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Meet Nahema Washington of Black Gold Imaging in Museum District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nahema Washington.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Back in 2013, I was working for Eli Lilly and Company as an Executive Assistant. I always knew I wanted to venture off and create a business helping people to make a statement with their appearance but had no idea on which way to go. Honestly, this was something I’ve done for as long as I could remember but had no idea it would turn into a lucrative business. I considered going back to school to get a bachelor’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology but was hesitant because of school loans. Around that same time, my mother suffered from renal failure, so it was convenient for me to stay with Eli Lilly because I was able to work remotely, which allowed me to fly out to Florida to be by her side frequently.

When she passed away in 2015, I felt her spirit encourage me to take the next step in my career. I landed a job at a construction company as an Executive Coordinator, and after two weeks, I knew I was not walking in my purpose. One afternoon while at my desk, I decided to give the Fashion Institute of Technology a shot. Since the school was within walking distance of my office, I took an extended lunch break to inquire about their bachelor’s degree programs. Upon my arrival, not only did I learn about the different degree programs, but employees of the school and their dependents were eligible for free classes. Who wouldn’t love a free education? I knew this was the best way for me to avoid another school loan.

I ran back to my office and applied for every position at the school. I did not care what role it was; I knew I had to become an employee. The power of manifestation shined through because two months later, I accepted a job offer as an Administrative Assistant! Though I would be taking a $23,000 pay cut, I knew this choice would be beneficial for my future. Once I signed up for classes, devastation hit because I was unable to get into the degree program due to my low GPA from my previous college. The news felt like a slap in the face! All I could think about was the pay cut and feeling as though I had nothing to show for the transition, but God always opens more doors. One day, a coworker handed me a course catalog for FIT’s non-degree certificate program, which included an Image Consulting program.

My first day of class was an eyeopener. My first instructor, Carol Davidson, introduced herself and enlightened us about what she did as an image consultant, and that’s when the lightbulb went off; everything she mentioned was things that I’ve done and looking to master in my career. I then realized; this is where I should be! Carol also encouraged the class to participate in the Association of Image Consultants International, a global image consultant organization. Little did I know another blessing was in the mix. Not only did I meet the President of the AICI New York Tri-State Chapter, Anne Denise Stills, but she made me the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the chapter. During this transition, Black Gold Imaging was born.

Fast forward to January 2019; I was terminated from my job at FIT. Was I upset? A little. I knew the position was running its course; however, I thought I would leave on “my time.” Getting terminated allowed me the freedom I desired to work with my clients full-time. Being an image consultant goes beyond giving clients advice on what to wear or what colors work for them. I’m guiding people on communicating with their audience, professionally and personally, through the power of appearance.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I believe anything easily obtained will never be cherished. This continuous road we call life will always have obstacles. It just depends on how you decide to face and conquer them.

Self-doubt and fear were my drugs of choice. Sometimes I felt like I was not good enough to be an image consultant. Who did I think I was to have a business telling people how to enhance their image? Then there was the fear of people not taking me seriously. Or people not being interested in my services. You see, I had these larger than life dreams, but they scared me because I didn’t think I was deserving. We tend to create illusions that frighten us into backing away from life-changing dreams that we have for ourselves.

There are so many talented people sitting on million-dollar dreams. Why? Because they are afraid of the unknown. When you decide to take that “scary” jump and let your faith lead the way, the universe will meet you halfway. And when I tell you the abundance of blessings that will come your way! Listen, I’ve been working since the age of 17, so getting fired was a little scary because I have adult bills. However, every morning I remind myself that everything always works out in my favor.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Black Gold Imaging is an image consulting company specializing in enhancing your professional and personal appearance. It is my responsibility to ensure that the client’s outer appearance is consistent with their professional, social, and personal lives. Empowerment fills my clients with their new level of confidence that grants them the opportunity to get a job, promotion, positive attention, or more involved in their community. From individuals to groups and corporations to the mom who felt she lost herself, I am here to enhance the ABC’s of your image (appearance, behavior, and communication)

I offer wardrobe audits, which is a great way to help you purge and organize your clothing items and anything else in your closet in which you utilize on a daily or seasonal basis. It’s always interesting to hear clients complain about not having anything to wear only to learn they are unable to see through the clutter of their closets. Color analysis, another service, is a favorite service among my clients. I help find the perfect colors, using color capes and swatches, that harmonize with your skin complexion, eye color, and hair color with the benefit of being able to use this tool for wardrobe planning. I love seeing the client’s face when we find the color that makes them pop! Other services I provide are corporate imaging, speech presentation, and etiquette techniques.

I am proud of how I am helping people achieve professional and personal goals through the power of appearance. I am proud of what I have done for my clients to help them shine through with their newfound level of confidence. Seeing their transformations and pure joy lets me know that they are ready to conquer the world!

What sets me apart from others is I’m the image consultant that clients feel comfortable coming to when they think they’ve let themselves go. They want more for their professional and personal lives but are unsure how that should be communicated verbally and through their appearance. My motto is, “let’s transform their life through style”!

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was I was fascinated by appearance; what people wore and why. I also loved creating outfits for my dolls using fabric I would find around the house or even hem clothes for myself and my mother. I knew I wanted to have a name in the fashion industry. Instead of paying attention in class, I would sit in the back and draw designer jackets. Anywhere I would go, I would have a backpack filled with notebooks and pencils because I loved drawing. You see, I grew up an only child and enjoyed my alone time, so drawing was my escape. Once it came time to choose a high school, I told my mother I wanted to attend the high school of Fashion Industries. She was far from surprised, LOL!

Fast forward to today, I am now an image consultant guiding people on the best practices in presenting themselves and building confidence.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal Photo Credit: I Am Noir Shamel

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