We had the good fortune of connecting with Tania Mackey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tania, how do you think about risk?
I think about risk as opportunity. I always believed that if you thought too much into something, you can talk yourself out of anything. So in that regard I absolutely thrive off of taking risks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a gambler. I also don’t put money on the line I don’t have. But I always bet on myself.

Everything I have done by launching NICZKA has been a risk. Working on NICZKA patterns at past jobs, getting me fired. Turning down huge promotions, because I wanted to launch my own company. Deciding I wanted a brick and mortar in a virtual world. There are always reasons you shouldn’t do things, but I believe you always have to take the risk on what feels right.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is the confidence that comes with my clothing. I make men’s and women’s clothing that is effortlessly modern, staple pieces in your closet. Pieces that are timeless, but edgy.

But I also make pieces that are completely handmade. I am not like other brands. I do not order anything from overseas. I don’t ship out for production, everything is made in house. Actually, it is all made by me. I sketch the piece, I chose and buy the fabric in Chicago, I make the pattern by hand and digitize it in the computer on Optitex. I grade my sizes, and make my size charts. I cut the fabric with the paper patterns, and sew the shell, add the notions, and hand sew a tag on the piece.

I got here today because I have previously had a job in every avenue of garment making. I have designed, I have been a seamstress, I have been a technical designer. Not easy. I have had horrible bosses and companies I didn’t care for. I have felt stuck, not knowing how to get out of financial slumps, keeping me in said jobs. I got over these humps knowing deep down I was building my skills for my own company, even though I didn’t know how I would do it at that time.

The lesson is keep going, and if you do something everyday towards that goal, it will come sooner than you think. I want the world to know that my brand is more than cool clothes. It has soul, blood, sweat, and tears. Its about creating sustainable handmade clothing. Its about thrift flipping and alterations, its about teaching people how to sew and make their own clothing! I want to share the passion, and teach people how to make it happen.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wicker Park! Big Wicker Park fan – from food to venues to shopping. Boutiques line the street of Milwaukee – take her to get coffee at local coffee shop called Bru. Then off to the best resale book store called Myopic Book. Then shopping, dog parks, and Farmers Market in the park. We have to go to Big Star for tacos and margaritas, and out to Easy Bar – for night caps.

I like going out to talk to people that are also on their way to making their dreams come true. Whether that be doing their first drag show – or becoming the next big meal prep company, I like surrounding myself with people that are on the move. Chicago is a huge hub for those kinds of people, and that’s why I love it so much here.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh where do I start?! So I have always been a creative – that I have my mom to thank. She was always making us craft boxes, showing me reading patterns and sewing was NOT as hard as people thought, taking on every project she desired. My grandmother for supporting my emotionally, with groceries, one breakdown at a time. My dad for teaching me how to fend for myself. “Rework” by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, taught me how to structure and rework my business before I even launched it. I live by “Quit Your Day Job” by Eleanor C Whitney, MPA as a workbook to promote and keep up with the day to day. Speaking of day to day, “Manage Your Day-To-Day” help me whip my productivity into shape. The community for donating a dozen sewing machines for me to teach classes, on top of bags and bags of donated material.

My boyfriend for helping me – everyday – with something. From ordering dinner to the shop or a hug.

Website: www.niczka.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/niczka.co

Facebook: wwww.facebook.com/niczka.co

Image Credits
Juan Ariza Alex Callejo Israel Perez

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.