Emma Mitro spoke to Néeshell, Founder of 199Z, Toronto about her Gender-Neutral Clothing Brand and the business impact of Covid19
A Little bit about Néeshell, the history of 199Z, and the team.
Professionally, I go by Néeshell, and I am the Founder and Executive Director of 199Z. Our business launched in 2016, headquartered in Toronto, is a gender-neutral fashion label, media house, and live event curation company. My idea of 199Z came to me as I tried to find a perfect way to create a cross-generational connection, despite the cultural divide that we all think exists between our generations.
I always found that there are such evident similarities amongst everyone living at this time. For instance, I can easily converse with the elderly, as well as learn something new from a child who is far more advanced technologically than I am. And I think that is beautiful!
As a result of that, 199Z started with me creating a design that I felt could unite us, similar to how one feels proud of representing their graduating class year. Because we cross into a few different industries, there are many other jobs at 199Z. Right now, we have a couple of people that wear multiple hats and frequently hire out and out-source creatives that align with the company vision on contract work.
Tell us about 199Z Products and Services?
Due to the pandemic and restrictions, we are solely focused on the clothing side of the business. We offer a wide variety of items that are available for curbside pickup as well as on our online store.
199Z began as a simple Youtube channel that featured and showcased Toronto-based artists. From this came the creation and later distribution of their minimalistic, ageless, and gender-neutral graphic tees. You can shop the 199Z Essentials and Shades of Black capsule: Drop 1 now.
“You are representing more than just yourself by wearing our products.”
Who is your target audience?
Born in Toronto, 199Z has grown to, and continues to portray and embody Toronto culture. By catering to and aligning with diverse individuals of all generations, their customer base has since gravitated towards the all-inclusive brand.
“Our company slogan is “Established In The City Where The World Meets” we have reached an audience that includes all races and ethnicities which is truly what I aspired to do when starting on this journey.”
Where are your products and services available?
We have a retail store located in Downtown Toronto at 884 College St. that we recently opened back in mid-2020. We also have an online store at www.est199Z.com
Any major challenges you faced as an entrepreneur? How did you overcome it?
As a young black woman in a male-dominated industry, it can get challenging to be taken seriously. However, I make the best out of every opportunity available and let my work speak for itself.
How has your business changed since the pandemic? How were you doing pre-pandemic, and how is it going now?
We have pivoted operations to focus primarily on the Fashion and clothing aspect of the business, which has been rewarding in connecting to so many more people! Pre-Pandemic 199Z was mainly known for our live events and concerts, in which we were selling our apparel as well.
What support do you need right now to take your business to the next level?
The support that can truly help our company is simply awareness. As we work teach day tirelessly to make an impact, having the support from not only our city but people who relate to our brand generally, worldwide, can make all the difference.”
How is your business looking in 2021?
The future of our business is looking bright! We have a new collection releasing in a few weeks, and aside from that, I believe 2021 will be an exceptional year for 199Z”
Any Words of Wisdom to young entrepreneurs?
Start. Entrepreneurship will be a journey that requires much commitment. Some days you feel on top of the world, and other days the world will feel like it is on top of your shoulders. Despite those feelings, you need to keep going! Always continue to educate yourself as it is impossible to know it all, and do not be intimidated to work with what you already have.
For more information and to shop, visit: https://est199z.com/
Author: Emma Mitro, Lifestyle, Content Writer for The Onside Media, Canada. If you have any stories or comments, kindly email: – [email protected]