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Meet Nicole Escalante of Nikki E. Designs in Fort Lauderdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Escalante.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always been a creative and hands-on type of person. I was always obsessed with anything I could create with my own hands and imagination – building legos, painting, and I even started drawing at about two years old.

The first piece of jewelry I remember I made myself – I was probably around 10 – was a friendship bracelet. I was obsessed! I was always big into jewelry – it was my way of expression via fashion – since I have always been more of a tee & jeans type of girl.

When I went off to school to get my degree in Architecture – it really opened up my mind creatively. I started doing a lot of research into jewelry making & design – especially the different types of materials. I have always had very sensitive skin and could not wear fake gold or silver because I would get rashes and it would make my skin turn green. That’s when I really started to learn why some of the jewelry I was buying that was not 100% fine jewelry was causing all my issues. This was around the time Etsy kicked off so I was finding different jewelry making supplies there to create something of my own and also testing out different materials. A few of my friends started asking me to make them some pieces and that sparked the idea to start a shop on Etsy and it just grew from there.

Has it been a smooth road?
HA! Definitely not. When I first started I had zero business plan and really didn’t take my business too seriously since I was a full-time student. About three years ago, I had a serious conversation with myself because at that point in my life I was working full time, going to grad school full time and I had really put my jewelry business on the back burner. I’ve never been one to do anything halfway so I truly asked myself either I close the shop or I’m really going to get my s*** together and turn this into something amazing. So, I decided I was going to go for it. That’s when I did a whole revamp – I redesigned my logo and shop name, looking at hosting websites, photographers to take better pictures, working on my social media, etc.

The other big struggle for me was learning everything that went into having your own online business – people can’t physically touch or try on your jewelry and how big of a role social media would play. To portray my brand in a way people would understand just through pictures and descriptions – it was really hard to find my voice and not compare myself to other brands. Also, the balancing act when you’re a one-woman show – designer, shipper, accountant, content creator, photographer, etc.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I created Nikki E. Designs to make beautiful quality jewelry more attainable to women and to educate them on what great quality means. I want to make every woman that wears my jewelry know that each one of our pieces is made locally, consciously, with quality in mind, and that it gave back to their community.

I’m proud of creating an amazing community of women through my brand and I want to encourage women out there to do the same – when we support and encourage each other we all succeed. When I started my business I wanted to find a way to give back so that’s always been a part of my business and I’ve worked with some local organizations that are doing amazing things.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have started with a business plan or at least a list of my goals. I think since when I started I saw it more of a hobby than a business – when I did switch my mindset and revamped my store it made it a lot more difficult. Besides that I wouldn’t change a thing – even though I had no plan, I started and at the end of the day I believe that’s the most important thing.

Pricing:

  • All our jewels are under $60

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Nicole Gonzalez

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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