We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Outlaw and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my success and that of my brand is my consistency.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As program manager with NCGrowth & SmartUp, I get to be the boots on the ground through my work with small businesses and rural communities. Each time I come in contact with an entrepreneur, I am instantly inspired by their passion. It in turn drove me to pursue my own personal goals as an entrepreneur. I dare say that my daily work gave me the confidence to just go for it and open my boutique and during a pandemic, might I add.
I must also credit direct sales for my start. I’m an Independent Consultant with Paparazzi Accessories. Currently ranked at Executive Director. Starting in direct sales has taught me that I CAN. I can and the possibilities are endless. I became a consultant 4 years ago. In my mind it was something that my daughter and I could enjoy together, we could make “play” money. What I didn’t expect was to reach several lives across the country. What I didn’t expect was to be able to mentor and coach women (and men) on how to run a successful bling business. My downline has met its height of 198 men and women. I have cultivated a sisterhood that stretches from NC to CA!
So…I was growing out of my space at my home boutique and although it was during a pandemic, sales were great! During a walk in July 2020, I recognized that my hometown had the perfect space for us. It was less than two minutes from my home. Nice and quaint. Perfect. Three months later, September 2020, I had solidified my accessories boutique. My very own brick and mortar.
Overall, due to my daily work the process starting wasn’t much of a challenge for me. However, I understand that my situation is rather unique. Regardless, I am still faced with the same challenges of many startup companies. As of today, I have completely funded my business venture on my own. My customers have enjoyed having a place to shop in our hometown. (It’s about an hour’s drive to the nearest department store.)
My approach to running my store is a bit unique. I treat customer visits as opportunities to learn about my customers and make a connection with them. I see that as a fringe benefit of working in business counseling. It is also a component of my desire to help people within my reach, my true passion. I want my impact on my community to produce more entrepreneurships, to inspire people to pursue the very thing that sets their soul on fire.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This question makes me want to explore all the things ATL. I live in North Carolina. While I’m unable to accurately name drop locations in Atlanta. I will say that my itinerary in any city would include all things non-touristy. I enjoy jazz and live music so let’s add that to the list. I’d certainly like to catch a live show– theatre or ballet. I’m a major fan of the arts. During this visit, I would also include a day picnic in a park. We would absolutely dine at every local eatery we could get into. I’d include a mid-day hike, because fitness. Also, if this was my experience, I’d throw in a visit to a local wine bar during a night on the town. Now that is my idea of a great visit with a friend.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my team at NCGrowth & SmartUp. NCGrowth-SmartUp’s mission is to help businesses create good jobs and to help communities create sustainable and equitable opportunities for their people. On this team, I am a program manager for the Elizabeth City region in Northeastern NC. From the beginning and to this day my team has been very supportive and have continued to be my cheerleaders. I am very grateful for this fine group of people.