A series of ‘disasters’ has led Nicola Selby to a very rewarding and exciting career.
Her role as a freelance dance photographer has enabled her to travel to exotic locations in Lanzarote and America, as well as capture the talents of members of Riverdance, The BBC, Stagecoach Performing Arts and Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
She was also commissioned to do work for the Scottish Ballet Company for its 50th anniversary promotional images and covered the BBC Young Dancer of the Year.
But the one constant has been her love of floristry and she has now opened up her own shop, Brambles and Heather, in Tarleton.
The 42-year-old, of Croston, says: “I guess my career has all come about from disasters and steered from life events, but I have always worked in floristry.
“I started as a trained ballet dancer but at the age of 18 I was in a car and came through a windscreen, which damaged my career.
“As a result I studied law and trained to be a solicitor.
“Whilst studying I worked as a florist. I was in law for 10 years and then took a career gap from practicing law and worked as a florist.
“When I was 30 I got meningitis and life changed again for me. I could not go back to work and that is when I decided to look into photography for something to do whilst I was recuperating. I went to Ormskirk College and enrolled on an A-level in photography.
“Whilst doing that, there was a florist job down the road from me and I got back into that.
“I was working there whilst building up my photography business.
“So it has been my go to passion.”
During the A level course, Nicola did a project on dance photography and it was then she discovered her new passion.
She began travelling the world, and worked with American photographer Lois Greenfield in New York.
She met her now husband Marc Huntington and they married in 2010. With a shared love of photography they went into business together and ran Velocity Studio at Coppull Mill, in Mill Lane, Coppull.
People have travelled from all over the world to work with Nicola.
She adds: “I took the plunge and opened a studio in Coppull.
“I ended up getting dancers from all over the world, including Australia, America and South Africa, delivering workshops and doing dance portfolios.
“We were never too sure what would happen with a small studio in Coppull, but I put a website together and people loved my work.
“Within three months people were talking about us. We were getting phone calls and things were happening.
“I had my daughter Izzy and as she got older, I decided to do more commercial work but I didn’t want to get trapped into doing just studio work.
“This led me to let the studio go. At that point I was working for the BBC and The Rambert, which is a huge dance company in London. I was doing photography on another level, as I worked with Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Stagecoach Performing Arts School.
“I got those jobs built on my reputation and portfolio, from what they had seen when working with other companies. Buzzfeed voted me one of the top dance photographers in the world.
“I also provided images for huge festivals around the world.
“It is very honouring to be asked to do such big work. I have also had my work published in Elle magazine and several other photography magazines. Some of the big newspapers, like The Times and The Telegraph, have also run my pictures.”
Nicola still keeps her hand in photography but is now putting her main focus in her florist shop, whilst also writing a book on dance photography.
She says: “My four-year-old daughter has now started school and I need to be quite flexible.
“With photography, I can be here, there and everywhere. There are only so many jobs I can do and I am committed to my family. That is when I decided to set up my florist shop. I am still doing something artistic and I can still take on some photo work.
“Photography is great but it can be quite lonely. You will be with people on shoot but then you are editing on your own. I am a people person so having a shop compliments that with everything I do artistically.
“I am meeting people every day and I get to buy my own stock and be creative with displays.”
Brambles and Hedges is a floral gift shop, selling silk and fresh flowers, as well as Nkuku ethically sourced giftware, candles and apothecary healing products.
Nicola adds: “I am not particularly a silk flower fan so I made sure that if they are in my shop, they have to be the best they can be. So I use a supplier which was voted as the best in Vogue magazine. They are hand painted from Hong Kong.
“I also have pampering gifts, with apothecary healing, selling soy candle wax in a variety of flavours and I stock the Pure Thoughts range which is popular with vegans.
“I sell unique funky cards and ethically sourced Nkuku giftware.
“I am enjoying running my own shop. I get to be creative and work with different colours every single day. I am booking in wedding flowers and I have events planned.
“I also love working in a small village like Tarleton. The area is a mecca of local independent businesses around here and we all help each other out.”
Brambles and Heather, in Church Road, Tarleton, is closed for the New Year period and will reopen on January 8.
For more information visit www.bramblesandheather.com