I'm excited to share Kimberly Phipps-Nichol and Roslyn Bazelle Mitchell's work with you today. These multifaceted entrepreneurs are taking the scarf world by storm. And they are doing it all from Houston!
FUN FACT: I met Roslyn and Kimberly separately years ago, but didn't realize they had a business together until last year! We had the honor of helping Kimberly with her super fun and colorful wedding ensembles when she got married in 2016!
Founded by Roslyn (Ro) and Kimberly (Ki), RoKi Design creates and produces distinctive custom scarves. Roslyn and Kimberly met through their professional ties to commercial real estate in Houston and formed a friendship rooted in their shared love of silk scarves. In 2019, Roslyn helped create a custom scarf in honor of a local organization close to her heart, and through this experience she fell in love with all phases of the scarf-making process, from design to production to distribution. Roslyn decided to launch her own custom scarf company, and in Kimberly she found the perfect partner for the venture. RoKi Design launched in 2019. The RoKi Collection reflects the duo’s shared passion for style, creativity, and community.
Without further ado, here are:
K = Kimberly Phipps Nichol
R = Roslyn Bazelle Mitchell
What is your most used emoji?
What was the worst haircut you ever had?
K: It’s a 50/50 toss up between the most unfortunate bowl cuts of my sheltered, religious upbringing vs. that time I spent a ton of money at a super high-end salon in San Francisco and they literally burned my hair crispy and left me in tears. Thank goodness I was visiting with my mom; only moms can make you feel better after that.
R: Not really worst haircut, but maybe worst hairdo! For my senior high school picture in 1992, I had the asymmetrical hairdo (similar to Salt N Peppa), which also included finger waves and crimps. Needless to say, I looked like Edward Scissorhands in my senior portrait. :)
Who was your childhood actor/actress crush?
K: Yul Brynner. Just look at my husband now and you’ll see I married my childhood dreamboat.
R: I was more into musicians than actors. My childhood crush was Ricky Bell, from Bell Biv DeVoe (also a part of New Edition).
What’s the most embarrassing fashion trend you used to rock?
K: Culottes/gauchos, but I had no choice. See my first answer to question #2.
R: A Jheri Curl - MJ style (in the 80s). . . enough said.
You have your own late-night talk show, whom do you invite as your first guest?
K: My mother-in-law, Tweety. She’s a legend here in Houston, having built, owned, operated, and sold liquor stores and hourly rate motels in the ‘hood with my late father-in-law. A Vietnam War bride and immigrant, she makes guys fresh out of prison run scared and has a “Trust in the Lord” sign in the back of her car.
R: Oprah Winfrey (the Queen).
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, who would play you?
K: Is there such a genre as suspense comedy? I’ve had a roller coaster ride for a life, so they’d have to be a pretty resilient and flexible actor. I’m honestly not current enough on today’s versatile actors to know who’d be a great fit.
R: Romantic Comedy, Kerry Washington, or Nia Long.
You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick?
K: I don’t sing karaoke, but I’d nail the heck out of most reggae songs in a lip sync battle.
R: Sweet Thing.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
K: Don’t take it personally. The world is a rough place if you always try to make it about you.
R: 0 + 0 = 0. Dr. Frank Wells, from the Delaware FAME (Forum for the Advancement of Minorities In Engineering) Program in high school provided this advice. If you surround yourself with people at your same level, you will stay at the same level. You have to seek others who have the skills or success you are attaining to learn from them and level up.
When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?
K: I’ve long said my epitaph should read “Not Afraid of Color” because it really represents me both as a designer and as a human interacting with others. I have been blessed with a very colorful life and I wish to keep it that way.
R: Loving Mother and Wife. :) That I loved God and my family first and made sure younger women coming up behind me were supported and lifted up to be a success in whatever they want to become.
What would the title of your autobiography be?
K: “My Work Is Not Yet Done.” I’ve survived several near-death events, and the above is my response every time.
R: Pretty Girls (aka 8itc%hes) Don't Wait in Line . . . .
What was the worst job you ever had?
K: I worked for Leona Helmsley, the “Queen of Mean” at her winter home property, the Harley Sandcastle, in the 1990’s. I once had to help ask guests to remove themselves from the pool so she could have her swim without the taint of the paying guests at the resort. Our uniforms were Pepto-Bismol pink short-sleeved pant suits. Minimum wage, crap tips.
R: Not necessarily my worst, but definitely the one job I had which came with the biggest learning lesson. I spent most of my law school career with the goal of working at a big firm to make the "big" money, and built my resume, skills, GPA, etc. up to meet that goal. I achieved my goal and was hired by one of the big firms a year out of law school, worked there for approximately 3 years and quickly learned, that the "dream job" that I wanted for so long, was not what I thought it was going to be and . . . I hated It.
Which band/artist-dead or alive would play at your funeral?
K: Zap Mama.
R: Whitney Houston.
What’s your favorite place of all the places you’ve travelled that feels like home and is not where you currently live?
What’s one thing we don’t know about you?
K: I used to run backstage hospitality and security for venues and concert promoters in the NorCal area for many years. I’ve taken care of some pretty famous people. Some awesome, some assholes.
R: I'm still a little girl stuck In the late 70s, early 80s at heart :o) who grew up with that 1 Black Barbie doll that was the only Barbie at the time that "looked like me". Once they increased their offerings, I became a collector and now have a huge collection of Barbie dolls (all Black) dating back to the Diahann Carroll (Julia) doll to the most recent purchase I made of the Madam CJ Walker Barbie this past December. Where most people store their china, I store all of my Barbie dolls.
If you could hang out with any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
K: Auntie Mame, the free-spirited auntie character played by Rosalind Russell, who definitely swam upstream and danced to the beat of her own drum. I loved her colorful embrace of all things “outsider” and disdain for the soggy old stuck-in-the-mud bigots she occasionally found in her orbit.
R: Olivia Pope from Scandal. She's fantastic in so many ways. She's unapologetic and can walk through any door with confidence and "get it handled."
If you could choose any person from history to be your imaginary friend, who would it be and why?
K: Queen Hatshepsut, considered one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs (man or woman). Hatshepsut brought great wealth and artistry to her land. She sponsored one of Egypt's most successful trading expeditions, choosing trade over war with her neighbors.
R: Harriet Tubman. She was a small and unassuming woman (in a day and age when her race and gender were against her) and she was passionate and committed to helping so many people escape from the chains of slavery, risking her own life, just to help one more person or family enter the "free world."
What is your favorite curse word?
K: Shit, and I especially like it because you can spell it with symbols: $#!+ so I use it in conference presentations like the one titled: “All the $#!+ They Didn’t Teach You in College.”
R: Ha! Check number 10, please. :o)
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
K: Race car driver.
R: Broadway performer.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
K:Doing something fun with the people that I love in a beautiful place that has amazing culture and food to match.
R: Happiness = finding a happy medium between quality family time and achieving career or life goals.
What is your greatest fear?
K: Homogenized group think, and a lack of diversity. Monoculture in agriculture is unhealthy for the soil, long term. I feel the same way about people, organizations, and community.
R: The unknown.
What is your favorite novel?
K: Virtually Yours, Rosalie by my sweet friend April Marie Salazar.
R: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
Aidan or Big?
K: This is where I show my lack of pop-culture awareness. I have no idea who/what this is.
R: Big = all the way!
You must relive your 31st. What is the one decision you would make differently?
K: You got me on this one. I rarely retrospect on a specific year to analyze what I’d have done differently unless something really bad came of my actions and I needed a lesson learned. Nothing stands out for me.
R: I would tell myself to drop the losers (dating life) and take time out to just enjoy being single while also preparing for the relationship you want. I would also say to break outside of the shell that you think you must stay within. Live out loud and and without fearing consequences for things that just don't matter. We sometimes live within the expectations of others, and eventually figure out that trying to be what someone else wants is never a happy and fulfilled way of living.
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