Nikki Williams doesn’t just smile with her mouth, her whole face smiles! Her eyes dance and hair bounces… Before you know it, you are smiling too! It is hard to believe she is the mother of 3 under 4, and the designer and owner of the label Nikki Williams Co – she lives such a full life and just doesn’t miss a beat.
I hope you enjoy this interview with Nikki. Oh, and if you are not familiar with her handbag designs, they are elegant, sophisticated, timeless and a little bit of fun… much like her!
Hi Nikki, lets start with a question I am incredibly curious about: You have three small children AND Nikki Williams Handbags. How much sleep do you get?!
The simple answer is not enough, but who does! Sleep is very important to me (especially having 3 children under 4), it’s something I prioritise – it’s actually at the top of my list, it comes before designing handbags and running a business. I truly believe that in business to be successful you need do things well – and you can’t do a good job if you’re not at your best. I take time to turn off my phone and switch off from emails each day. Not only is it important to get enough sleep, but in today’s world of Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, emails and iphones it’s even more important to switch-off at end of the day. Getting quality sleep is as important as getting enough, so you won’t find me sitting up in bed checking emails and my instagram likes. I’ve got my eyes shut tightly and I fall asleep dreaming of designs in my head –that’s where I do my best designing work!
For more info on getting better sleep and my hot tip go to https://www.mydeal.com.au/blog/post/10-natural-sleep-tips
Seriously though, what a gorgeous brand. Is handbag design something you have always done? Can you tell us a little bit about your background.
Accessories are in my family’s DNA, my grandfather was a watch maker and accessories importer, but I grew up on a sheep and cattle farm, in Central NSW outside the small town of Sofala. Growing up on a farm is where I draw lots of my inspiration from and where my love-affair with leather began. A lot of my designs feature braided leather, all inspired from my childhood in the country.
Fast-forward 20 years, after completing an Economics degree at Sydney University, I found myself in London studying at the London Fashion College and later collaborating with designers such as Tom Ford, Stella McCartney and Victoria Beckham while working at London’s world-famous department store Selfridges. I brought all that I had learnt home to Australia and started my first designs with leathers I had collected from around the world.
What are three words do you think best describe Nikki Williams?
Three words, that’s hard. I know every business you should be able to sum up in a couple of words, but I feel my brand is more than a fancy logo or a couple of tag lines, it’s a promise to our customers. To put it simply, we make beautiful bags and treat people well.
My business is built around this. From who we hire, to what we make, to how we communicate with our customers – everything is in line with our promise.
Can you tell us a little bit about your philosophy around the colours you choose to incorporate into the collections?
I don’t necessarily follow trends, but I do keep a close eye on what people are wearing. In a nutshell, my colours are chosen to complement your wardrobe. Black and tan are obviously staples in the collection, but I like to combine different textured leathers to give my designs a unique finish.
Do you have a favorite product in the current collection?
I think it’s a tie between my first two designs the Harriet Saddle Bag and the Marni Clutch. They also happen to be everyone else’s favourites too!
Can you share with us what a ‘normal’ day looks like for you?
There is no such thing as a normal day in my life, but here goes!
My day starts early (as anyone with a baby or young family knows). After watching the sun-rise, I take time to enjoy a coffee and a large bowl of organic cereal. Once I have all my children ready for the day I generally check in with my Production Manager, who helps me with sourcing leather and keeps me up-to-date with how new samples and designs are going.
During the first stages of a collection, the majority of my day will be taken up with design work – I’ll spend most of my time drawing and sourcing hardware to go with my new designs. When the design work has all come together I’ll get started on the production. At this stage, my morning is spent working on pattern making and leather sourcing. I’ll put on some music – this could be anything from Beyonce to Mozart, and yes occasionally a bit of Tay Tay.
I am currently busy planning for summer. I am already signing off on all the new designs coming in April and beyond.
Once my emails are out of the way, it’s time to take a quick mid-morning walk. I am lucky to live right on the coast of Australia, so a stroll along the cliff tops over-looking the ocean is a great way to reset myself for the rest of the day. It’s when I also get to do my social media posts. I’m always doing two things at once.
The afternoons are filled with following up with my Wholesale Manager Amy and discussing possible buyers and stockists. If I’m lucky enough there’ll be a knock at the door with a new sample delivery. My heart always races when a sample box arrives. It’s a combination of excitement and hope. I’m excited to see what how the final designs look, but it can also be equally as disappointing when things don’t turn out as you expect.
My evenings are a busy time with my family, before I know it it’s time for bed and then I’m up again to do it all over again.
What else do you enjoy doing outside of the design studio / warehouse?
I really love the bush and the beach with equal measure, so you’ll find me outdoors at every opportunity. I visit the beach all year round, but don’t get me wrong I defiantly don’t swim all year round! I enjoy a picnic or walk with my family. It’s so important to ‘escape’ for a moment. Growing-up with wide-open-spaces, I find it important to get out of the confides of the city and it’s buildings and just take in the space.
I also try to get back to the farm as much as I can. As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz would say “there’s no place like home!”.
Anything exciting on the horizon for Nikki Williams you can share with us?
The best thing about having a growing business, is that you’re never quite sure what’s around the corner. There’s always something new happening. This week I’m organising a photoshoot and new campaign for the end of the month. We are also adding some limited edition earrings to our Christmas collection, so keep an eye out for those! We’re also hoping to do a pop-up shop in November in Sydney, which is exciting.