For those who don’t know, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your business?
Hi guys! For starters my name is Nicolle and I own Bluebird on 3rd street, here in downtown. I opened 3 years ago with a vision, some vintage pieces, and not much else. Since then Bluebird has blossomed into the shop I’ve always dreamt of. I consider Bluebird to be a lifestyle shop, full of gathered goods, found and handmade. I don’t necessarily specialize in anything specific but rather try to curate an inviting environment using vintage and handmade pieces. My style would fall under a mix of industrial and farmhouse with an eclectic flair. I pride myself on constantly changing, growing, and trying to be ahead of the game. I’m also very lucky in that I get to sell the artwork of my very talented mother, Shelly Broughton, her pieces really help to set Bluebird apart from the other shops.
How did you get into your business?
I opened by business in 2013 after graduating college. I grew up in a very creative home. Both my parents are self-employed and I’ve always been attracted to that lifestyle. Growing up around my artist mother, I often found myself in antique shops or auctions at a young age. I think I started decorating my bedroom with vintage things when I was only 10. So that’s what really sparked my interest in vintage items and design.
I wasn’t 100% sure of what type of business I wanted to own, but I’ve followed my passions and my gut when curating for the shop. I think Bluebird will only continue to evolve.
What would you say are your main influences when constructing a design?
When constructing a design I really try to delve into my clients mind to get a feel for what their vision is. I am often influenced by the space, light, and usually a vintage piece as an anchor. I focus on simplicity, usually using a neutral palette and building from their using pops of color or texture.
Which comes first, the materials or the design idea?
Each project is really different. Most often I am inspired by a single piece. Once I have an understanding of the space and style that the client wants, I try to find that one special piece to build the design around.
Did you have a design mentor?
I don’t have a design mentor but often credit my mother for setting the creative fire in me. I also have no ‘professional’ training in my field. My degree is actually in Fashion Merchandising. I often speak of how fortunate I am to have a natural ability when it comes to design and choosing just the right piece for a project. It’s something that I truly enjoy, a passion. I think, owning a shop, designing, and merchandising, really are a learn-as-you-go type of thing. I just feel blessed that Troy has responded so positively to my shop.
What part of the process excites you the most?
I think the most exciting part is, and always will be, the hunt. Finding that special or rare piece, the type of piece that inspires an entire room or home. I love that. And while finding the piece always gets my heart racing, I also love the story that goes along with it and the people I meet along the way. You never know who you’re going to meet at a flea market, ‘junk’ shop, or antiquing road trip. It really keeps things exciting and helps me to grow my network. ☺
What do you think makes you unique and different from other designers?
Entering this field at age 23 with an I-can-do-anything attitude and no business experience, taking risks with both the business and creative aspects of owning a shop, and just simply being Me!
What does community mean to you?
Actually, being a part of this exciting time of growth in Troy has helped me to better understand the meaning of “community.” It’s not just a neighborhood or brick and mortar buildings located in the same area. It’s sharing your great days, bad days, crazy days and the “everyday” of owning a shop in this wonderful little city. When you have a friend who owns a shop around the corner who gives you a shoulder to cry on (literally) when times are tough; when a new business moves in and I can return the favor of a warm welcome and when you start referring to your customers as “friends;” and working together to achieve things we cannot achieve alone.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m just really happy to be apart of this project and this community. From the moment I decided I was going to open a business I knew Troy was the place for me, I’m very excited to see what the future holds.