After becoming a new mum, Nicole found the drive to create a business where she could work for herself, engage in a creative outlet and contribute to the family income stream. Within 10 weeks of putting the business idea into practice, she had enough interest to be able to quit her day job and pursue her dream. Since that point the the business has only grown with more and more interest, hype and support surrounding her new venture. The business is called Zilvi and Nicole works with mainly woods and acrylics to create beautiful pieces for our little one’s bedrooms.
HAVING A CHAT WITH NICOLE FROM ZILVI..
What got you into crafting with wood?
A My partner, Jason, suggested it to me and as soon as we spoke about it, I was sold on the idea and began playing with designs cut into wood. It then got me thinking how I could make items and sell them and what market I may like to direct my work towards. With a background in Wedding Styling and a passion for Interior Styling, and my new found obsession in children’s decor as a new Mum, it felt natural that I go down the path of creating unique pieces that would then be styled into the rooms of little ones.
What made you decide to turn your craft into a business?
My full time job as a General Manager of an event venue was demanding and one I left a creative position in Wedding Styling for. I found myself in a job that no longer allowed me a creative outlet. Once I had Felix, I became desperate for a career that allowed me to be a Mum and secondly where I could be creative again. I was lucky enough to have a space in my office for Felix so he joined me at work from just a few weeks old until when I recently left at 12 months old. This set up was certainly something any new working Mum can appreciate, however I had always dreamed of working for myself full time whilst still being a Mum, though I never really thought I could build anything that would allow me to take a risk and give away my full time role. My partner Jason was constantly encouraging me to ‘think of something to do’ as he understood my desire for a creative role and my desperation to work from home while being a Mum. He also had more confidence in my ability to build ‘something’ than I did myself.
When Felix was 9 months old and approaching an age where it would no longer be appropriate to take him into my office, I knew I needed to do something and fast. We went away for a weekend to a family members property in the hills of Northern NSW and I sat for two days drawing and making notes. Then on the Monday, I came up with my business name, created my logo and opened @_zilvi on Instagram. And so it all began. Without any real planning, I began introducing my ideas of what Zilvi would be to the world of instagram and my support network soon grew. Four months ago I released my first collection and opened my online store. The response was so overwhelming it took me a few weeks to find my feet and realise my dream may just be becoming a reality. It was then at 10 weeks into running Zilvi, that my partner and I agreed it was worth my taking a risk and so I resigned from my job and decided to grasp my new venture with both hands and run as fast as I could.
Can you talk to us about working from home with a little one?
It challenges me as business woman and as a Mum, equally. Certainly a challenge I love and have managed to find an equal and fair balance to both. My studio is now the entire downstairs of our house after our study became much too small for me to operate from. My space is large and baby gated at each entrance. My wood work is in an area that’s out of bounds to Felix, however he has freedom in the rest of my studio, so I often find himself unravelling balls of yarn from baskets or dipping his fingers in paint. With baskets of toys and easy access to our yard and chickens, my space is just as much for Felix as it is for me. We have a solid routine so we have enough Mama and Felix time as well as my work time. Most nights I’m found playing catch up, while he is asleep.
When you’re not making stuff for Zilvi, what are you doing?
The past four months haven’t allowed me much time away from Zilvi as the response has been overwhelming. However, now that I am finding my feet, Jason and I plan to get back on the road and take fortnightly or monthly camping trips like we did before I began this journey. We love the outdoors and hope to instil the same passion for adventure into Felix.
What’s your advice for any mum’s transitioning from a job where they’re an employee to their own creative business venture?
Set a routine. Don’t allow your new venture to interrupt your life as a Mother and Partner. Find a healthy balance.
What do you love most about your new job?
I love that I have finally found a creative outlet which I have craved for years whilst stuck in the corporate world. I love the freedom of working for myself, for my family. It certainly makes overtime worthwhile. I love that I get to be a Mum! And I absolutely adore the Instagram Community who I direct my brand to. I have marketed Zilvi only through Instagram, and with that audience, solely, I have realised my dream. I owe that community so much.
Where do you see it heading, what are your biggest hopes and dreams for Zilvi?
I hope to continue developing my product range and appealing to my audience, as well as growing as a maker. I would love for Zilvi to become a brand that is known for not only the items I create and people style their homes with, but also a brand that gives back to its community. I have recently launched my ‘Help a Mama Out with Zilvi’ project where each month or two, I design and sell an item for around $10 in my online store. I then donate the proceeds to a Mama, Dad, child or entire family who are experiencing something unfortunate and need a little help.