Today we’d like to introduce you to Niki Malek.
Niki, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My path to design has been a winding one and looking back, I can see how it’s all played an important role in getting me to this very moment. I was a creative kid, but had a seed planted in my head early on that having a steady and successful career in a creative field was like, a one-in-a-million chance and these things were best left to pursue on the side. So, I did what I thought I “should” do: I went to school for business and graduated with a degree in marketing, all the while nurturing my creative ambitions on the side.
After interning at a boutique ad agency, I quickly realized that I wasn’t interested in the 9 to 5 life and felt completely directionless. Oh, and the recession didn’t help either. After a lot of exploration, working odd jobs, making connections, building relationships, and saying yes to anything that piqued my interest, the water began to clear and all my creative interests naturally seemed to intersect in the world of photography, design, wedding and social paper goods, illustration and calligraphy.
Has it been a smooth road?
When is it ever smooth sailing? Ha! There are external struggles like rejection, scaling in a profitable way, finding clients that are the right fit, social media engagement, and so on, but it’s the internal struggles that I find to be most pressing, like getting out of your own way to experiment and being okay with failing, overthinking, saying yes to too many things all at once, time management.. these are all things I think any solo-prop or entrepreneur can relate to.
Having a community of people that you can lean on, who will support and encourage you when faced with obstacles, whether external or internal, is so invaluable. I encourage everyone to seek out a community that resonates. The amazing thing about Atlanta is there are so many micro-communities popping up all over the city, that with just a little digging, you’ll likely find a group of amazing folks who are ready to embrace you.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the hey lux story. Tell us more about the business.
hey lux is a micro design + illustration + calligraphy studio. The bread and butter of my work is wedding invitation and day-of paper design, calligraphy, and social invitation design. I’m a one-gal show, but I have a terrific network of other small businesses that help support my work, and make what I do possible. Whether you’re looking to get a pitch deck designed for a client presentation or a save the date designed to announce your special day, my end game is to make your life easier and be a bright spot in the process.
At the top of the year, I launched the XO project, which I consider to be a passion project of mine. My intention with this project is to connect people through surprise calligraphed snail mail. The project is open to anyone who wants to participate and participation is simple: the sender emails me their message and recipient’s mailing address, I calligraph the message on an XO card, address the envelope and apply postage to mail it out on the sender’s behalf.
The reaction of the recipient is so much greater than any text message ever could elicit, and there’s something to be said about that. We may be more connected through technology, but people are yearning for deeper and more authentic connection that extends beyond double tapping and a thumbs up. I launched the project with the goal of mailing out at least one XO note a week for the entire year and I’m proud to say that at week twenty, I’ve already sent out 32 XO notes.
I wanted this project to be accessible to anyone, so there is no cost to participate, however, donations are accepted to help cover the cost of materials and postage. If anyone wants to learn more, they can check out heylux.co/the-xo-project.
Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years? Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
The design world has been impacted by technology in so many ways that it’s hard to know what won’t change over the next 5 to 10 years. Accessibility has been a huge proponent in the creative world, from things like subscription-based creative programs to peer-to-peer learning to workshops and boot camps, people have more access to develop and explore their creative style and vision. It’s been so fun not only to watch it happening but be an active participant in this shift.
- Website: heylux.co
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @nikimalek
- Facebook: @heyluxco
Gianna Keiko, Megs Donovan, Brittany Wages