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Meet Whitney Shand of Experience NYRVANA in Fort Lauderdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Whitney Shand.

Whitney, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am the designer behind Whitney & Co and the owner of NYRVANA, also known as Experience NYRVANA. I was born on the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and raised predominantly in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I graduated from Florida International University with my Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and as planned, I started working in my field, but I always knew corporate life was not for me. 

My family and friends always called me a Carnival baby. I would travel near and far to attend the next Carnival and I loved to customized my costumes.

After Miami Carnival 2015, some friends presented me with the opportunity to design and market a section for Bahamas Carnival 2016. It was an offer I could not refuse, so I created NYRVANA and have been on the #RoadtoNYRVANA since.

It was during this design process I knew I wanted to create pieces for women that they would want to wear because the designs made them feel fearless and sexy. It was after that Carnival I knew I had to turn my passion into a business. Thus far, all the costumes/sections marketed by NYRVANA for the various Carnivals have also been created by my design firm, Whitney & Co.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As with everything in life and business, the road to success is paved with speed bumps. I have encountered obstacles with some of the typical and not-so-typical things every new businesswoman/entrepreneur faces in their first few years of getting their brand off the ground. I have faced challenges sourcing materials in a global supply chain (Caribbean, Americas, and China), ensuring quality control, and of course, having a contingency plan for the contingency plan. 😊

My ability to assess situations, identify options, and communicate effectively has helped me to face and overcome challenges. I think these are the key components in becoming a good leader and successful entrepreneur.

Experience NYRVANA – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Experience NYRVANA is a full-service Carnival business where I have been able to incorporate my passion for design, love of Carnival & travel, as well as my education and business acumen into building the brand. I have positioned NYRVANA as more of a lifestyle and experiential marketing company, driven by the passion for Caribbean & Carnival aesthetics. We participate in multiple Carnivals around the US & Caribbean each year.  As Miami is our home base, it is where we host our largest section on the Road as well as host various activities & events year-round.  For Miami Carnival we co-host our premier event ENTICE Miami, one of the hottest events during the week of Carnival.

NYRVANA is known for always bringing nonstop vibes. We have the sexiest costumes on the road, the hottest women, known affectionately as the Hot Gyal Crew, and our events are top-notch!

What sets the NYRVANA apart from others is that we provide a full experience. We are pushing the energy and ensuring that from start to finish, our revelers feel the vibes, happiness, a sense of community and family – reaching a state of immense joy, experiencing NYRVANA.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Miami Carnival 2017 to this day is one of my most fond memories, as I stepped out of the box from the bright vibrant colors and designed a gun metal and black costume. 

It was such a rewarding feeling seeing hundreds of women wearing my design with confidence, looking and feeling beautiful, strong, sexy, and fierce. Exactly how I envisioned it.

The continued support of these women year after year, in different Carnivals in various countries and cities across the world – that is what I appreciate the most.   Over the past year, due to Covid-19 Carnival, like many industries has been severely impacted – completely brought to a standstill.  Determined to move forward on my passions, I am now bringing the same creative flair that embodies my design aesthetic for carnival costumes into other areas of fashion – such as swimsuits and resort wear, integrating my culture with current fashion trends.  Be on the lookout for my first non-carnival collection, WETT by Whitney & Co.   

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@Dgaoimages on Instagram – purple costume
@sleekjamaica on IG gun metal costume with flag

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