I’ve adored Laurie Nickerson since our very first interaction and I’ll tell you why. Her enthusiasm is INFECTIOUS. Laurie is one of the most authentic and passionate business owners that I know (and most the business owners that I know LOVE what they do.) She is a breath of fresh air. Don’t we all need a breath of fresh air in our lives?
JMK: We all know that the best shops tend to run on caffeine, good vibes and great music. Would you please share with us what your go to’s are in each of these categories?
LN: Oh our shop is definitely run on music. We are musical theater nuts so there is always a soundtrack of something playing. If Pandora is shuffling, you will hear a weird mix of show tunes, Queen, Big Band era stuff, film scores, and the occasional Christmas song that accidentally plays because the station wasn’t removed from the shuffle in January. We are fueled on iced tea and brownies, though there is much debate if the brownies are better with walnuts or without. Cindy says yes, I say no.
JMK: You and your mother run Puppet Peltz together which is my mothers dream come true. If you could name one famous mother and daughter duo that you most emulate, who are they and why?
LN: Julie Andrews and Emma Watson Hamilton. First of all, Julie is such a class act, even if she wasn’t in a dynamic duo, I would want to emulate her. But, her and her daughter Emma have written a few children’s books together, I just love the vibe they put out into the universe. The books have great story lines and encourage kids to be different. Whenever I see Julie and Emma in interviews, I get the impression they genuinely like being around each other. In the clutter and noise of today’s social media and smear campaigns, these two are always positive and charming.
JMK: Part of the reason being a puppet builder is so fun, is that you’re constantly calling upon your skills to invent and innovate your way through a challenge. Anyone who follows you on Instagram knows that you are an HGTV superstar in the making. What home renovation project have you found yourself doing the most innovating with.
LN: Haha. Oh lord. My house. Such a work in progress. This is super nerdy, but I am a huge vintage/antique nut. I don’t like to “buy new” when I can “find old.” So my house is filled with weird flea market finds. I am also blessed with the “I’m not afraid of color” gene so I have very loud colors throughout. The most challenging project so far has been putting in vinyl flooring in my bathroom. I was so excited to find deeply discounted vinyl tiles with this loud black and white print. Perfect for my house. Perfect for my budget. I figured they were discounted because no one else would want such a loud print on their floor. Come to find out, they were discounted because the pattern didn’t line up correctly. So instead of just lining up the tiles edge to edge, I had to visually offset them to try to get the pattern to line up as best I could. But, cheap is cheap, right? So the pattern is definitely still a little off, but I ended up distracting everyone by painting the walls bright pink and adding a crazy flamingo picture. When you walk in there now, there is so much “look” going on that no one is focusing on how the floor titles are slightly off.
JMK: Love that. If you were to give on piece of advice to someone about to open their own business, what would it be?
LN: Zig Zag. If you are so set in your “vision” there’s no room for you to grow. When we started this business, it was a completely different plan. We were going to give workshops and classes to teach people various arts and crafts. We did that for about a year and realized that there was so much hustle that had to go into it. Constantly creating new classes, constantly promoting to get people interested in the classes, constantly thinking about what’s next. It was so stressful. But, Puppet Pelts only happened because I already had a studio space. I already had an Etsy shop. It was much easier to transition to dyeing and selling fabrics because all the hard business groundwork already took place.
JMK: That is such good advice. You’re a brilliant business woman and creative mind and a very generous human. Outside of work, what are you wildly passionate about?
LN: Theater, dance, and typefaces. A few years ago, I took an inventory of things that I really enjoy/enjoyed doing at one point in my life. I grew up doing community theater, and stopped when I went to college. So, I got back into it. It has been such a joy to be a part of shows and learn new music.
I also loved dance when I was a kid. So, I signed up for tap lessons again. Now, I am a full-figured, plus size lady, and I can rock it out on the tap floor. You are never too old, or too fat, or too weird to do something that makes you happy.
I also am a total nerd for typefaces and letterforms. That is left over from my past-life career. Before Puppet Pelts I was an art director at an advertising agency so typefaces were part of my everyday life. Now, I enjoy finding posters, packaging, books, old ads, etc with really beautiful typefaces or hand painted letters.
JMK: You’re awesome. THANK YOU!
ABOUT PUPPET PELTS: If you are a puppet builder—large or small—you have come to the right place. We supply builders with quality products that are streamlined for this unique art form, including Fuzzelle™ and Nylafleece™ which replaced Antron Muppet Fleece.
Puppet supplies are a mix of textiles, craft, art, and woodworking so rarely can you buy from one shop. We are bridging the gap. So whether you are making your first puppet, or are building a fleet of giant mascots, we’ve got you covered.
We are based in the United States but ship all over the world. Orders placed through our website will typically ship the next business day.