The Nappy Bohemian, "Interviews : The Black Maker" - EPISODE 3, Hilton Carter
Hey guys! Episode 3 is here (horn toots!), and I had SO much fun with this one. You know those accounts that seriously seem unreal? Yeah, that's the creator behind this one! Not just that, but he is the first Black man in "The Black Maker" series! Get to know my new buddy Hilton Carter! Not sure where you've been if you haven't seen a post or a re-post of his luscious home full of some of the finest greenery and plant envy on Instagram. His thriving account has landed him his own book that I was eager to purchase, Wild At Home, as well as account takeovers on Apartment Therapy, and work behind the scenes with AllModern. I'll dive right in!
TNB: "This one is a bit different for me because I see you as our favorite plant whisperer, but you have such a beautiful sense of style and design. So how did you get into all this?"
Hilton Carter: "I got into design early by going to all types of art schools. I went to an art high school, undergrad, and got my masters in Film. So my eye for style and design has always been apart of who I am. I've always wanted to create visually. I remember being 5 or 6 years old, wanting to create stories visually.
TNB: "Oh wow. So you didn't choose the life, the life chose you (laughter)? "
Hilton Carter: "HAHA basically! Everyone says follow your passion, but my passion seems to be following me. I've been just going along minding my own business, and the moves that happen are just reactive to all the moves I made prior, unintentionally. Even with the book, I thought I'd one day have a beautiful coffee table book with more of just beautiful imagery versus a how-to but this is what I've been blessed with. I just keep winding up in the right space. Its interesting how things work out."
TNB: "Yass! I get that. You have to always believe you are where you are supposed to be. I know you from your beautiful IG squares, how did this book idea come about? "
Hilton Carter: "It was so funny actually. The publishing company reached out to me, and the need to put out content like mine was already there. I had been posting for a while greenery via social in general about plant care and stuff, it was an easy grab for the publishers. Why not? The engagement has been amazing."
TNB: "Perfect timing too! I feel like these days, things are so hectic and crazy. We just want to bring back nature and find a more holistic way of life. All of this happening on the back end, while you are doing your natural thing. You fit in perfectly!
Hilton Carter: Right, and plants are apart of styling home."
TNB: "But wait... you are not just the table top plant guy, you are all in!"
Hilton Carter: "Hahah true. I think I just wanted to live in the feeling that washes across me when I go into a botanical garden. It's the feel that I wanted to capture in my space. I added plants, maybe 3 plants at a time sometimes lol, all with balance. I learned to put a cap on it so that I can be mindful about how I'll care for them, or learn to. That's what my book is all about. You can't just go to a nursery and get everything, you need to plan it, know your light, know what type of caretaker you are, know what direction your windows face etc. You can bring that info to your nursery and do it the right way. Be self aware, know where you are and what you have."
TNB: "Well i'm definitely anticipating owning your book, you are already dropping so many gems! Now i'm curious, are you balancing your plant styling career with a standard 9-5?"
Hilton Carter: "Yes! Im working full time to full time. I also work at an ad agency around strategic content creation for clients. So when I get home, there's a balance of work and play with my wife. I mean obviously, I wouldn't had been able to do any of the things I've been able to do without her full support and guidance. I know that's not everyones story. I feel like I still benefit from the passion of my full time job so I never feel stressed too. I feel like both sides (9-5 and 5-9) support me in terms of happiness."
(shout out to wifey, keep supporting him sis!)
TNB: "I get that! Im really public around my work relationship with Fireclay Tile as a Design Consultant, and I really enjoy what I do on both fronts. I feel like that actually helps you grow because you aren't approaching your side hustle with too much pressure."
"Okay so, let's get it out in the open. You are a Black straight man, and you are in the plant styling and interior design industry. I often talk about just being a person of color in an industry where we are only 3% black. I thought it was really interesting to add straight black male to that. When I first saw you I was super proud, and also wondered how everyone else sees it? How do you feel about the diversity around that, like, what are people saying?"
Hilton Cater: "You tell me! You're the people! hahah. No but... its rare right? I'm from a different perspective now, because of the amount of followers I have I can actually step back and see how many brothas are really feeling greenery in their home. I don't know if I'm the first (lol), but I feel like it! I mean, there's all this talk around gender roles right, what you can and can't do. Maybe 10 years ago I'd be looking at what type of job I can do based on my appearance, but even with me coming from an art background it's a sin to think you should hinder your art based on what people will think you. Even as a kid growing up in Baltimore, it was always like, "oh you are an outsider, you're an art whatever". People can see it one way. I feel like being Black holds space. Even with my publicist she's like who do you want to reach? I'm like, I want to reach Oprah! Tell Oprah that Im a Black man in a predominately White Woman space. My publicist is like, ok but how do I say that? Im like, just like that! I own it!
TNB: "Totally! I didn't realize that in my own home adding greenery really brought out something in my husband, who is now much more open to talking about how important the greenery in our home is."
Hilton Carter: "I also want to add that I make sure whatever image I take, will always have a motif with a plant in it. I can't randomly post about my coffee or drinks with friends. I look at accounts I like to follow, and think about what I gravitate to and I make sure its that way."
*Guys. Im starting to think my free for all posts need more curating. Coming soon?
TNB: "So how do you handle copy-cats? I'm sure people use your images all the time but do they pretend its their own?"
Hilton Carter: "People send me stuff all the time and show me things someone posted without credit. At the end of the day, you have to understand what platform you're on, so you can't stress too much about that. I remember when (insert BIG NAME CLOTHING BRAND) posted my work and tagged someone else. It was the most liked post they had posted in a while. People tagged me though!"
TNB: "Oh no! At least your tribe came to bat for you! This has been so fun! I really feel like you did a great job of showing us how things have came to fruition for you. Do you have any advice and final words for the newbies out there?"
Hilton Carter: "Im sure they have heard this before, but at the end of the day, you have to put out or do what's inside of you. Even when you are talking about just creating an opportunity for yourself, social media has been crazy right? You can put whatever you want out there and create a platform."
TNB: "Yes! For sure! Okay, I told you there was a one-off question, so here it is! Whats your favorite Ice Cream? If I had to guess, it would be some hippie, soy free, organic, dairy free situation, Haha"
Hilton Carter: "Really?! Lol! Actually, there's a small shop here called The Charmery! Baltimore is dubbed Charm City BTW. I have to plug my boy, they make this flavor called Maryland Mud and its chocolate, chocolate chips, and Oreo pieces. If you give me chocolate anything, done!
Thanks Hilton It was such an honor to talk, and I look forward to getting your book!
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