We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Camacho and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, how do you think about risk?
I started this business after leaving a comfy salary job in retail. A college grad with a fashion design degree, working in a developing “start-up” community in downtown Las Vegas, I was a bit “burnt out” on the overpriced, unattainable items I was selling out of a boutique that didn’t fit the demographic of downtown. I decided that I wanted to stay in retail, but do it in my own way – or do it in a manageable way that downtowners and friends in the neighborhood could still afford. As unnerving as it was, I started my own business and began creating my own small line of clothing and purchasing accessories wholesale to develop a website. The website was successful enough, my inventory started to grow, and all of a sudden, I needed more space. A friend suggested I do a mobile-themed shop; that I should convert a travel trailer into a boutique, and that’s what I did.
There were a few times I doubted these risks; either right before, or shortly after taking them, but ultimately the support of my community helped motivate me to keep going. I kept making clothes and expanding the buying, slowly growing and staying connected with other small businesses. Months turned into years, and through some ups and downs – my business (thankfully) still grows.
Six years later, I still take risks. Most recently, I have decided to expand again, signing a lease for a brick and mortar location with a lot more square footage. The trailer now belongs to a new business owner, who is just starting out like I once did, taking a risk on a mobile plant shop. (I wish her the best of luck!) I have a few months until I open the new shop, so I’m focusing back on e-commerce and making more custom clothing. I absolutely love where I’m at in my life and with my business.
I’ve heard the saying “There’s no reward without risk” and didn’t understand the full meaning until I started my own business; a business which I love to do. Which, then, brings me to another quote that I live by, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” The rewards that come with doing what you love for work are priceless. I “work” all the time, but I enjoy the hell out of it. I feel lucky to have found my passion (and to have support while doing it). I am grateful for the courage to take the risks that are necessary to grow as a woman in business, and overall as a human being.
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.
My “art” can be so many things. I love to create clothing from scratch – make a pattern, mock-up, final piece, and then see it go to a loving home… that process is always beautiful. I also love to reconstruct clothing too. Some of my favorite projects have been taking exiting pieces (i.e. denim jeans, t-shirts, dresses) and cutting them up and creating something new (i.e. aprons, pillow cases, robes or quilts, tote bags). It not only helps our planet out a tiny bit by recycling or up-cycling these old items, but it’s also a cool experience to see these repurposed goods have PURPOSE again, haha. I also love to paint and draw on canvases, skate decks, old paintings/pictures (recycling again), or on clothing… I feel art can be expressed in many ways, so I consider writing poems and songs and making music art as well, which I also enjoy doing. My shop has all of these things in it currently – I make new clothes, I re-purpose old clothes, I have art for sale, and there’s always some element of music, because I believe music is pure energy.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Downtown Vegas is beautiful and buzzing, we would have a lot of places to go see. First stop would be my friend Natalie’s restaurant, “eat”. She serves the best breakfast and brunch in the whole city. After “eat”, I’d take them to “The Writer’s Block” bookshop, also downtown, because they have the most adorable atmosphere, the owners are super friendly, and they offer an amazing selection of books. After, we might pop over to the Arts District, and check out some of the cool antique shops like “Authentik” or “Vintage Vegas” to see if they have anything to add to my collection of random nick-nacks. By then we’d probably be hungry again, and I’d take them to “Esther’s Kitchen” or “Yu-Or-Mi Sushi”.. both places have incredible, mouth-watering food. I don’t actually drink, but if I still did, I’d go to the coolest women-owned bar called “Velveteen Rabbit” for a super tasty one-of-a-kind cocktail, and to admire the unique art they have hanging inside. If I wasn’t tired by then, I would take them back downtown to “The Griffin” for a stiff drink and to hang out by the vibey fireplaces, before going to dance in back, which opens at 10 on weekends.
If we had a week to go out (and obviously endless amounts of money), I’d also take my bestie to “Bungalow Coffee” and “Berlin Bar” in the Arts District, because both have really cool aesthetics and I also really love the drink and food offerings. Another cool book shop/art gallery that just opened is called “Edit” , and they offer a unique selection of fashion and art books, as well as some gorgeous home goods. Heading back to East Fremont, I could take my friend to a number of really awesome small businesses, nestled in the “Fergusons Downtown” Motel. They have coffee, music, art, clothing, a hair salon, a soap company, you name it, they’ve most likely got it. Their neighbors with a really inspiring woman names Jolene, who owns “Vegas Test Kitchen”, which is a concept that houses 4+ Chefs/restaurants under one roof, and offers online ordering as well as dine-in. The food is fantastic every time. Next to Jolene is another Ferguson’s business called “The Gather House” which is a micro version of Fergusons, and offers small spaces to rent for more DTLV small businesses. I adore the shops “Tofu Tees” (owned by a 14 year old girl named Kumei), “Love Em Couture” (owned by a woman named Emme Larsen), and “Sun In Pieces Shop” (owned by a woman named Beatriz). These woman are super inspiring and I love watching them grow!
There are seriously SOOOO many places I could take a friend to see (I’m born and raised in Vegas) and it would probably take longer than a week to show them. It would definitely take up too much of this question space, haha. Feel free to reach out if you’d like anymore info on places to go or how to get in contact with these peeps. 🙂
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to Shoutout to Tony Hsieh (Rest In Peace), who inspired so many people in my community to do what they love. I am grateful for all the memories and friendships that were cultivated in the Downtown Las Vegas community because of him. I would also love to Shoutout to all the small business owners doing the damn thang. Keep going, keep pushing! There’s no finish line, I hope we all keep loving and growing and supporting each other infinitely! HUGE BIG MEGA SUPER THANK YOU to everyone who has shown love or support to Burnt in the last 6 years!
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Deed DeBruno of Las Vegas, NV.