SHE'S THE BUSINESS: Ebony Nichols A Stationery Designer with A Party & Gift Shop
This world is full of creative entrepreneurs, boss ladies, and momprenurs who've made the decision to do what they love. This series is all about shedding a light on them and bringing some inspiration to girlbosses everywhere.
Meet Ebony! Like me, she's a fan of pink and a maker of these cute girly things. What first grabbed my attention to her shop was one of her funny greeting cards.
When did you start your own business?I opened Announce Divinely in August 2015.
What do you do?I design and create stationery, planners, and party decor items. I am a huge believer in celebrating the big and small moments in our lives so I design products that help other ladies socialize, party, and celebrate.
What made you want to work for yourself?Working for others definitely has its perks. But I always felt like I was only getting to express one side of myself. I felt limited to the roles and responsibilities assigned to my title. If I wanted to stretch my legs and venture into other areas...oops! Here's the red tape. Here's the stepping on others toes. Here's the "that's not how we do things." So I finally decided to step out on faith and confetti and really give myself a shot. I've worked for universities in the past, and the most fulfilling part of my day was interacting with others and making them smile and feel excited about what they are doing. Working for myself has challenges that I didn't have when I worked for others, but there is a sweet personal satisfaction I get when I express myself creatively, make my party girls smile, and have avenues to create opportunities for others.
What would you tell another fellow girl entrepreneur?Step out on faith and confetti! Being your own boss, especially a girl boss, can be a heavy thing. That's why it's so important to find whatever grounds and motivates you and cling to it. Whether it's religion, spirituality, a BFF, whatever you choose to center yourself, keep it near and dear! Also, throw some confetti! Celebrate how awesome you are, your journey, and where you want to be!
Did you ever want to quit and why?I've never wanted to quit, but I have definitely been so discouraged that I felt like what I was doing was useless. At the beginning, it was so difficult for me to explain to my family, friends, and even strangers exactly what I did. No one really understood the term creative and quite honestly, I was having a time trying to understand it myself. Some people would look at it like it was a hobby. I would also compare myself to people who had been in the game for years and were much more established than I was.
What made you keep going?Three things kept me going. I am blessed with a wonderful support system that is compassionate, kind, and knows when I need a push or two. Secondly, my clients. Every time a client would express to me how much my products and customer service made their day, I felt like I was able to share a small part of me with someone across the country. I travel quite a bit, and every time I'm in a new state, I say to myself, "Wow! Someone in this state has something that I've designed!" It's so humbling and such a warm feeling. And thirdly, I dug deep and put my girl boss pants on and physically told myself I'm valuable and what I do is so worth it.
How do you stay organized?Let's just say that is still a process! But I'm getting much better. I use my It's Done, Darling notepad planner for a quick rundown of my daily to-dos. For me, my disorganization is like a snowball effect, so I try to organize my thoughts, workflow, and home office everyday. I also make my to-do list for the next day the night before. It's like a closing ritual for my day.
What’s your favorite app to use for business and why?I have a few apps that I love so much for business. The first one is Instagram. Not only do I post for my business, but I'm able to connect with some pretty cool girl bosses out there. I also love ColorStory. I use it to edit photos for almost everything. I use my iPhone a lot, so ColorStory is my BFF when it comes to prepping product photos for Etsy and Instagram.
Whats your favorite word or quote or verse for this year?My favorite word for this year is Intentional. I want to be intentional about everything I do this year, especially in business. One of the wonderful things about being a girl entrepreneur is that we have a tenacity that's so super awesome, it's scary! So I want to be proactive, aware, and intentional about my efforts and attitude this year.
How do you stay creative?I turn to two things when I'm trying to get in my mojo: colors and everyday life. I love to play with color schemes and shades of the same hue because I believe that color can tell a story as much as words can. I also turn to everyday life. My brand is all about making everyday moments a party, so I find ways to create celebrations from the moments in life that are so important to us, but we may overlook.