After spending the first half of her career excelling at her craft as Design Director for a leading national commercial real estate firm, Candice Campbell founded Nimble.
Candice served as their marketing catch-all, learning on the fly and supporting the firm in every aspect of design, branding, and strategy. Growing with a start-up, she was intensely focused for the first 3 years of her career. In year 3, a light bulb clicked for her when she had the opportunity to work with interiors for one of her projects. Being able to work on a brand from the strategy level through visual identity and brand roll-out, now, into design decisions for the physical space was just – magic. It was with that project that she realized her true passion – connecting brand to place. From there, Candice made it a focus to seek out opportunities to combine her interior design education and her love for branding and graphics. Clients began seeking her services beyond her firm’s involvement – and in 2014, Nimble. was born.
Tell us about your work and what Nimble is all about.
Nimble. is a multi-disciplinary design studio dedicated to branding for the built environment. Focusing our expertise in four main categories of design – branding, graphics, signage and interiors, Nimble. elevates brand stories beyond the surface and into the built environment to differentiate, inspire and influence audience behavior.
We partner directly with developers, asset managers, restaurateurs, and extended leasing and marketing teams, bringing a steady voice and persistent right hand to every new engagement. Our work can be found from San Diego to Jacksonville, for Clients such as HighBrook Investors, Portman Holdings, DRA Advisors, and more.
Since formation, Nimble. has grown from one to an established team of four, producing award-winning, multi-disciplinary brand experiences for clients in real estate and hospitality. In under three years, Nimble. has launched over 75 new brands, led nearly 50 property repositioning campaigns, and traveled 1,000’s of miles to bring innovation and consistent brand exposure to projects in 13 core markets.
What do you see for your future?
Steady, selective growth, a diversified project load, a dedicated multi-disciplinary team, and strengthened awareness for branded environments.
How large is your business? How many employees do you have?
I have four full-time employees and five rotating collaborators. We saw revenue growth of 16% in 2016, which has gone up to 30% in 2017.
Tell us a success story about funding your business.
We received a small investment during the formation of Nimble. that we were able to pay back in full within the first year of doing business. Primarily, Nimble. is a self-funded, 100% female owned venture.
What do you see as challenges for you and your business? What are some opportunities?
One of my biggest challenges is slowing down to build sustainable processes and facilitating training that will allow us to grow our team and reach, all the while maintaining elevated client service levels and design innovation across focus sectors.
One of the biggest opportunities is that we’re diversifying our project load to include more hospitality-focused projects and making tracks to grow relationships in southeastern complementing markets, Savannah and Charleston. Additionally, we’re hyper-focused on growing our reach locally. Atlanta CRE is booming and it’s been such a fun ride to participate and learn from this cycle.
Tell us a story about a success in your business or a mistake you overcame?
As a growing start-up, we try to take each small win as a benchmark of success. In 2016, we celebrated several milestones – including several high-profile projects such as Coda Tech Square, Coalition Food and Beverage, Carriage Works, and 150 Fayetteville, and the addition of our dedicated project/accounts manager. Each small win is such an integral piece of our growing story.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
The opportunity to learn daily – to press myself to the limits, to take risks, to grow through experiences, to teach others, and to allow small wins and fails to consistently evolve my creative process and approach to business.
What about your business matters most deeply to you? How does it engage your values?
I tirelessly live our studio values. I am endlessly passionate about our product, meticulous about our craft, and dedicated to remaining a strategic right hand on behalf of our clients and projects. This focus on client service and the dedication we have to grow with our clients has been a driving force of our success.
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?”
I absorb so much from those around me. My ability to listen carefully and reflect has often allowed me to grow exorbitantly as a young entrepreneur. I never settle and am continually seeking improved processes and refined approaches, fueled by those around me.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now? Why does s/he inspire you?
It’s hard to pick just one. I’m a big podcaster, and love listening to entrepreneur stories – NPR’s How I Built This and Sophia Amoruso’s Girlboss Radio are two of my faves. Recently I listened to Alli Webb’s episode [on ‘How I Built This’] and really connected with her focused mantra to dedicate yourself to one thing and be the best at it. In our case, client service. It really is that simple; growth follows reputation, anchored in consistency.
What’s the best and the worst thing about being a female entrepreneur?
The best thing about female entrepreneurship is the self-empowerment that comes from knowing you can ‘do both’ – whatever that means to you in your stage of life. It’s always a give and take but knowing you can succeed and achieve respect from your family, clients, support team, and fellow entrepreneurs is the ultimate payoff. On the flip side, respect from clients doesn’t always come easily and sometimes being a female entrepreneur, specifically a young female entrepreneur, means you have to work harder to prove your value – translating to time and missed opportunities.
Do you think male entrepreneurs are “different” from female entrepreneurs, and if so, how? If not, why not?
Of course they are but both are critical. How females perceive and act on risk, how we plan, how we market ourselves, how we lead teams and presentations, how we position our service offerings is different, yet required for a balanced entrepreneurial ecosystem.
What the best advice you ever got, and from whom?
Someone once told me ‘in order to fail, you have to begin’. Meaning, don’t let the fear of failing prevent you from trying. Failure is a measure of self-growth and perseverance; you should expect it and learn from it. Failure builds up every great entrepreneur and without it, we’re naïve.