Andrea Oliveri and Nicole Vecchiarelli wearing the Jersey Bow Dress and Convertible Ruffle Dress

In 2016, Andrea Oliveri and Nicole Vecchiarelli went from former colleagues — they met while working at Details magazine — to co-founders. The publishing industry veterans took their impressive rolodex of top agents and publicists and launched Special Projects, a bi-coastal booking and creative content agency that works with the best of the best in fashion and film. With clients ranging from the Wall Street Journal and Business of Fashion to Glossier and Goop, Special Projects is the sort of company that brands trust for 360 execution — editorial bookings, event planning, marketing, partnerships… Put simply, Oliveri and Vecchiarelli are great at their jobs, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Here, we speak with the entrepreneurs about going out on their own and the challenges they’ve faced along the way.

We both knew we had to start our own thing when…

Andrea Oliveri: Print media was drying up, and the idea of trying to stay afloat in that industry for the next 20 years was more daunting than starting a company.

Nicole Vecciarelli: We trusted each other and really believed in our vision for Special Projects. Ultimately we had more faith in that than the uncertain future of print media.

The most exciting thing about having my own business is…

AO: Making our own rules. Creating a company and culture that we’re proud of, and building a team and roster of clients we believe in.

NV: Feeling like you have some sort of control over your future. Running a business brings an incredible amount of pressure, but you can still chart your own course which feels like the most exciting part.

The most challenging part is…

AO: Never enough hours in the day. Never an empty inbox. Never not thinking about work.

NV: Valuing the relationship with each individual client but there’s only so much of you to go around.

 One thing I wish I knew when starting out…

AO: Year three would be even harder than year one because scaling and growing a successful business takes even more work than starting one.

NV: How to properly read contracts. Would have saved me some early day headaches.

My advice to would-be entrepreneurs…

AO: Wait until the time is right. You need enough experience, thick skin, goodwill, and strong relationships to make it work out of the gate.

NV: To have a really honest and truthful conversation with yourself. Having an idea for a business is NOT the same as running a business. If you want to be able to do both well, you have to acknowledge what your skillset is on both sides.

 And my advice to entrepreneurs taking their business to the next level…

AO: You need to be nimble and be able to pivot quickly in ever-changing industries. Set goals and stick to them, but also keep evaluating your business as you go. Don’t just keep doing more of the exact same thing!

NV: Trust your gut. When you’re the leader and go to people for advice, everyone will have a different opinion on what to do. Trust your own instincts first and foremost.

#EmbraceAmbition means…

AO: Never settling, always pushing forward. Taking chances.

NV: Accepting our own competitive nature and understanding that wanting to be the best can go hand-in-hand with the emotion that we feel towards our work, and the people that we work with.

The woman who inspires me to #EmbraceAmbition most…

AO: Oprah, Forever and Always.

NV: Dolly Parton.

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