Richa Nihalani, GWSB BBA’12, based her business, Fashionest, on the fashion savvy of today’s Millennials and uses the digital marketing skills she learned at GW to give the trendy women of tomorrow stylish (and affordable) jewelry.
“Fashionest was born of a bold, beautiful principle: fine fashion jewelry doesn’t have to break the bank,” Richa explains. “We believe that today’s stylish, budget-conscious shoppers deserve more than the overpriced, mass-produced jewelry found in most retail stores.”
Now a New York resident, Richa says GW helped shape her work ethic and gave her opportunities she never imagined coming from a tiny island in the Caribbean.
“The GW campus always felt like home and my friends felt like family,” she says. “This environment kept me motivated and pushed me to work hard. The people I met while at GW really helped me expand my thinking.”
With a family full of entrepreneurs, Richa says that landing in a career of business and digital marketing seemed natural. She started Fashionest with her brother, Nitesh Nihalani, because his background in fine jewelry and her skills in marketing and business provided the perfect balance to start their new venture. Before Nitesh was on board, Richa was inspired by the New York fashion landscape and wanted to bring affordable, trend-based, and detailed product to as many people as possible.
“Moving to New York definitely peaked my interest in fashion. I had never lived in an environment where people were so comfortable showing the world who they truly were. It is through this that I gained an appreciation for fashion and what it stands for,” Richa adds.
Working with her brother has been the highlight of Richa’s new venture: her close relationship with Nitesh makes running the online business that much easier. Richa says he is responsible for quality assurance and personally assesses every product before it is shipped out, while she covers the digital and social media aspects of the company.
“When working with family, there’s that level of trust you can’t find working with anyone else. It’s amazing to have a job where I get to work with my best friend everyday,” she says. “He’s also the smartest person I know and his expertise lies in business and jewelry. That combination pretty much makes him the best partner I could’ve asked for.”
The GWSB graduate adds that she’s recognized how her experiences at GW have played an important role in her entrepreneurial efforts.
“The education I received, the organizations I was a part of, and the people that I met, all helped make me a well-rounded individual,” she says. “This is of course a necessity to be an entrepreneur—for that, I am eternally grateful.”
Richa plans to show her gratitude for her GW experiences two-fold: by offering a special 20% off Fashionest discount code to GW Alumni and by supporting GW with part of the proceeds made from those sales. Ten percent of Fashionest profits on purchases made using the special GW Alumni discount code GW20 will be donated to GW.
“It is important to me to give back to an institution that has given me so much—an amazing education, lifelong friends, and great memories,” Richa says.
—Jess Pitocco, Class of 2018