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LAist Interview: Nicole Simpson

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Haven't you just wanted to escape the shackles of corporate America and become your own boss? Nicole Simpson is living proof that it's possible to achieve that dream. Once a senior executive for top advertising agencies servicing clients in the entertainment and packaged goods industries, she chucked it all to open her own boutique in Beverly Hills.

I own and operate a gift shop called Nicole's Beverly Hills

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?
I have lived in Los Angeles for 20+ years. I enjoy living on the Westside.

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Why do you live in Los Angeles?
Because Los Angeles offers:
Great weather most of the year and magnificent mountains
Breath taking sunsets over the beautiful ocean
Choices like skiing, sailing and surfing in the same day
Convenient travel to the East Coast, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Europe, Asia and Australia
A variety of restaurants that offer cuisine from many cultures
A smorgasbord of entertainment choices

What challenges do you face as a small business owner in LA County?
The biggest challenge is marketing to and reaching the frequent shoppers, entertainment and corporate customers.

What local artisan or craft worker do you like to patronize?
I like the work of visual artist Emmy Lu.

Where do you like to shop in Los Angeles?
Westside, small stores preferably.

What is the current trend in gift giving in LA right now? What types of gifts are people buying on the Westside?
Top items that people are buying:
Magnificent hand cut crystal and hand painted crystal perfume bottles.
Beautiful handmade silk and beaded designer shawls.
Leather and/or Swarovski crystal watches.
Sterling silver, gold plated, Swarovski crystals and fresh water pearls jewelry.
Poker sets, bar accessories and golf related items.
The bath, spa, gourmet, baby and luxury gift baskets are always on the gift buyers list.

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What's your favorite movie(s) or TV show(s) that are based in LA?
I like the TV show "LA Law."

What is the "center" of LA to you?
My immediate center is Brentwood to Beverly Hills and my larger circle is located from the ocean to Robertson Boulevard squared by National Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard.

People stereotype Los Angeles as a hard place to find personal connections and make friends. Do you agree with that assessment? Do you find it challenging to make new friends here?

No, I have not had a problem making friends. I believe that LA is like most large cities. You have to find people with the same interest as you and select your friends carefully. Go to places or join organizations where people will have similar interest to yours.

If you like to dance -- take dance lessons
Reading -- Join a book club
Business/Financial -- Join professional network groups
Religious -- Visit a church or temple of your faith and other religious groups of your choice
Sports/Acting -- Many choices are available

What is the city's greatest secret?
The breath taking sunsets over the ocean

What do you have to say to East Coast supremacists?
Keep believing that the East Coast is better and please stay there, we need the space on our freeways.

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Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?
If the big one hits, I want to be in the South of France in the city I love--St. Tropez, France with a man of my choice and my puppy.