Thursday, October 31, 2013
Nikki (Fitzgerald) Wood
Jay Wood (husband), Matty (13-year-old fat/ornery orange cat), Lewis (3-year-old lanky black cat)
Company/Position: Owner/designer of It Fitz Jewelry and Templeton Silver
I volunteer with an amazing organization called SOS. A friend of mine from college passed away from cancer and this is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. As a uterine cancer survivor, I feel like it’s important that we do what we can in order to find a cure for it (any type of cancer). SOS’S goal is to allow patients to focus solely on recovery and not the financial stress brought on during this very difficult battle. Funds raised are used to provide assistance to those with every day needs such as wigs, prosthetics, childcare, gas cards, utility bill assistance, medication assistance and more.
University of South Carolina 1997 Graduate Double Major Marketing/Management
Did you see yourself being where you are today? Why?
Not at all. I always thought I’d have a career in sales “working for the man” with two children and a white picket fence by this age. But, you know what they say, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Never in a million years did I think I would own two companies and be doing what I absolutely love. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I’m frustrated and second guess myself, but at the end of the day, I’m still beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to do this.
How did you get to where you are today?
A lot of hard work, a lot of hours, and a lot of trial and error. Working for yourself you never stop working. There are weeks that I have easily worked 70 hours. Being a one woman show (soon to be hiring an intern) and having to do all marketing, packaging, social media and not to mention actually making the products, etc is a never ending process. There are days that I’ll have to put my husband to work and have him string beads for me (give him a few beers and he somehow always ends up being a willing participant). Over the last four years I have learned from my mistakes and have FINALLY started to figure out what works and what doesn’t, but every day is new, and something different always pops up.
What is your life philosophy? “Never Give Up.” Absolutely. There have been so many days that I just want to throw the towel in and wonder if I’m making the right decisions with my businesses, but ultimately I know that is not an option I will choose. Charleston has so many creative, incredible and talented artists out there and huge competition, that is can be very intimidating. But, I have to stop and regroup, and realize that’s what makes being an artist so awesome. Everyone has different talents, styles and designs and there is a fit for ever consumer out there. Whether it’s me or someone else. It does help having a very supportive best friend/husband that can be my cheering section and give me the extra push I need some days. Having someone truly believe in you and what you do is the best feeling in the world.
What inspires you?
Being a native of Charleston and the beauty the city encompasses, is in my blood. We live where people vacation and we live here year round. It’s hard not to be inspired by the allure of The Holy City. I have found my spring/summer collections are always my favorite. Corals and bright colors rock. I also love fashion magazines and pouring a glass of wine and scouring them. I love the end result of my creations. Seeing my jewelry on a customer and them truly loving it, makes me happy. Seeing one of my pacifier clips on a baby and mom being happy, is rewarding.
Who is your mentor and why?
My friend Jennifer Buddin owns The Little Black Book and her company is growing and growing fast. The past five years she has been there for me to ask questions, bounce ideas, financial advice, helped me with wording, and literally everything else you can imagine. She is a busy girl (husband, son, one on the way, and a thriving business) but still takes time out to help little old me. She does it with a smile on her face and never seems annoyed (at least not within earshotJ) when I come to her for anything. She is an incredible wife, mom, business owner and friend. She’s always positive, and lights up a room. If I’m ever half that successful in all areas of my life, I’ll be doing well.
Best advice you have ever been given?
The past is the past and leave it there. We all get down on ourselves and life can get in the way. After being diagnosed with uterine cancer at 35 and a full hysterectomy at 36, I knew I had a choice. I can sit around and feel sorry for myself that my husband and I weren’t able to have kids and that I had gotten cancer or I could power through it, kick cancer’s ass and be thankful that I had a big blessing of being cancer free and second chance at life. Don’t get me wrong, there are better days than others, but I knew I wanted to move forward and not let it bog me down. I look back on that and know that I can do anything. It is actually possible for me to grow these two companies into what I want them to be. Having a very strong support system in my husband, friends, mom and in laws, I’m starting to finally believe that the sky’s the limit.
What do you do to relax, hobbies? Since my hobby has actually become my profession, when I finally do get to actually “relax” I love nothing more than to spend time with my husband and friends. And, watching a little Gamecock football.