Woman On Fire: Niki Mahon

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Rosie On Fire caught up with Niki Mahon, a 25 year old entrepreneur from Kent in the UK. She is the founder of Nikita By Niki, an online store selling statement jewellery and homeware.

 

From starring in famous Bollywood music videos and becoming Instagram famous, to deleting her account and reinventing herself by becoming a successful business woman – we had a great time finding out more about this gorgeous lady.


What do you do?

My business, Nikita By Niki, is an ecommerce website centred around selling statement jewellery and homeware – things that people will ask you about to get a conversation going.

Our customers are young women who are fashion conscious, care about their appearance and want to ‘glam-up’. We have also launched a Minimal Collection of jewellery you can wear daily.

 

How did you get there?

Before I started my business, I was a Senior Account Manager for a mobile app company – completely unrelated to what I do now! However, that job taught me how to get to grips with software, as well as how to build and keep a good relationship with clients and customers, as well as how to increase a company’s ranking on Google. I started off in that job role as a Marketing Intern and progressed quickly. What I learnt in this role has helped my business today.

I felt somewhat bored when I came home from work in the evenings and wanted to get my teeth into something. I had heard about the DEPOP selling app, so thought I’d have a go at selling some of my old clothes.

I had accumulated a lot of things over the years – clothes I’d bought when being irresponsible at university. So I started selling them on Depop to see if I could get some money back. I unexpectedly made over a thousand pounds in one month and felt I was on to something. I wanted to see what else I could start selling and try to make a business out of it.
 

 

When did you start your business?

I started Nikita By Niki at the end of 2014. I was juggling the influx of jewellery sales with working full-time at Red C for well over a year. Once the demand for my products was increasing and I was confident in my earnings, I decided to go part-time at Red C. It wasn’t long before I knew it was time to quit altogether and focus all of my energy on the business.

I found it difficult to leave my job, as I genuinely loved it there. I was also apprehensive about leaving the financial security. I had to make sure I was in a position where I could afford to leave, but it was when I was earning more through the business than my salary, that I decided to take a leap of faith.

 

Did you go to college or university?

I went to Bournemouth University and studied Computer Animation Arts. It was a very technical and creative degree, which helped me understand extensive design software. Through this, I was able to create my own logo and make my first website.

I realised that I’d picked the wrong degree towards the end of my first year. Computer Animation Arts was something I knew I didn’t want to do when I left university. The degree was very much tailored to a more introverted person. Despite this, I saw out the next few years and completed my degree.

I did dance before that – and I was always used to being centre stage, talking to people, networking and putting myself out there. Whereas the people on my course kept themselves to themselves, they would work through the night in the animation lab… I was basically the opposite.


 

How did you appear in a well-known music video?

When I was at university I was looking for an escape from my geeky course. A friend of the family asked me if I wanted to act for a little part in this music video. I loved dancing and I wanted the extra money, so I gave it a go!

The first video I did unexpectedly blew up and got millions of views. Everyone was asking who I was – it was bizarre. I got thousands of new Instagram followers, and I did a few more music videos off the back of that.

The first video I did unexpectedly blew up and got millions of views. Everyone was asking who I was – it was bizarre. I got thousands of new Instagram followers, and I did a few more music videos off the back of that.

 

Is that how you gained so many Instagram followers?

It wasn’t long before I started to feel uncomfortable with the attention and when I had around 10,000 followers, I decided to remove myself from Instagram completely and deleted the account, and with that, the entire following.

So I had no followers at all when I started the business so had to build it up from scratch. Now I have over 64k followers. Although a lot of people knew me from the music videos, I like to think that a lot of the following I have now is from the business.

 

Was there trolling? How did you manage?

Not so much now, but I definitely used to. I’d get the occasional person saying something petty and nasty. I have always been quite a sensitive person and it encouraged me to grow a thicker skin.

I would say in every 100 comments there are probably one or two negative ones, but it comes with the territory of putting yourself out there. You can’t please everyone.

I would say to be careful with what kind of content you post on social media. People respond to your tone. If you’re being positive and upbeat, you’re far more likely to encourage a positive response.
 

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Be consistent and ambitious. Even when I was still working full-time, I gave my business everything and it allowed me to grow it quickly.

Be consistent and ambitious. Even when I was still working full-time, I gave my business everything and it allowed me to grow it quickly.

It’s important to allow yourself to escape from work. I’ve been trying to do that recently by sticking to a traditional 9-5 and relaxing in the evenings. I feel that some people who work for themselves, especially in a home environment, can spread themselves pretty thin working through the day and night. I’d rather not do that.  I feel that the 9-5 can be a lot more productive and you can really enjoy downtime.

Everyone assumes that while I was starting my business and working full-time, I didn’t have a social life – but I did. You make time for everything – I made time for my family, my relationship, gym, friends and ‘me time’… You learn to manage your time better. Just be prepared to sleep a bit less!

 

Why did you choose your kimonos?

Thea is my favourite one. I feel like I need to wear more colour on a day-to-day and it does just that. It is absolutely gorgeous; I like the ombre vibe to it.

Normally I’m into wearing greys, blacks, whites – and that’s why I’ve chosen the other two designs. I like the plain grey one [kimono] as it looks very elegant and it’s very good quality. The patterned kimono [kimono] has an interesting effect.

www.nikitabyniki.com
@nikitabyniki

 

Photographs by Jehan Hamze

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