Interviews / People

What’s In Your Bag: H. Nichols Illustration

1. Marc Jacobs Wallet 2. Custom stamp-o  3. Copic Markers  4. Dior Iconic Mascara &YSL lipstick in Lingerie Pink  5. Tory Burch “Disco Logo” Sunglasses 6. External hard drive 7. Beats by Dre  8. Makeup- Nars Blush in “Orgasm” 9. Artists pencils and my favorite sharpie pen 10. Martha Stewart Planner 11. Business Cards

What’s your biggest accomplishment? My biggest accomplishment so far has probably been a visual and written thesis I completed my senior year of college (Endicott College, Beverly, MA- BFA, 2013). I researched how children’s picture books are essential to the Child’s development, in addition to illustrating my own.

What are three books you would recommend to our readers?Whenever I’m stressed, I take out The Tao of Pooh– an adorable compact book with lessons taught through the simple mind of Winnie the Pooh. Another is The Business of Being an Artist by Daniel Grant. Graduating as a Studio Art major, I had very little business savvy, so this taught me the essentials I needed to start my endeavors. The third is your high school year book! Take it out and flip through it! It’s great to think about how far you’ve come. It’s also a great way to think of people you can reach out to that you may have lost contact with.

What’s your advice to someone interested in starting his or her own business? The advice I give would be advice someone told me- you get out what you put in. The more time you invest your business, the more you will see your success grow.

Where do you receive inspiration? Most of my work is based off fashion so I get a lot of my inspiration from fashion bloggers and clothes that are trending. At this point in my life I can’t afford designer duds, so drawing them is my way of building a tiny illustration closet of them! I also get a lot of inspiration from other entrepreneurs. I love bouncing ideas of my network of (mostly) female entrepreneurs I’ve met.

What's In Your Bag H. Nichols IllustrationsIf you could have one famous entrepreneur as your mentor who would it be? She may not be thought of as a traditional entrepreneur, but I had the pleasure of hearing keynote speaker, Linda Cliatt-Wayman at the Massachusetts Conference for Women this past December, and her story really touched me. She is the principal of Strawberry Mansion High School in Pennsylvania, which is known as one of the most dangerous schools in the nation. Upon taking the position, she made it her goal to get the school off the “persistently dangerous list”. She worked to show the children that their lives could be better, teaching actions that lead to success. She’s a brilliant woman and educator with a huge weight on her shoulders, but had the biggest smile on her face the day of the conference. It’s a blessing to see others with a passion for what they do.

Do you feel your life is balanced between work life and personal life? What is your favorite thing about running your own business? That’s definitely one of my biggest struggles. Right now I’m finding it to be quite a challenge because in addition to running my freelance business, I have a full time position in a Third-Grade special education classroom as a paraprofessional. I spend my days working in the school, and my evenings fitting in all my custom orders and everything else involved in maintaining my business. Because of this, I will admit personal life has suffered. I hope to be able to find a better balance as I continue.

My favorite part about running a business is the people I meet. I meet so many different interesting people, and all of them have different stories and are at different places in their lives. Its also interesting to see how my illustrations fit into their lives, and what they’re used for. Beyond that, hearing how happy my illustrations make them is even more rewarding!


What is your indispensable gadget? My most indispensable gadget has to my phone charger. I’d say phone, but I feel like my phone is dying more than it is ever charged- so I carry it everywhere with me.

What is your favorite app? My favorite app is Instagram- I owe 90% of my commissions to it. It’s such an effective tool for you to reach your market- especially for visual artists.

Favorite account to follow on Twitter? TMZ- how I get my “news” for the day.

Favorite item in your closet?  My favorite item(s) in my closet is my scarf collection. It’s very rare that you see me without a scarf, no matter the season. My go-to scarf is an animal print infinity scarf I got from Zara a few years ago.

To learn more about Holly and to see more beautiful illustrations check out her site and Etsy. Stay connected with her on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram.

This post includes affiliate links to Amazon which I receive a small compensation on sales generated by your purchase.

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