Influencer Nicki Kelly

Nicki Kelly moves at a swift pace, and with a background in fashion and beauty reacting to trends is her area of expertise. Editor Trudi Brewer discovers a chic business owner, with the most stunning Auckland home.

Nicki Kelly is a brand builder. Her portfolio of success stories includes a luxury lingerie label, a bespoke salon and her most recent, a hard-working beauty product designed for busy women on the go. Kelly opens her stunning inner city home, and shares her new baby, Beauty Dust.

What’s a typical working day for you?
Right now I am working on product development, packaging and a website, which is incredibly satisfying seeing our vision for Beauty Dust become a reality. Being a 'brand builder' there is no typical day, because it is so varied, which I love. It does however always start with a beautiful cup of tea, while I make breakfast and lunches for the kids. I walk and attend Pilates three times a week. And then fly into action with work, work, work. And then it's a juggle to do kids pick up's, drop off's, dinner washing, and then bed.  Life is crazy busy and sometimes I'm not sure how we get through our to-do lists.
What do you love most about your career?
There are no barriers to success. I've worked with the best buyers all over the world and pretty much everything I've ever done, started with picking up the phone and making stuff happen. I'm passionate and like to work fast, which I think means you get so much done in a day that I always feel satisfied.

What has been your career high to date?
I have many, but the most significant was when Victoria's Secret bought our lingerie brand, for over 1000 Victoria's Secret Stores. Also now being the brand director and now co-owner of a beautiful women's' sleepwear brand called Papinelle. I've known and worked with the founder for over ten years. We have such an amazing synergy, and I love every minute we spend working together building this empire. Also, being one of the original Co-founders and brand drivers of Dry & Tea. Creating the brand, from an idea we had seen when living in the United States to the beautiful, successful concept salon it is today.
What is the one thing that is not negotiable when it comes to your business?  
I decided long ago to surround myself with positive, high energy people in every aspect of our business. That's resulted in a fast moving, high energy environment that means I wake up loving the challenge, and the people I work with every day.

Tell us about Beauty Dust, your latest venture, where did the concept come from?
I was looking for the best problem-solving product for people like me who have a little more grey than we'd like and need something for concealing roots and regrowth in-between salon visits. I didn't like the stickiness of the crayon or wands or the unnatural feeling of the sprays. After researching the market, I found there was a gap. Enter, the brand Beauty Dust, the first of many products that will be available at David Jones stores.

What does beauty mean to you?
Whenever I hear the word beauty, I immediately think of being healthy on the inside. Inner health means you have good skin, great hair and excellent well-being.  

What is your one beauty indulgence?
The Super Elixir Alkalising Greens. It’s a highly specialised supplement with vitamins and minerals designed to keep your body alkaline and not acidic. I’ve been taking it daily for years, and as soon as I run out, I can feel a shift in my health.

What is the one hair product you would never be without?
My favourite treatment and one that I now can't go without is Olaplex.  My hair colour is so much bolder and brighter, and my hair is healthier since my stylist introduced this treatment to me. 

What would we always find in your beauty bag?
Can't live without a peachy nude lip colour, I probably have 15 of them. And I love Ellis Faas foundation; it's the best I've used. 

What is your wellness philosophy?
I need a lot of sleep, at least eight or nine hours a night. And in the quest for trying to be the best me that I can be, I have started meditation. And of course good food, good wine and being with good people.

You have astonishing energy, juggling a business and kids, how do you stay balanced and happy?
I have an amazing husband, and incredible kids, and know that family balance is key to being happy. I also need good food to function well and stay happy. I start each day with a green smoothie, which sets me up for a beautiful day, and then I try to eat clean food as much as I can.  As soon as I go off track with my eating, I feel off balance and have less patience and energy.

How would your describe your home?
I love our home so much; we have created a beautiful sanctuary in the city. The palette is black, white, marble and grey, which is so soft and relaxing that you always feel peaceful and tranquil. It's perfect for entertaining, and with the constant flow of kids coming and going it works as a spacious family home.

Where did you look for inspiration for this home project?
I started with international interiors magazines and books, as well as Pinterest and interior blogs. I got together loads of images of all the things I love for every room, and then hunted for the look within my price budget.
What’s the best interior advice you’ve picked up?
When setting up Dry & Tea salon, I was lucky enough to work with the incredibly talented team at Cheshire Architects. They taught me that you need a 'big gun' in every project - such as a light or statement piece of furniture, start with that one feature and build your interior look from that.

What do you always have on your bedside table?
I love scented candles and fresh flowers. Otherwise my book, my watch charger and bedside lamp.

What are your most treasured possessions?
We've moved from country to country so many times that I've learnt not to get too attached to things as they do break or disappear. My favourite objects, however, have to be my marble and vintage table that I had made in Sydney years ago. We will have that table forever. I also have a Waterford Crystal Vase that my husband gave me when we lived in Amsterdam, I still love it so much, and it works well in our super modern kitchen despite the fact that it's a bit granny.

What is your favourite room?
The kitchen, many a glass of wine has been served and sipped at our kitchen bench with friends. I think the size, space and design is perfect.

Photography Keryn Sweeney