WHAT DO YOU DO?
Through graphic design and social media management I’ve been able to support the work of some amazing women of color. I’m passionate about empowering young people so I’ve written, designed, and facilitated really dope workshops and experiences for them around college access, history, culture, and future planning. I create. I educate. I be thinking. I brunch. I bake. I do my own acrylic nails. And somewhere in all that, I find the time to take care of my toddler and work a full-time job as a grants assistant at a local university.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I’ve been writing and creating for most of my life. I’ve always been interested in how everything works and I draw inspiration from all the things I see and experience. In third grade, I was inspired to draw my own floor plans by apartment complex brochures. I ended up putting them all together to create a paper city of all my designs. I started a quest to find information about the people behind the street names and statues in my city that blossomed into a black history workshop for high school students. I’ve also worked several mundane jobs that gave me a little insight in to a lot of different industries.
HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN YOUR FIELD?
I take real pleasure in delighting my clients. Beyond wanting them to be happy with my work, I absolutely love seeing their faces when they see their ideas come to life. I love watching ideas click in my workshops. I think that love and care shines through. I’ve learned that people are attracted to authenticity so my best work is work I genuinely love.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I co-founded Women of Color Collaborative, an intentional safe space, professional incubator, and community for women of color. I’m working on designing materials for our workshops and events.
Through the first nonprofit I founded I was able to do a few really cool projects with young people. One of them is a college simulation activity that I’m turning into a board game. Another is a black history workshop that I’m turning into a series of workbooks.
I’m relaunching my design and branding business, Nicole Created, and opening myself up to new clients.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I’m still working on defining my design style and perspective. For the most part, my work is bright and balanced and includes people of color as much as possible.
WE ALL HAVE MULTIPLE SKILLS OR WORK IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FOCUS ON MORE?
I want to work more on my creative projects in general. I’m taking on more freelance and contract work to help me transition away from my full-time job.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Working a desk job is the worst! I can’t see outside unless I leave the building. Excel is basically my “work husband.” I do have access to a computer all day, which means I can work on some creative work done, but I have to be mindful of what’s visible on my screen. This double life is absolutely a detriment to my productivity.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
I would hire a maid. Or a personal chef. It would be nice to have someone else handle some of the work at home so I could focus on funner endeavors.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I would definitely have to resist the urge to go back and spoil the end of Game of Thrones for myself… I’d go back to elementary school and tell myself that it’s ok to be “goofy” because that sense of humor and out-of-the-box thinking will fuel my creativity. Then I’d take a ride to 2004 and tell myself not to upgrade my dorm to a suite. (“You do not need three roommates, girl!”) Lastly, I’d visit myself some time in my 20's and tell myself to stop procrastinating.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Freelance finances scare me. Part of why I’ve maintained a full-time job is because of the financial security. I know where my money is, where it’s coming from and when. I know my taxes are being paid. Outside of that structure, I’m kind of terrified.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I’m interested in doing freelance, contract, or part-time graphic design or writing for just about any kind of company. I’m also looking to take on more design and branding clients for Nicole Created.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
Ideal collaboration would be to work with someone who is excellent I like projects that are collaborative. It’s nice to have creative autonomy, but it’s difficult when the client doesn’t have any ideas or comes to the table with “do whatever you want.” The best situation is when everyone has a stake in the work. I think the finished product is better because of it.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
My hourly rate is $45 and I offer a variety of packages with different rates. I’m also willing to negotiate a rate that works for contract and part-time projects.
WHO IS A CREATIVE THAT HAS HELPED YOU ELEVATE YOUR WORK?
Erika Burnett is my business partner in Women of Color Collaborative. She is super sharp and communicates everything so well. She has all the words whenever I’m at a loss. She currently runs her own consulting agency, The Burnett Group.
Michelle Wilkerson is a perfectionist in the best way. She always wants what’s best for the team and she’s a master at managing all the moving pieces. Best of all, she almost always comes in under budget. She’s not doing anymore freelance work on her own, but she definitely gives her insight from time to time.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Just get at me! Email is always good and of course there’s a contact form on my website.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Cakes, lettering, nails...
Try it IRL if I
like it on IG.
This member profile was originally published in June 2019.