Made By Mom Gift Guide: Interior designer offers custom wood decor she makes - or you make at popular DIY parties
Posted December 4, 2018 8:34 p.m. EST
By day, Nicole Fella works as a project manager for a bathroom remodeling company in Cary. But at other times, she's running her own successful business, AJM Interiors Decor, organizing DIY workshops and parties where her guests are invited to make their own piece of art.
Fella, who lives in Holly Springs with her husband and their two children, graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in interior design and has worked in residential design throughout her career.
"I started my business just over four years ago, repurposing the drawers and doors we removed in the bathroom demos and creating gifts for friends and family. I posted a few photos to Facebook and got some requests for orders and kept going. I expanded into repurposing old pallets, and frames."
In January 2015, she opened up her own Etsy shop, and the business has only grown from there. Fella and her business are featured in this year's Made By Mom Gift Guide. Here's a Q&A with more details about her work.
Go Ask Mom: What all do you do?
Nicole Fella: Custom handmade wood home décor, DIY Workshops, Ladies Nights In, Kids Birthday Parties, Team Building events and more! I love creating custom, personalized products for customers. I like helping someone take a vision or idea and creating a keepsake for their home. Most of my products are wood but I also create mugs, glasses, T-shirts, pillows, etc.
GAM: Tell us about your DIY Wood Sign Workshops. They're offered in homes and at boutiques?
NF: I offer a few options for my workshops. Mostly they are mobile in-home parties where I bring everything to you! Hosts invite their friends, put out some snacks and (adult) beverages and I provide the rest! I have also converted space in my home to host both open and private events there. And I team up with local boutiques and breweries and offer workshops in their locations as well.
I create a custom event on my website for guests to register through and they each get to select their own design/pattern. All materials are provided and guests learn to stain the wood, apply a stencil, chalk paint in, peel and fine tune all with step by step instructions and a lot of laughs along the way.
GAM:.I love getting experiences as gifts - and one of your workshops is definitely an experience. What do you love about doing the workshops? Are they for everybody ... even those who aren't artistically inclined?
NF: No artistic skill is needed! I have had the most un-artistic individuals come in saying, "I will need your help, I can't make anything," and they leave saying, "No one in my house is gonna believe I created this!!"
One of my favorite things about my workshops is how fun they are. I love to laugh and joke around so I try to keep things light and fun. We are always laughing and having a good time! But what I love most is seeing how great everyone's projects turn out and how proud or amazed they are at what they created!
GAM: What do you hope the future holds for your business?
NF: I'd love to continue to grow and hopefully open my own brick-and-mortar location. I foresee it as a space where guests can come to create not only a custom sign or décor item, but an experience.
I'd love to team up with other makers in the area to teach their own workshops there as well. I'd incorporate my interior design services as well, helping to select colors, accents, etc. I've done this in the past for my clients who have a blank wall and know they need something there but are not sure what to do. I will go in and measure the space, select colors with them and create a custom piece for their home and style to complete the space. This is something I think sets me apart from other makers. I can help them utilize what they (or I) create to build a cohesive design in their home.
GAM: How can people find you?
I also participate in local craft events throughout the year. I can be found on Facebook and Instagram where I post pictures of what I'm currently working on and what local events I will be at! It's also a great place to see "behind the scenes" pics of how the signs are created!