Style Profile: Nicki Iskander

Redhill Pullover – Chilly by Neon Buddha; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

Name: Nicki Iskander
Occupation: Massage Therapist
Age: Older than I look
Lifestyle: Gym. Work. Concerts. Repeat.

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

I like to start each day with movement. Whether it’s yoga, biking around the city, or a hardcore strength-training session, being physically active prepares me for whatever comes my way.

 

After a long day of massaging clients, my night typically ends one of three ways: at a concert (I’m addicted to live music), in the bathtub with a podcast, or passed out on the couch halfway through an episode of Archer.

 

Redhill Pullover – Chilly by Neon Buddha; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What in your life is really important to you?

 

Is it wrong that my cats came to mind before my family?

 

Aside from the typical stuff – family, friends, music, laughter – what matters most is that I live my life in a way that would make my dad proud. He passed away last year and was also an entrepreneur.

 

This year, my home massage studio has been my top priority… but also my cats.

 

Celeste Dress – Black Roses by Toronto’s Desserts and Skirts; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

 

This is going to sound contrived, but I swear it’s true. I want to be remembered for making people feel good. That and my righteous puns.

 

How would you describe your general style?

 

Bright colours. Bold patterns. Band tees. ALL of the animal print. You know that person who’s always wearing the loudest outfit in the room? That’s me.

 

Celeste Dress – Black Roses by Toronto’s Desserts and Skirts; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

You haven’t always been a massage therapist. How did you transition from your previous job?

 

It’s true! Massage therapy was a dramatic shift in careers. After a decade in the music industry, I grew tired of working for The Man (and working for men!). I decided to go back to school and massage therapy checked off all the right boxes.

 

I researched the best schools, applied for a government grant, made the commitment to excel at the program, and graduated as valedictorian. Now I’m a proud entrepreneur, contributing to a female-dominated industry, focusing on empowering women to put themselves first. Girl power!

 

Fleur Dress – Teal Flowers by Toronto label Mandala; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What role does fashion play in your life?

 

Fashion to me is the best way to make a statement without saying a word. My friend and I used to play a game where we would guess a person’s favourite band based on their shoes alone. You’d be surprised how often we were right!

 

But seriously, wearing a quality piece that fits juuuuust right can elevate my mood all day. When I feel comfortable and confident, there’s very little that can get in my way.

 

Fleur Dress – Teal Flowers by Toronto label Mandala; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

For other professionals out there who really want to start their own business but feel stuck in a rut, what advice would you offer?

 

Be realistic. Is there a market for what you’re selling? If yes, go for it! But first, get a handle on your finances. Most new businesses don’t turn a profit in their first year and, let’s face it, Toronto is expensive!

 

You need to have some serious savings or some way of earning money while you build your empire. There’s no shame in working part-time or having a side hustle to make ends meet. Running my own business has been more time-consuming and costly than I ever could have imagined, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Also, get a mentor! Find someone who has succeeded at what you want to achieve and mimic them. I found a fabulous business coach one month after opening my home massage studio and it’s the best decision I could have made.

 

Lastly, stand behind your business. When you believe in what you do, your product or service will well itself.

 

Fleur Top – Purple Flowers by Mandala; Straight Leg Jeans – Black by Toronto’s Brenda Beddome; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

 

You mean aside from the plethora of high-quality, unique pieces made by independent Toronto designers? Or the fact that it’s woman-owned and operated? I love that we’re both in the business of making women feel good.

 

Fleur Top – Purple Flowers by Mandala; Straight Leg Jeans – Black by Toronto’s Brenda Beddome; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What do you have that you want to promote?

 

I’m a Registered Massage Therapist with a women-only home studio in the charming southwestern Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale. I provide a body-positive, trans-friendly space that caters to busy women in the west end. Whether you need to relax, tame some pain, or just get a break from the stresses in life, I’ve got your back (literally!).

 

Una Jacket – Oil Painting – Purple by our in-house label, Palette by Laura-Jean; Teri Reversible Top – Crimson by Arianne; Straight Leg Jeans – Black by Toronto’s Brenda Beddome; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What do you love most about the work you do?

 

I love that massage therapy is both physically demanding and intellectually stimulating. My job motivates me to stay healthy and to never stop learning or improving.

 

But most of all, I love making people feel better. I’m often the best part of someone’s day! How many people get to say that about their job? Selfishly, I also love that I get paid to listen to Otis Redding all day.

 

Una Jacket – Oil Painting – Purple by our in-house label, Palette by Laura-Jean; Teri Reversible Top – Crimson by Arianne; Straight Leg Jeans – Black by Toronto’s Brenda Beddome; Earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

Is there anything else we should know about you?

 

I’m the Captain of a Simpsons Trivia team! We just celebrated eight years as a team and you can find us at the Cadillac Lounge every month, boning up on our nerd lessons.

 

I also have two friendly cats named Dave Grohl and Marla Singer who greet my clients at the door. Technically, I’m their tenant.

 

Where can people find you on social media?

 

Facebook: @nicki.rmt
Instagram: @nicki.rmt
Website: www.nickirmt.com

 

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Fresh Collective has carved out its niche in Toronto’s fashion scene for the shopper who loves something a little different! We specialize in local designers, and our products are unique, or few of a kind. Our store is beautifully curated, offering our customers an amazing selection of fabulous clothing and accessories.

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