Meet the Maker: An Interview with Nikki&Nancy

I have the pleasure this month of welcoming the absolute epitome of 'girl boss' status

to my blog. This month we are meeting the Queen that is Nikki! I cannot tell you how much respect I have for this woman and she is a total 'business woman' inspiration. She manages to juggle a part time job, full time mum and maker all in one! She is inundated with orders daily and always manages to smash out a huge amount of orders each day, all while caring for her daughter and juggling a career. She truly has created an empire and is certainly in high demand. Naturally I was keen to sit down and learn more about this incredible woman...

1. Tell us a little about you and your business.

Nikki&Nancy is a handmade, small business run single handily by myself Nikki. I make a range of home decor products including dream catchers, weaves, bunting, garlands, decorative letters and pennant flags. I am based Liverpool, England and use my spare box room as my workshop. My items are all made to order around my daughter’s naps and bed times which can sometimes be challenging but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I try and keep my business quite personal by using my Instagram account– I love sharing the daily activities that go on behind Nikki&Nancy in the hope that people get a sense of the love and hard work that goes into every item. I also hope to inspire other mums out there.

2. What inspired your business name?

My 18 month old daughter Nancy is the inspiration behind not just my name but the whole business! She is the reason I started Nikki&Nancy – I hated the thought of missing out on so much of her childhood, but I also knew I couldn’t afford to quit my job! Running my business allows me to be flexible with the hours I work whilst also spending time with her. Although all the leg work is done by myself, Nancy actually has the say in when things get done! If she decides she doesn’t want to take an afternoon nap, then I find myself working till 11pm that evening catching up on orders. If she wakes up at 5am then it’s an early head start on that day’s orders – most mornings I work from the couch while watching Nancy dance around to Baby Shark or watch Peppa Pig!

3. How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

When I moved out! I’ve always been a creative person but once I moved into my own home I would take on random DIY projects around the house. For example; I found a set of step ladders in a skip, sanded them down, painted them and turned them into a shelving unit. I also used pallets to make a coffee table for the living room (well I came up with the idea - I made my partner make that one)! Then one evening, I remember lying in bed with Tom and telling him I was going to make a dream catcher. He looked at me like I was a freak and told me to go asleep. The next morning I took a trip to Hobbycraft, bought some supplies and made my first dream catcher. I shared a photograph on social media and the rest is kinda history.

4. How long has your business been running?

My business started off more as a hobby to begin with, but when I realised how popular my items were becoming I really decided to go for it. It was around this time last year I launched my best seller – The Unicorn Dream Catcher, which really put my business on the map. Sales went crazy! My product was getting regular shares from huge Facebook accounts which lead to hundreds of Etsy Sales.

5. What inspires your creations?

A lot of my products are for babies/children, so I always try and think from a parent’s point of view. What would look pretty in a little one’s bedroom? What’s currently on trend? Unicorns have taken over the world this past 12 months and I remember sitting feeding Nancy one morning thinking about how I could incorporate a unicorn into a dream catcher. I drew up an idea, and instantly wanted to create it.

Also, a lot of my makes are inspired by the materials – I love going to my local fabric/craft shop and just scouting around for cheap / pretty things. Once I gather some new bits and bobs, ideas just seem to pop into my head on ways to use them.

6. What is your proudest achievement to date?

I think overall I’m just proud of myself in general. Being a first-time mum while running a successful growing business. When I opened my Etsy store, I never thought 10 people would buy something I had made, never mind over 1000! Some days I’m so over worked and tired but knowing how far I’ve come from the first dream catcher I ever made really gives me the motivation to carry on. So I guess I’m also proud of not giving up too!

7. What is the biggest lesson you have learned?

Imitation is a form of flattery! That’s what I have learned to tell myself when I see rip offs of my items. I honestly have no problem in people taking inspiration from my work but copying really annoys me. So yeah, probably to just to take imitation as a compliment rather than a negative thing – although I do let it get to me, it’s hard not to when you work so hard.

8. What is your favourite make?

Without a doubt, my Unicorn Dream Catcher. It’s sparkly, personalised and definitely my best seller!

9. What is the best feedback you have received?

I’m so thankful to have 165 five star reviews on my Etsy store – this makes it hard to pick one in particular. However I often receive Instagram messages off other makers/ mummy’s telling me how proud I should be of myself for juggling a business with a day job and raising Nancy. That’s hands down the best kind of feedback, it picks me up on the days when I’ve had next to no sleep and wonder why I’m bothering. It’s so nice that people take time out of their day to just put a smile on my face.

10. Is there anything you regret?

Probably my biggest regret is opening my own website, as crazy as that sounds. The reason for this is the amount of work and money that went into building it, yet 99% of my sales are processed through Etsy. The internet is such a big world and without spending hundreds of pounds on marketing it’s really hard to get seen whereas, Etsy is a great platform for exposure which leads to more sales.

11. What are your goals for the future?

Short term- I’d love to expand my range from home decor to wedding and party decor. I’d also love to take part in a range of craft stalls and markets for the run up to Christmas -I just need to figure out how to get time to make stock while keeping on top of my orders.

Long term- Currently I still work 3 days a week at my day job for Everton Football Club. I’d love to be in the position to work full time for myself and possibly have a pop-up stall full of my products.

12. What is the best part of being a maker?

I love the thought of my creations being part of people’s homes all around the world. It makes me feel very proud of what I’ve built up from basically nothing. Also, I love taking a step back after finishing and item and thinking ‘YEAH I MADE THAT WITH MY OWN HANDS’! I still find it hard to believe that people pay money for my work!

13. What is your least favourite job to do?

Without a doubt, packaging and posting! It’s one of those jobs that is just so time consuming and fiddly. Plus Nancy always wants to ‘help’ which means Sellotape being stuck to random things around the house.

14. What advice would you give your old self?

Stop getting so stressed out and take time for yourself. I find it really hard juggling everything between designing new products, material shopping, making items, advertising, packaging, posting and my accounts/tax. I need to remember 99% of people who shop with small businesses understand that they aren’t going to receive their item over night. It’s OK to have a day off, no one will judge you for it.

15. What advice would you give other makers?

Support other small businesses along the way! I’ve met some wonderful people through Instagram and without the help of these people my products wouldn’t get the exposure they do. I’m part of a couple of Instagram networking groups which basically involve liking, commenting and sharing one another’s posts to help with interaction/sales. The more we support each other the more our businesses will grow, you will never succeed by trying to knock someone else down.

To find out more about Nikki and to see more of her stunning work, follow her here:

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