It’s extremely interesting because when I think of Simple and Pretty Co., I really believe that my brand is the extension of me. Sometimes, it’s hard to differentiate between the two because I am constantly showcasing my lifestyle on social media.
Recently, you all asked for a “10 facts about me” blog post and to be honest, I’m really excited to do this one.
Who is Mandy Nicole?
I was born on July 14, 1989 in Detroit, Michigan on my parents’ 5th anniversary. The nurse was about to hand me off to my mother so that she could feed me, when she noticed my face turning a blueberry color. Then, I was quickly rushed into surgery due to being born with a heart defect.
Once I survived my first surgery, my family had to watch me like a hawk for 6 months, where then I had my last and final heart surgery, which was then followed up by many hospital visits through out my childhood.
My roots came over to the United States by boat because my family was running away from bullets. Being taken away to a new life, my mother had to leave her home country at the age 12. She then grew up to be a strong, successful woman and this resulted in me having a wonderful role model.
Growing up wasn’t the easiest. Due to my parents divorcing when I was at a young age, I often had to move around the state of Michigan. Finally, my mother remarried and at the age of 15, we set up shop in Tampa, Florida where I would be graduating from my third high school.
Being ethnically different from my peers made my first year at my new high school very hard. During my Drivers’ Ed course, a fellow student yelled out “open your eyes” from the bleachers. Constantly hearing hateful words made me feel lonely.
College years were MY YEARS! I was finally challenge and had the freedom to be myself. I started to dabble into social media because like many, the internet was where I felt like I belonged. Social media was a space for me to express myself creatively, which lead me telling stories.
During my time at university, I was granted the first social media coordinator position for a national Student Government. Which also lead me to earn the same position for the University of South Florida’s Student Government. Then I got fired.
Honestly, I kept making mistakes and for some reason, I couldn’t get it together. Perhaps due to me being an Education major and my internships, my brain was constantly focus on two separate end goals. I think this is why I failed.
I eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education and went on to becoming a 1st grade teacher. The first year was so much fun and I felt like I found my calling. Then, we had a student pass away from the classroom next to mine, things started to go south.
After this devastating loss, I was moved to Kindergarten for my second year. I felt like my principal then had it out for me. My students needed support and I felt like my administration basically told me to “handle” it. They did everything by the books to cover themselves but when a student sprained my wrist, that’s when she decided to make it tough for me.
Through out this time, I was trying to transfer to a different position because my teaching scores for my evaluations were not aligning with each other. As a teacher, you would get an evaluation from the district and from your administrators. My first year of teaching, I was only 10 points away from being a Highly Effective teacher to getting require actions from my principal. Other the other hand, my evolution from the district was average and I was please with those remarks.
Not only was I given notice that I was not going to be asked back for the next school year, she went out of her way to make sure the district would dismiss me as well. During this time, I was able to challenge her, but my Union Rep told me, because she’s a principal, I will loose, despite having the correct documentations and data to show that I’m a capable teacher.
Did I mention that she also stated to me that I wasn’t fit to teach a certain type of demographic.
I decided to leave teaching before the school year ended because it wouldn’t have been best for the students. Having a teacher knowing she was being pushed out of the profession would cause constant distractions and would not benefit either parties involved.
After putting teaching behind, I pursued a career in fashion and was a manger for a local boutique. I’m going to save this story for a different time because this deserves it’s own blog post.
At this point, I was extremely unhappy and could not bounce back. I truly felt like teaching children was my calling and I decided to give it another chance.
This time, I took on a challenge to join a school that had a completely new staff, new principal, and was a failing school. I had to teach fourth grade and half of the kids were twice the size of me and some had violent tendencies. Unfortunately, for this current principal, he had my past of an unjust principal hovering over my every move but I felt he truly did believe in me, noticed my hard work, and saw my passion. After a successful year, data wise, he moved me to my favorite grade level. Yes, Kindergarten!
I went back to the very grade that lead me leave the profession but I was excited and felt at home. It was the best professional year of my life.
When you see success, sometimes you find a ceiling. I was the teacher who had a connection with the students who needed extra attention. Anytime a teacher found themselves in a bind, I would be the person who would be assigned to work with this child. I’m happy about the students who were added to my classroom but it was unfair that I was the solution for those who were unable to do their job. I felt like if I was going to stay in my position, I would not be able to earn the position I wanted despite data and my wiliness to always wanting to grow. Somehow, my talents became a safety for others and with my personality, I would end up being extremely unhappy.
Before the school year ended, Andy was asked to move to Naples, Florida and wanted me to join him on his new adventure. He saw the drive I had for Simple and Pretty Co. and suggested to try to build my brand for at least a year to see all that I can accomplish. Having a partner who supports your dreams is something that doesn’t come very often and I had to take this opportunity.
Andy gave me the courage to find my true passion and helped me achieve every opportunities here at Simple and Pretty Co. I am living my best life because of the support of my handsome man. This also lead to me meeting like-minded babes who just understand the grind of building a brand.
At first, I thought it was going to be hard to find facts about me that you might not know because I do tend to overshare. Although the facts I shared are mostly failures, these failures is what helped mode me into the boss babe… hold the babe that you see today.
It was truly an honor to share my story and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read about my past. What are some of your failures that helped shaped you into the person that you see today? Be sure to comment below! I love hearing about your personal growth.0