Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
Hi, I am Nicola Rodriguez and I am known as the Essex House Dolly - the Empress of interior styling, organising, decluttering and maintaining your home.
What does your job involve? What happens on a typical day?
Everyday is different to me which is why I love what I do. My job involves all aspects of good housekeeping such as cleanliness, organisation, structure of how the home is kept functional and also the interior side. I typically housekeep 4 properties a week (5 including mine) and other hours are spent either sourcing items for interiors, decluttering and reorganising.
What’s great about what you do?
I love that I am my own Boss, so I only answer to myself. I can pick and choose where I work and I work for fantastic clients who value me and what I do. I also get great satisfaction in both how I enhance client’s lives without extortionate fees and it also is my therapy too where I love what I do.
What are the toughest parts of your job?
From my experience, one is working with clients who have OCD regarding hoarding as I did have to study to obtain a qualification to work with clients who have anxiety and stress. You have to really gain the trust of the client to get the end result.
The other part is when being booked to do a house overhaul if it has not been looked after at all. Thankfully, this has only happened to me 3 times. Where I myself have anxiety disorder and OCD, this particular area I found very challenging but I overcome it!
What are the highlights of your career to date?
There has been so many, but I would have to say appearing in FORBES last month and also appearing in national press such as The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Express, Magazines such as Woman, House Beautiful and Woman & Home. I have also been in campaigns with NEXT, Matalan, AEG and also Zoella - all within the last 12 months.
What's been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
I’d probably say juggling being a single mum but also the fact that I decided to start a brand name and career out of something that I would do to help me regulate myself.
What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
I have always had a passion for cleaning, organising and interiors since I was around 11. In 2002, I started doing interiors after my daughter was born. I have had a varied career as from 1996-2002 I worked in the West End as a PA for an International Property Company. I started interiors and organising as just a hobby and did not turn it into a business until 2016. In between this time, I had my second child and also studied to be a LSA and worked in my daughter’s primary school with autistic children.
Have you noticed any changes in the industry in recent times? If so, what?
I have noticed recently how many people are now trying to do what I do but I see it as a compliment when I know they have seen what I do. With mental health being at its peak and the insight of ‘tidy house, tidy mind’, so many now want their homes organised. I have seen a huge rise in many retailers now stocking organisational products to accommodate this.
How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?
Yes 100%. My mum brought me up to always keep an immaculate home as my home growing up was spotless. The fact too that I am unique in how my brain can straight away have a strategy of how to style/dress and organise a room has made me a niche and why I am becoming successful. I can also relate to families who are mentally struggling through my own experiences, so I am able to enable them to feel better when my work has been done.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
Focus on you, don’t worry about what others are doing or saying, believe in yourself and you are the CEO of your own life.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?
Yes, do your research, find courses that will teach you the skills for either interiors or working with clients who may suffer with mental health. Also,which is something I did to gain that niche skill, work in a luxury hotel for experience of how to do things the 5 star way!
Where can people find you and your work online?
My Instagram/twitter/tiktok is @essexhousedolly and to read about my background, reviews and services my website.