Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikiko Eisgruber.
Hi Nikiko, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
I am lucky in that I have always known my passion was videography. For as long as I can remember I was going to move to a mega film city and direct. My parents actually had to force me to go to college – lucky for me they did (HailState!).
Right out of college I got my first true start in the industry as a Production Assistant for the Voice in Memphis. That gig led to another gig, which led to another gig in Nashville. In Nashville, I got to work for Garth Brook’s wife, Trisha Yearwood. Her cooking show was featured on the Food Network and for the several seasons I worked, we were Emmy nominated. It was truly some of my favorite times on set.
Flash forward to falling tired of “the gig life” and realizing that Nashville didn’t have a consistent television scene. To make ends meet I shelved my dream career and took up an interest in sales and mortgages. I was impressed with how well I adapted to the corporate world for someone who leans heavily on the creative scale. I quickly developed strength in selling and effective digital marketing.
At the start of the Pandemic, I was living in a 1bedroom apartment and felt extremely bored with my career. I was tired of Music City and I was beyond over the mortgage industry. As an attempt to revive my career I took what was supposed to be an 8-week “remote work” opportunity in Charleston… and then I never left! In Charleston, I fell in love with the support of small businesses. I also saw a desperate need for affordable yet effective video marketing for small business owners.
Dabbling with the idea of selling “digital shorts” AKA Reels and Tiktoks to businesses, I pitched the model to friends and family. Eventually, that led me to a 56k following on Tiktok and a solid business idea. Starting in November I gained 2 steady clients that allowed me to quit my full-time job as a Mortgage Lender. From then, my business completely took off. It is truly crazy to think that you can support yourself based on an idea from a social application. My job didn’t exist just 5 years ago and now I currently work for so many amazing female entrepreneurs who somehow manage to juggle motherhood and also dominate the heck out of their companies. Each client genuinely inspires me and makes all of the late nights editing worth it!
To brag on a few, my personal favorite shoots have been with Dino Bars, Plante Clothing, anything with Andrea Serrano, and the Charleston Super Yacht Charter! But I truly believe in each of my client’s products, and I love each of them as a friend – and I think THAT is key to my business success. I’m just having fun with people you are inspired by! I also believe it shows up in the final product (video). Today I continue to work with a larger video production company as a producer, and for smaller Charleston companies as a videographer/director. It has been the wildest ride and I am genuinely excited to see where it takes me in the years to come.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My road has been as smooth as Charleston’s roads after it rains. Ha – the road for business owners is never smooth sailing! Luckily, I come from a long line of ambition. My Omi came from Germany when she was just 16, my Opa – a Marine turned FBI agent, mom was one heck of a Principal, and Dad dominates everything he attempts (a true jack of all trades). Each of their stories was riddled with challenges and people rooting for their setbacks. And just like their stories, there have been many sleepless nights, friends who don’t understand, lots of tears, and even dinners where my pup and I were on a strict ramen noodle diet.
However, I embrace the lows because it makes the highs so much sweeter. Maybe that’s just the director in me looking for a good story but, not too long ago my business account was in the double digits, I had just lost two of my clients, and I was going through a breakup. Talk about a triple whammy. So yes; times have gotten pretty whacky, and there have been plenty of moments where I have almost fully given up on this business.
Luckily, I have the best tribe of girlfriends right here in Charleston. My support from long-distance family and friends has been overwhelming. And many of my friends are business owners as well so they help relate to my struggle. So to answer your original question yes, my story has been a rollercoaster riddled with self-sabotage and rejection. A secret is that all the best ones always are.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I specialize in 15-60 second videos that are prominently found on a business’s social media or website. My goal is to help businesses amplify their existing brand and help them to convey whatever message they desire to their target audience. Typically the goal is to help businesses appear more approachable and relatable to customers. People want to buy from a familiar face, a good cause, and honestly from people they like! People will actually pay more to buy local and from someone, they feel like they can relate to. Who wouldn’t prefer that? And my videos are the link to get business owners to that sweet spot.
What sets me apart is that I am a creative that comes from a public relations and sales background. I know what works because I have lived it. I have been working directly with clients for the better half of my career and when allowed the creative liberty, 9/10 times we nail it! Either a client will see an Instagram reel that will remind them to go to the business’s website, book that appointment, or show that friend. The opportunity goes on and on with digital marketing and I think knowing that, is what gives me an edge.
Not to mention my product is financially obtainable by most business owners. I am able to find an affordable price point for my services because I am not producing 4k feature films on a $100k camera. My goal is to deliver a quick video message in a more effective and higher quality way than what most owners can do on their own (or at least have time to).
Who else deserves credit for your story?
Big time off the top of my head, my two biggest Mentors are Tony Morgan and Andrea Serrano. Tony is an absolute beast behind the camera and everyone in town should absolutely go to him with all of your big video project needs. Music videos, TV commercials, you name it. He has taught me so much in such a short time, it’s always a great time on set with him and I am so grateful for his guidance. And then of course Andrea Serrano. She’s practically a Charleston household name at this point. I mean, truly there’s not a person she doesn’t know in this town! But outside of that, she has been such a big catalyst to my client list, my exposure on sets here in Charleston, and honestly a massive inspiration. She juggles 100 things at a time and then some. Genuinely just a great friend, and I am so thankful to have met her.
As for my cheerleaders? Again. My tribe here is chefs kiss. I could name them one by one but they’d be embarrassed so I’ll just leave it at I have a lot of love for my successful 6, my roomies, and my fam here locally. Outside of the Holy City, I have a direct line to Denver, Memphis, Nashville, Indy, Chicago, and Atlanta that never stops! Not even kidding. My best friends and family have been the only way I could have done this. Bold. Underlined, and Italicized. I mean it. Half of my equipment inventory only exists because my family and I own that. I got a leg up and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to chase my dreams. Many don’t get that chance. Actually – my goal in 2023 is to “pay it forward” and provide a similar opportunity to creative youth in the community, so keep your ears peeled!
Last but not least, my dog Aida. The company is named after her for good reason. Woman’s Best Friend.
- Instagram: @gonikiko
James Brindley, Coastal Cineworks, Paul Shirley, and Andrea Serrano