My name is Nicole Hilton, and this is my story.
Some of you may have read my name before in an Instagram DM, or may have heard my voice during one of the live sessions we organise with baristas and people from the coffee industry at I’M NOT A BARISTA. So let me tell you a bit more about myself.
I’m a 24 year old girl, half British, half Italian, and am currently living in Turin, Italy, where I was born and raised. I graduated a couple of years ago with a degree in Media and Communications whilst working as a teaching assistant to save as much as I could for future projects. When I finally felt confident enough, I decided to move to London to pursue a Masters in Advertising, Marketing and PR. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction, except that I moved in September 2020…
Of course, the experience in London did not turn out to be as I had expected: because the city was in lockdown, there were no job opportunities. I spent my days mostly alone, sat at a desk reading, studying, writing up to 10 hours a day, and had no possible distractions. Sadly, 6 months later, I had to move back to my parents’ in Italy because I didn’t have the financial stability I had hoped for.
When I got back home, I was desperate to find a job and started applying for internships in the hopes of enhancing my marketing and advertising skills. Completely unexpected was the reply I received from Micky, who wanted to meet me and organise a job interview.
Soon enough, I joined the I’M NOT A BARISTA team and on Easter Monday of 2021, I started my experience as a Marketing Intern. Everything was terrifying at the beginning: people were talking about brewing, about Aeropress, and Clever Drippers and I couldn’t help but think
“Am I in the right place? What do I know about coffee?”.
Growing up in Italy, coffee has been a huge part of my teenage years. When I wanted to hang out with friends, we’d meet at the bar and have a “macchiato” or meet at the library to study, and then end up chugging 4 cups of coffee to stay awake. I also recall many summers where I and my friends would enjoy an iced coffee cream in the park. Coffee was kind of everywhere in my life, but I knew absolutely nothing about specialty coffee. Not only did I know nothing about it, but I was also supposed to market it and create a buzz around it. How?
I started picking up the pace by reading about brewing tools, watching brewing videos on Youtube and simply by being virtually around baristas who were happy to share their knowledge and tell us about their experience with coffee. Hearing that some Champions and professional baristas had started finding out about this world by chance, made me feel less alone and gave me the right confidence to believe I was the right fit for this position.
Micky has been a huge part in my “coffee journey”: after teaching me everything I needed to know about coffee, he started sending me ground coffee bags at home to experiment with different flavours. Month after month, Micky could feel my enthusiasm, and that’s when he decided to give me my first ever coffee grinder. I cannot even tell you how many times I played with it and felt like a child playing with a new toy. Tasting Pacamara’s coffee beans, freshly ground by me and brewed with a Moka Pot, was an amazing experience. For the first time ever, I enjoyed drinking pure black coffee, with no sugar.
In only four months at I’M NOT A BARISTA I have learnt so much. I remember the first task I was assigned: I had to write a caption for an IG post and draft an email for April’s newsletter. After two weeks, Micky asked me to be the team leader and give my contribution to the organisation of the Zoom party with all the baristas and coffee lovers who had been part of the Brewing Guide. That was the first time I felt like I was learning how to navigate around stressful situations, and had felt I was improving with time management and multitasking.
Some of the things I do help manage I’M NOT A BARISTA’s SEO copywriting, writing coffee stories, interviewing baristas, recording podcasts and organising IG live sessions. I am also responsible for posting and creating content for the company’s social networking channels.
Social media management quickly became my favourite part of this job:
“I love to talk to people, see their reactions, understand their feelings and interact with the global community. I believe I am a people’s person and that’s why I feel so compelled by social media management.”
To this day, my interest in social media management has grown and, thanks to this opportunity, I managed to secure a place in an advertising agency in Turin as a Social Media Manager. Someone I love has taught me that good experiences must end, and I feel especially sad to be leaving this amazing team. A special shoutout goes to my companion in this wonderful journey, Virginia. We basically started together and we’ve always had each other’s back. When I was struggling, she was always there to help me out, just a phone call away, and when I needed a push she encouraged me to do my best. I never thought I would find such a special friend in a remote-only internship, but luckily I was proved wrong.
Here’s a tip:
don’t ever feel like you’re behind anyone else. We all have a specific pace in life we must follow: some of us will find ourselves slowly, after many falls, some will succeed after the first attempt. The secret is to accept that you have your own time and that you, like everyone else, will have your opportunity to shine!
Thanks for taking the time to read my story, I hope I can inspire someone to apply for this internship and make some great memories!