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Entrepreneurs: At Rudeboyz, Nicola Ballard builds a creative space

Who: Nicola Ballard, co-owner, Rudeboyz Artworks

What she’s doing: Rudeboyz’ space at 527 W. Utica St. is a clothing and accessory boutique, art co-op and retail incubator. Owners Nicola and Qean Ballard make clothing, shoes and accessories using custom painting, screen printing, heat press and airbrushing. They also craft purses, wire-wrapped jewelry and artwork. The pair hosts other regional artists and sellers, while running a gallery, performance space and community event center out of the store.

Why they define the entrepreneurial spirit: The Ballards are busy people. In addition to pumping out artwork, organizing community events and hosting artists and live musicians, Rudeboyz mentors fledgling artists and retailers, giving them the real estate, skills and experience they need to succeed in the business. They have already helped proteges Abstract Wealth and Phenominal Xpressions move on to shops of their own. Nicola also owns an online advertising company, Consult Medley, and has a podcast, CMBR Radio Show.

Nicola Ballard’s advice for the new entrepreneur: “Know that failing is a part of succeeding and that no one is going to invest in your vision more than yourself. Make for yourself a consistent system, continue to educate yourself on marketing and bettering your products, and never be afraid to admit you aren’t strong in an area and ask for help.”

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