“It's great to know I'm making someone's big day extra special.”
What work were you doing previously?
I've been working in advertising for eight years.
I started out as an Art Director and, later, moved into project management. I've always been creative, but felt that my creativity was quite restricted when working on ideas for big corporate companies.
What are you doing now?
Alongside my full-time job, I now design wedding stationery under the name Doves & Peacocks.
Just as advertising is based on an idea, so too are my wedding stationery designs. I get to know the couple and find a 'truth' about them. It could be a common thing they love or a memorable destination – something that is special and unique to them.
I use this to come up with ideas for seating plans, table numbers, favours, guest-books, and so on. These are then presented back to the couple.
Why did you change?
I've always loved weddings.
I found when I got married that there are a lot of people out there in the industry who won't do completely bespoke work. Generally, they need you to pick things from templates.
I'd already been doing design work for friends for ages. A few years ago, a close friend and my husband both encouraged me to create a Facebook page and just see what happened. Before I knew it, I started getting enquiries.
Are you happy with the change?
Just seeing the couple's reactions when they see the ideas or the first round of designs is lovely. I've even had brides tell me they are more excited to see their final stationery on the day then anything else, which is really nice. It's great to know I'm making someone's big day extra special.
What do you miss and what don't you miss?
At the moment, I have the best of both worlds; I'm still in advertising, but I'm also working on wedding stationery.
I miss having a social life, and my sleep! I tend to find I'm always working.
How did you go about making the shift?
I haven't made a complete shift yet, mainly because we were saving up to buy a house so I needed a steady income.
I'm hoping eventually to be able to go full time with Doves & Peacocks.
What help did you get?
I've had a lot of support and help from my family. My husband, sisters and parents have all got stuck in with big orders, from filling favour bags to coming with me to set up on event days.
What have you learnt in the process?
I have to be super organised.
I generally am organised anyway (I need to be for work, being a project manager), but have to be even more so because I'm juggling two jobs. I need to make the most of every minute of my day.
What do you wish you'd done differently?
I wish I'd started this a lot earlier.
What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
Follow what you love doing, and don't be worried about starting small.
I started by doing a few favours for friends and designing odds and ends for their weddings. It even crossed my mind that I didn't have enough content for my Facebook page. My husband forced me to just get it live; once I did, slowly but surely, enquiries started coming in.
I moulded how Doves & Peacocks was to work as I listened to couples and got a feel for what they needed. You could say there's an element of winging it and just going with your gut.
What resources would you recommend to others?
Having a good bunch of friends and family behind you really helps.
They are there to help out when you can't afford to pay someone to work for you.
To find out more about Nishma's business, visit www.dovesandpeacocks.com.
What lessons could you take from Nishma's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.