Nikki Brand, Stella Spoils Curator + Graphic Designer
Born, raised, and educated in South Africa, Nikki Brand is a multi-disciplinary creative based in Los Angeles. Having lived in South Africa, Nicaragua, and New York City, Nikki is no stranger to going where the wind takes her.
For the past 10 years, Nikki has worked developing culturally and socially respected international brands. Her portfolio includes restaurants like De Maria, which won an award for the aesthetic she helped build, hotels like Maderas Village and Urban Cowboy, and large scale projects like The Platform in LA. She is also the creative force behind the Stella Spoils newsletter – which you can sign up for here!
When she isn’t focusing on digital design, logo development, or content curation for today’s coolest companies – you can probably find this babe on a surfboard somewhere south of the US border.
What are 3 of your favorite hotels?
1. Tribal Hotel, Granada, Nicaragua – This is a hotel you don’t need (or want to) leave. Incredible design, hospitality + food
2. Deer Mountain Inn, Upstate New York, USA – Quintessential NY Upstate experience. In-room fireplaces and really, really good food.
3. Under Canvas Zion, Utah, USA – Located in the Zion National Park, you’re glamping, in real luxury with real beds, and misters in the summer / fireplace in the winter, under the stars.
As a creative, what places do you find most inspiration for your work?
Places that are in nature. Places that are far removed (in location and familiarity) from everyday life. Places with a distinctive culture.
You travel a lot for work…was this something you were seeking in a career? If so, how did you go about designing your career life to include so much travel, and how do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?
I’ve shaped my work and career around the concept of freedom, and not being tied down by anything other than what’s intended. So if I want to go, I can go, and I hope that there’s a WiFi connection at the other end. Being able to work remotely has definitely encouraged more travel, and having worked the last 10 years for myself, I find it easy to rework the daily schedule however necessary to make space for the good stuff.
What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?
Have you or would you travel alone?
Yes. I have, and I will continue to do so; it let’s you take your path to the places and people that are intended for you, in an unrestricted kind of way.
Best travel advice you’ve ever received, and from whom?
Wear sunscreen, travel light, always know where your passport is (thanks, Mom).
Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?
Get out in the sun as soon as possible – it’s a natural reset.
Travel can be about the little luxuries…like a super amazing cup of coffee. Where was the best one you’ve had?
A local breakfast bodega Nicaragua
Rank the following, from most to least important to you, re: what you seek in a hotel experience:
Comfortable, unique, architecturally intriguing, has a pool, close to things, doesn’t break the bank, locals hang out there, dope mini bar.
Beach or City or Mountain?
Airplane food- Y/N?
Early check-in/ late check-out?
Favorite travel app?