In this month’s Meet The Blogger interview I catch up with Amsterdam-based blogger Nicole Ballardini (Nicky) from nickyinsideout. We chat about how she made the leap from fashion retail in London to full-time blogging in The Netherlands, the trends she’ll be wearing this season, how to nail streetstyle shots, why she started a YouTube channel and her ‘push’ present for having Emma!
Name: Nicole Ballardini From: Italy Based: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Hi Nicky, thanks for joining us for a chat, we love your blog www.nickyinsideout.com! Tell us when did you start blogging and why?
Thanks for having me! I started blogging in 2014 as the least techy person ever. I used to work in fashion in London, I was a Store Manager on Bond Street. I would see bloggers coming in and out to borrow clothes. I looked them up online and thought I could do this! So I bought myself a camera and read about how to blog. Back then there wasn’t much advice on how to start, there’s a lot more now. So I started my blog www.nickyinsideout.com, shared pictures and enjoyed it as a hobby!
You blog full-time right? How did you make the decision to do that?
Everyone’s dream is to go full-time but for me it was a remote dream. It was only when I got pregnant, left London and moved to Amsterdam that things changed. I was at home with my little girl Emma for a year, I wasn’t working and I started putting more effort into the blog and my pictures. I focused on building up the brand and then the first paid partnership came along! Now I work with great agencies here in Amsterdam and with international brands. I think working in the fashion industry definitely helped. I had experience of clothing, styling and brands.
What are your year-round wardrobe essentials?
A great pair of jeans, a Gucci belt (I wear mine every day), belt bags which I’m loving this season, a simple white t-shirt and a pair of designer sneakers.
What trends will you be wearing this Spring?
More skirts – I’m loving floaty midi-skirts and I’m planning on wearing them with hoodies this Spring. I do like to try trends but it is has to feel like you. Like with the pastel trend, I’ll wear dusty pink with denim but there are some shades of pink I wouldn’t even put on Emma! You have to wear clothes that you like, not just outfits that will get you more likes on Instagram!
Of all the brands you’ve worked with what has been your favourite collaboration? Who would you love to work with in future?
I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of great brands so far and I’m grateful for the opportunities that come to me. I think the longer you’re around, the more you establish yourself the more likely you are to be contacted for partnerships. I’ll be working with some great High Street brands this year so watch this space!
You feature beautiful street style photography on your blog and Instagram! Who takes your photos? What are your tips on nailing a shot?
Thank you! My boyfriend used to take my pictures but we were at the point where he was getting fed up! Now I pay a photographer and we shoot once a week, usually 3 to 4 outfits. I do the close-up pictures at home. I like taking self-portrait shots. At some point I might do it on the street! Emma is in day-care 3 days a week so I try to do as much on those days. When I go home to Italy my sister takes photos for me. She loves it and asks when can we go shoot!
My tips on getting a great streetstyle shot… I think the outfit is really important especially the styling. Also try and be natural in your shot and also make use of the light. Having an expensive camera isn’t the secret to a great shot. I think the more you shoot and practice using your camera the better you get.
You mix High Street and Designer pieces so well, what’s the most expensive item in your closet?
I would say 90% of my shoes and bags are designer. That’s where I prefer to spend my money and then I get most of my clothes from the High Street. The most expensive thing I have is a jumbo Chanel bag. I got it from my boyfriend as a ‘push’ present for having Emma! I was going to get a smaller one that I could use in the evening and during the day but he forced me to get the larger version!!
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I smoke! I can speak Italian, English and a bit of Dutch!
How would your friends describe you?
Positive and funny, even if something bad happens I make a joke of it. I’m sensitive but I can move on from things. I’m trying to show more of my personality on my YouTube channel and InstaStories.
You’ve just launched your own YouTube Channel, congratulations! What made you take the plunge?!
I have! I feel like YouTube is getting bigger and it’s where people want to see bloggers. I’ve tried it and I like that you get to know a person better. So I thought why not just chat to people, show them my life and around my home. It is at the beginning of things and I do a lot myself, I set up the stand and camera, I’ve got the lamp and everything! I also have support from Veronika who’s working me and helps me with everything, mainly focusing on my videos and editing at the moment. I couldn’t do it without her! So YouTube is my new challenge this year! It’s a big change for me but at least I’m getting less complaints about not showing my face 😉
Your daughter Emma features regularly on your social media channels, is she into fashion? Does she understand what you do for a living?! What does she think of it all?
She does like clothes and she loves to dress up! I did a shoot recently with a brand and when I came home she grabbed the bags to get everything out to see what she could try on! She’s 2 and a half so doesn’t have much patience to get her picture taken, but if she has her doll that helps. She’ll also do it for cake!
What can we expect from you and your blog in the next 12 months?
My goal this year is to really enjoy what I do! It’s so easy to get caught up in things and worry, but you never know when things can change. This year I want to keep going with YouTube, maybe increase publishing more than once a week. It will be more of the same from me, though I’m going to focus more on fashion. I think having a niche is important and doing what you do best!