From zero to Zero - Part 1

A bit about me and why I opened Zero...

Ever since I was little I have been interested in animals and how we humans affect their habitat. I’ve been a vegetarian for twelve years and since then I have become increasingly empathetic towards animals and conscious about animal welfare and the environment. 

My other passion in life is art, craft and design which is where the story begins…

After leaving school I went travelling, probably the less said about that the better but I did get to see some wonderful places! I went onto study Art for five years at Wimbledon School of Art, graduating with a BA(hons) in Technical Art Interpretation, after that I worked on various films and theatre productions doing props and special effects.

Following on from the film and theatre sets I was fortunate to be able to work with my Mum. She is a great organiser and has an amazing eye for interiors. She sources curtains for some very exclusive houses in London and Surrey and having worked with her for a while, I decided there was a gap in the market for some unique fabric designs, so I opened my own business, Nikki Szabo Fabrics www.nikki-szabo.co.uk.

I print my own fabrics using water-based ink which is chemical-free, so as not to have a negative impact on the environment. As the business grew, so did my range and I added make up bags, pencil cases and other accessories to my range. I also started running sculpture workshops which I absolutely love.

3 years ago I decided to move back to East Sussex bringing my business with me. I took an artist studio in Eastbourne and joined The Devonshire Collective on the seafront giving lessons. For any crafters out there, you’ll appreciate how honoured I was to be approached by Julie Peasgoode, who asked me to go on a Saga cruise delivering workshops and talks which I did in Canada in 2018.

Back on dry land and later that year, I was asked to create a sculpture of an albatross for an art exhibition in Eastbourne. Whilst I was researching this, I came across some horrendous images of marine life that had been affected by the plastic waste that we created I decided it was time for me to do something about it.

I’ve never owned a shop, or even worked in one for that matter, but I had always fancied it so I started my research. I visited a few zero shops and loved the concept - it’s fresh and contemporary and I believe it’s how we should be living. So, I went for it and decided to open one myself. More about that in part 2…! 

Someone told me I should share a bit about myself outside of work, well, that won’t take long as since opening the shop I have been working 60 hours a week, which doesn’t leave time for much else! But normally outside of work I enjoy singing (I was in band a few decades ago!).

I spend time helping dog charities, specifically the RSPCA who I cycled from London to Paris for a few years ago. Piggie the dog is a massive part of my life and we love nothing more than a walk along the beach together. My best wind-down time is spent mooching about art galleries and coffee shops, I love to get a regular creative fix in London, Brighton or Lewes.

I hope to meet you soon!