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Bold, Black and beautiful: Houston-based social media influencers connect with big-brand retail, spark change

Nikki Gamble, Shay Sweeney, Brandy Gueary & Meghan Adams craft thoughtful content and seek out collaborations meant to make a difference for women who look like them

HOUSTON — Posh, positive and looks that are always on point. It's what you can expect from Influencing in Color. With its 88,000-plus followers, women of all colors are connecting with the shared Instagram account. It's fashion at its best, presented by women who could be easily mistaken for professional models, but they're actually moms, wives, working women and friends.

Nikki Gamble, Shay Sweeney, Brandy Gueary and Meghan Adams are the four ultra-stylish Houston girlfriends who make up the shared social media brand Influencing in Color. Together they craft thoughtful content and seek out collaborations meant to make a difference for women who look like them.

The concept of their shared account came together a few years ago after an eye-opening visit to New York City during Fashion Week. The ladies observed what they described as little diversity among the attendants at posh parties and gatherings.

"We didn't see anybody that looked like us," Gamble said. "We were wondering why we weren't invited to those events."

Gamble came up with Influencing in Color. She originally had the idea to use the handle for herself, but after their shared Fashion Week experience, she felt it was best for the four of them to move forward together. They were convinced it was a way to really make a statement.

"Diversity is everything in the space that we're in," Gueary said.

Influencing in Color has since challenged fashion retailers to bring more melanin to their digital marketing campaigns. They have been extremely successful and influential.

"We have sent our emails to brands to let them know if they want to move forward with a partnership, this is what we expect from your brand and your company," Sweeney said.

She often challenges different companies with, "What change is your brand making during this campaign for Black Lives Matter?"

Brands like J.Crew, Banana Republic and Loft have all been receptive. Influencing in Color has worked with them multiple times and says they see the effort these businesses are making to be more inclusive and diverse.

"We just continue working with them because we love the fact that they are actually using their foot, putting it forward and trying to be the change that we want to see," Adams said.

The ladies soon hope to expand with an Influencing in Color fashion line. They're taking their profits from their Instagram partnerships and reinvesting them back into their business. The ladies estimate their profits to be more than $200,000 a year combined.

Follow Influencing In Color here.