Skip to Footer

Class of 2020 alumna fashions new dream during pandemic

When life gets challenging, Courtney Zahara rolls up her sleeves.

The recent graduate of NC’s Event Management program didn’t let the global pandemic stop her from launching her career or even starting her own business. She tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit and launched Rare Collectives: a handmade swimwear and apparel business, which focuses on looking and feeling good – inside and out.

The early success of her start-up has already led Zahara back to NC to share words of wisdom with current students. On April 16, she was the featured guest of NC’s Ask and Alumni Anything series. Presented by Alumni Relations with support from the Student Administrative Council, the virtual series gives students an opportunity to pose questions to successful alumni via Instagram Live.

“My NC experience shaped who am I as an entrepreneur and business owner by helping me learn hands-on through my entire program,” said Zahara, prior to the event. “I look forward to sharing my story in hopes of helping our students through their own journey.”

Zahara spoke to students about how she switched gears from the industry she studied in and stitched together a brand new dream as an entrepreneur. After graduating in June 2020, she built a new business from scratch, by creating handmade clothing from her own home to sell, and founded Rare Collectives. But it’s about more than just dollars or fashion; Zahara’s business focuses on promoting self-love and self-motivation. She strives to help others feel confident.

The mission is personal for Zahara who, like many women, has struggled with body image and confidence. After completing her postsecondary studies, she wove self-love into her life and decided to launch a business to help others feel the same way.

“Courtney is the quintessential example of a Niagara College graduate who had to pivot upon graduating,” said alumni engagement officer Jana Boniferro. “She had an incredible story of learning to sew and starting her business to help women struggling with body image issues which was inspirational to our students.”

View virtual session

Watch the April 16 Ask an Alumni session featuring Zahara here.

Ask an Alumni

NC’s Ask an Alumni Anything series was launched during the Fall 2020 term to help connect current students with successful graduates.

Since the series was launched in November 2020, members of NC’s alumni community who have been featured include Jeff Blay, creative director, Enterprise Canada (Journalism 2011, and Public Relations 2015); Kevin Rempel, multi-award-winning retired world-class sledge hockey Paralympian and founder and CEO of The Sledge Hockey Experience (Event Management, 2009, and Business Administration – Marketing, 2005); Shannon Burns, CHUM 104.5 iHeartRadio Nights host (Broadcasting: Radio, Television and Film, 2013); and Émilie Steckenborn, host of Bottled in China (Wine Business Management, 2011).