By Becky Jane Newbold
She grew up an only child, destined to entertain herself in a grown up world, always crafty, artistic and occupied with scissors, crayons and glue.
“Home decor was always my thing. I was constantly redecorating my room, repainting and rearranging the furniture.” And sketching kitchen designs complete with details down to the cabinet handles and where the stove was placed, she said.
A friend convinced her to apply to arts school and there she discovered an affinity for graphic design. Right out of college, a job in a studio taught her about production and how to deal with clients. But soon she became restless and found confinement to a computer all day tedious. “Fantasizing about a job can be different than actually doing it. My reprieve in the studio was building the mock-ups for customer presentations,” she explained.
“I’ve always had a thing for paper,” Nicole commented. “Cutting and pasting. Simple and weird,” she described with a laugh. Her co-workers called her the Paper Queen, she said, because she was always ordering samples, exploring patterns and meeting with the “paper people” to talk about paper.
So it came as no surprise when a couple of wall paper sample books at a barn sale spoke to her and she snatched them up. Being crafty and creative, Nicole used her favorite patterns and covered switch plates in her New Hampshire home.
“My husband and I were both amazed at how much impact they had — like miniature pieces of artwork — we couldn’t stop looking at them!”
Then a chance to show off their talent at a local craft fair and promising sales on eBay were all the encouragement the couple needed.
In 2004, New Hampshire winters were just no fun anymore, and Nicole and Mark began looking south for a new home. Putting their house on the market and packing up a few things, they made their way to the Nashville area and settled on a quiet little farm in Hickman County.
And Fondue Vintage began gaining speed.
A five dollar entry fee to the Grinder’s Switch Flea Market gave them the opportunity to make really good friends. “And we did sell some switch plates,” she added with a smile. The Renegade Craft Show in Chicago then in Brooklyn gave them a break when magazine editors discovered them and featured their work in Country Living and later in Southern Living.
“I’ve always known somehow, deep down, I wanted to be self-employed. I knew I had to do something creative.”
Find Fondue Vintage inside Centerville Marketplace or online at fonduevintage.com. Purchase and contact via the Etsy store. Custom orders and home makeovers available.