We're back with a springtime Q&A with Khadijah Robinson (written just before the world shut down). Our Q&A session with Khadijah is here to remind you of the pre-quarantine days or anticipate the post quarantine days, when you can finally get back to the hustle and bustle. Khadijah is the founder of The Nile List (@thenilelist), a directory of thousand of black-owned brands for all different products and services. Khadijah makes rooting for everybody black that much easier (put your money where your mouth is, right?!)
As an update, Khadijah shared that she is in quarantine in Nigeria where she is working on The Nile List, soaking up as much pool time as possible and not wearing shoes that much (same). As COVID-19 progresses, she's been on Instagram Live like it's nobodies' business (OK!). Also, Nile is focusing more on helping businesses make it through this pandemic. Khadijah has introduced an initiative called Quarantine Mondays, highlighting a different affiliate business on the site each Monday and offing a discount to go shop with them.
To know more about a day in the life of this not-so-typical boss, check out our All Worked Up session with her below.
Where do you reside and what is your favorite local spot close to home?
I live in Takoma in Washington, DC. My favorite local spot is the Spice Suite, which is also in Takoma. It’s a Black-owned spice store that has AMAZING spices, sauces, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and more. The owner sources things from all over the world, and everything there is amazing quality.
It's breakfast time on a weekday, where are you and what are you eating?
I’ve tried to get better about having breakfast on busy weekdays, but I definitely end up skipping breakfast about half the time. I subscribed to Daily Harvest, so sometimes I manage to make a smoothie, but other times, I just run out the door and snack at my desk. I do literally eat all day at my desk, though, so don’t worry, I’m not starving myself.
It's dinner time on a weekday, where are you and what are eating?
I’m almost always eating out, eating leftovers, or ordering on weeknights. It’s terrible, but I really just cannot find the time to cook during the week. I’m running between my job as a lawyer and my business, and cooking is dead last on my list. The plus is that if I work over a certain number of hours in a day, my job pays for my dinner. Plus I try to be semi-healthy and order salads some of the time. Or, if I get a pizza, I try to get it with cauliflower crust! I do find myself doing a lot of evening events as well, and there, I have learned to make hors d'oeuvres into a full meal! You’d be surprised how far cubes of cheese can stretch!
When I do get to go home at a reasonable time, I usually stop by the local Black-owned vegan spot (E-Life) that’s right next to my metro station and get some drummettes they have - sooooo good.
Describe your workwear style.
My hands-down favorite place to go for work clothes traditionally has been Nordstrom Rack. Paying full price for ANYTHING pains me! I also would go to Saks Off Fifth and cruise through Macy’s website. Now, I am a lot more purposeful in my buying. I bought a couple bomb dresses that make for great jazzed up work attire from Nigerian designer Andreea Iyamah a couple of months ago. I’ve been following the new Black-owned brand that is all about workwear, shopcsuite.com, and plan to buy from them soon. And I’ve gone off the deep end with shopping snazzy flat shoes by Aminah Abdul Jalil. All I need now are my Rebecca Allen nude heels to set off my work gear. I like to think of my style as Bad, Black, and Bougie.
Oh and yes, I keep my work shoes under my desk in my office. There’s no way I’m braving the metro in my killer nude pumps!
Do you have a favorite workwear item (clothing or accessory) that you can't live without?
My favorite workwear item is definitely my watch. The first nice(r) watch I bought for myself is a gold Movado, and I still rock it most days. My wrist feels very naked without a watch! I am trying to get into more Black-owned watchmakers, though. Seventeenth Watches is a pretty cool one!
You're about to give a big presentation/have a big meeting, what are you wearing:
A bomb dress and heels, no jacket. I don’t really like wearing 2 piece skirt or pants suits, so I will usually have a flattering work dress on unless it’s absolutely necessary to be in a suit.
How do you prepare for a big presentation or meeting?
I talk to myself in the shower. I practice lines, even practice my silly jokes. Most of this, I will forget the moment I get up in front of everyone, but it definitely helps me get a little looser.
What constitutes a good day at work?
A good day at work for me has to speak both to my job as a lawyer and to my work as founder of theNileList.com. I am putting real sweat and tears (no blood yet, thankfully) into making my site as amazing as it can be, and making sure it is a great tool to connect people with Black-owned brands. So a good day for me is being able to help someone accomplish a legal goal as a lawyer. And being able to help someone discover an amazing Black-owned brand they’ve never heard of as a founder. Every single time that someone tells me that they found out about a dope Black business or product from my platform, I do a happy dance on the inside. That’s what keeps me up at night - figuring out how to make more and more of these connections!
How do you unwind and turn work off?
Unfortunately, as someone who has a job and an additional business, I barely ever turn work off. Side-hustling is more than another full-time job. I’ve become pretty awful at self-care, so I am trying to rebuild my practices and routines so that I can get back in the groove of actually giving myself a bit of a break. I like to swim laps and read to chill out. And have a glass of wine with frans!
What is your favorite thing to allocate time to outside of “the office?”
Brunch. Without a doubt. It’s a lifestyle, an art form, and one of my greatest pleasures. Whoever decided to mash up breakfast and lunch - thank you!