How your clients refer to you:
They either just call me Nicole, or 'Oh, Thank God You’re here!!'
Nicole Cataffo Style and Entertaining
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, ph. (917) 680 0258, Website: www.nicolecataffo.com
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
I designed my first big event 14 years ago. I was working as a photographer and stylist at the time, and after that first event the requests started coming in quickly... I officially started my company 10 years ago. Then I got pregnant and had my daughter, which slowed things down for a few years. But things picked back up once she was in pre-school.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
My journey’s been pretty circuitous! My career trajectory has zigged and zagged - so really, I’ve had two starts. A birth and a rebirth.
My photography business partner abruptly needed to leave town, and I didn’t know what I would do. That’s when I was asked by a client to design an event for him. That event got a lot of attention, and suddenly I was off to the races... But then I had to slow down when my daughter was born. Again, I wasn’t sure what my next move would be, or how to get back up to speed. And again, like magic, a mommy friend approached me. She was launching a picnic business (perfectpicinicnyc.com), and needed someone to team up and design her high-end picnics. Then I was back in action! Those projects led me into designing events in people’s homes.
The experience of starting and then starting again really taught me to trust the process, and to stay open.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I don’t know of anyone else who goes into your house and takes inspiration from your own things. I can size up a client’s space, talk about ideas, and look at their fantasy pinboard - then quickly customize it and bring it to life.
Also, I don’t know of any other one-stop-shop personal event curators! You can call a caterer or order takeout, call a florist, etc., but I don’t think anyone else hunts and gathers from all the amazing places around town, puts it all together, and makes it look beautiful.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
The unique and personal nature of my work. With my help, my clients throw chic, elegant parties - and it all feels smooth and easy. My clients get to glow, and their homes are at their best.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
I think I help my clients rediscover their treasures and learn to love their space in a new way. I’d also like to think I’m helping them bring back the joy of entertaining at home. So many New Yorkers are short on time and don’t do it enough!
What is your favorite part of your job?
Getting to know new clients and working in new spaces! I love the challenge of quickly pulling together a new event. Plus, I love seeing the host looking beautiful and relaxed.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
Your house! Most people have no idea how fabulous entertaining at home can be.
How do you benefit mamas?
I can be frazzled for you! Go put on your lipstick, take a moment and sip a cocktail, while knowing all the details are taken care of. I’ve got everything covered — I want you to shine.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
Oh, this was a special one... My client was hosting a work dinner party in her home for her new creative team. She came home after a long day at the office, saw what I was up to, and said, “Oh my God Nicole, you went into the lowest of low and the highest of high cabinets, and dug up stuff that I haven’t seen since I got married! You put a new spin on things that I never could have imagined!” That made me really happy.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
Bronson Van Wyck and David Stark are much bigger and grander event designers than I am, but I love their work. They’re both really inspiring. Ovando Florists is special, too — we don’t share the same aesthetic, but they’re unusual and surprising. Their work is terrific. I’m also really inspired by Chef Jody Williams. She makes simple food with simple ingredients, and presents them in an unpretentious way... That really speaks to me. Also, a shout out to Wendy Weston of Perfect Picnic. Her idea for beautiful picnics on the fly has really taken hold - and together, we elevated the art of picnicking.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
A dear mommy friend turned me on to guided meditation with a woman named Aletta St. James. I listen to her meditations all the time. Whenever I am feeling low or under a lot of pressure, I repeat this mantra over and over in my head: "I love you, I forgive you, I love You.“ It immediately elevates me, and gets me vibrating on a higher level. Corny as it sounds, it works!
I also have a great group of mommy friends. I was never a new mom seekingout mommy friends - that never felt natural to me. I’m so inspired by these women, they are the greatest surprise of motherhood. I never knew how deep these relationships would run. I learn something from every friendship. All these women in my life (you know who you are) are an invaluable support system. A shout out to the moms!
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
I haven't quite found it yet. My husband is extremely supportive and does a ton, but I do always fantasize about getting a second “wife" in our house... I wish!
Whenever I’m away with women friends and our kids, I'm always amazed by how much we can get done. The multi-tasking is out of control. We are a force to be reckoned with, even when there’s a lot of rosé involved... Maybe I should consider living on an urban commune? Hmmmmm...