Think there’s no human trafficking in the Western world? Think again!

It is happening all around us. Hear Nikki’s story and how she’s building a business with a higher purpose, while making money.

Sounds like something you want to do – combining mission and business? Then get inspired! You will see it is very much doable, the key is to just start.

You’ll learn:

5:48 – How business and mission can be combined, taking Tirza Design as an example
12:27 – What you need to build a mission-driven business
14:44 – Why it is okay to ask money – good money – for your services or products
17:20 – How confidence comes into play when we underprice ourselves
18:37 – Is making profit off a good cause ethical or not?
21:20 – Why it is okay to lose clients because of pricing
24:01 – Why Tirza Design is called Tirza Design and where the branding comes from

Fight human trafficking!

www.tirzadesign.com

Tirza Design Instagram

TRANSCRIPT

Jane:
Hey folks, and welcome to another episode of The Born to Fly podcast. I can’t wait to introduce the next guest to you. She is a powerful entrepreneur woman that wants to make a difference in this world, her name is Nikki Affholter. And she’s the founder of Tirza design. But I’m not going to say more because Nikki can way better explain who she is and what she does. So Nikki, I hand it over to you.

Nikkie:
Hi, I’m Nikki filter, and I started a Tirza design. And I’m a mom and a wife that three kids, and I’m just your everyday, everyday girl.

Jane:
I’m happy to have you on the show, Nikki.
Because we’ve talked before and I know you just are woman with amazing, like vision and passion. And I can’t wait to talk about that and share that with the listeners. Like one of the things I know is that you’ve been an entrepreneur for many years. And you have had a couple of businesses before. So I’m just very interested in knowing more about that. So can you tell me more of how and when you decided that you wanted to start your own business, and then what you’ve dealt with? What you’ve done in the past?

Nikkie:
Yeah, I think it all started, you know, when I became a mom, you know, I got married very young and had children really fast and I knew that I wanted to stay at home with them. So they were definitely my biggest motivation. I didn’t want to do it regular nine to five and I knew that I wanted to have a creative outlet and something to do you know, financially after they grew up or you know, so they were definitely my biggest motivation. I didn’t go to college and so, okay, so I need to either way it’s going to be work I go to, if I go to school, it’d be work if I do this on my own, it’s going to be work so might as well do the steps at home. Um, so yeah, the children were my main priority. And I started out you know, just doing odd jobs, housecleaning. Just anything that I could get my hands on in my spare time, and then I started doing photography. And so that was what I did that for a long time, as well and was pretty successful in that, a lot of trial and error. Eventually gotten into portrait photography and fashion photography. And I stayed in that for several years before starting Tirza design.

Jane:
Mm hmm. You said you did like the cleaning jobs and stuff like that. And you got into photography, is it something that was out of a certain interest that you had? Did you like take on a course or something like that?

Nikkie:
No, I always loved photography, when I was a child and in High School, and so it was just kind of a creative outlet for me, and then I just said, Hey, I can make money doing this. And it’s a passion of mine. So let’s, let’s run with it. And I started charging like $30 when I first started out and you know…

Jane:
an hour or?

Nikkie:
No, just $30. So it was, it was pretty bad. You know, a lot of us had those mistakes. You know, when you first start something, you don’t really know what you’re doing. You got to start somewhere. So yeah,

Jane:
Yeah, no, yeah, I can definitely say that’s true.
A lot of people make that mistake, I guess. Yeah. Um, and so you said your your kids were and are your priority, I would say. So how come that entrepreneurship really attracted you? Did you think it was not possible to be a mom, be there for your kids and at the same time have a full time job?

Nikkie:
I’d never thought about it until I became a mom, I just, you know, there’s just a certain thing, way you do things, you go to school, and then you do the nine to five. That’s just the way that things are done. Just… I had no grasp of what entrepreneurship is. I didn’t really I had no idea. And I guess, part of my personality is just, you know, there’s a problem. You figure out how to do it, you know, so yeah, I really had no grid for it until I became a mother.

Jane:
Cool. I just love that you just dove in and yeah…
I reached out to you because I actually saw a friend from the community that I run promote your earrings, your tassel earrings of Tirza design. And I just immediately fell in love with what you do, with the brand with the business and I was like, I need to speak to you about how did you get to this whole, you know, concept of business and mission of Tirza design because it’s not just the business. It’s like, it’s a mission. And yeah, I just can’t explain. I think I just want to ask you to share more about Tirza design, how it came to be. Just the story of it, I guess, and also what it is about because people probably don’t know.

Nikkie:
Yeah, definitely. It’s like I said, I started doing the photography and that’s really kind of what got me into this. I was very creative. And so I started in the portrait photography that led me into fashion photography. And so I did that for several years. And how it started was there. A lot of the girls that I worked with a lot of the models, they start confiding with me and they would tell me you know about all these horror stories about these photoshoots were people would would turn into things they weren’t expecting, you know, in their photo shoot, like it would turn into porn or they’d get pressured and there was a lot of… we discovered there’s a lot of trafficking rings that would pose as brands like well known brands, or well known photographers, and so they would like get these girls these models that didn’t know, and that really piqued my interest because it wasn’t just one model this it started become like a very normal accord occurrence with the girls I work with. I was like, Okay, this is a severe problem in my city, and, you know, like, every week a girl is telling me like; I’m so glad I found you. You’re a safe photographer and I was like, what does that mean? So, after about a year of just getting these real life stories of these girls and it’s like, okay, I started really diving into human trafficking and figuring out what this is, oh, it’s not overseas in Africa or you know, or somewhere far off and in the shadows, it’s, it’s here in Cincinnati, it’s everywhere. It’s in America. It’s in our city. It’s in our neighborhood, you know, it’s affecting people that I know. So that’s kind of the spark of how I got into this. And so with the fashion I wanted to use, like an everyday thing that everybody buys something everybody buys fashion, everybody buys earrings, you know, I wanted to use something simple to bring awareness. So that’s really kind of how I got started. We have several designs that promote a different nonprofit organization that is currently in the fight for trafficking. So it really is like a platform for those organizations that may not be seen or heard otherwise, unless you’re looking for it, you know, but they they’ll get a bigger audience if someone’s looking for earrings, you know, so. So we partner with a lot of different organizations like Stop Trafficking film, they’re a documentary that brings awareness and the lie of hope that isn’t an aftercare program for survivors, and so are others. So the main mission of our business is to be a resource of revenue for them. That makes sense.

Jane:
Yeah. Totally. Well, it does to me. And and that’s what I love because it’s, it’s not just like, just jewelry, but it’s way more. It’s basically you’re just giving them a stage. And yeah, you buy these earrings and basically, you’re helping these organizations. Something that’s so important. You know, it’s happening right now, under our noses. We don’t even see it, but it is happening. Yes.

Nikkie:
Yes, it’s been it’s been really, you know, amazing to see for even for myself researching the organizations that I partner with, and just, how it affects so many felt like everything, you know, it’s in the foster care system. It’s in the modeling, it’s in the fashion industry is it’s not just limited to, like I said, underground and different country, it’s everywhere. And so that’s why we have like a multi tiered approach with all the different organizations that we work with.

Jane:
I know you’re a Christian as well. Right. So is there a way how, like, God guided you into like setting this up this business in you know, because there is lots of problems in the world and you choose this one. Was particularly this one the one that got pointed out for you or how is God involved?

Nikkie:
Oh, yeah, I mean, he’s the center of it. He’s the absolute center of it. Um, like I said, this working with the girls in the fashion industry, it’s just, you know, these are real people. You know, most of these girls aren’t saved. Just seeing the innocence when they’re trying to, you know, be models, you know, and how darker it gets, you know, for the most part, it’s not everybody, but a majority in that industry is like, they start out very innocent. And they just get pushed and pushed and pushed with their boundaries. And it started out with just me being like a mama bear and Big Sister, you know, wanting to minister to these girls, you know, in my own way. I think you can use your business as your ministry, you know, whatever you’re doing, it’s like whoever your clients, you know, it’s a way to bring awareness to them about these issues. And ultimately, it’s God, he’s gonna bring justice, you know, we can do so only so much with our donations and bringing awareness, facts and truth. But ultimately, you know, God is the only one that can bring the justice that they’re looking for and what the world’s crying out for.

Jane:
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I like that you said that. You can definitely combine your ministry with a business. Because I think there are a lot of people that listen to this podcast or early stage entrepreneurs and they might struggle with finding out what they want to do exactly. They might feel this need for like maybe spreading the gospel or like making sure that they are actually doing something that contributes to the body of Christ or to do as I said, spreading the gospel. Or something related to their faith. So what would you say to these people who are struggling with combining their strengths? Or maybe they’re interested interests in building a business, but also, you know, have a passion for something or a cause that they really want to work for? How do you like merge the two into each other? Is it like, what you’re doing the only approach or?

Nikkie:
I think it makes it better if you are missionary minded, and if you have a skill, you know, we should all have a skill. It’s like it’s, you know, like, What has God given you the tools in your hand? And how are you going to use it for the kingdom? You know what, it can be the simplest thing whether you’re, you’re a tutor or you’re your house cleaner, if that’s your skill, then how can you serve? Like what then what is your passion? Is it for the foster care system, or is it for adoption, whatever God put on your heart, make that you’re Your business model, you know, make your mission your business model so if you’re house cleaner How can you serve foster care parents? Give them a discount, advertise that discount specially for foster care parents, do a giveaway for people who tagged foster care parents or people that are looking to adopt, you know, make that your your niche you know? There’s no skill it’s too small. House Cleaners, photographers, a seamstress, I mean all of these things, you figure out what God’s put in your heart and use it.

Jane:
Yeah, I love that. It’s, it’s just a different way of looking at a business model. Normally you would think of it like, Okay, this is my service. Who is it for? How much money can I make? But instead you’re thinking okay what is something that really touches my heart, something in the world that I really want to make better. And you just find ways to integrate that in your business or make it an end goal. There’s like different ways.

Nikkie:
Yeah and at the same time be an expert in your field, you know, be the best at whatever your skill set is, and you know, be the expert, whatever that is, if you’re a photographer, study it out and be an expert and so that you are the best where you are, there is still that element. But at the same time, you want to give your best and give your all to your skill at the same time using it for his glory.

Jane:
When we want to work for the greater good for something better or for the glory of God, we oftentimes are afraid to ask money or a certain amount of money for what we’re doing. I noticed that oftentimes female entrepreneurs struggle with that; asking the right amount of money for their services or their products. But I mean, you need money eventually to live a healthy life and to care for your family and for yourself. I know that you have an, you know, an opinion about this, you have a clear idea about making money and why we should and why it is okay to ask a decent price for the services that you provide, even though you’re also helping good causes are working for the greater good.

Nikkie:
Mm hmm. Yeah. Like I said, when I first started out with photography, I was charging $30. I clearly didn’t know what I was doing in photography, I didn’t know how to make money and charge the right amount for my equipment, and all the things that go into that. And so if you’re photographers out there, I hear you and I see you. So I think the best way is to first realize your worth in your skill. So with that said, be an expert so that you are worth it, you know, so be an expert first, then charge accordingly. Some people think oh, I wouldn’t pay for that myself. Well, you’re not charging yourself. There’s a market for everybody. And you may not buy that for that price, but somebody will. And I think that is the biggest thing that’s helped me on the journey or, you know, there’s not everyone has to get your product or your service, but there is a lane for you. And I think that’s the biggest thing is your is to find your your tribe, is to find your audience, and market accordingly. And, and if you’re not confident in your pricing, then nobody else will be, you know, I mean, you don’t start out as, as a low in store and then they turn around and try to be coach. You know, you don’t turn from Walmart to coach like you either you have to start out as one you know, like that’s part of the branding, which I think really helps people. Some people have to learn as they go. And but that’s probably the biggest takeaway as you start out. Be confident in your pricing so that your customer will be too. The more money they put into something and the more money they invest into it, the more they value, whatever it is that they’re buying or investing in.

Jane:
Yeah, so do you think that not having enough confidence in oneself is the reason why we oftentimes just have, you know, a low price for what we offer?

Nikkie:
I think that’s a definitely a big reason, you know. And the people that struggle with that if you’re more analytical you can there are services is out there like on you can do a COPD with right things, cost of doing business calculator, I think that can help take the emotion out of it like oh no I can never charge XYZ you know if you actually write down your overhead your, your expenses, whatever your equipment or supplies for whatever you are doing, write that all out and you kind of you see how much you you’re putting in and what your profit is, I think that can help take away some of the emotion when you actually write down how much you’re investing into your business.

Jane:
And what about the people that say, but Nikki, but I don’t think it’s ethical to make profit off something that is you know, supporting a good cause or something like that. What would you say? Do you think it’s ethical or not?

Nikkie:
No, you need to, you need to survive to you know. There’s so many biblical references into stewarding finances and it is definitely not a sin to have money. You know what it is? How you steward that is your own spiritual walking home journey and you have to walk that with fear and trembling to but, you know, we’re definitely called to steward our finances and our wealth and you know, use it for the kingdom. But that doesn’t mean we’re not supposed to have it.

Jane:
True.
Definitely what I wanted to hear.
Everybody who is listening and thinks “but”, and is just starting out: You’re worth it. You need to ask money. Yeah. Why else would you start a business? Yeah. So, on a different note, I started asking the guests on this podcast about failures in their stories as well because I love hearing success stories. But I know that we learn a lot from our mistakes. So question to you as well: Is there a failure or a mistake that you had in life or in business that taught you something very important that you want to share with the listeners?

Nikkie:
I think we’re gonna beat a dead horse, but I’m gonna say it again.
Underpricing. Underpricing is definitely the biggest mistake. Um, like I said, you can come out of the gate swinging: Like, this is my value, this is our worth. Or you could slowly grow. And that was definitely my biggest regret, not so much with Tirza but with my past. My past things I’ve done a photography that was that took a long time I eventually got to where I wanted to be, but it was, it was a long journey. Like I said, starting from $30 an hour to eventually charging 500 you know for a session you know, that’s a quite a jump for your your past clients. You know, “but I was paying 30 dollars”, but, you know, it’s like you have to understand that you’re going to lose people. If you’re in that stage, you know, changing your prices, whatever your business is and your net growing stage, you’re going to lose people and it’s okay. You know, the people that really do value you and they won’t, they’ll follow along, and they’ll still refer you if they enjoyed your experience or your product or service, whatever you’re offering. Um, but yes, so again, it was the underpricing.

Jane:
Well, I think definitely, that’s one of the key takeaways from this episode. I would say never underprice yourself, even though it’s really hard. I know because I did the same thing. It’s so easy when somebody says, oh, okay, well, that’s a little bit too expensive for me. You know, is it possible to have like a different prize or a different package, or can we just try…

Nikkie:
to negotiate?

Jane:
Yeah, yeah. And you’re like, eh okay.

Nikkie:
No, no, you’re you’re running the business. You call the shots and, you know, you don’t have to market to yourself necessarily or your friends and family, you know? It’s, you got to find your own lane, you know and get used to making mistakes, you know, I think that’s you people can be a lot of really afraid of making mistakes, but you know, you eventually get used to it and you run to them. You know, it means you’re growing and get wisdom as cheaply as possible by listening to experts in your field, you know, whatever your business is, learn, be the expert, so you don’t have to make as many mistakes. Learn from theirs.

Jane:
Yeah, well, I think that’s a good lesson because there’s nothing wrong with mistakes. We’re kind of programmed, of course, when we grow up in this society to not make mistakes because you want to do things right. You want to be successful, but in order to get there you have to make mistakes. I started to learn that… I was always afraid for failing, you know, nobody likes to fail.

Nikkie:
No, it’s not fun.

Jane:
No, because it’s a mess and you have to clean it up.

Nikkie:
Own it. And own it well. Be humble.

Jane:
So, Nikkie, where can we find more about Tirza design. Obviously, we want to support you. So just share with us like the Instagram, everything, website that you have.

Nikkie:
Yeah, you can follow along on most of the social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest. Tirza design. It’s a Hebrew words, so a lot of people don’t know how to pronounce it. So Tirza and our website is www.tirzadesign.com. And that’s all we have right now.

Jane:
What comes to mind is why this name? What’s the story behind it?

Nikkie:
Back in the day, my earlier days when I traveled a lot, and I used to teach in Israel and so a lot of my branding for Tirza design comes from the Middle East and Israel and just the desert. You’ll see it in the branding. It’s kind of all over, desert flower and that’s definitely a big inspiration for me. I spent several years in Israel.

Jane:
That’s interesting. Wow, I just want to know more about that as well.

Nikkie:
Yeah, Tirza means she is my delight, and delighted one and so I bet it was the meaning behind the name you bow for for human trafficking survivors is you know, to embody that name. Like I said, there’s only so much we can do to bring awareness and
to fight it with our money and all those ways, but the truth is, it’s going to be Christ. You can see all over the world right now, everyone wants justice for XYZ and all these different hashtags. And you know, ultimately it is everybody crying out for justice, we want justice and the only one who’s going to bring justice for these causes for human trafficking, for people of color, the children… fill in the blank for different trending issues that are happening… It’s going to be Jesus. It’s going to be Christ. And
we really wanted to use this name to embody who they are called to be that they’re dedicated and delighted in.
You know, that comes through him.

Jane:
Beautiful, I love that. Amen to that. All right. Okay, thank you, Nikki. So everybody who’s listening, go to tirzadesign.com and check it out. Thank you for for sharing your knowledge and your experience.

Nikkie:
And thank you so much for having me. It was such a joy.

Jane:
Thank you