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Hidden Gems: Meet Nikkie Affholter of Tirza Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikkie Affholter.

Hi Nikkie, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started off as a photographer in the fashion industry for several years. I worked on many model portfolios, designer galleries, runway, etc. Fashion photography is a male-dominated industry, so being one of the few women photographers in the area, many of the models that I worked with would befriend me and confide in me about the rampant exploitation within the industry. I started to dive into learning about human trafficking and was blown away to realize it’s not just far off in a foreign country somewhere, but that it’s in Kansas City and in our own neighborhoods. There are so many misconceptions to what human trafficking is and is NOT, and most people wouldn’t even recognize the signs of what to look for.

After learning all this, I wanted to create a safe job for survivors while they heal and take the time they need to recover. All while giving them job skill training and the tools they need to succeed. I wanted to create a platform for survivor-made products and highlight as many organizations supporting the marginalized and fighting human trafficking. I also wanted to equip the consumer with knowledge and prevention by using fashion as the bridge. Many people do not know how to get involved or how to quite help. Part of my main mission is to help everyday people get educated on the global pandemic called human trafficking.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Starting any business has its own challenges. Applying for funding and getting all the certifications that we are qualified for is tedious but necessary. It was challenging with all the amount of spending with start-up costs for inventory, marketing, research for our blog to better equip our community with prevention and ways to combat trafficking in their own circles.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Tirza Design?
Tirza Design is fashion with a purpose committed to the empowerment of women who have survived human trafficking and other forms of abuse, achieve education, economic independence, and healing. Because they are made in God’s image.

Every purchase empowers survivors and invests in the fight against human trafficking & exploitation of the marginalized around the world. Tirza Design is also a source of revenue to many non-profits on the front lines in the anti-trafficking world. A percentage of all proceeds is donated to partnered organizations with the same vision.

We also provide a safe job and community for local survivors through art therapy as they heal and gain job skills. I am proud of how many people have gotten involved locally, as well as in their own communities, since I started Tirza. It’s amazing to see how our fashion with purpose is the bridge between life-changing opportunities for one and still making a real fashion statement through investing in ethical fashion for the other. Tirza Design has really become a revolving door of empowerment.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
My husband is my biggest support. He is just as passionate about supporting survivors and creating a platform highlighting this issue.

Being a female, minority-owned business owner, I’ve enjoyed hiring other women to help with the day-to-day operations. From models, designers, influencers, it is all women-led. The “Tirza Tribe” has really become a community of women empowerment. Brittany Noz (A friend & mother of four) has been essential to writing and contributing with excellent creative content.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photography by Beth Grimm

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