| Feature of the Month:
Nzinga, Owner of Nzinga Designs
Nzinga Designs is comfortable clothing for women from petite to plus sizes. Bold colors, a mixture of different textures, and attention to detail, defines Nzinga Design. All Nzinga Designs are hand-made originals. Therefore, you will not see yourself coming and going.
I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-at-Whitewater. With a double major in Biology and English. Originally, I wanted to be a writer. Later, I switched to pre-medicine, then back to writing. But, sewing has always been a part of my life. I would sew when I wanted to create something. I suppose it’s in my DNA. My maternal grandmother made quilts and she sewed. My mother’s oldest sister, Aunt Esther, was a professional sewer. She worked at a company as a seamstress. She would make all our prom dresses. All we had to do was tell her what we wanted. She could make leather purses and cover shoes with leather. She was really good. She could make anything.
I taught myself to sew while in the Army. I bought a book and a $99.00 Sears Kenmore sewing machine. I had taken the basics in Miss Jones’ 7th grade sewing class, where I learned to make a gathered skirt and apron. My mother, however, felt that my older sister should be the designated sewer in the family. She thought I didn’t know enough and couldn’t be trusted with making our school clothes.
So, when we went to Sears & Roebuck’s to look in the pattern books, and choose fabric, my sister did everything and came home and made everything. She could only make gathered skirts, but I wanted so badly to make them too. So, in the Army, away from home, I saw my chance. I read that book from cover to cover and taught myself to sew.
I learned to sew quite well. By the time I left the Army, and was in college, I could make men’s sports jackets, and all kinds of women’s clothing. People were always asking me to sew for them, but I would only sew creatively, when I felt the urge, and only for my husband and daughter. I started designing when as a young mother, I couldn’t find the pretty lacey dresses for my daughter when she reached around 12 years old. They just didn’t make them.
So, I began designing and making the kind of dresses I wanted to see her in. She would wear them to school for the Christmas programs and other special occasions, and everyone wanted to know where she got the dresses.
They wanted one.
After college, I stuck with the writing, becoming published. I mostly wrote poetry, short stories, articles, and book reviews. I was senior writer and editor for Thread the Needle, a cable television show in Chicago. Becoming a writer was my focus. I was going to write the great American novel. So, when the Holy Spirit urged me to become a designer, I was shocked and scared. But, I was obedient and began seriously designing and building my brand and business.
My beautiful and intelligent daughter, Kenya Kimball, currently on the Dean’s List at Roosevelt University in Chicago, is also my marketing manager and consultant at Nzinga Designs. She does a brilliant job for me.
I will be posting my Spring 2015 Collection soon. Right now, anyone interested in purchasing a Nzinga Design, please email me at NzingaDesigns@gmail.com
I am currently working on my website. I would appreciate “likes” to my fan page at www.facebook.com/NzingaDesigns.