We had the good fortune of connecting with Nichola Weiss and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nichola, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It was less of a thought process and more of a final straw. My whole life I’ve been pretty alternative, and when I started working after college, I kind of felt like a poser in every role I took on. It was a confusing chapter for me because I really wanted to work hard and dedicate myself to something, but there was just no passion. I also wanted to express myself “creatively”, but wasn’t sure what that would look like for me. When I got married in 2018, I was in a position where I just stopped working altogether. On the one hand I was grateful that I didn’t have to do something I didn’t want to, but on the other, I felt that I was losing my identity, and the ability to envision a meaningful future. I had become complacent.
When the pandemic began to adjust everyone’s daily routines, mine actually didn’t change much. I was used to spending days at home, often a little directionless. But what did change for me was more of an existential outlook. The fact that this global pandemic wasn’t entirely rocking my world, was I guess, the fire I needed to get off the couch and do something. I really felt that I had something more to give. Floral design started as an experiment of self-expression and has grown into a business I’m really proud of and have the passion to work hard for.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The idea to work with flowers came from a simple interest – I loved buying them at the grocery store/ farmer’s market, and they made me happy. I started going downtown to the LA flower market on the weekends in the beginning of 2021, and putting together arrangements for friends and family. It was such a learning curve because I didn’t have any formal training (I definitely laugh looking back at some of my early arrangements). But what was so exciting for me was seeing that as I progressed and built my skill and brand, I had a style of arranging that was naturally happening, and was becoming my signature thing. That was really cool. My arrangements are a little wild, but in a subtle way. They kind of feel like an emulation of my personality.
Everything Letter Four has been word of mouth, and the connections I’ve made in just over a year have really floored me. I’ve had the honor of collaborating and sharing my flowers with people, women especially, that I admire so much and feel inspired by.
For florals, I focus on arrangements for the home, whether they’re celebratory gifts, or personal reminders that joy can be found in the in-between moments. I also love creating tablescapes for intimate events (dinner parties, showers, holidays, etc.) but have made a specific business decision not to include weddings in my offerings, I prefer to be a guest!
One thing about me, and now by extension, Letter Four, is that I want to share more of what I love with others. And because this brand is a celebration of the everyday pleasures that create a meaningful life – I’m expanding into a few new spaces that I’m really excited about. One being coffee – my favorite daily ritual. I’ve been working with an amazing roaster in LA to offer my first sustainably sourced bean, which will soon be available for purchase on my site. I’m also launching a journal, which will include musings and life-lessons that I’ve been collecting along the way.
I think the hardest thing about starting and maintaining this business is the balance between planning ahead and reacting. There are so many unforeseen situations that come up and I just think to myself “wow, I definitely have to handle that differently next time”. Whether it’s setting delivery radius limits, or saying no to projects that I know don’t align with my brand.
The environmental impact of floral design is a hurdle that is top of mind for me too. I use recyclable materials as often as possible and am constantly looking for and testing options that don’t harm our planet.
Another challenge is being a one-woman show! Most of my decisions come from the gut, but it can be a little daunting to feel like the consequences of those decisions (for better or worse), will always fall back on me. I know I’m not the first to say, starting your own business can be lonely at times. But the reward has been immense. Sharing a little joy and beauty with others really is a north star for me.
PS. my new website is launching soon. Stay tuned!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I was born in Santa Monica, but I am probably the last person you should ask what to do in LA. I’m a creature of habit! Here’s my best attempt at a few suggestions:
Angelini Osteria – the original location on Beverly Blvd is my favorite Italian in LA. They recently opened in the Palisades Village as well, where I foresee spending many anniversary/celebratory dinners! My go to is the Tagliolini al Limone.
Crossroads Kitchen – I’m not vegan, but I’m a sucker for their artichoke oysters.
Flake in Venice for an Acai bowl
Walks! My favorite activity is picking a coffee shop in various neighborhoods in LA and walking around looking at houses.
Favorite Areas: Santa Monica (North of Montana), Brentwood, Larchmont, Abbot Kinney
Beach – in Malibu always
A trip Downtown to the Los Angeles Flower Market of course!
A glass of wine at Shutters
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The experience of starting a business has clarified for me the amazing people I have in my corner. My husband in particular has been my biggest cheerleader. Alex reminds me that good things take time, and bad things always pass. He’s my sounding board, and sometimes even my flower delivery man! Plus, if you ever receive a lovely hand-written note with your arrangement, it’s because he is also my scribe!
Both Alex’s family and mine have also championed the growth of my business. I’m so grateful to them.
I would especially love to shoutout a few women whose support has profoundly impacted my confidence in building Letter Four:
Jenna Walker, Sophie Collins, Jessica Kane, Adriana Jordan, and Annie Armstrong. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
And a special thank you to Sarah Karpeles for this nomination!