PLINKERVIEW! WITH NIKITA WALIA
Meet Nikita Walia, a culturally savvy, entrepreneurial friend of Plink! We chatted with Nikita about what brings her joy, how to remain environmentally net-positive in our hyper-growth culture and the last time she experienced a perspective shift.
Who is Nikita Walia?
I am a curiosity obsessed, growth-focused, expansive minded person. More practically, though, I’m a strategist based in New York City and the founder of a strategy-first creative company called BLANK. And I’m starting a new fine jewelry brand called FIRST.
What brings you joy?
So many things! I’ve recently been cultivating a mindset of appreciation, and I’ve found that the smallest things make me feel the luckiest. Buying all the groceries I want. My morning matcha. Walking my dog.
What is the best thing about having your own creative consultancy?
The freedom to create on your own terms, and with your values in mind.
Can you tell us about a couple of projects that you’re particularly proud of?
My babies for the past year and a half have been Experiment and WorkMade (forthcoming.) Above all else, I love brands that dare to be different, and are solving an actual problem. To be able to put those kinds of brands in the cultural conversation, and for the founders to be brave, accepting, and open to change and transformation as collaborators is a gift. Both of these projects are reflective of this, and that’s why I’m so proud of them. They demonstrate partnership and a drive to be different.
Where do you go or who do you talk to when your tank is running low, you need to refuel, and get inspired?
I’m so glad to have a few people and practices in my life that I’m able to turn to when I’m feeling a bit low. I’m always able to call upon my personal triumvirate (my boyfriend, my mother, my sister respectively), or channel the discontent into a practice like Yoga, painting, or just going for a walk!
You’re a student and educator of digital culture. A lot is written about the dark side or dangers of our always-online lives. Do you see a silver lining at the moment? Glimmers of hope in the TikTok-sphere?
Since the inception of the printing press we’ve stuck our hands up as humans and panicked that nothing will be the same. And that’s true – nothing will. But I do believe that sticking your hands up and giving up, or sticking your head in the sand and being a luddite don’t help in equal measure. I think each new technology brings risks and dangers, alongside possibilities and the best thing to do is interact with it.
When you become an informed consumer, you’re a better consumer. I’m excited to see new models of media, cultural production, and cultural ownership open up as a result of some of the advances in technology the last few years. Those make me pretty hopeful.
Speaking of hope. This summer felt pretty hopeless when it comes to climate change. And despite the fires and floods… it feels like most people aren’t willing to change their behavior in a meaningful way. What advice do you give brands that are determined to be a net positive, environmentally?
Here’s an inevitable truth: the world doesn’t need more stuff. But creating more stuff is an inevitable byproduct of the hyper-growth culture in which we live. All brands should strive to do the most good possible – starting with an inherent eye towards sustainability in packaging and practices. They should also partner with a tool like Bluebird to make their commitments quantifiable. Strive to do good, be transparent, make it measurable, and repeat.
As someone who has to do a lot of research for every new client, you’re constantly learning. When was the last time you had a total shift of perspective?
The last total perspective shift I had was one within myself, as selfish as that sounds. I just spent 6 months doing deep, introspective mindset work with a coach and it’s changed my reality so drastically. For anyone feeling lost or like they’re missing that last 10%, I highly recommend engaging a coach or therapist to help guide you, or to develop a new creative practice.
What’s it like growing up with a restaurateur as a parent?
Growing up in a very entrepreneurial family helped me learn the ropes early on. I was a hostess all through high school, and I think that first job taught me more than any of my corporate roles. I learned to think on my feet, be a quick study of people, and to not take things too seriously.
Where’s your favorite place to eat right now?
Uluh in the East Village.
When do you plink?
I tend to plink in the afternoons when I realize I’ve not hydrated in a minute.