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The Light Files - Nicole Longnecker

Nicole Longnecker

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She can’t draw but has a passion for art. Laura Max interviews Nicole Longnecker, founder and owner of the Nicole Longnecker Gallery.

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Laura: Hi, everyone. I'm Laura Max, your host on The Light Files, brought to you by Audi Central Houston. I'm here at the Nicole Longnecker Art Gallery. Welcome to the show, Nicole. We're so happy to have you.

Nicole: Thank you, Laura, so much for being here at the gallery today.

Laura: Now Nicole, I'm so excited to interview you, because you are somebody who really embodies, you know, the kind of person that I profile in The Light Files, which is someone who's gone from - you know, you've had your MBA. You were in the working world for a very long time, working in oil and gas. You also worked in nonprofits. And now here you are, you've started this art gallery, very unconventional. Tell us how you got here.

Nicole: You know, it was a long and winding road, but exciting. I took all of my business background, which I'm really happy to have, and - but I always wanted to do something more creative. People over the years had suggested an art gallery, and I always said, "Oh, I can't," or, "I shouldn't." And I finally just got brave enough to put a business plan together and saw that it would work.

Laura: So the art gallery idea, we were talking earlier, you said that you've always been collecting art, I think since you were in college.

Nicole: Yes.

Laura: But that you're actually not an artist yourself. So what is it - what is it about art collecting that really drew you in?

Nicole: You know, I think when I look at art, it reflects back what you see in yourself and what you see in the world around. And I can't personally sit down and draw, but I want to support those who can, and those who are making a career out of what they do best.

Laura: And you have. I mean, here we are. We've got some fabulous - who's showing in the gallery today, actually?

Nicole: Currently, I have two shows up. The solo show in the front gallery is John Adelman.

Laura: And he is the one who draws with gel pens. You all have to check this out, guys. It's really cool.

Nicole: And in the back gallery, I have a group show called Earth Matters, and it's Ellen Orseck and Heath Brodie.

Laura: Okay. And you've had - this is your fifth show so far since you've opened the gallery.

Nicole: Yes.

Laura: You opened in June. Okay. And so tell us about, you know, coming to open a gallery. It's no small feat. I consider you a millennial, even though you're right on the cusp, so you're quite young to have accomplished something this big. How - I know you've put a lot into starting a gallery. You've worked very hard throughout your - throughout your life. What - what has gone into it, and what have been the payoffs for you?

Nicole: Oh, gosh. Well, I don't even know if I can say what all went into it. You know, you just kind of -

Laura: There's been a lot.

Nicole: There's been a lot, and you just decide -

Laura: Yeah.

Nicole: - and dive on in there, and take it one day at a time, and see what happens. I started with the business plan, and then, you know, it was a great starting point, but you just kind of dive off from there.

Laura: And what I love the most about your story is that you actually had the MBA, and you were thinking, you know, I'm not sure what I want to do with this. And that served you so well when you wanted to take on this really creative venture.

Nicole: It did. It really did. And the best part is I get to talk about art all day, and I get to be myself.

Laura: So in the end, you're having a lot of fun. It doesn't even feel like work anymore.

Nicole: Absolutely.

Laura: So when I was talking to you earlier, you said - we were talking about entrepreneurs, that people say entrepreneurs work 80 hours a week so they don't have to work 40, and I really feel like you fit the bill.

Nicole: Yes.

Laura: So, I mean, standing here today, you're now - maybe you've worked a lot to get here, and now you have - you're really doing something that you love. I know there are a lot of people who watch this show, a lot of people my age, who really want to know what it takes to get there, and is it worth it or is it not? You know, should I stay at my desk, or should I really follow - follow my dreams? I have a feeling you would say that they should follow their dreams, but I want to know what you would say to them.

Nicole: I would absolutely say follow your dreams, and I think it's just timing. Like, you know, making sure that you have everything in place so that you can, you know, eat and pay the rent or whatever, but absolutely follow your dreams.

Laura: It's totally worth it?

Nicole: Absolutely.

Laura: So what do you see - what do you see happening to the gallery in the future? What are you most excited about, now that you've opened?

Nicole: Oh, you know, I am most excited that I get to - part of my job is to build relationships with people, so I get to chat with people all day, both artists and collectors and people in the community, and I can help nonprofit organizations, artists, people, collectors. It's just all fun.

Laura: I always love asking people what the biggest asset to their success was. Was it hard work? Was it a good support system? What do you think the biggest asset to your success has been so far?

Nicole: I think my parents were just fantastic supporters, and said I could go out and do anything I wanted.

Laura: Good parents.

Nicole: And here I am.

Laura: Everyone needs them.

Nicole: Yes.

Laura: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. For our listeners and viewers who want to come visit your gallery, do you want to tell them about what's coming up next and where you're located?

Nicole: Absolutely. So I'm located on Colquitt, which is Gallery Row here in Houston. It's 2625 Colquitt.

Laura: Tons of galleries, by the way, guys.

Nicole: Tons of galleries.

Laura: Yeah.

Nicole: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Laura: Awesome.

Nicole: So come on down and check out the art.

Laura: Well, Nicole, thank you so much for joining me today.

Nicole: Absolutely. So glad that you could come out to the gallery today.

Laura: And everyone, this is Nicole Longnecker of the Nicole Longnecker Gallery on 2625 Colquitt.

Nicole: Yes.

Laura: Right on Gallery Row here in Houston, Texas. And I'm Laura Max, your host of The Light Files on thebusinessmakers.com, brought to you by Audi Central Houston. You can always find me on thebusinessmakers.com or on Twitter, Twitter.com/LauraMaxNelson, or Facebook, Facebook.com/TheLightFiles. And we'll see you next week. Bye, everyone.

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