Little Miss Fashion
An Omaha entrepreneur with an eye for girls’ fashion is finding the experts at NBDC to be a perfect fit as she works to expand her business and sell her brand across the globe.
Yolanda Diaz is a clothing designer and owner of Little Miss Fashion, a manufacturer and wholesaler of clothing and accessories for girls size 1 to 16. Since July 2015, Diaz has been receiving management consulting as well as export assistance through the NBDC.
“When she first came, she was seeking assistance with operational issues such as hiring employees and inventory management,” recalls Aretha Boex, director at the NBDC at the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Business Administration. “She was also interested in exporting her products.”
Boex and her team of consultants assisted with developing a job description, using e-verify, and determining avenues for recruiting new employees. “We also provided Yolanda with detailed market research on the German market for her existing product line,” Boex says.
NBDC international trade consultant Josh Nichol-Caddy also is working with Diaz on the logistics, insurance and financing of her first major shipment to Germany. “Once this big shipment is done,” Boex says, “we will go back to focusing on improving her operational efficiency so she can continue to scale up.”
Diaz began Little Miss Fashion in 2011, sharing commercial office space with another company. She rented a 100-square-foot space, had one sewing machine and one cutting table. In 2013, she moved her company into a 700-square-foot location and, one year later, developed a website and an Etsy online store.
Today, Diaz employs nine other people and owns 15 commercial sewing machines, one cutting machine and two cutting tables. She primarily sells wholesale to Zulily, an online company that then sells directly to consumers. Through Zulily, Little Miss Fashion products have been sold in all 50 states.
“I want to export to Germany and they’re helping me with information on how to start the process,” Diaz says of the consultants at NBDC. “They are also telling me how to contact companies for shipping to Germany to make it affordable for me.”
Diaz also fulfills custom orders. Last year, she received an order with a limited deadline from a mother in Texas. “The customer needed a special outfit for her daughter, who was a participant in a local competition,” Boex says. “The order was filled in time and the little girl ended up winning the Little Miss Texas pageant.”
Diaz is active in the community as a volunteer and as a member of the board of directors of the Midlands Latino Community Development Corporation. She has partnered with an area correctional facility in a program where she taught inmates to sew and develop marketable job skills.
“Every time I ask, everyone at NBDC is ready to help,” Diaz says. “Without them, this would not be possible for me.”