Thursday, 3 July 2014

Nicky Heard

Last year I taught a  workshop on how to start up a creative business in London at The Decor Cafe in London. One of the participants was Nicky Heard. She came to the workshop because she had been to the island of Lombok and fallen in love with Ikat fabric. Nicky told us she had a lifelong passion for fabric, texture and colour and this shone through during the workshop as she talked about her business ideas with such energy and enthusiasm.

Nicky had done her research so thoroughly when she was in Indonesia and came back to England with bundles of this unique fabric. Ikat fabric is traditionally woven by men in the afternoons after they have finished working in the rice fields. The tradition continues today. When Nicky visited the weavers and saw the finished product, she fell in love with the beauty and high quality texture of the Ikat fabric. 

The first throw Nicky made from this fabric when she returned was a gift for a friends' birthday. That was the kick-start she needed to start up her business but she came along to our workshop to really put into action all her ideas and learn how to use social media, particularly, twitter to engage with customers. If you're on twitter you can follow Nicky at @nicky_heard.

Since she launched the business, Nicky has taken on a variety of commissions for interior designers looking for luxury cushions and throws, made from the highest quality fabric. Nicky's love of making things, and her passion for putting fresh and interesting colours together has helped her really stand out in what is usually a pretty crowded interiors market. She has also designed and made some more subtle pieces, such as these knitted cushions which I absolutely love. 

Products by Nicky Heard are now stocked on One The Square in Forest Row, East Sussex which is really exciting as they stock a really beautifully curated selection of ceramics, textiles and other homewares. 

I'm so thrilled to see Nicky getting on so well with her business and wish her every success for the future. I feel very privileged to have met Nicky at the start up workshop and then I was completely blown away by the testimonial she sent to us afterwards where she described the workshop as "a thorough, inspiring and professional workshop covering every aspect of setting up a creative business, a wealth of advice and tips including branding, marketing, online platforms, defining your market. It was exactly what I needed to move onto the next stage with". 

It's amazing to me to see how popular the start up workshops have been, and I feel really thrilled to have helped others find the confidence and motivation to start up for themselves. Because of a feature on Escape the City I did a few years ago, I often get emails from people who are stuck behind a desk doing a job they don't feel any passion or energy for. Although my old life working at a hedge fund seems a million miles away, I still remember that feeling. If you're reading this and you hate your job, get another one doing something you at least like. Life is too short. 

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