Holly Nichols: I started after I graduated. I was looking for a way to combine my two passions which are fashion and art. I was always creating fashion inspired art. I thought of a social media account where I could start documenting my art. It gave traction and people showed interest in it which was a surprise to me. It kind of came as a mistake. I started my business from a demand.
Royale Diary: Where do you get your inspiration for different styles?
Holly Nichols: I get a lot of inspiration from the runway. I do two types of illustrations i create: high fashion couture and cozy everyday wear. A lot of my girls are bundled up in different sweaters and that is really inspired by the different seasons. Right now I am drawing a lot of chunky knits. The high fashion drawings are inspired by the runways. Couture week is my favorite week because there are so many great things to draw. I don't know how to make clothes but I enjoy the art process of sketching it out.
Royale Diary: What advice would you give to someone who wants to increase their following on social media?
Holly Nichols: When I started out I used 30 hashtags. That was the max you could do. That started attracting a lot of spam and a lot of people I didn't want to attract such as the "like for like" accounts. So from there I started to tweak my hashtags to ones that were relevant to what I was doing but would still get the attention. Instead of using #art with a category of probably 5million+ I used #fashionillustration which is maybe 500k or less. So you are more likely to show up. Thinking of strategic hashtags that are focused on what you are doing and being consistent with what you are posting are very important. I only post fashion illustrations I don't post anything else. Lighting is also very important. I try to shoot in good, natural lighting so the viewer can see my art in the exact color it is suppose to be in. Therefore I am not putting filters on my art. Stay really picky about what you post. It is ok to say no to someone if they ask you to post something that you are not comfortable posting. Be really vigilant and true to yourself.
Royale Diary: Where do you want your brand to go next? I know you are partnering with different brands.
Holly Nichols: I love partnering with brands but I also like doing my own thing. I have an online store where I can sell products that I am creating. I really enjoy that because I am interacting with the customers one on one. They’re real people as oppose to the brands that may have an art department, social team, and creative team. I am dealing with these customers one-on-one who love my artwork and are supporting a small business.