Nikki: Manager 

Spotted: Hayes Valley, San Francisco 

What are you up today?
I'm on my way to work. I'm a manager at Azalea — it's down the street.

How long have you been doing that?
I've only been doing it three weeks!

How did you realize that was something you wanted to do?
I don't know — I have a B.A. in merchandising, I've been jumping back and forth and I just decided to get right back into it!

What drew you studying merchandising?
The colors, details, and prints.

What kinds of things are inspiring you right now?
Definitely lots of art. I'm born and raised in San Francisco — I grew up in the Mission, I grew up around lots of graffiti and art. I look at that, take pointers from it, and put it into my own work.

What do you like most about what you do?
The satisfaction of it being over and done with — when I have that final product in a photo, I just feel so proud of myself. I always compare it to getting a new tattoo — it's a lot of hard work and it's painful, but when you're done it just looks so badass. It's perfect. I also like the people that work at the store. I used to shop there before I worked there. It's always a lot of fun. It's always poppin', people are always happy. Just fashion and fun. I like to keep it light.

So you're a tattoo collector?
Yeah, I've got them all! I'm, like, covered.

Which one is your favorite?
I have a huge tattoo of the Golden Gate Bridge on my thigh that has poppies going up, and this one on my wrist that's really rude — it says "See Ya Never."

What inspired that one?
It's just something that me and my best friend have. She has one that says "Tomb Sweet Tomb." It's just an inside joke. But, OMG, my mom was so mad when I got it! She was like, that's so rude, and I was like, no it's not — it's the truth.

What are some of your favorite things about growing up in the area?
Definitely the people. You've got a really good mix of people. I've met people from all over — not all my friends are from here. Also definitely the food and the culture. Bay Area Layers

If you were to give somebody a locals tour of SF, where would you take them?
Definitely the Mission, but more like 24th and Mission. That area over there. Not on 16th, that area's changing a whole lot.

In what way do you see it changing?
I don't want to get into that topic but, you know, the gentrification. My thing is, it's great you're making money — you're doing you, but just have respect for the culture.

So back to favorite local spots — what other places do you like?
Growing up I spent a lot of time in Golden Gate Park — hanging out with friends, doing things my mom wouldn't want me doing. Ocean Beach as well. There's [one spot] actually — it's right across the street from Sutro Baths, and you kind of have to climb to it but it's this castle that you climb into; it shows you the whole entire view of the ocean area which is really cool. We used to throw a lot of parties up there.

What's a challenge you've overcome lately?
You know what? I think it's just an every day thing. Just small little things every day. I feel like my overall challenge has already been taken care of, and that's graduating college. Now I just have to find myself and where I'm going. And I'm only 23, so I have plenty of time.

I also wanted to ask you about your outfit, how did it come about?
So I looked outside, and, per usual, it was gloomy, so I always like to just throw on layers. As you know, it's the Bay Area way, it's the San Francisco way. Always carry three layers or more. So I was having a bad hair day, so obviously the beanie. But everything is pretty much just pick it up, and it works! 

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