National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is upon us and PYNK girls are in complete support of representing brave and bold women who are advocating for the cause. PYNK had the opportunity to catch up with Nacole Ali who is an educator and activist for breast cancer. Nacole Ali diagnosed herself towards the end of January 2015 after giving herself a basic examination. Although she has been living with cancer for almost a year now, she refuses to let it get in the way of her happiness and her dreams.
Nacole is the founder and owner of Brooklyn Stylz (BKStylz.com), an online boutique that she started in 2012. The mission of Brooklyn Stylz is to encourage people to live the best lives they can―spreading love the Brooklyn way. BK Stylz offers an array of designs, showcasing urban and modern culture. Pieces include tops, t-shirt dresses, skirts, and active wear for ladies and men.
In an interview with the head boss in charge, PYNK got to know Nacole on a personal level and understand the mind behind the business. Although she emphasized that her entrepreneurial journey was not easy, her passion for her community and avocation for breast cancer has made her journey a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Continue reading to learn about Nacole’s start in the industry, her recent diagnosis, and her plans to get involved with the breast cancer awareness movement.
PYNK: Please explain your fashion business and what it’s about?
Nacole: Brooklyn Stylz is a lifestyle. We want our customers to express themselves through our clothing. We offer modern designs for women and men, inspired by historical figures, urban living, music and dance. Mostly, all of our garments have a positive image and/or statement. We want you to feel good about what you are wearing.
Does your business have any affiliation with breast cancer or are you in any way involved in breast cancer charities?
Brooklyn Stylz’ affiliation with breast cancer is a personal one as I myself was diagnosed in January 2015. Brooklyn Stylz does not have any formal relations with breast cancer charities, but we are gearing up to do a few fundraising events in 2016 to raise money for charities that fight breast cancer and support early detection.
I understand that this was a bet, but what made you want to venture out and start a business in fashion?
I love to watch people and travel abroad. I noticed one day sitting in Bryant Park that I could tell for the most part, what designer people were wearing and it became quite repetitive the longer I sat there. It was almost like people were becoming fashion drones. However, sitting and watching people walk by on the streets of Cannes, I saw that people had their own little flair and style about them and I could not easily determine the designer nor did every other person have the same blazer on. On the plane ride home I started to sketch some items that I wanted custom made, so that I could stand out from my colleagues. After some affirmations on some of my designs I thought I could make this a business.
What adversity have you been faced with during your transition to entrepreneurism?
Most transitions can be difficult. My biggest challenges have been believing in myself and investing in my future and myself. Another challenge is trying not to make costly mistakes.
I understand that you detected your breast cancer before going to the doctor. What are some signs of early breast cancer detection that you were aware of?
Early signs can vary. There can be skin changes, size changes, the appearance to the nipple, nipple discharge, or general pain in or on any part of the breast.
What are some events that you encourage people to participate in during Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
I would like to encourage women to take advantage of free mammogram screenings in their community, especially if they are a bit younger than 40.
Does Brooklyn Stylz collaborate on any breast cancer events?
Currently, Brooklyn Stylz does not have any formal established relationships with other organizations, but we look forward to having those opportunities in the near future. In the meantime, Brooklyn Stylz participates in national breast cancer walks to raise money for research.
How has your diagnosis contributed to your activism for breast cancer awareness?
My diagnosis has catapulted my efforts immensely. Because I am going through the process, I can better understand how women feel and what is needed to get them through. I am now more than ever a believer of early detection and have become an advocate.
What life lessons have you learned through your journey of diagnosis and business management?
I have learned to not take anything for granted. I have learned to live life to the fullest and live in the moment. I have learned that tomorrow is not promised and try not to leave things for tomorrow.