Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Speake.
Nicole, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My business partner, Lauren, and I worked together for a stationery company and always joked about starting our own business. After a short stint (but long story) in Spain, Lauren returned to the home and convinced me that we should make this dream a reality. It was certainly a humble beginning! We worked until 5 am almost daily in order to maintain our day jobs, met with clients at coffee shops and existed off Red Bull. The adrenaline and drive of being young entrepreneurs really helped us get through the long nights and sleepy days. Eight years later, we’ve learned so much, been extremely fortunate to work with amazing clients and now have studios in Chicago and Nashville (where Lauren resides).
Has it been a smooth road?
It hasn’t been a smooth road but the lessons learned and knowledge gained throughout the journey have been super valuable. I think our biggest challenge has been fine-tuning what we offer and narrowing down our best target market. Time management has also been a struggle. Owning your own business means making sure every little thing is taken care of so we’ve had to train ourselves to be as efficient as possible in order to not work all night since there is ALWAYS more to do. Another struggle has been making financial decisions; basically what is going to have the largest return on investment, and what is not worth it. What works for one company may not work for your “similar” company; we have learned to analyze each situation on what could happen negatively or positively as a result of that financial decision.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We offer custom invitations and event branding. Our business was built on the concept of “branding” an event. We specialize in customizing everything from the invitation to coordinating party items; from cocktail napkins to menu cards and signage. We also offer Christmas cards, stationery, and gift items. We are probably most known for our wedding branding, and this is what we enjoy the most. It’s so rewarding to help brand the big day from beginning to end and since every wedding is different, it never gets old. We absolutely love when our brides let us use our creativity to its fullest. I think what sets us apart from others is that everything we do is completely custom.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes, definitely. Having moved our business here from Nashville, we basically started over here and had to make new contacts, and do lots of networking. The referral business here in Chicago has been huge for us. We’re really grateful for the loyal clients. We also think our location is key since we are near many other wedding vendors. I think Chicago is a great place to start a business because it’s such a big city, with many potential clients and resourceful vendors.
- 2018 Nico and Lala calendar, $32
- Address: 8 E Chestnut Street Floor 3
- Website: www.nicoandlala.com
- Phone: 312-867-7385
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicoandlala/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicoandLaLa
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicoandlala
Personal photo, Zofia & Co.