Women with Purpose | Interview with Nicole Andreini

I am so excited to continue with the new blog series for the Rachel Allene blog! This past year, I have learned so much about growing a business, building a brand, increasing online sales, growing a mailing list, etc. through the influence and expertise of other highly creative and talented women. They have encouraged me, inspired me, and taught me to be fearless in my pursuits. They run their businesses with intention, purpose, and with a heart to give back. I am excited to start sharing some interviews with these women. They will offer insight, real talk, and actionable steps for growing a successful and profitable business (while making a difference!)

Today's interview is with one of my real life friends. Our paths happened to cross right when I was thinking about starting my business and it was a complete God moment. He knew I needed her in my life. What started as a business trade turned into a rich, sweet, and safe friendship. She is the person I lean on for business advice and support and she is also responsible for all this incredible website and my new shop! She has worked with me with ultra patience as my brand has changed A LOT since I first started. We have collaborated and we have cried together. We have laughed together and made mistakes together. She is one to follow and know, friends. She's fierce and honest and lovely and kind. 

I hope you enjoy my interview with Nicole Andreini, the creative force behind Nicole & Co.--a lifestyle brand dedicated to the light-hearted, ambitious, top-knot, coffee drinking creative Momma who needs a place to vent, connect and be real. She also owns Neon Headquarters and Studio 22. 

1. How long have you been in business?

Almost 6 years!

2. Describe your business and brand

I am a graphic designer by trade but a wordsmith by association. I work with amazing businesses to form ideas and turn them into kick-ass brands. Studio 22 envisions, establishes and executes ideas.

3. What is the biggest struggle you face with your business?

Time. Running a business, or multiple businesses, is a full time job, nevermind actually doing the work itself. I find myself spending more time in the administrative side of my business than the design and creative side, which not only makes me sad, but at a loss for time.

4. How do you overcome these struggles?

My tribe's support. As well as constantly re-evaluating my business strategy, service offerings and time management skills. I also recently enacted the art of saying "No" and this has had amazing results in the struggle of time. I'm actually beginning to spend more time on the work I want to create, and less time on the admin side. Win-win! I recently wrote the first installment of "How Saying No Saved My Life" over on my blog if you'd like to read more!

5. What is a big dream you have for your business?

I hope to one day be an influencer - style, messaging, lifestyle, etc. I want to be able to use my platform to share experiences and help others succeed.

6. What is your best advice for brand new business owners?

Go for it. It's totally worth it, and it will be the hardest thing you ever do. It's the Darwin-ism of entrepreneurship only the toughest will survive. But you are that tough! Go for it. Do whatever you have to do to talk yourself into it. The brain tells the body what to do, but the heart tells the soul how to survive. And you will survive, and you will thrive, and it will all be worth it very, very soon. Recently someone I love related the art of beginning a business to a puzzle – you can see the whole thing as it would be put together on the box, but you still have to put it together, one piece at a time, in order to actually build it.  

7. How do you recharge? What do you love doing outside of work?

Family. I want to spend all my time with them. And the outdoors. There is nothing more rewarding, relaxing and recharging than a day on the river with my boys.

8. How do you ditch the hustle and embrace grace?

I have to remind myself every day not to compare my chapter one with another's chapter ten. And I pray. Sometimes more than I speak. Prayer and utter salvation, that I cannot in fact do it all, is my saving grace.

9. What's your best productivity tip?

What's productivity? Ha... My biggest tip is to not put more on your To Do list than you can actually accomplish. You will end up doing more than what's on your list, but feel much more accomplished when you're actually able to cross them all off.

10. To you, what does it mean to run a heartfelt business?

Be honest about imperfections, mistakes and successes. To hide behind a cloak of "fake it till you make it" only discourages others and makes you everything but authentic. Be you, be honest, and be proud of those things.

11. What's your biggest pet peeve?

Mediocrity. Don't be ordinary. We were put on this earth to do extraordinary things. Don't settle for anything but your best work, others' best work, and His best work.

12. What's your go-to celebration when something big happens with your business?

Red wine and a kiss from my husband. I also feel it's important to note that this is also my go-to when something not-so-great happens. Ha! 

More about Nicole:
"I've always been the most outspoken girl in the room, and that's ok – someone once told me that it's called Swag, and since then, I've been more confident about my confidence.

Though I grew up in a world far away from design, I was knee deep in a family full of authentic and candid conversation. I always knew that I had something more to say, and was born to create. Studio 22, Neon Headquarters and Nicole & Co. are all businesses curated in an effort to speak truth, whether it be through graphic design, the smithing of words or the art of pure conversation.

At heart, I am a stylist, designer, an idea developer. I believe in finding and pursuing inspiration and turning it into something never seen or heard before. I'm a lighthearted Type A with an addiction to words, lattes and delightful design. Believing in strategic collaboration, strong language and bold design, my ultimate goal is to work with others to bring lightheartedness and ambition to the surface."

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