from a place of pain. I was recovering from having emergency surgery to repair an obstructed small bowel. During my recovery I needed a way to create a new career. I was working in an overly stressful corporate environment and didn’t want that to be my only option after I recovered. I was in recovery for eight weeks and during that time I created the outline for what is now the fashion empire you see today.
What do you feel separates your clothing from others?
My passion, my knowledge of fashion and clothing construction as well as my authenticity separates me from others. My customers feel an attachment to me personally and that gives them a piece of me in the clothing selection. I think it’s my styling also that separates my pieces from others. I can take any piece and make it come to life in a way that draws you in differently.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothes?
I take so much pride in hand selecting each piece in my collection. The same care and pride that goes into picking, packing and shipping the pieces. Is the same feeling of pride I want My Pretties to feel every time they wear a pretty piece. I understand that some days we don’t feel our best, but dressing up can help turn a bad day into a pretty day. I’m also very hands on with the day to day operation and send a little bit of me out with each piece.
Are there any stores that sell your merchandise? If not, would you be open to the idea of having it sold at different retailers.
We are not currently in stores. We do have our own brick and mortar location that I hope to expand into other markets in the next year.
What role do you think social media plays in clothing today?
Social media drives fast fashion and sends style direct to the consumer in a way that’s influential and appealing. It has certainly helped my brand grow quickly. On the flip side, I’ve felt the effects of how social media can negatively affect my business. I’m pictured in a lot of the looks, because of this, my images are often stolen and used by other brands. But social media is a big part of building a brand and attracting customers so you have to have it.
How would you describe your style?
I’m a bit classic, yet out the box. My style is what I like to call a trend blend. I’ll take a classic piece, such as a pencil skirt. But in a funky bold graphic print and pair it with some statement piece that has a classic flair, but is funky and bright. I stack prints and color block a lot which gives me a uniqueness that’s all my own. I like to mix higher end shoes and accessories with lower end pieces as well.
If you were given $10,000 to throw an amazing party, gathering, or event, what would that look like?
Last year, I hosted a fashion runway event called Soooooo Pretty In The City. Six scenes that took my guests from the hood to the high house. I had a live band, a DJ, a red Carpet runway and a local fashion icon host. It was amazing and I wish I could take it on the road. If I had $10,000, I would make that experience even bigger.
Do you think your childhood was better or worse than other people growing up in a similar place and time?
It was probably worse actually. My parents divorced which was tough and my mom remarried. I was bullied something awful and then turned into a bully. I used education and fashion as an outlet from my reality even when I was a child.
If you were given a gift of a vacation, all expenses paid, where would you go?
Paris, France that’s on my bucket list! I want to go to the Christian Louboutin store.
What was one of the best days of your life?
Aside from my wedding day. The day I pulled off that fashion show and packed it to a sold out crowd was one of the absolute best days of my life.
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
I can be found on Facebook or Instagram at @CheifPrettyChick or @shopprettypieces .