Celebrating International Women’s Day: #InspireInclusion Through Conversations with Inspirational Women in Commercial Interiors – Nicole Meier

This International Women’s Day, Design Insider is proud to embrace the 2024 campaign theme: #InspireInclusion. We are delighted to present a series of interviews with some of the most inspirational women in the commercial interiors community—each playing a pivotal role in shaping the industry.

Inclusion is a pathway to innovation, creativity, and empowerment. When we inspire inclusion, we not only celebrate diversity but also harness the rich perspectives and ideas that drive our industry forward. This year, we’re highlighting the voices of Inspirational Women who aren’t just participating in the commercial interiors sector but are actively shaping its future to be more inclusive, vibrant, and dynamic.

Nicole Meier, Director of Branding with Ultrafabrics, is one of our Inspirational Women. In our conversation, we delve into how Nicole interprets #InspireInclusion within the context of her work and the broader commercial interiors sector. We explore her personal experiences, the success stories that have marked her journey, and the collective strides we can make toward a more inclusive industry. Moreover, we discover the women who have inspired her and how she, in turn, serves as a beacon of inspiration for others.

Join us as we celebrate Nicole’s achievements, insights, and stories, and let’s continue to #InspireInclusion every day in every way.

Nicole Meier, Director of Branding with Ultrafabrics

Please could you introduce yourself and your role?

Hello! I’m Nicole Meier, Director of Branding with Ultrafabrics. We create high-tech upholstery materials that combine comfort, performance, luxury aesthetics, and sustainability. This year, Ultrafabrics is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and throughout that time have supported the vision of designers and brands in over 10 different global industries.

I’ve been with Ultrafabrics for almost 13 years, having the opportunity to grow from within to my current role. From a very high-level, I am responsible for guiding the brand and our creative direction. This includes brand partnerships, like our current one with Pantone, product launches, content creation, and collaborating with customers on special programs. I am equal parts copywriter, creative director, strategist, educator, and public speaker. I’ve also been closely involved in our sustainability journey for the last 5 years. Because our brand touches every aspect of our business, no day is ever the same, which I love.

How do you interpret #inspireinclusion and what needs to happen to achieve this within the commercial interiors sector? 

Inclusion is multi-faceted. Not only is it about including more women and diverse voices at the table, it’s also about giving them the space to be themselves, so they feel comfortable in contributing their ideas and perspectives. Now, how to achieve that is something totally different. I don’t know the answer. But I know it’s a process, and features like this help to shed light, not only on inspirational women and their impacts, but the need for more. Ultimately, we must ask ourselves ‘Do we have a variety of voices being heard at all levels?’  

Mentorship is huge as well. Whether a formal program or just connecting with someone along your career path. I’ve found that very helpful in creating my seat at the table. The commercial sector is a supportive industry. Learning from others, sharing opportunities, offering recommendations, giving praise and recognition. It all supports inclusion over time.

Are there any success stories of inclusion you would like to highlight?

This may not be the humblest response, but I am a success story. Which I say with a bit of humor, but also an immense amount of pride. We all have a bit of imposter syndrome or doubts of our accomplishments. But as a woman, this syndrome can be all-consuming with conflicting internal and external voices we hear every day.

Not only am I a woman, but I’m an African American woman in an industry that is not very diverse.  I stumbled into this industry with a fashion background and am grateful for what I’ve achieved thus far, and most importantly what I represent.

What does it feel like to be inspired by, and inspire, people around you?

It’s an incredibly rewarding experience to be inspired by and inspire people around me. Being inspired by others feed my soul and fuels my creativity. On the flip side, knowing that I can be a source of inspiration for others is both humbling and motivating. It encourages me to strive for my best and lead by example.  

I live by the ethos “a win for one, is a triumph for us all”. We all have experiences, skills, and perspectives that can impact those around us. This beautiful cycle of inspiring others and being inspired reminds me of the importance of human connection and the endless opportunities we have for growth and learning.

Which inspirational women do you celebrate?

I celebrate resilient, unconventional women. I celebrate curious women that evolve. I celebrate women that are self-assured and confident in who they are. This describes my mother, who is a wanderlust at heart, and has succeeded in at least 5 different career paths in her lifetime. She’s inspired me to be thoughtfully fearless.

I also celebrate my 11-year-old daughter. She has a strong sense of self-confidence and a naturally supportive energy. She’s a true girl’s girl. But what I really admire is how she’s already mastered the art of setting boundaries in her relationships, whether it’s with her friends or older brother.

Finally, I’m currently inspired by Beyonce’. I’ve always been a fan, but the impact of the Renaissance album and concert last year still remains. The authenticity in her storytelling. Her refusal to be limited by expectations. How she overcomes roadblocks. The Renaissance tour/movie is a masterclass in creative direction.

Thank you for reading this conversation. Discover more empowering stories from Inspirational Women in commercial interiors by clicking HERE to continue our #InspireInclusion series.

Join us in celebrating and learning from these influential voices!


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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