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Meet Nina Waters of Forty6Eleven in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nina Waters.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I can honestly say, I have finally found my dream career and it only took me 18 years to figure it out! I’ve changed my career direction many times, but finally, in my late 30s, I’ve found my calling.

My story begins in the South East, where I grew up in two small towns and anytime anyone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I told them I wanted to color (like coloring books) and I usually got the same “Bless Your Heart” answer, while they clutched their pearls. I knew I was in trouble in my senior year when I still had no idea what I wanted to do and neither did any of the career quizzes (and I took a lot of them). My parents gently nudged me into the direction of Nursing, because their logic was, we always need nurses and it’s a career that would help pay the bills.

So that was the direction I went into. It wasn’t long after I started my junior year at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, that I knew Nursing was not for me – I couldn’t handle the sight of blood, vomit or burns. With only one-and-half years left of my college education, I had to switch directions fast. I landed on a BA in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Graduated college in four years, with no job in sight. I worked two retail jobs to support myself while living on my own and I worked at an investment firm as an Administrative Assistant for my first real office job. While working three jobs, I also taught myself graphic design, by learning the Adobe Suite and replicating magazine advertisements.

In 2005, I landed a job in Dallas, Texas, with a boutique public relations firm and I was their PR Coordinator/Graphic Designer. (It was a few years into the job, that I remembered my childhood dream of coloring for a living – it was close enough.) The agency was one of the pioneering product placement agencies for home decor and building material products for home improvement TV shows and projects. In 2008, the Great Recession hit and all graphic design work for our clients ceased to exist – so my job was on the chopping block. I reinvented myself and took over the product placement side of the business and began teaching myself web design as well. In my 12 years with the agency, I wore a ton of hats – and all those hats helped shape who I am today.

In 2017, my boyfriend (now husband) and I moved to Pasadena for his job as a pilot and about eight months later, I started my own product placement agency, Forty6Eleven.

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?
Was it smooth? No.

I don’t think life should be a smooth road – it should be filled with potholes, speed bumps, and lots of mountains to climb – otherwise, you’re just coasting through life, not pushing yourself to strive for more.

I think my biggest challenge now as an adult with my own company is running the business well, making my clients happy and keeping my contacts with the production companies happy. I’m not only building and maintaining relationships on a daily and quite frankly, hourly basis, but I also wear a ton of hats to keep the business running – such as marketing, public relations, social media, accounting, (and thankfully my Husband has taken over – I can’t win them all) and putting myself in front of industry leaders at all times. And sometimes, it all seems a bit overwhelming.

Please tell us about Forty6Eleven.
Forty6Eleven is one of the leading home decor/building material and adventure/extreme sports product placement agencies in the US, and I’ve been very successful with 17 clients and many national TV shows and projects. Since I’m new to the Los Angeles-area, I’m having to contend with many other well-known product placement agencies, but what sets Forty6Eleven apart from the others, I have two niche categories of clients – Home Decor and Adventure Sports. I feel like there’s such a need for quality adventure sports products in TV and Film.

I have placed my clients’ products on shows such as Netflix “Queer Eye”, HGTV “Property Brothers”, HGTV “Property Brothers: Forever Home”, HGTV/DIY “Bargain Mansions”, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”, HGTV “Fixer to Fabulous”, TLC “Nate and Jeremiah By Design”, HGTV “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” to name a few!

I’m most proud that through lots of hard work in two years, I have designers and producers who repeatedly come back to me for my clients’ products and they’re starting to share me with their friends in the industry. I’ve become their “One-Stop-Shop” for all their home decor needs. This business is a ‘who you know’ and ‘who you trust’ and to have the trust of designers and hosts, is the biggest pat on the back you can have. To be able to work with the big names in Home Improvement/Design, such as Genevieve Gorder, Jonathan and Drew Scott, Leanne Ford, The Fab 5, Tamara Day, Chip Wade, Nate Berkus, Jeremiah Brent, Jenny and Dave Marrs, Antonio Ballatore, just to name a few, is a huge accomplishment and one I don’t take for granted.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
The best memories are from the summers in South Carolina. My friends, older brother and I were outside from sun-up to sunset, playing, being kids and terrorizing the neighborhood. We rode bikes, played tag, hide-and-seek, go-carts and endless hours of Marco Polo in the pool (I’m sure that was equivalent to listening to a broken record for our neighbors). There was little adult supervision and definitely, no “play dates” were scheduled, we just knocked on our friend’s doors, hoping they were home and could play. To be seven again, with no care in the world.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Bargain Mansions, Property Brothers, Queer Eye, Stay Here, Restored By The Fords

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