Okay, first of all: I AM SO EXCITED.
Being a contributor for EHD is literally a scenario from my wildest dreams. Except in my wildest dreams I'm also riding on a flying chair in a silk robe with my pet pink dragons lazily drifting behind me, singing me a lullaby while I drink ginger ale and eat butter and jam sandwiches.
But I digress.
Maybe I should have introduced myself before inviting you into my flying chair fantasy. I'll back up.
I'm Nicole. I'm an interior designer and stylist, a musician, a low-key Instagram addict and a reformed workaholic.
I got a degree in architecture (but I liked colors and patterns more than most of my fellow architecture students), and then I worked in high end interiors for a while at Hacin + Associates before taking a big career detour into the world of startups, entrepreneurship and urban innovation (more on all of that in my resume).
I want to tell you my entire life story in detail and tell you every single thing about why your blog has mattered so much in my life and cry it out and hopefully all of this happens over cocktails at some point...but for now, I know you're busy, so I'm going to focus on sharing some content ideas real quick so you know how serious I am. Because I'm very serious. I love EHD and everything you stand for, and I want to be a part of your team as you continue to grow and evolve. Helping you grow by contributing super great design and lifestyle content is literally the best thing that could ever happen to me ever. Ever.
I'm getting chatty, and I have to save something for when we have cocktails...so on to the content pitches!!
I can write and produce super fun and valuable content for you and your audience in these key areas:
- Interior design for small urban spaces and for tight budgets.
- Entrepreneurship: designing a business that supports your life, and designing a space that supports your business.
- Mental health and self-development techniques (with a strong feminist flavor).
- How fashion and personal style can support your lifestyle, goals and brand.
Writing Theme #1:
Interior design for small urban spaces and for tight budgets.
I've spent a lot of time reading comments on the blog, and there is very clear feedback that people miss young-Emily-making-it-work-on-a-budget.
I'm a huge fan of EHD's new more aspirational direction, and you are at a point in your life and career where you can focus on making those big renovations, those investment pieces, the major overhauls and appliance partnerships, etc. That's great! You should keep doing that, and then I can fill in with a whole bunch of new content about living small and living on a budget.
My husband and I live in a one-room 600 SF loft with no closets. NOT EVEN ONE CLOSET. We designed and installed all of our storage ourselves, reusing shelves that were given away from an office, mixing thrift furniture with low-cost pieces from Target, IKEA, CB2, West Elm, etc., and adding a healthy amount of DIY panache. We loving living small, and are very cost-conscious in our spending, and I would love to share our tips.
Here are some blog post ideas for this focus area. CHECK EM OUT. (Hehe. Get it? That's an Emily pun!!?!? GET IT!??! EM??!?! GET IT!?!") (Sidenote to self: Maybe go slow on the puns and don't yell GET IT?!?! at the people you're hoping will hire you as a contributor. Yeah. Whoops.)
- BLOG POST IDEA - Creating Multiple Spaces in a One-Room Apartment: Our space is a flowery, love-filled ode to the power of geometry in small spaces. Need a bedroom area? BAM CANOPY BED. Instant square to sleep in. Need to define the living room? KABLAMMO RUGS. Rugs are always your friend. Successful one-room spaces are all about strategically defining different living areas while keeping the colors, textures and vibe cohesive. I like doing that. I want to write about it. LET'S WRITE ABOUT IT!!
- BLOG POST IDEA - Why Small Spaces Love Big Furniture: I have a lot of pet peeves. One is when people walk too slow on city sidewalks. Or when people who say "no offense" and then proceed to brutally offend you. Or when people post those Instagram posts that are parts of a larger image...like now my feed is just full of squares with weird meaningless shapes in them and I have to read the same caption over and over again and I don't want to like any of these posts because they are clogging my feed and then if I click to your profile to see the whole image I'm already annoyed at you...WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE. Digital marketing should not make your followers mad. BUT I DIGRESS.
One of my big design pet peeves is when people automatically furnish small spaces with tiny furniture, like small space, small stuff. I can see the logic, sure. But it often ends up making spaces look even smaller, because you look around and you're just like bombarded with tiny cramped things and so all you can think about is tiny-ness and cramped-ness. I don't like that. I want small spaces to feel comfortable, spacious, at ease. So I like to strategically incorporate big furniture pieces and be really careful on the spacing in the floor plan so that you get the feeling of a grown-up, real-sized apartment. That's the philosophy I've used in several spaces, and I'd love to write a post about it.
- BLOG POST SERIES - Stuff on sale RIGHT NOW: Pick a few retailers and troll the sale section for exciting picks around a certain theme: "Up Your Entertaining Game on a Budget" featuring on sale cocktail shakers and pretty trays from West Elm, or "Modern Glam Light Fixtures Under $75 " featuring real good sconces and pendants on sale at CB2 or Target. I have done a little bit of this on my own blog and I love the idea of these posts for several reasons: they are an easy way to feature sponsors or partners in a way that also adds a lot of value for readers...they could click, treat themselves, and feel like they got a bargain.
- BLOG POST SERIES - Good old "Trolling Craigslist" posts! Your commenters loved them, and I would love to write them! I'll pick a city and I'll pick some cool stuff out and write fun words about what I would do with it. Value for readers, content for you, fun furniture fantasies for me. Win win win.
I have a lot more ideas in this category, but that's enough for today!! On to the next writing theme!!
Writing Theme #2:
ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILLS: DESIGNING A BUSINESS THAT SUPPORTS YOUR LIFE AND A SPACE THAT SUPPORTS YOUR BUSINESS.
Entrepreneurship is a huge part of my life. I'm obsessed with the fragility of it all: the idea that a human being with insecurities and flaws can have a little spark of something beautiful inside of them, a feeling that they have something to contribute, and that that little spark needs so much care and attention to grow properly, and that with the right combination of support, leadership, creativity and choices the little tiny spark in the dark can become something that supports jobs and change lives...it motivates me to my core. I want to help other people grow their little sparks. I want to find my sparks and grow them too. LITTLE BABY SPARKS. I'm not crying, I swear.
So yeah, entrepreneurship is important to me. I'm an entrepreneur with a lot of experience in freelance design and creative work as well as strategy consulting, a lot of my friends are entrepreneurs and artists starting creative businesses, and I've worked for years on coaching entrepreneurs, designing spaces to support them, and connecting them with resources to grow their businesses.
I have a hunch that a lot of people in the EHD audience are thinking about growing their design businesses or starting to freelance. I'd love to write on this topic. Here's some ideas for posts!!
- BLOG POST THEME #1: Our In-Depth Guide to Pricing Creative Services. When I talk to artists and designers about their business challenges, one thing comes up over and over again: pricing. It's hard to figure out how to value your products and your time, and how to stand firm when you are asking people to pay. I'd love to write about how to price services, time and products for your audience--and then do follow up posts on sales, negotiation, and service delivery.
- BLOG POST IDEA #2: Designing Your Business Around Your Life--Not the Other Way Around. This is one of my core philosophies: business is just a tool for supporting the life you want to live. There are no rules, except for one: your customer has needs, and you solve them at a profit. You don't have to have business cards. It doesn't have to be 9-5. It doesn't have to be about trading hours for money. You don't There is so much bad business advice out there that keeps people stuck in toxic business culture even as they start to go out on their own.
I've had a weird and fascinating career: designing homes and styling photo shoots, working for the Mayor of Boston supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, supporting the launch of an incubator at Autodesk for the future of the construction industry, and launching my own consulting business on innovation in real estate.
But after years of being super ambitious and workaholic-y, I crashed hard. Like really hard. Building a consulting business while having a demanding full-time job completely drained me, and despite having a great therapist and supportive friends, I was having regular panic attacks, depressive episodes and just a whole bunch of chronic mental health issues. And while I was kind of barely hanging on, we had a family health scare that totally broke me down. I mean completely. I had to take a sabbatical from work, and just focused on supporting myself and my family and surviving one day at a time.
That time was hard, but it forced me to radically re-prioritize, and make some major changes in my outlook on work and life and how it all fit together. And I have come out with some really strong feelings on
Other things to know about me: I'm a huge mental health and self-development advocate, I'm a musician
One is my own home, a brick loft in a former piano factory, full of vintage pieces, eclectic artwork, and rich textures. The other is a client project, a historic Bay Village rowhouse that was fully renovated in a modern, light-filled home that is primarily used as a luxury Airbnb.
These are two of my favorite projects, and I hope you love them as much as I do. They represent the type of projects I like most: contemporary but cozy, textured but calming, lovingly idiosyncratic reflections of the unique humans that call them home.
You can flip through the portfolio below, or download it here.
Feel free to poke around this site to see what else I've been up to (like my how-to post about hanging a gallery wall in our apartment). Please bear in mind that I recently reworked the site and I'm still working out some kinks :)
Looking forward to talking again soon! Can't wait to hear your thoughts.
HI, I'M NICOLE FICHERA!