Here at LIVELY, we’re constantly surrounded by swoon-worthy women that are killin’ it in their businesses. We're launching #WomenCrushWednesday to celebrate the boss babes who provide us with a constant flow of inspiration, support, and endless girl-crushes.
Up next, Founder of Pomp & Whimsy, Nicola Nice
Where are you from?
I am originally from London, England. I have been living in the U.S. for the last 12 years — 4 years in Dallas and 8 in New York City.
What is Pomp & Whimsy?
Pomp & Whimsy is an award-winning gin liqueur that has been created by women, for women. It pays tribute to a long lost style of gin that was popular among women in the Victorian era and updated for a modern palate. Made from scratch from 16 whole botanicals, it is wonderful sipped by itself, topped with something bubbly or used in place of gin in classic cocktails.
What was your catalyst to launching Pomp & Whimsy?
I have spent 20 years in the field of consumer insights and brand strategy, consulting for some of the top liquor producers in the world. I created Pomp & Whimsy in response to what I felt was extreme gender inequality in the marketing landscape of spirits. I was tired of seeing women either talked down to or ignored as consumers by spirits brands, and money being left on the table by not taking them seriously. I wanted to create spirits that speak to women with an inspiring and authentic voice, designed around their occasions and needs.
We love your branding! What was it like developing that?
It was so much fun! Over the last decade, my agency has developed really powerful tools for innovating new brands from the ground up using a combination of research and design processes. In starting Pomp & Whimsy, it was so exhilarating to partner with the same people who I’d worked with and built trust in for years, and apply those processes to our own brand. Even today, one of my favorite parts of the job is continuing to collaborate with those same incredible people to push the brand further as it takes on a life of its own!
What was it like launching your own business?
This was my second start-up, so some of the hurdles and challenges I was prepared for while others were new. The first business I launched was a brand consulting agency which at the point I launched Pomp & Whimsy was a mature business. I think you really have to be a serious risk-taker to give up a stable, comfortable lifestyle to start over again for a second time. I’ve come to the conclusion that there must be a part of me that is addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes with running a start-up!
What advice would you give on finding healthy work-life balance?
I think this is intensely personal. What is healthy for one person is toxic for someone else, and that goes as much for being under stimulated as it does for being over stimulated. I prefer to focus on being present in the journey whichever stage it’s at, knowing that the idea of balance is a fluid and changing concept. Instead, I try to work on understanding myself better, knowing where my limits are and what I need to feel fulfilled at any one time.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from a mentor?
An early boss of mine taught me that a job is what YOU make of it. Someone else can give you a role or assign you a task, but only you can make it into a career.
How do you deal with stress?
I try to focus on things that I can control/accomplish and break large or daunting goals down into manageable steps. I also try to regularly carve out time in my week to block all calls and meetings so that I can catch up on email, or just sit back and reflect on the bigger picture. Finally, knowing that I never really stop working, I don’t let myself feel guilty if I take the rare morning or afternoon off to do something personal.
When do you feel most empowered?
When what I have created makes a connection with the people who I created it for. I created Pomp & Whimsy after many years of researching women and our relationship with spirits. It is so satisfying to be able to connect with other women through the lens of a brand experience that makes them feel empowered. Empowerment is contagious, and it’s wonderful to be able to pass that on.
Describe your personal aesthetic.
Classic with a utilitarian edge. Whether it’s home furnishings, clothing or barware, I like pieces that are timeless but also tell a story. To me that’s the inspiration behind the Pomp & Whimsy brand, which is respect for tradition juxtaposed with modern personality and flair.
What’s the biggest myth of starting your own business?
I think it’s hard to appreciate when you’re first starting out how greatly the odds are stacked against you, especially in the first few years. I know from working in new product development that even within the big companies, 9 out of 10 new products never make it to market. That’s a really sobering statistic.
What are your thoughts on “following your gut”?
Your gut is your strongest personal ally. But it is also an extremely blunt instrument that needs to be calibrated constantly.
What are the three things someone should expect before deciding to freelance full-time?
One: You will gain control over many factors in your life that you were not able to control before, but you will also have much less visibility into the future. You need to get comfortable with the idea that being the master of your own destiny also means constantly planning into the unknown. Two: Your income will be extremely variable and managing cash flow is likely to be a real challenge. You need to make the how and when of getting paid your first priority with any new business. Three: You will never take a vacation again without the feeling that it was a bad time to take a vacation. Take the vacation!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be like you?
Don’t be like me. Be the best possible incarnation of YOU!
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
Cocktails! I’m a pretty responsible drinker, there’s rarely any guilt...