Nicole Humphreys

You don’t have to do what is expected of you. If you always do what is expected, you’ll never surprise anybody!


Nicole Humphreys is the Founder & CEO of August Effects, a brand of beach and home goods handmade by local people in Bali.

Originally from California, Nicole traveled to Bali, Indonesia in November, 2016 on her honeymoon. On the trip, she and her husband fell in love with the island and decided to pack up their lives in California to move to Bali to start their own companies.

Through partnerships with local Bali non-profits, she is creating positive change by giving back to the community that nurtured and inspired her vision.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

In November, 2016 my husband and I went on our honeymoon in Bali, Indonesia. During our trip, we spent a lot of time exploring local markets and meeting artisans who were selling all kinds of beautiful, unique products. I was blown away by the incredible craftsmanship and care evident in these locally made goods.

I instantly started sending pictures to my family and friends, asking them if they might like some of the items as gifts. The responses I got from them were crazy – that same day my sister wrote me back with an order for 50 of the bags I’d shown her!

Aside from the products, that trip to Bali was a true revelation for me. That same year, on top of planning a wedding, I had started an extremely stressful new job as the director of a non-profit doing incredible work with children in Africa. On paper, it was my dream job, but in reality I was working myself to the bone, living in the office, and ultimately burning myself out. The trip was the first time in nearly a year that I had relaxed, looked up from my work, and taken time to notice the world around me. I realized that there was LIFE and OPPORTUNITY in the world that I was missing while spending 14-hour days in my office.

It wasn’t 2 weeks after I got back from the honeymoon that I called my husband and said, “I think I want to move to Bali.” Something about the island was calling me back; the beautiful people, the stunning landscapes, and the feeling that I could do more to give back to this inspiring place. As soon as my husband (also burned out at his corporate real estate job) surprisingly said “Sure, let’s do it,” the idea that would eventually become August Effects was born.

A few months later my husband and I had sold most of our possessions, given up our LA apartment, and were on a one-way flight back to Bali. What started as a simple plan to export Balinese artisan products to the US became so much more when I got to the island. I knew that I wanted to include a charitable aspect with the brand, but after living on the island, August Effects became about giving back to Bali through more than just charity (though we do that too). Today, we use local suppliers, artisans, craftspeople, and manufacturers to build ALL of our products, creating sustainable skilled jobs and decent wages for local people.

In addition, we partner with the Bali Children Foundation to bring English language, computer, and vocational skills to disadvantaged children in Bali’s poorest communities. These skills give kids in BCF’s programs an opportunity to succeed in Bali’s booming tourism economy. BCF prepares the kids for jobs that will allow them to not only support themselves, but also to give back to their families and communities. Through our partnership, August Effects donates a new English dictionary to BCF for every purchase made on our website.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

To be honest, almost every day is different for me now. These days I split time between the US and Bali, and even in the US I’m never in the same place for more than a few weeks at a time. While this definitely keeps life interesting, it does make it somewhat tough to keep up with all my work.

To stay productive, I start every day with a routine of meditation, gratitude, and self-care (more detail on that later). After that I typically spend 6-8 hours working from my laptop – at a coffee shop, at my co-working space in Bali, or at whatever Airbnb, hotel, or home I happen to be in that day. I keep a strictly organized calendar that dictates what I’m working on and when. I also use a bunch of apps and online tools that help to keep me on task and efficient.

At the end of the day I usually unwind by hanging out with my husband, taking long walks with my dog Bodie, cooking, reading, and catching up with friends and family.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Anytime I have a new idea (for August Effects or otherwise) the first thing I do is develop a real, actionable plan around it (i.e. timeline, resources needed, strategy). Next, I’ll start reaching out to friends, contacts, suppliers, or whoever else I think might be able to advise on my idea. From there, it’s off to the races incorporating the advice into my plan and doing my own research as to how best to accomplish it.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Mindfulness, Self-care and their growing presence in the entrepreneur community. I soak up a lot of material on the habits of successful entrepreneurs, specifically as they relate to building a new business. One common thread that I’ve noticed is that almost all of them practice a daily self-care routine that sets them up for productivity and success.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Before I look at my phone, open my laptop, or do anything else in the morning, I meditate for 10-20 minutes. I find that it calms my mind and allows me to think more clearly and rationally throughout the day. It allows me to feel like there is space in my brain to be creative even while dealing with the obstacles and tasks that arise throughout my day.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You don’t have to do what is expected of you. If you always do what is expected, you’ll never surprise anybody!

I would tell my younger self that carving my own path and doing something different than everyone else I know has been one of the most liberating and empowering experiences of my life.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Chipotle is the best restaurant in the world, and I won’t hear otherwise.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Develop a morning routine that serves you. Whether it’s meditation, journaling, gratitude, daily affirmations, or just making a to-do list, having something to anchor your day in the morning is a real game-changer.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

For each new project, idea, venture, or product I pursue, I create a miniature business plan around it before I get started. I try to consider everything that might go into this hypothetical project – time, money, effort, resources, competition, etc. That way I can, from the very beginning, start to predict obstacles that might pop up as I embark on the project’s journey.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I honestly don’t consider anything that I’ve experienced in starting my business a “failure.” I’ve had plenty of setback and challenges, but I remember reading somewhere that you only fail if you quit, and I’m still going!

My biggest challenge so far has been facing the reality of two products in my launch collection that didn’t sell. Since it was my first collection and (in my mind) my first chance to show the world that I was a real entrepreneur, it was tough not to take it personally.

Ultimately though, I took it as a lesson and re-structured my product development process to include more feedback from my actual customers and followers.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

This actually dates back to conversations I had with girlfriends back in my single days, but I think someone should create some strips or wipes that can take red wine stains off your teeth quickly while you’re out at a restaurant or bar. I love red wine, but I’d always avoid it on dates because I didn’t want to have red teeth for the whole night. Ok entrepreneurs – go!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I just ordered some MCT oil, a frother, and a whole lineup of mushroom-based products from a company called Four Sigmatic. Every morning I now make a frothy coffee concoction that includes mushroom coffee, MCT oil, and coconut milk. I swear that drinking this in the morning feels like flipping a light switch on in my brain – it’s a serious productivity potion!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

My number one is a web service and app called Planoly. One of the most time-consuming things for a new business is keeping up with your social media presence. This service allows me to plan out my posts and content weeks or months in advance instead of being on my social media account every day. Now I block off one or two days out of each month to set up scheduled posting for all of my social media accounts.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday. It’s a super quick and easy read but one that will re-shape your entire approach to marketing. I started implementing a lot of his strategies before I even finished the book!

What is your favorite quote?

“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than to your comfort zone” – Billy Cox

Key learnings:

  • Breaking away from the expected to start your own business
  • Productivity tips for nomad entrepreneurs
  • Creating a morning self-care routine that sets you up for success