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Meet Inessa Nichols of Inessa Nichols Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Inessa Nichols.

Inessa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Working with and being around flowers is pretty much in my genes. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a family of flower loving women. Not only were my mother, aunties, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers phenomenal homemakers, they were self-taught expert gardeners. Their ability to cultivate a healthy robust and thriving vegetable and flower gardens is still so impressive to this day. Let’s just say it’s tough and very time to consume to put in the hard work of maintaining a beautiful garden or even a small planter!

I spent my early childhood in Russia where being outdoors was essential to your well being as the majority of the year would be severely cold and the landscape would be covered in a blanket of snow. I am one of nine children which meant having to entertain my younger siblings and create fun, creative group activities. This aspect of my childhood made me a natural planner, party maker and built a foundation for a strong work ethic. Any opportunity to throw a party or celebrate a specific occasion in my college years did not go without my own creative touch. This naturally leads me to design and plan my own wedding in 2011 when I was introduced to the world of weddings.

Several years later, thanks to some nudges from my husband I decided to leave my full-time corporate desk job to pursue something in the event/wedding industry with a plan to intern without an income for the first year. Let’s just say that this was difficult as I had grown accustomed to a steady paycheck. Instagram was just starting to grow in popularity so I just searched for brands and companies in the Los Angeles area and sent out emails asking about internships. This lead to meeting the lovely ladies of Gather Events and taking on an internship at a local flower shop in Downtown Long Beach.

Learning the business side of flowers, proper mechanics and what it takes to plan and orchestrate a successful event helped to refine my goals and paved the way for my new career journey. I instantly gravitated towards flowers and my passion for building and creating something unique and one of a kind for each client really intrigued the artist within me. The turning point was hone I had the opportunity to design flowers for several clients through Gather Events which lead me to start my own floral design company.

Having my own company has introduced me to so many amazing clients, incredible floral designers whom I get to call friends. I am so so grateful for every person, company, couple with whom I have the privilege to create some flower magic together which fuels my love to stay in the event flower world. The event floral industry is very competitive and it’s easy to get over critical of your ability to come up with something original and new consistently while attempting to not play the comparison game. However, making and staying friends with my competitors and understanding that there is enough work for everyone maintains my passion for flowers.

Through these last seven years, I have found my tribe and when you find these individuals (or they find you) it’s kismet and only helps you to grow together and support one another through all the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. I love to learn new things and these individuals have allowed me to develop my style and refine my skills as a designer. I am currently transitioning within the flower world to not only primarily work on weddings but to build the artistic side of my business with corporate installations to working with restaurants and fashion designers.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being a creative entrepreneur is risky. You seriously have to hustle to make every dollar as there is no guarantee for that steady paycheck every other week. Relationship building is so so key in this industry. From your floral suppliers to fellow freelancers. This industry is referral based from the clients you work with to freelance jobs for fellow floral designers.

I learned early on not to say “no” to any task from filling water tubes all day to reflexing roses for hours and hours to sweeping the floors. The concept of having a strong work ethic early on in life was definitely a key factor here. It definitely helps to know what to expect when you decide to go at it alone, its risky and scary. But the rewards are so much greater and that’s what keeps me intrigued and to continue that hustle.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Inessa Nichols Design – what should we know?
My company is a studio based floral design brand with a focus on weddings and events. We specialize in large scale floral installations.

Our style leans more towards old world elegance as the beauty, lushness, abundance, and richness found in dutch masters floral design plays a huge role in our design aesthetics.

We also love to add hints of modernity with fun, funky and otherworldly design styles to keep our look on trend.

We are proud of each event that we have executed and to still be around after more than five years in the business.

My knowledge of gardening, principles of design and years of freelance and design experience helps to set me and my brand apart from fellow floral design.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The willingness to take on non-paid gigs in order to build my portfolio and gain experience definitely helped to grow my business.

However having a strong work ethic, staying humble, vendor relationships and knowledge of flowers and design have played a crucial role in my success.

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