Brand and marketing entrepreneur made things happen in middle of pandemic
Nickai Marketing is a company born out of necessity.
When founder Hailey Smith returned home from university in England last September she struggled to find work in her field.
“I started applying,” she said. “Some jobs I felt like I had all the qualifications for, but I never heard back. The pandemic was on and not many people were hiring.”
Many of her friends were also struggling to find employment.
“And sometimes there are jobs but they do not pay the going rate,” she said.
She thinks she might have graduated at one of the worst possible times.
“I didn’t even get a graduation ceremony,” she said.
Determined to make her own opportunities, she set up Nickai Marketing. Nickai is her middle name.
“I set up an Instagram page and started attracting followers, and growing and increasing my visibility,” she said. “I was able to draw in clients.”
She caters to specific brands, doing social media consultations, media management and marketing proposals.
Last month, she was hired by the Bermuda Olympic Association to run a branding webinar for athletes. She said there are a handful of local competitors looking to get sponsorship.
“I found they needed to learn how to position themselves as a personal brand,” she said. “Within the webinar I talked about the different content ideas that they can specifically use, how to start and grow and establish a strong brand.
“If an athlete wants to obtain sponsorships, endorsements or grow their fanbase it is very important to have some presence on social media.”
She said with so many sporting events cancelled right now it is even more important for athletes to have a social media presence and establish their brand.”
The workshop went well and participants were very engaged.
“They learnt there was more to do on social media that they initially thought,” she said. “They were able to understand the power and influence that social media can have.”
She has been working to develop her own brand since setting up last year, and has already rebranded her page once.
“I feel like my overall brand identity is established,” she said. “I think it is reflective of my personality.
“If you go on to my page I use a lot of bright colours showing off a lot of fun and energetic energy, but showing that social media is not always to be taken too seriously,” she said. “On my page I do a lot of fun and engaging content.”
While she did not intend to start a business at the height of a pandemic, it has worked out well for her.
Because people have become more accustomed to working remotely, she can now easily handle overseas customers. She is already working with a few small businesses in England.
“Initially, I wanted to go and work for someone else, but being able to work for myself I have been able to refine my own craft,” she said. “I have worked with a variety of clients. I now have experience making content for clothing brands. I have even worked with social media managers, as well as entertainment businesses. So now I have had a chance to build up my own portfolio.”
One of the challenges of being her own boss has been handling the administrative side of things.
“I don’t have much of a background in being an entrepreneur and the logistics that go behind that, such as bookkeeping,” she said.
For Ms Smith, the best part of running Nickai Management has been getting to know people.
Going back into lockdown this week has been disappointing. Some of her clients have had to close their physical stores or cancel upcoming events, which means they have less money on hand for their marketing and social media management.
“I would never tell a client to stop social media entirely,” she said. “You never want to go MIA. But I also work with what my clients can afford and what is feasible for them.”
If a full time job in marketing came along, Ms Smith would take it, and continue to run Nickai Management in her spare time.
“I’m not adverse to hiring someone if that happened,” she said.
For more information see @Nickai_Marketing on Instagram or e-mail haileynickai @gmail.com