Laugh, write, remember! Nicole Riccioni from Just Name It is the creative heart behind the Collecting Moments Jar Kits and other personalised gifts she creates. Nicole is a firm believer in purchasing gifts with a purpose, meaning, and a whole lot of heart, and in this edition of Meet the Maker, Nicole shares why recording and collecting moments have become so important to her family, and what inspired her to create her jar kits so that she could share this special gift with others.
Can you share the story behind Just Name It and your Collecting Moments Kits? What was the inspiration? Where did it all begin?
In 2016, we started our own moments jar with the kids to capture stories and memories of the big and little things. Quirky things the kids say, what made us laugh out loud hysterically, a milestone… you get the drift. It was an ordinary jar with ratty pieces of paper but it captured so much happiness and magic. After a few years, I tucked it away deciding it didn’t look very nice and from that moment we stopped using it.
One day last year my moments jar caught my eye and I instantly smiled. I didn’t need to open it, the stories and memories started rushing back, giving me goosebumps. I wished that my Moments Jar wasn’t tucked away and looked nicer. I wished it was placed somewhere that I could see more frequently, this way I can absorb the heart hugs more often. That right there was my ah-ha moment! Make it a gorgeous decor piece, with note cards and a stand to complete the kit – making it easy to use.
What did you do before, and what encouraged you to take the leap into launching your own creative endeavor?
I have formal education in Commerce Management/Marketing, a decade in fashion marketing (which was my dream job & feels like a lifetime ago). The last decade or so I focused on my husband’s business and raising our family. I found myself working in hospitality because the hours and flexibility suited our household. To be honest, I really enjoyed engaging with the customers and getting to know our locals. However, my creative spark and energy was somewhat dormant, like a dandelion seed (hence my logo). I felt I was losing touch with who I was. Each time I thought of making a change I talked myself out of it. My experience was pre social media and my corporate confidence was at an all time low.
COVID gave me a big shove out of my convenient employment. It gave me the stillness and time to recalibrate how I was living and allowed me to assess how and where I had been prioritizing my time. I reached out to people to check in on them and rekindled friendships that I had neglected. The simple things brought me so much joy and gave me hope. Once I saw our moments jar hiding away, it changed my way of thinking. When a girlfriend said, ‘you completely light up when you talk about it, your passion and enthusiasm is infectious’… I thought yeah, I want people to remember the little things more, hold on to those heart felt moments and fill their own buckets. Sounds corny but it’s true.
When you launched your business at the end of last year, you were featured on the local 7 News. What a wonderful opportunity. Tell us about that experience.
Such a wonderful opportunity! Posts and engagement from the local community about my product range is what caught the attention of Channel 7 Local reporter Katie Toney.
Moments before I received her phone call I was wondering if I had overcommitted in supplies, an hour later I was ordering more! Being in the spotlight isn’t my ideal place to be but I knew I would be crazy if I didn’t ‘seize the moment’ and yes, it is written on one of the cards in our jar!
What are some of the biggest challenges and achievements in your business journey so far?
Achievement – When the first organic sale came through, that was exciting!
Challenge -Not working with a team or having colleagues to bounce ideas off. Some people love the idea of networking and going to meet & greets – I am definitely not one of them! Well, I wasn’t.
Achievement – I am going to these events now and meeting so many supportive people.
Challenge – Social media (I just stopped typing and pulled my hair) – it has been a driver of my sales but also driven me insane! It has been, and still is – my biggest challenge. I’ve really had to overcome thinking that posting is boasting.
Achievement – Learning that quite a few of us local makers have the same challenges. I believe so much in The Collecting Moments Kits and the stories from customers have brought so much joy, this deserves to be shared – it’s not boasting it is sharing.
You’re also a Mum, tell us about your tribe. How do you find the juggle between family life and running a small business?
Ah yes, the juggle… some days the juggle is seamlessly beautiful and other days a beautiful mess! I have a hardworking, self-employed husband who completely appreciates and understands the ups and downs that small businesses face. Having his support and encouragement makes it easier to keep going. Together we have a 14 year old son and 11 year old daughter. The kids often come into the studio to see what I am working on. They have seen how much research and effort has gone into the business so they also get really excited and proud seeing the orders come through. It’s amazing how much closer we are because of it. On the messy days, I remind myself of this.
What do you love most about the Sunshine Coast? Do you have any favourite local hangout spots you frequent when you’re not working?
I love the community spirit, the outdoor lifestyle and the casual nature of the coast. We are often at Mooloolaba as that’s where the kids do nippers. Sunrise is my favourite time of day, so you will find me walking the coastline with a friend or listening to an audio book and planning my day – either way I finish with a yummy coffee to support a local business.
Are there any other Sunny Coast makers or local businesses that inspire you?
Oooh yes… the makers and businesses that make up Mooloolaba Weddings and the Sunny Coast Made collaboration are my first go to’s to keep me inspired. I remember when I first stumbled upon Sunny Coast Made and I did a little internal cheer and instantly reached out and connected with Miranda, locals supporting locals, I love it!
What’s next for you and Just Name It?
Continuing to learn, adapt and grow. Currently our product is only available online, so making our range available to the local community at a market stall sounds exciting.
To connect with Nicole and view her beautiful collection of Moments Jars click here.