I am featured on the blog Mishaps and Osculations as a featured artist! It's posted here or you can read about other artists or topics directly on this blog by visiting the link below.
Nikki has a perma-link on my blog. She’s one of the most inspiring people I’ve met in this lovely city. Always down for creative exploration and positivity. I’ve asked her a couple questions for you guys…so that you can learn a little bit about why she’s a must-see…must-get-to-know type person.
Current Location: Live in Mill Valley in the North Bay, Working Studio is in San Rafael CA
If you had to describe your art/clothing - how would you best describe it?
I create funky faux fur fashions that dress your wild streak. Everyone has a wild streak, whether or not they show it every day, every month or just once a year. My fashions are for those times when you want to stand out - when you want to have fun with fashion. Everything doesn’t need to be so serious.
Sometimes, just putting on something colorful, flirty and bright can change your whole outlook.
Have you always been a creative genius?
I have always been crafty. I was raised by a belief that I could do anything. So if I saw anything that I liked or admired, my mother would tell me “ We can make that”. I believed her! I am the offspring of a creative genius. I have a mother that loves costumes. She makes them in her head, cuts a piece of newspaper, holds it up to your body and a few hours later you are draped in gold lame and transformed into a Venetian Goddess… that actually happened to me when I attended the Carnivale in Venice in 96. We really stole the show!
When did you first realize that you had a fur fashion fetish?
I came to the Wild side after my first year at Burning Man. That is where the name Wild on the Inside came from. I had a Wild streak, a streak that is bold, daring and fun… it was just buried deep. The fears of not dressing appropriately to the event, what color shoes you can wear after Labor Day etc…all those rules go out the window at Burning Man. Anything goes and nothing is over the top, too outrageous etc… Once you have a taste of that freedom - you want it to be a part of your life in everything you do!
How long until you started to feel confident making fur fashions with a sewing machine and a piece of multilayer brightly colored fur?
My sewing skills have evolved, as I have evolved as a designer. Certainly, faux fur has its challenges as a fabric to sew. I discovered techniques and supplies that assist me in working with heavy fabrics and learned unique ways of cutting and sewing to ensure the long hairs of the fur stay full and fluffy. When you spend 40-60 hours a week sewing and designing.. it’s amazing how good you get!
When you walk down the runway at the end of a Fashion Show - looking at all of your creations - do you silently chant “I’m too Sexy…Too Sexy for this Fashion Show” and if not…what are you thinking?
I think to myself, I can’t believe I am here. These are all things I created!! It is a thrilling few minutes and a moment to reflect on all the hard work that goes into each item. I have a great sense of pride of
accomplishment at that moment.
With your business, what’s been your biggest accomplishment?
Wild on the Inside - Faux Fur for your Wild Streak!
Getting the publicity on TV and also in the San Francisco Chronicle. Watching the news story and reading the articles is pretty amazing. It’s like seeing it from a third person, like looking in on my life.
When the View from the Bay aired I cried!
THE BUZZ ABOUT NIKKI –> News page on her website…http://wildontheinside.com/Wildsite2009/Buzz.html
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
I see taking what I have learned and experience first hand and sharing that with other entrepreneurs. I love the ‘idea’ and helping people reach their market. That is one of the reasons I started the event series Prepare for the Playa. I want to help support people that have an idea, that want to do their own thing… to be able to do and be successful! I see a chamber of commerce type organization that offers business classes, support, counseling, marketing and networking events that all support
unique, independent, local business people making their ideas reality.
You seem to always have an insane amount of energy…Are you a Wheaties girl? What do you often eat for your breakfast to keep your energy up?… cause I’m kinda jealous.
I am a coffee girl in the morning and hit the ground running. As long as I get 9 hours sleep, I can go forever. I am one of those productivity people. I have a list with me at all times and feel accomplished as I cross things off of it. I would say I’m self motivated to the extreme. Sometimes I want to chill out and relax, but if I have a list of to dos… forget it! My mind won’t let me. I think it’s a curse and a blessing.
Sometimes I think that I’m a horrible boss (to myself) since I pretty much work 7 days a week. I am working on the Biz from the moment I get up… to when I fall down in my chair at night (even then I’m on my laptop returning emails or researching something).
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I would have to say my Mom. She has a great head for business and all the creative skills a person could want. She has been my constant support for this business and helped me out from bouncing ideas off of, selling at shows to loading and unloading! She is my inspiration, best sales person and
all around supporter and cheerleader!
My other inspiration would be my husband Merritt. He is always pushing me to be Wilder, to make things even funkier… but with a utilitarian bent. He is the Wild customer things are made for initially. If they pass the Merritt test… then I know people will like it!
(Above: Nikki at a show - her mom in the background sellin’ Below: Nikki with Merr!)
I hear you have a pet lizard? Do you speak to her about your fashion designs?
Yes, Elektra is a pretty good listener, especially for leopard geckos! She does have favorite furs and designs. At the moment, she really likes the urban bomber hats. She is able to use the ear flaps to crawl up the side of the hat and perch on the top of my head. Its really quite cute. The ridges in the fur help her from sliding off and she rides around up there for a while.
Have you ever made something and was like…eh, I’ll use this as a shammy for my car before I try to sell it?
Absolutely! Designing is more of a hit or miss. I have made plenty of things that conceptually in my head are AWESOME! But once I make them up… well, not so much. I have an area of my studio that misfit toys goes to. Sometimes they are able to emerge into beautiful new designs and sometimes they
languish there forever.
If you are alone in a desert with only a scrap of pin stripe-fur and pink zebra print plush - would you
make me a skirt? (Juuuuust kiddin)
- of course
Outside of being a creative genius - what else do you have a passion for?
My other passion if for Rock Climbing. I absolutely love it. I think its perfect for the over active mind. It really helps you to focus on what is happening right now! In other sports, they allow your mind to
wonder, rock climbing keeps you in the hear and now. I love it. I have been climbing since being introduced to it in 2004. I never considered it as a sport until the first time I hit the rock. It was love at
If you could say anything about me - and I’d never find out about it - would what you say?
I would say that Katy is full of exuberance and positive energy. She is wide open to life and does not see limitations and thinks all is possible. You go girl!
How can I be more like you? - specifically, where can others learn how to get into this type of business…
There is a two pronged approach - two sets of skills that are needed. One is the sewing skill. If you want to learn to sew, start by taking a class or by buying a simple pattern from the fabric store and start learning the basics. Then you build on it from there. The second skill is the business part of things. I would start with a book on how to start a business
and then as you go through getting legal with your sales tax, business licenses etc… start talking to others or researching. The internet is great once you have a path of where you want to go or what you
want to find out. Develop a list and start checking it off.
Then the fun part - find your market!! You may have all the licenses and business plan and all the sewing skills and product developed - but if no one sees it… well you will stay at square one forever.
That is one of the reasons I developed the Prepare for the Playa events. These events connect funky and wild business with the folks that attend the Burning Man Event. You need to find where the
your market is and then figure out where they go and where they shop!
Tell me about a few of your upcoming events and where we might find your work.
I am planning on participating in city wide events over the next few months like How Weird and Union Street festival. These are the warm ups for the summer series I produce called Prepare for the Playa. www.preparefortheplaya.com These events have full fashion shows, funky & Wild Vendors of unique and creative wears and great how to clinics and demonstrations.
More images of her fashions: