Today is the first of many features of the amazing and talented women that are a part of my Handmade for the Holidays Gift Guide.  I thought it might be fun to get to know the faces behind the work and these ladies were super nice to want to hang out on my blog for a little Q&A.

[I was originally scheduling Nicole’s feature to kick-off on November 1st but I knew that I’d be wanting to share our Halloween costumes/shenanigans tomorrow, so you’re getting her today.  What do you know?  I jumped the gun again!  As if you’re surprised by this…]

meet nicoleK: Where did you come up with the name of your business?
N: My nickname since I was born has been Nicolina, it means little-Nicole in Italian. I have always been making and selling things while running my own business since Elementary school and my business name has always been Designs by Nicolina. So when I had this idea, I knew this is what I wanted to name our business

K: Which items do you enjoy making the most?
N: I enjoy designing the art prints more than anything, or just making custom party packages that people get so happy about. I also really love when husbands order special stuff for their wives and they write little notes in the ‘notes to seller’ about how much their wife it going to love it.

meet nicole2

K: What are your greatest struggles with owning your own business?
N: Time management is the hardest for me. Because this is our full time job, it is hard for me to turn it off. I wish I could respond to everyone’s comments and concerns at all hours but to keep my sanity at some point I just have to stop responding to questions and filling orders.

K: What are your greatest achievements so far?
N: One of my sets of thank you notes was featured on, so that was pretty cool. But I think the best thing was reaching 5,000 sales. I remember being so excited when we reached 100 sales, and having my goal be 1 sale per day, and when we reached 5,000 it just blew my mind.

K: How/where did you learn how to sew/craft/create/design?
N: I got Barbie Print N Play when I was 7 and I instantly fell in love. I created invites for anything and everything. I even  created invites and planned a 15th anniversary party for my parents that year. Their invites had Barbie and Ken on the front, and everyone loved them. But then when I graduated HS I decided traditional college wasn’t for me. So I completed an online graphic design certification program with a focus in marketing and branding, then I created the business I have now!

meet nicole3

K: What inspires your designs?
N: I love mixing modern, preppy with classic vintage and retro styles. I am kind of a mixed bag of crazy haha

K: What is your favorite part about selling/making handmade items?
N: The customer reaction, for sure. I love getting repeat customers. My very first full wedding invitation order turned into a wedding program and signage order, to her baby shower thank you notes, and then baby announcements. I love being apart of peoples special moments.

K: Name one thing in your craft room you couldn’t live without.
N: As an Etsy seller, my Dymo Label Printer 100% saves so much time and money. As a graphic designer I love my trackpad mouse.

meet nicole4

And just for fun: THIS or THAT.

  • COFFEE / TEA: Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon
  • GOLD / SILVER: BOTH I love mixing metals, it really depends on the mood that I am in
  • BIG CITY / SMALL TOWN: If I had it my way I would split my time 50/50. I am a city girl at heart, I love the idea of walking everywhere and living in a brownstone in Brooklyn like in You’ve  Got Mail. But I also love the small town feel of where we live now.
  • BOOK / MOVIE: The book is always better, but I am a movie junky
  • DVD / BIG SCREEN: DVD, I prefer to watch movies in my PJs cuddled on the couch eating popcorn and m&ms
  • JEWELRY / GADGETS: Jewelry, I am an accessory addict
  • FLATS / HEELS: Flats for life. I used to pretend I liked to wear heels, but I have recently embraces that I love flats way more, and decided to make them my thing.
  • VINTAGE / NEW: Can I say new that looks vintage? I love vintage style but most of the vintage clothing is too small.

You can find Nicole at any of these links: SHOP | FACEBOOK | BLOG
And you should.  Because she’s awesome and adorable and her pieces of work are so unique and fun!

While you’re at it, be sure to visit the HANDMADE FOR THE HOLIDAYS gift guide and check out all of the other featured vendors this holidays season.  Support handmade, indie businesses this year!