The Post About Everything- Relationships, Branding & Home Theatre Remodel
So I have to preface this post by saying that it is not organized at all. If you follow my IG accounts or you have been watching my IG Stories, you know that I have had MAJOR writers block lately and honestly I am struggling just to get out of the house everyday with clean clothes on :/ Sometimes, you are the BOSS and other times you need an epic break before you meltdown circa Brittney Spears 2006, that is where I am right now- On the verge of a mental break. I'm tired yall.
When I made a post on my IG stories asking my followers what they wanted to read about on the D Violet blog this week, I received a bunch of random topics so I thought I would try to address a bunch of them in one post Q&A style. Plus, I am going to talk about myself a bit and my design plans for my upcoming DIY project in our media/theatre room.
Pressing Questions from the IG Community
Relationship & Love Stuff
Q: Nikki, How do you manage dealing with your persona on reality tv and how does it affect your marriage and/or relationships?
A: I actually get asked this question a lot and I wish I had some profound answer that made it seem like I manage it all perfectly, but I don't. Being on TV is a bit like living in a glass bubble. Everyone can see you, but you do not feel apart of any of the conversation.
When I first got married, it was SUPER hard adjusting to reality tv. I never knew I would be on TV (when my husband and I were married, he was not on TV) I had no idea how it worked. I made a lot of mistakes while filming and I cringe watching past episodes. It literally is enough to send me into full blown hives.
I am not the most outspoken person by nature and filming gave me the WORST anxiety ever. I HATED it. As time went on and I overcame what were some of the worst moments I've ever seen of myself, I adjusted and learned coping strategies to silence the "noise" from viewers. In some of my darkest times, I relied heavily on my amazing husband (yes, he really is that great) and my supportive family and friends.
Now, I see my limited role on Black Ink (wow, this is the first time I have ever mentioned the show by name on the blog) as an actual SIDE job and I do value the amazing people I have been able to connect with through my social media platforms. I have been able to build an amazing savings account and I now see my role in TV as a positive, not a negative surprisingly. When MEAN comments from viewers get to me (and yes, they do get to me), I disconnect. I lean into my husband for support. I vent to him about how I feel or things I wish I would of or should of done in "scene."
My friends and family are amazing and super supportive when I need to vent and talk about the show. I value all of their opinions and love so much. In short- I just take things day by day.
Q: How did you and Richard meet?
A: Everyone who knows me knows I am a hopeless romantic and I am VERY touchy/ feely and emotional lol. I met my husband at a tattoo shop in Oakland, California where he was doing a guest spot. One of my best friends had an appointment to get a tattoo with him and she asked me to tag along. At the time we met I only had 1 tattoo (I have 13 now) and I knew NOTHING about reality TV, the tattoo industry or anything for that matter. My life before my husband was super "vanilla" and I really was someone who was pretty corporate and just trying to find my way being a twenty something in SF.
When Richard and I first met, we had instant chemistry. Its funny, Richard is someone who you feel INSTANTLY comfortable with when you meet him. He has this open and authentic vibe about him that makes him super intriguing, funny and REAL.
After hours of conversation, we ended up exchanging phone numbers and talking EVERYDAY for a week before I surprised him and caught a plane to NY to visit him for a few days. During my first visit to NY, I feel in love with him. I loved the way he looked at me, the way he was so interested and invested in everything I said, the way he made me feel smart and beautiful and how I felt I could truly be MYSELF with him. After our visit, he caught a plane to SF because he couldn't be apart from me and it was in SF (1 hour before his plane ride back to NY) that he asked me to marry him in the car at a stoplight on the way to the airport. I said YES obviously and we have been inseparable ever since. Richard is truly my best friend.
How could you marry someone you just met? He has HOW many children? He does WHAT for a living? After getting married, I was very disconnected from my family and friends for some time. That hurt me more than Ive ever admitted. When I was first married, many of the people in my life were angry and confused. These were all questions I was faced with constantly and fielding the disapproval from people I loved was draining. I did not understand why people who loved me in my life couldn't be happy for me. Why didn't they see him the same way I did? Why didn't they understand? Why did they even care?
It took time for me to internally reflect and realize that their disapproval was just a form of support and caring. Though the way it was expressed was not always the most productive, I had to practice empathy and realize where their cancern was coming from. I had to validate their concern and assure them that I was HAPPY and ok.
Once I practiced empathy and patience with those in my life who voiced concern over my marriage, THEY GOT OVER IT. I was able to re-connect with people in my life. I was able to standup and show-up for myself and my own HAPPINESS.
That is one of the most freeing feelings ever
Girl BOSS ish- Owning Your Own Business & Branding
Q: Nikki, how did you start D Violet Interiors and how do you manage your side hustle?
A: I started D Violet Interiors in February 2017 and I have been working on it with the help and support of my husband ever since. I wanted to start D Violet Interiors as a space to connect with people through home interiors while helping them to achieve amazing homes without major investment. I wanted my work to be centered in this idea that home design does NOT have to cost a lot of money to feel amazing and look unique. I wanted to market my business more towards nontraditional interior design clients and expose people to a new passion for home décor and DIY in a way that felt attainable and realistic to the everyday family. I always see so many white folks doing DIY and having MAJOR followings on social media platforms- BUT I rarely saw people who looked like my friends and I represented in the home design space and I was on a mission to change that.
My husband has literally PUSHED me to do everything with D Violet Interiors. When I do home makeovers, he is the first one putting together EVERYTHING, painting, interacting with clients and helping me shop. When I write a blog post, Richard is the FIRST person to run to the blog and read it. My husband deals with my rants and breakdowns during my home decorating adventures and he is ALWAYS the person putting me back together when I feel like I am about to break and quit my business. Richard is truly the GOAT.
As most of my readers know, I do work a fulltime 9-5 job in addition to balancing my blog, design business and my husband's tattoo business. I do not ALWAYS manage all of the things I am involved in well. Having Lupus is hard and my body constantly forces me to slow the hell down and REST. Honestly, I would not trade my side hustles for anything. I love being able to connect with people through my blog or social media platforms. I love reading messages from people who implemented a design tip I recommended. It literally gives me all of the feels <3
Q: Would you ever quit your 9-5 and just focus on the brand?
A: Maybe someday. For now, I quite enjoy my bi-weekly paycheck and benefits.
Q: How in the world do you keep up with your social media pages?
Every morning, before I head into the office I take a bath in silence to start my day ( I also end my day with a bath). My bones and joints are ALWAYS super stiff and painful so a hot bath really helps me get my engine going in the morning. During my morning bath, I try to schedule all of my posts for that day and I use great apps like CANVA and Plannoly to assist me in design etc. Its really important to me that my IG feed looks really cohesive on both pages so I use my IG stories to post random pictures and comments rather than my actual IG page.
If I am working on a blog post or DIY project, I usually complete those after 5pm during the week or on Sunday's. I try to make sure that I only post my blog posts on Tuesday's or Wednesday's and I stick to a regular posting style and routine. In terms of branding, I like EVERY post I do to FEEL like me. I do not know how to describe how that happens, I just have to feel it in order for it to be posted.
The biggest advice I have for anyone trying to establish their social media presence and brand is to BE CONSISTENT & PATEINT. The more consistent your work is the better response you will get from your supporters. Just like social media, remember that a lot of "brands" are just smoke and mirrors and everybody is simply trying their best to establish themselves in an over-saturated industry.
Develop your own DESIGN ASETHIC and stick with it. Do not copy what you see other people doing. Trust me, if you notice so will your followers. Think outside of the box when figuring out your brand and put a lot of emphasis on how you can separate yourself from everyone else.
I take MOST (like 90%) of my own photography and trust me I'm not that good, but I'm learning. I look at pictures I took like a year ago and I am super impressed with how much my photography skills have improved during the last year. When I take my "fancy" flatly photos, I use BASIC stuff I have laying around the house and EDIT the hell out of my photos. I also BATCH a lot of my posts, which means I prepare a lot of my posts for social media in advance.
I am a reality TV reject so trust me when I say that building a POSITIVE name and reputation for yourself is everything. Stick with it!!
Q: Do you provide design services outside of Georgia?
A: My in-person interior services are geared more towards the states of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee (outside of GA depends on the project scope). For those who do not live in GA, I offer E-Design which is a pretty cool service that I provide a lot for clients.
So, what's next on the list For the DIY Projects?
The next project we are taking on (besides a few client projects in the next two months) is renovating our home theatre/ media room. As some of you know we have a giant master bedroom with an ensuite in it and I had ZERO idea what to do with it. Many of my followers suggested making it into a dressing room or vanity room for makeup. Unfortunately, 9/10 I prefer to look homeless on a daily basis so having a designated space to put on makeup and clothes just didn't make sense for me.
We have decided to make our ensuite into the media room/ adult theater (that sounds gross I know). Currently the kids have the upstairs loft for watching TV and stuff so having a media room just for the husband and I seemed great. Because we have a TV already in our bedroom, we will be installing a projector in the media room and putting sliding doors in to help separate the space from our actual bedroom.
To create a "moody" vibe, I am planning on painting the room black (gasp- I know) and including a stained wood small accent wall. To keep the space from feeling too dark, I want a WHITE sectional like this Ikea version and lighter wall accents. The lighting feature I have planned will really help bring out the modern/ bohemian vibe I LOVE and I am excited to see the space come together.
I will say that I am taking this media room project SLOW because I am exhausted and we have so many things going on during the next 2 months. As we start to make progress on the space, I will make sure to update all of you so you can see the major transition.
I am an Amazon Prime fanatic, so I have linked my amazon page here so you can see some of the home pieces (and beauty products) I love.