Stephanie Nicole Simpkins has always had a love affair with fashion. Her obsession has led to opening her own small business in Downtown Aiken, The Nicole Simpkins Collection.
Stephanie Nicole (Nicole or Step- she answers to them all) started her business as a part time, at home venture in 2009. She started by creating custom-made jewelry pieces and one-of-a-kind pieces. Some were designed for special occasions, like weddings, and others for everyday wear. She spent many weekends at shows and festivals presenting her jewelry. She even set up in hair salons on Fridays and Saturdays.
During this time, Stephanie Nicole had a full-time job. The ladies at work would always ask her, “What have you got in your bag this week?” – speaking of her jewelry bag that she carried to work daily. Everyone loved Stephanie Nicole’s jewelry and her business began to grow!
In 2015, Stephanie Nicole set up in the front of Material Things, #downonPark, during Aiken’s Makin’. Material Things owner, Katy, Owner, saw huge potential and passion in Stephanie Nicole and suggested that she open a boutique up stairs above her shop. It didn’t take Stephanie Nicole long to make that decision and she was very excited to be running her business out of a storefront!
Stephanie Nicole continued with her day job and worked the store after hours and on the weekend. She would also drive business by scheduled posting on Social Media throughout the day. Customers would get very excited and some purchased items online to assure they wouldn’t miss out on the piece they had fallen in love with. At that time, Stephanie Nicole was selling custom-made and costume jewelry. She soon outgrew her space and moved across the hall to a larger space. This allowed her to add clothing, purses, shoes and so much more to her business. She was able to quit the day job and concentrate on really growing her business.
She now carries any type of fashion piece you would ever need. She carries clothing for adults (Men and Women) and recently added items for kids. Stephanie Nicole has a piece of clothing or jewelry for everyone! No matter what size you are! “I pride myself in knowing any size that walks through my doors can leave with a piece of clothing,” Stephanie Nicole says.
Stephanie Nicole, A 5th generation Aikenite, is very proud to have a Small Business in Downtown Aiken. Aiken is her home and her face beams with pride when she says she’s the only African-American female to own a boutique in Downtown Aiken. Along with her thriving small business, Stephanie Nicole offers Styling Classes for adults and children. She has also orchestrated several Fashion Shows in The Alley. She loves that she can be a role model for the younger generation and show them anything is possible with hard work. “And always stay humble,” She says.
Growth in Aiken for young adults is something Stephanie Nicole would love to see in the next 10 years. “Having more diverse social places for young people would be fabulous,” Stephanie Nicole says. In 10 years she would love to have The Nicole Simpkins Collection in more than one location and have her own staff.
Stephanie Nicole’s advice for someone thinking about starting a small business is to job shadow. “You should see the day-to-day operations of a business. A lot goes into running a business that you don’t always think of.”
****UPDATE— As I was writing this story Stephanie Nicole has a new STOREFRONT downstairs located in the Old Material Things space after they moved further #downonPark a few months ago. She has once again expanded her business into an amazing spot in Downtown Aiken. This girl is on fire! Make sure you stop by and see her during Aiken’s Makin’. She will greet you with a smiling face!
- Shop The Nicole Simpkins Collection
- Tuesday-Thursday 10-6
- Friday 10-7
- Saturday 10-5
- Follow her on Facebook and Instagram!
*Stephanie Nicole is an introvert. Doesn’t mind being by herself and this trait also makes her a very good listener. She says that people would never think this about me, but its true!
*She loves to dance and loves music!