Nicole @ Living Light Design: Apparel That's Sure to Inspire
Nicole Brown | WE RULE Partner

I know without a doubt, I am called to be a Living Light for Christ and empowered by Christ.  We all are. My name is Nicole Brown and I am a multipotentialite, which means someone with many interests and creative pursuits. With that in mind, and within the last  year, I've established an online Christian Apparel line called "Living Light Designs by NB." My newest venture, as of April,2018, is Living Light Cleaning service. My team and I operate with integrity and trustworthiness to provide reliable and thorough cleaning services for Air BNB Clients.

The T-shirt line was birthed out of a flow of creativity and a desire to offer a message of hope, faith, inspiration, and transformation. The mission is to encourage people from all walks to confidently represent on the outside what God has already created them to be on the inside.

Living Light Cleaning Service was birthed out of a NEED. I needed to make ends meet, pay bills, etc. This idea had been gnawing at me for a few years. The need and the idea resurfaced. I believed GOD was giving me a stronger " Green Light to GO!".

In a nutshell, my goal and vision is to build a platform for the Living Light entity to stay true to its name and its values of integrity, and faith by providing apparel or services that anyone would be honored to use and share the LIGHT.

It would be a dream to be mentored by… someone from Shark Tank because what they do speaks for itself. They are ALL successful entrepreneurs, and to be mentored by someone who completely understands the journey would be ideal.

New York is amazing city to do business in because… the opportunities to serve a diversity of people and their needs are endless.

If I could get advice from one person it would be… Michelle Obama because she exemplifies great strength and confidence. She's witty, level-headed and intelligent and she balances those qualities with poise. She's accomplished, yet down to earth. She just looks easy to talk to and would be great to learn from.

Can you share a story from an event or a meeting that happened because of WE NYC that influenced you or the business in any way? What was it?

Oh my! I've had a few.

I heard about WE NYC on a number of occasions. I then learned about a workshop that was taking place at LIU (Long Island University), where Simone Sloane was the facilitator. It was well attended and very impressive, more than what I anticipated. From then on, I knew I wanted to learn more.

I had been "in search" of some sort of Women's leadership network. I had been "courting" another similar organization. I went on their website and made a few calls, to learn more about the organization. However, I was not impressed by their "customer service"(I'm big on customer service). Be that as it may, I was willing to give them a try. I had one of their flyers regarding a 4-week workshop on leadership that piqued my interest in spite of its rather hefty cost. Sitting through the workshop, I was rather disappointed and unenthused. I spoke with the organizer and sent an email graciously declining my desire to continue. Thus, I did not have to pay for membership. Hallelujah!

A few weeks later I attended the WE NYC conference at the Ebay Building and was blown away. What impressed me the most, was not only the number of women in attendance, but the caliber, character and diversity of women that were present, including the speakers. The energy of the room was infectious and exciting. It felt right and I knew this is what I wanted to be part of, moving forward. Each time I have attended a WE NYC event, I have been blessed in some way. I'm so glad to have made the discovery and the decision to be part of WE NYC!

What do you think is amazing about doing business in New York? What resources do the women entrepreneurs of NYC need?

First of all, New York City has a vibe like no other, the diversity and opportunities are endless. I believe the majority of the resources that are needed by women entrepreneurs in NYC are currently being addressed or provided by WE NYC and the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). 

What is a good article or book you have read recently? Why did you like it so much? What’s one important lesson you learned?

Two books that I'm reading are, "The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz Ph.D and "SOAR" by Bishop T.D Jakes. Though I have not completed them yet, both books offer a rich perspective on personal and professional development. “SOAR” specifically caters to the new entrepreneur. It aims to prepare entrepreneurs for the pitfalls and examines how success in business could look like if we follow certain guidelines and stay the course. Both books offer a more realistic and optimistic approach to life and business.

Imagine you can choose how your future in 5 years looks like. What is it? Why?

I recently did an online study discussion on the "future of work". During the discussion, I had to imagine the future of my  work. I expressed during the online discussion that I have a vision of where I would like to go with the cleaning service and some of the things I'm hoping to achieve. Part of that vision is to expand to a team of 10 independent contractors for the cleaning service, and to eventually being contracted to work with NYC offices. I'm willing to take one faith step at a time to discover as much as possible, making sure that this is the journey God wants me to continue on, and move forward. Two scriptures in the Bible that I hold dear to is "Trust in the LORD with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths(or make it straight)”,Proverbs 3:5. The other scripture is Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his (her) steps.”

What do you think is the biggest obstacle for female founders? How can we overcome it?

Obstacles depend on the person and their perspective. They also depend on the product or service offered. However, oftentimes most obstacles are self-obstructed. An obstacle could be an internal obstacle of confidence and self-esteem, or even the lack of knowledge, which then leads to obstacles in execution and production. One way to overcome barriers is by having a solid network of people (mentors and peers) that can offer consistent and trustworthy support to keep us accountable to the process and to our own personal self-care.

What are your short/long term goals?

For my cleaning business, my short-term goals are to continue building slowly but strategically. I currently have two Air BNB clients that my team and I help manage. I would like to add one or two more clients within the next 6 months. However, prior to taking on additional clients, my next, and wiser step, is to hire at least 2-3 teammates/ cleaners in order to establish a strong pool of reliable workers. Once I have a solid team in place, then I can move forward with increasing my client base. My cleaning service will help to fund and develop my T-shirt line.

What do you think about company culture? What are some of your tips on being a good leader?

Company culture is vital. The company culture sets the tone and establishes the character of the company. In other words, it determines how people see and experience an establishment, product or service. I think it is important to have a set of core values in place that are not only adhered to by each team member, but espoused in their everyday lives.

I believe a good leader influences their members or subordinates to get a job done. I believe an excellent leader is one who inspires others to feel energized to contribute and participate in the vision or goal at hand.  Excellent leadership never has to be forced or coerced.

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