Social media GURU & brand builder: Interview with @NOBREAD's Nicole Cogan

Oh hello! Fancy seeing you here!

So so excited to introduce (re-introduce if you know already) you to Nicole Cogan, a social media GURU, entrepreneur, brand builder, and inspirational chick who seriously I am so glad to know!

I met Nicole through my bestie, Lindsay (hi boo) and was legit jaw drop hearing her story and how she basically started this brand, No Bread from scratch.

If you haven't heard, you can check instagram @nobread or via her website  (she's got 75k followers via @nobread) or read a few of these MAJOR interviews and articles from Refinery29

No Bread is a website, community, Instagram, group, restaurant guide, everything for eating gluten free. 

I know I know, "gluten free" is the buzzword right now, but, on the real, eating less gluten feels good, I personally feel lighter, and for people like Nicole, it's the real deal sickness, and she can't eat it no matter what.

Nicole was inspired to help others find good restaurants and places to eat - Gluten Free. 

Like so many people, she had an idea and vision to create a community of helpful information for others living gluten free, online. Working her day to day in Finance in New York, she, overtime grew and grew her vision and idea until she made the leap to GO FOR IT. All the way, quit her job and make No Bread happen. 

Another thing I love, she has interns taking photos and doing some work for her. More importantly however, they're also learning how to build a badass brand and following.

I mean, when she said interns, I was like DAMN. PROUD OF YOU.

So, I had to interview her, and get her to drop knowledge about all she knows as it relates to taking the leap, following her passions, finding her dream career. 

So exciting! Let me know what you think.

My interview with Nicole Cogan of No Bread.


Tell us a little about you. Tell us about No Bread and how it started (it's HUGEEEEE now!). What's your background? Have you always been super business savvy?

NOBREAD started when I was working at JP Morgan. I worked in Equity Sales and I was constantly taking my clients out for lunch and dinner, but I never knew what I could eat at these amazing restaurants! I started NOBREAD selfishly as a guide for myself to help me order at restaurants. I've always been a huge foodie, and my gluten-free friends and colleagues were always asking me for my tips and recommendations, so I started a blog 'nobreadnyc' so I could share my suggestions and thoughts with my friends. Chefs and restaurants LOVED the concept, and when I would tell them about my little side project, they were eager to be involved! NOBREAD translated easy to social media, and that's how the @NOBREAD instagram began! I grew a following pretty quickly, and that's when I realized I was on to something great. 

What is a gluten free diet? What is celiac? Can you talk about the difference, and what gluten is?

It's often assumed that I have celiac disease, but I do not! I am gluten-intolerant, meaning my body can't handle gluten, and when I eat it, it results in an inflammatory response in my body. People with a gluten intolerance have a wide variety of symptoms. Symptoms range from hives and headaches to more serious autoimmune conditions such as Leaky Gut Syndrome, IBS, and more. Celiac Disease, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease where consuming gluten results in damaging of the villi in the small intestine. Both lead to long-term health complications! 

**To read more about celiac and gluten intolerance you can read here.

You previously worked in Finance in New York (successfully!) can you talk about your transition to entrepreneur and business owner of No Bread?

I'm always asked what a typical day in my life is like, and I never have a  good answer! Every day is truly SO different, and that's what I enjoy most about NOBREAD! The most important part of being an entrepreneur is networking with people in the industry, and I spend my days meeting people and picking their brains. It's amazing what you can learn just by having one conversation with someone!

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow their dreams and start their business?

If you love something enough, and you are passionate about it, you HAVE to pursue it. You will make it work!! 

Can you talk about your social media strategy? You have a massive organic following, any tips?

People always ask how I got such a big following, and I think it's a combination of a few things. I started 'nobreadnyc' when Instagram was in its early stages, so timing definitely worked in my favor as no one was really doing what I'm doing now. Also, when I changed the name to just 'NOBREAD' and expanded to more cities it really broadened my reach.

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You were just in Hong Kong. What are some of your favorite experiences since starting No Bread?

The opportunities I've had to travel have been AMAZING. The goal of NOBREAD is to show how to be gluten-free, not just at restaurant's in major cities, but around the world! I spent 4 months in LA last year, and I'm headed back to LA for another 4 months now. NOBREAD has brought me to Mexico and China and I'm putting together a few more exciting trips for 2016. Most importantly, the best experience has been meeting other foodies and bloggers from around the world. 

What's something that people don't know about starting your own business? 

The ups and downs of working for yourself are far greater and more intense than the ups and downs at a structured, corporate job. Also, you have to sacrifice time with friends and family, and do whatever it takes to make your business work.  

What's the biggest challenge?

Hearing 'no'! It's hard not to take 'no' personally, especially when it involves something you are so passionate about. Also, NOBREAD is my business and my career, so hearing 'no' makes me doubt my and NOBREAD's future. Thankfully I've learned how to remain positive and use the rejections as motivation to keep going! 

What's your proudest achievement to date?

Leaving my job in finance. The courage I had to build up so that I could look at my high-paying, prominent job that MILLIONS of people wish they had, and leave it all behind was incredibly hard. It was absolutely a life-changing moment, and the realization I had that I value my happiness over my financial security was the most mature and best decision I have ever made!  

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Favorite gluten free restaurants in LA and NYC?

In LA & NYC you can find me at...

LA

Gracias Madre, Eveleigh, Malibu Farm, Gjelina, Zinque

NYC

Chalk Point Kitchen, The Butcher's Daughter, Dimes, By Chloe, Jack's Wife Frieda

What's next for NO BREAD?

We're going to keep expanding! Our goal is to show how to be gluten-free anywhere, anytime. We're expanding to San Francisco and Chicago next, and my goal is to keep expanding not just here in the US, but internationally, as well! We've also started taking a more lifestyle approach to NOBREAD, so that we can feature our favorite GF products, recipes, beverages, fitness studios, and more! 

Where can people connect with you?

I love hearing from my fans! Shoot me an email (nicole@nobread.com) or a direct message on Instagram, and I'll do my best to respond!! 


I really can't love doing these interviews more. Hearing from Nicole about building a brand, or what it's really like to be a social media GURU is so exciting and we're part of a generation that's doing things that have never been done before and following our passions all the while.

DOPENESS.

Any questions for Nicole or about no bread? I follow the IG @nobread, as the ONLY food account on my Instagram and it's given me such amazing ideas for when I travel of the hot spots to eat. Highly highly recommend.

I look forward to hear your thoughts, as always. Have the best week!

xoxo

Krista