Steeltown Sistas

Hamilton influencer started new business with a friend during the pandemic

Many have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to tackle new projects and launch new businesses. Among these is Hamilton-born-and-raised influencer Nicole Alexander, whose love of fashion has snowballed into online sustainable goods store, Steeltown Sistas. The store sells mostly vintage clothing pieces but occasionally sells home goods.

Alexander created Steeltown Sistas with a good friend in May 2020, while stuck at home during the first wave of the pandemic. The two women share a love for sustainable, unique and vintage fashion. Steeltown Sistas has become a way for them to share their passion with others. 

Alexander created Steeltown Sistas with a good friend in May 2020, while stuck at home during the first wave of the pandemic.

Steeltown Sistas operates through its Instagram page and the reception so far has been quite positive. Many people are happy to engage with Steeltown Sistas and offer pieces for the store’s collection.  

With a background in marketing, Steeltown Sistas is not the first time Alexander has been involved in business and fashion. Alexander actually began selling clothes while she was in university. She saw re-selling her clothes and clothing swaps as a great way to engage with fashion sustainably. 

She currently runs the blog Hamilton Hippie, which she describes on her website as a place to come to get the scoop on the greater Hamilton area. She was also one of the co-owners of Bought It Local, an online maker market, which had a similar concept to Steeltown Sistas. Unfortunately, it had to close earlier this year because it became too difficult for Alexander and her partner to manage the business and full-time jobs.

“We decided to go out while we were on top, essentially. But it really sucked because we both love the business concept and we both definitely think it can work. But it does require a heck of a lot of time investment and that’s just something you really could not sustain as young working women. It just wasn’t really possible,” explained Alexander.

While Alexander has been involved with a number of businesses in the past, she typically worked more behind the scenes. With Steeltown Sistas she has taken a much more active role, curating and creating pieces. 

“This has been a really cool experience being on the side of the physical component of creating, rather than just creating digital content. That’s been like the coolest takeaway for me, how much I enjoyed the process,” explained Alexander.

“This has been a really cool experience being on the side of the physical component of creating, rather than just creating digital content. That’s been like the coolest takeaway for me, how much I enjoyed the process,” explained Alexander.

It is important to Alexander that individuals walk away from Steeltown with items that they will not only enjoy but find useful. Affordability and sustainability are also important concerns to her and she is conscious of the importance of these to students as well.

“I think as a student, it’s always great to be able to get a deal, period . . . I think [buying and selling your clothes] is a great thing to get into if you’re a student,” she said.

“I think as a student, it’s always great to be able to get a deal, period . . . I think [buying and selling your clothes] is a great thing to get into if you’re a student,” she said.

These are still the early days for Steeltown Sistas. Alexander said that they are hoping to branch out into upcycling clothes. They also hope to figure out a method for facilitating larger clothing swaps throughout the Steel City.

Image courtesy of C/O Nicole Alexander

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