On Thursday night I had the opportunity to attend the VIP Opening Night Reception for this year’s tenth annual Design on a Dime – New York City’s most stylish and iconic shopping event, benefitting Housing Works. At this event, thanks to Valspar, I was able to actually do my first in-person Sparkle Session. I interviewed Nicole Gibbons, interior designer, blogger, and design expert. She has been featured on HGTV, TLC, InStyle, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Real Simple, Better Homes andGardens, Apartment Therapy, Lonny, The Nest, Elle Decor, and more so I was honored when she agreed to be featured on Sparkles and Shoes. I did not ask as many questions as I usually do, as her time was at a premium, especially at this event, but we were able to speak for five minutes:
If you you were to give a 30-second elevator pitch what would you say?
Oh jeez, Nicole Gibbons. Interior designer. Lifestyle personality. New York City.
You work between New York and Los Angeles, where do you spend more time?
New York. I spend 75% of my time here and I go to L.A. once every six weeks for a week and then, on occasion, there’s projects that keep me there for an extended period of time. I was there for two-months this past summer filming for Home Made Simple for OWN.
|The Living Room of Nicole’s Harlem Apartment
How did you decide to move from fashion to home decor?
Well I knew going into to fashion that it was not something I wanted to do forever. I was 21, coming out of college, and I did not feel like I needed to figure out my whole life right after graduation so I just wanted to do something fun. I had done some P.R. internships and liked it well enough and thought it would be a great starting point. I wanted to live the Sex and the City life and it was all fun but, you know, a few years into I really started immersing myself into the design community.
I started my blog, my mom is a decorator so I grew up around the business, and I realized I was really passionate about design and so it was kind of a slow process. I did not know right away what aspect of design I wanted to try and pursue and as soon as I figured it out I started working towards it. I took some classes and started taking on clients and doing the whole side hustle thing while I had the day job. It was really just to get my feet wet and to see if I like and it and enjoyed it, and I did. From there I wanted to try and build a brand and beyond just a design firm and being an interior designer, I had a desire to do television and create products and now I am working on all of that.
|Not Your Daughters Jeans (NYDJ) Office Makeover|
What is the most glamorous aspect of your work?
You know? It is so funny, maybe shopping but it is really not that glamourous. You should have seen me last night setting up for this on my hands and knees taping down the carpet and picking up lint – that was not glamorous. It is all smoke and mirrors at the end of the day, like any job – it is a job. Of course their are fun parts like doing events and television but even that, you are on set 12 hours a day so there is always the other side to everything that appears glamorous.
^^ This was definitely the most honest answer I have received so far in my Sparkle Session interviews – I really appreciate Nicole’s candor and this answer made me respect and admire her even more!
|Nicole in her Ethan Allen decorated booth painted with Valspar’s Sweety Pie pink at the 10th Annual Design on a Dime Event|
You write a blog as well, So Haute, do you read any other blogs?
Yes I read a ton of blogs. I love Sketch 42 – my friend Nicole, she is an artist and she writes this blog that shows a really cool, edgy point of view on art and design. I love her blog. There is a lot of sort of bigger websites that I am not sure if you would call them blogs but I love Domain and Refinery and I read a ton of food blogs. I like this girl Fruitcake she writes about desserts and little fun food recipes. I read Cozy Kitchen, what else? When you put me on the spot it is hard – I read a ton of blogs. Oh, Chriselle Lim’s blog, The Chriselle Factor – she is in one of my favorites, I love her sense of style.
|Nicole’s Blog So Haute Style|
There are trends that are really big right now, especially in the Pinterest world – accent walls and bar carts how do you feel about those?
I actually do not love the idea of an accent wall – I feel like if you are going to do color just commit to color and paint the whole room. And bar carts? I love them. I think they are awesome, especially in small spaces. They are portable and you do not have to worry about building a bigger piece of furniture – you can cart it from room to room and they are great for entertaining. You can style them a million different ways – I love bar carts.
|Two bar carts Nicole designed – one in her Harlem living room and one a room she decorated|
Finally, do you have any advice for other young, female entrepreneurs?
Stick it out. Being an entrepreneur is difficult. Be patient because not everything you want is going to come right away. Really pay attention to how you market yourself and how you position yourself, utilize social media to promote your brand, and stick it out and be patient. A lot of people give up when things they do not pan out they way they want them to and not quickly enough so they will move on to something else. There is a saying that is something like staying steady in the race to get to the finish line.
|With Nicole after our interview!|
There were so many more questions I wanted to ask Nicole but I wanted to be conscientious of her valuable time, especially during the VIP hour where people milled around the sixty plus booths to speak with the designers before the shopping frenzy ensued. I will do another post about the actual event next week but for now, thank you Nicole for allowing me to interview you and hopefully one day I can hire you to decorate my house! Oh, It is funny Nicole mentioned social media, you can find her at almost a dozen different places on the net: