Hello, my name is Nikki. I am the founder of Blind Grit, single mother of two BRILLIANT boys & Australia’s first legally blind fashion designer.
A lifetime love of fitness, fashion design & social justice have been brought together to create Blind Grit. However, the catalyst was a determined desire to find a new way of expressing the best of myself through my work, after being left permanently legally blind by a stroke, at the same time as I became a mother for the first time.
Before I lost my vision, I worked in PR, communications & event management – mostly for Australian Red Cross & Red Cross Blood Service, in their Brisbane & Darwin offices. I have a diploma in business marketing & a post graduate diploma in business public relations from QUT.
The legal blindness coming into my life, at the same time as motherhood, meant, my primary focus was on this amazing new little baby & being a mum; rather than on becoming legally blind.
In all honesty, it wasn’t until a whole decade later, that I had the chance to even stop & think about the implications of my legal blindness on my own aspirations.
By this time, a series of traumatic events, out of my control, had left me financially ruined & struggling with isolation & crushing fears. It was horrible. Every morning I woke with a wave of anxiety, & every night I lay awake feeling so anxious I literally couldn’t breathe properly. I felt like I had fallen out of society & that the best parts of me were invisible.
I was determined not to be broken, not to remain crushed. There was no way I wanted my boys to be raised by a distressed, anxious, unconfident, un-joyous mother. That wasn’t who I was, & they deserved the very best of their mum.
Fashion design had always been the happy, creative place I went to in my mind when I daydreamed. As a young teenager, I used to lie on the floor & watch the Golden Gown Awards every year, with a sketch pad & pencil, dreaming up my own award winning designs. However, I believed fashion design was not a practical career path, so it remained in my happy daydreams.
When several doors in my practical life slammed shut, it seemed an excellent opportunity to open the dismissed fashion design door. So, in January 2015 I set myself the challenge of creating my first fashion collection ready to enter into the Prix de marie claire awards in November of that year. I had my designs ready, photographed, on my website, made into the obligatory electronic lookbook & sent into marie claire by the 7th of November 2015 ! ‘see me’ the first collection by nikki
Amusingly, the PR manager at marie claire called me upon receipt of my entry to say thank you very much, however the fashion design component of the prix de marie claire awards was only on every 2nd year …. & 2015 wasn’t a year it was on. She didn’t bin my collection though, she sent it through to both the fashion editor & the chief editor (who was interested in the story in the press release)
Encouraged by, what I chose to see, as a tiny vote of confidence from an industry giant, I decided this was worthy of my absolute best shot !
As I had intuitively hoped, the whole experience had managed to break through that crushing, suffocating oppression of PTSD, to reach something really powerful; my dreams. It had reconnected me to glimpses of the best parts of myself – feelings of capability, purpose, fun, excitement, ambition, optimism. I decided if I was going to do this, I wanted to bring as many others along with me as I could; others in need of reconnecting with their dreams … & the idea of Blind Grit was born.
I chose the name Blind Grit to capture that determined focus that necessitates blocking out, or being blinded to, all distracting & negating elements.
The Blind Grit you need to survive in a traumatic environment.
The Blind Grit you need to run faster, when you’re exhausted.
The Blind Grit you need to pursue your dreams ….
If I over think what I’m trying to achieve, I scare myself out of even trying… Inspired by intuition, fuelled by BLIND GRIT !