Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Angéliqua McNair is a millennial Girl Boss influencer, CEO of Fancy Spatacular Luxury Kids Spa, Founder of Melanin on Wall Street, an organization dedicated to women who are changing the face of business and Senior Paralegal in Corporate America.
The best way to find your path is to get lost in your present one. No one is a better example of that than Angéliqua. The former Fashion Marketing Manager & Style Public Figure created a name for herself in the fashion industry then transitioned into becoming a Senior Litigation Paralegal at one of the top law firms on Wall Street. She now sits in the driver's seat of her burgeoning empire, which includes the Melanin On Wall Street Sisterhood platform, and her luxury kids spa Fancy Spatacular.
Angéliqua has been featured in Essence Magazine, Fashion Bomb Daily, NY Post, Swagger NYC, PYNK Magazine, SwagHer Magazine, Sheen Magazine, various podcasts, and publications.
Who is Angéliqua McNair, and what was your motivation for starting your brand?
As a young girl, I always knew the kind of woman that I wanted to be but didn't know what I wanted to do. My paternal grandmother designed and made hats, and my maternal grandmother was always "fly." I used to invade my grandmother's closet for jewelry, sweaters, and purses. Some pieces in the fashion blogs were pieces my grandmother once wore. I prided myself on being my grandmother's mini-me.
I had a love for arts and fashion, so, in middle school, I went to the Ronald Edmonds Learning Center and majored in Fine Arts & Design. Attending the Ronald Edmonds Learning Center is what helped me figure out the lane I wanted to go in. They taught us to be young professionals. I shared my goals with my art teacher Ms. Jonna Padilla, and she pushed me to start building my fashion portfolio, so I did. I even stayed after school late.
In high school, I attended one of the top high schools for creatives, The High School of Art & Design in New York City. I majored in fashion illustration and advertisement and started interning for fashion magazines and fashion brands. Being a girl boss was always in my blood. Although I was a cheerleader from elementary to high school, I still interned and had my work featured in art shows and galleries.
I went straight to college after high school and received a Bachelors's degree in Fashion Marketing Management from The Art Institute of Atlanta. While going to class and doing bottle service at a nightclub, I started "The Fashionpreneur," a business offering brand management for my college peers. I started that business to share my New York flavor with my Atlanta peers. The Fashionprenur began getting popular and I started working with brands such as BEBE, BCBG, and Gregories Luxury Consignment. While working in operations and marketing with some of the fashion companies, I fell in love with law. I thought to myself, is there such a thing as "fashion law"? I reached out to my Dean, who advised me that I could pursue it as a career. I would later explore that interest.
I then went back to NYC and started working as a Marketing Manager, overseeing operations for a ready to wear brand. I was 23 years old, getting paid $45,000 a year. Although I learned a lot, I felt like it wasn't enough, and I wasn't valued. I decided to speak to a friend and start to explore my interest in law. My friend Trisha worked for a real estate property management firm and told me about an opportunity at her firm in their legal department. I didn't have the experience, but I felt it was worth a try. This was the start of my legal career. I negotiated my salary even without having experience and I fell in love with what I was doing. I was so eager to learn. I was coding for condominiums and co-ops in NYC, preparing deed transfers, transferring stock, and running credit checks. I was in heaven. I learned as much I could so I could move to the top. I started applying to real estate law firms with high salaries.
Eventually, I landed an opportunity on Wall Street. I was the only woman of color running the real estate closing legal department. This experience birthed Melanin on Wall Street. My motivation behind starting Melanin on Wall Street was to help women of color get access to high positions in Corporate America. I wanted to help connect women of color to similar opportunities and give them a chance to sit at the table with me to let them know it is possible. As I advanced in the legal world, I decided to go to Law School and become an attorney. I learned that it's okay to be a multifaceted woman. By the age of 28, I was making over $75,000 annually. I saved the majority of my salary and decided to launch another business, Fancy Spatacular.
I started Fancy Spatacular because it has always been a passion of mine to teach little girls how to be fancy little ladies, just like my big sisters taught me. At Fancy Spatacular, even the kids who usually scream at the sight of soap can enjoy getting pampered. The friendly staff welcomes all children between the ages of 3 and 15, so they can see for themselves how much pleasure one can derive from getting their nails done or receiving professional facial treatment. This kids' spa offers regular services such as manicure, pedicure, face scrubs, masks, and facials, as well as fancy spa packages which are best enjoyed with a friend or parent. Party packages are available, so busy parents need not worry about organizing a birthday surprise for their little ones. Learning about hygiene has never been so exciting!
What are some of the main challenges you faced with growing your brand?
One of the main challenges with growing Melanin on Wall Street was ensuring I hired the right team, a team that is just as passionate as I am about the brand. Finding a reliable crew is hard. I ran Melanin on Wall Street with and without a team, and we are still growing strong. Another challenge was the conflict with a former boss when he found out about my organization. I ended up leaving and continuing to build my brand.
I endured challenges with the Fancy Spatacular securing a commercial space. Being young and African American most likely contributed to that, but I didn't give up. It seemed as if I was jumping through hoops. I had to show bank statements as proof of income, get a cosigner, and pay almost 1-year rent upfront even though it was only a pop-up location. I ended up fronting about $12,000 in cash.
Another challenge was juggling everything. I was working full time, running my business, speaking engagements, and hosting my own events. It started taking a toll on me. I realized I could not do it all without a team and support.
What is some advice that you would have for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Chase your dreams and go for it no matter what. If you have a vision, write it down, manifest it, research it, study it, and breathe it. Start! Don't worry about the income, and the how, just start. Everything else will come together. It's okay to have a 9-5 and start a business, and it's okay to wear many hats. Be YOU and conquer.
What's next for you?
Fancy Spatacular is expanding to a bigger location and transitioning to a mommy & me salon. It is going to be posher than the pop-up location—lots of florals, gold, and tons of fancy dazzleness. We're also launching our first product, The Spatacular Pamper Box so that our princesses can have a luxury themed spa day at home. We have a mermaid theme, unicorn, LOL Doll, princess theme, and more. I can't wait! I'm also going to finish my journey of obtaining my Juris Doctorate, so I can be an attorney and start a family.
To find out more about Angéliqua, follow her on IG at @officallyangeliqua @fancyspatacular & @melaninonwallstreet