Most people measure great leaders by their ability to gather the masses in applause and social media likes. However, as stated plainly by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” This would be the most accurate description of Nikia Shanard, entrepreneur, fashion maverick and owner of Toil & Leisure, a Los Angeles-based company, housing the namesake as its premier luxury apparel brand, a high-end denim clothing-line (Carbonsix), a high-end knit clothing-line (modifiedamerican), and an entertainment conglomerate focused on music, marketing, and social media (NiVe Entertainment Group & Digital 24k). Inspired by a long-standing vision that originated some 26+ years ago, Nikia combined a discerning eye for talent with a unique passion for nurturing, developing, and directing key “on the verge”, players from several relevant industries.
When asked what is takes to erect your own empire in today’s age of fashion and entertainment, Nikia reveals, “I’ve thrived this long on the strength of being able to really see people’s greatness, even if it’s not obvious to the amateur, I can see and recognize when someone is hungry for their dream and can accept guidance. They’re easy for me to spot because that was me when TJ took me under his wing back in the 90’s” Credited with being the first fashion heavyweight he worked under, TJ Walker made history as designer for Cross Colors, which was the first urban brand to be uber-successful worldwide and spread a hope-filled message for its youth as recognized by LA Weekly, "Cross Colours positioned itself as a voice of urban youth, with clothing that was fashion forward and community oriented."
Experiencing firsthand, the power of a master's tutelage, Nikia learned early on that no great endeavor occurs of one man, but rather a community. Exceptionally skilled at gathering the most valued professionals and enrolling them into his vision of building culturally driven vehicles that inspire the future of fashion and entertainment, Nikia has built a multi-faceted team that empowers the hearts and minds of those who will continue to create it. His legacy thus far as an executive and mentor lives as evidence that the best way to earn a seat at the table is to; first, build your own table and then be sure to give additional seats to those who share the same commitment to excellence, caring and adherence to the vision cast by its leader.