IMPACT

Nikki Neuzil | Women’s History Month

March 31st, 2021

Nikki Nuziel owns and operates a lovely boutique called Flamingo Vintage which sits right at the heart of Southwest Detroit on Vernor Highway. The vintage clothing and antique store carries an extensive variety of curated and collector items and unique fashion pieces from decades ago. Her clients include the neighborhood to movie productions, wardrobe stylists, musicians, and artists across the globe. She’s good at what she does and has been doing it for a long time. 

Roughly ten years ago, Nikki decided to take inventory of her life and assess what truly brought her joy and what she was good at. Since she was a child, she always knew she would go into business and she loved thrifting, so she married the two. She debuted at a car show with a single rack of personal dresses she had collected over the years and sold out. She continued doing small pop-ups until she was able to purchase and fully renovate a bus to sell from. It wasn’t long before she expanded into an establishment in front of an antiques mall in Austin, Texas. 

Nikki’s dream to keep growing her business brought her to Detroit where she fell in love with Mexicantown after hosting a pop-up at Clark Park for a Cinco De Mayo celebration. Opening a business this time around proved more challenging than her previous experience at opening a business. This was a century-old building in the need of many improvements. She enrolled in business management courses and gave it her all. It only took her eight months to fully renovate the building into the beautiful boutique you will find today.

A drunk driver recently crashed into the store’s front and a glass display was ruined. She realized just how much the community appreciates her presence in the block after many neighbors stopped by to offer help or condolences, the taco truck that sells tacos out of the parking lot even brought her a plate. She was able to get back on her feet in no time, but she can’t help but to wonder how much worse this could have been just a year ago amidst the heart of the first lockdown. 

At the beginning of the pandemic and with strict government mandates for businesses, Nikki closed for three months and struggled to sustain herself for some time while transitioning to fully operating online. She understands now that Flamingo Vintage Detroit will always get back up because she believes in community and the community of Mexicantown/Southwest Detroit has got her right back. She plans to keep evolving, growing, and to continue to be an asset to the community that has welcomed her with open arms. 

See what she does next by following her on social media at @flamingovintagedetroit on Instagram or visit flamingovintagedetroit.com for more information. 

Photography by Tramaine Seay

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