Nicole Kanjere is the game changer that the lingerie and e-commerce industries need.
Imagine the scene: You have just bought two sets of lingerie from a high street store that cost you a substantial amount. In excitement you try them on as soon as you get home, and the stitching comes apart. You find yourself frustrated, because the pieces were not really your style, but you felt limited in your options due to your cup size. What do you do next?
Nicole Kanjere made the decision to act on this common issue. She founded Mymilla, an online platform that brings together award-winning lingerie brands for D-K cup sizes making it easier for women, who need them, to find bras in different styles at affordable prices.
Born in Zimbabwe and raised from the age of 10 in the UK, Nicole lives the values she has taken from both parts of the world. It was growing up around women of all body sizes and shapes that taught her to respect and appreciate her body and the bodies of others. She also appreciates some of the freedoms that growing up in the UK has offered, such as her choice not to play into certain aspects of gender roles that might be expected of her in Zimbabwe.
What sets Mymilla apart from its competitors? “We actually embrace diversity and aim to promote women of color within our images that you normally don’t see from other brands within the retail industry, especially in lingerie,” said Nicole. Take for example the fact that the images used on the website have not been retouched. What originated from a snap decision after the company’s first photo shoot has taken precedent. The images used are not altered to cover up the models’ natural skin along with any wear and tear, such as stretch marks and cellulite.
The models are also representative of the spectrum of races and ethnicities that you find in London and the world at large. Nicole strives to turn around the present-day online culture that she identifies as self-loathing. She hopes “to empower people to feel happy within themselves and for women to feel more like a community” by reminding everyone that natural beauty should be the beauty standard.
Responses to the company mission have been overwhelmingly positive. While some brands have disappointed the founder with their restrictions and reluctance to uphold their stated value of body positivity, Nicole remains positive and optimistic. Customer reviews and satisfaction emails completely drown out the few trolls with which they are confronted from time to time. Nothing this self-confident and outspoken business woman cannot handle.
Nicole is ready to take her company and brand to the next level. With the support of the Prince’s Trust she has access to a network of other entrepreneurs and ideas. In three years she sees the collection growing to include maternity, sports- and swimwear. In five years she believes Mymilla will have changed the way the entire lingerie industry markets its products by representing all races and ethnicities as well as embracing all body sizes and shapes. That is her greater vision for the company, which she never loses sight of.
Her advice to black women who aspire to be entrepreneurs: stay focused and never give up, even in the face of challenges. “Focus on your message [and] the story you are trying to convey, network with other entrepreneurs, and get a mentor,” she says.
Check out the Mymilla website here and send them some social media love!