In 2016 I planned to release hold the premier of my movie, ‘Standing Firm’. We considered hiring an event planner and discovered a gem.
The HOAJ, owned and operated by Jamila Nicholson made my experience with an event planner the greatest ever. I don’t know if all event planners are as good as she is but she’s the only recommendation you would get from me.
The HOAJ stands for “The House of Alima J.” (Alima J. is Jamila backward.) It has become her creative alter ego allowing her to live out all of her creative passions. Through her design house, she hopes to inspire others to find and live out their own passions, create beautiful spaces, and to have fun too!
Jamila Nicholson was born Jamila Anderson (no relation) to the parents of Cardinal Anderson and Gloria Evans. She hails from Queens, New York but currently lives in Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (Marketing) from the University of South Florida.
Jamila is an artist at heart. She gravitated to all things creative. She said, “Entrepreneurship, events, marketing, and design all go hand in hand. It’s all a form of art in my world. Creating The HOAJ was just another outlet to express my creativity.”
Jamila started in property management. After eight years, she felt the calling to take that leap of faith. She wanted to do something that she felt had more purpose and was more fulfilling. “I never envisioned myself becoming an event planner. I just knew whatever I did it had to be something in the creative world. I had been planning events since I was a kid, but never thought of it as a serious career.”
Finding Her Passion
Like many of us, Jamila ignored that call inside of her and settled for the safe route. We are conditioned to get the education and a nine to five. This is safe for us but at some point, the call overtakes you. Jamila was told growing up, “Go to school, get your degree, work nine to five, collect your check and live.” However, she couldn’t resist that call and after eight years and no plan, she went for it. She was armed with nothing but her desire to explore the creative world.
Someone was watching over this young lady as she started her new career. She scrolled through Facebook one day and noticed a boutique that she followed was having an in-store fashion show. Jamila said, “I’m not sure how it happened, but it did. With great confidence, I reached out to the boutique and asked them if they were interested in having an event planner help them with their show.” The boutique said “yes”. She had no ‘professional’ experience, no plan, and no clue of what to do. But deep down she believed she could do it and she did.
Jamila assisted them with that show and was asked back to help with other events. All this lead to her big boost. The owners of the boutique who were two very driven teenage twins decided to launch their own clothing line. They could have obtained any of the top event planners in the area but they chose Jamila. They, like I, wasn’t sorry for their choice. Jamila delivered an outstanding launch event and her career was on the rise.
The HOAJ and Much More on the Horizon
After a successful launch, referrals began to kick in and that was the beginning of Jamila’s ‘eventful’ journey.
Recently, Jamila has taken on quite a few private projects. She can be found planning a wedding one day, styling homes, or flying across the US to execute event logistics and marketing initiatives at various industry tradeshows and events.
Fashion clients such as The Fashion Movement, Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, Fashionably Fabulous, Tina J. Style, and Brushes of Beauty just to name a few have used her services. She supported her clients with fashion show production, event planning, and interior style needs.
Most recently, her work with Concerto Cloud Services, a local technology company specializing in fully managed private cloud solutions, has taken her to new heights. “I get to experience the event world on a whole new level. I’ve planned and organized the company’s event logistics and marketing initiatives executed at Microsoft’s top events and other events hosted by leading technology organizations.” For Jamila, this is quite different than the event world she’s used to. But she’s enjoying the experience of new things. She has a first-hand opportunity to see the innovative world of technology. “It has definitely been inspiring.”
Family is Important to Jamila
Jamila has done a lot in her career. In her words she says, “I have done some really cool things in life and built a few businesses from the ground up.” At the end of the day, her greatest accomplishment in life is her kids and the work she put into building her family unit.
Jamila proudly told me, “My husband (Huntley Nicholson) and my kids are truly amazing. They are my motivation and push me to strive to do so much more.” It was a pleasure to hear this because I believe family is so important in life. She went on to say, “Just like in business, it takes a lot of work to build a good family structure. But all the arduous work and sacrifices are worth the rewards in the end. It feels good to know we are raising good people.”
Jamila teaches her kids not to settle in life and to find their passion. She wants them to find that gift that God has given them to do good things for others in this world.
As an entrepreneur and a creative person, Jamila is always evolving and developing. Her goal is to continue her journey through entrepreneurship and to continue her purpose of serving others with her gift. She is also working towards strengthening her skills as a Marketing Professional. She has taken on a new interest in the technology industry.
“I’ve always envisioned The HOAJ as a lifestyle brand that not only produces and styles cool events and interiors but also has a dope product line. I am slowly working towards that goal of providing lifestyle products to the clients we serve. Stay tuned!”
Kids Style Week
Jamila so excited about a recent venture with her partner in style. She has teamed up with event producer, Lacey B. Smith of The Fashion Movement. Smith approached her about a year and a half ago with a vision he had had for years. He uttered three little words to her, “Kids Style Week”. Immediately their visions synced and the creativity started flowing.
The two of them decided to team up to produce Kids Style Week, a style platform that will promote individual style, creativity, and self-empowerment amongst kids. “We are giving parents and kids a week-long style celebration October 16-22, 2017. We will be featuring workshops, activities, and a whole lot of fun.”
The week of events will conclude with a kid’s runway show showcasing local designers in the Tampa area and famous kid brands. Proceeds from the event go to local charities that help change the lives of kids in the Tampa Bay area.