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Mercer Alum Danielle Nutt Credits Mercer for Providing Background for Her Varied Career

12/5/12


For lifelong Hamilton resident Danielle Nutt ’92 (A.A.S. Advertising Design), starting her education at Mercer helped build the foundation she needed to one day purchase and run her own business in her hometown.

When Nutt graduated from Steinert High School, she knew she wanted to continue her education at Mercer due to its affordability and proximity to her home.  Unsure of what she wanted to focus on as her major, Nutt was able to find several outlets for her creative side through the college’s arts program.

“Mercer is flexible and allows students to try different things before they commit to a major,” she said, adding that her professors at Mercer had a passion for their subjects, in particular her photography professor, the late Lou Draper.  “I always thought he was phenomenal,” she said.  “He was serious about his craft and always challenging his students.  He was very creative and innovative.”

After graduating from Mercer with a degree in Advertising Design, Nutt went on to Rowan University, graduating in 1995 with a dual degree in Fine Art and Art Education.

After college, Nutt worked as both a recreation and art therapist, first at Princeton Nursing Home, and then at Mercer County Geriatric Center and Alterra Clare Bridge of Hamilton, a facility for the memory impaired. 

Wanting to explore other creative avenues, Nutt decided to utilize her skills by taking on a position in special events.

Danielle Nutt ’92 (A.A.S., Advertising Design)

First she worked as a social catering assistant with Headquarters Plaza Hotel in Morristown. Then she became the associate director of special events at Princeton Day School, where she executed social and fundraising events for the school, managed the special event budget, and coordinated the annual fund drive.

A few years later, while working as a consultant at the Bridal Suite of Hamilton, Nutt saw the potential for growth and made the decision to buy the store.  “I wanted to own my own business because I had a vision,” said Nutt.  “I could picture myself as a retailer with a business that families could rely on and come to know as ‘the place to go.’”

Recognizing the risks of running one’s own business, when Nutt first took over the business she continued part time at Princeton Day School.  However, ultimately she made the decision to concentrate on the bridal shop full time.
“I used anything and everything I learned at Mercer in that job,” she said, adding that she felt like Mercer had taught her almost everything she needed to know to run her business.

“As a small business owner in a small town, I needed to have a lot of different skills, including how to network, speak in public, be financially responsible, and how to advertise and market myself,” she said.  She added that whenever she created an advertisement she would make adjustments based on the critiques she believed her Mercer instructors would have for her work.

The Bridal Suite thrived under Nutt’s direction, as she more than tripled the store’s business in three years.  She also instituted a program “Brides Across America,” which donated $50,000 worth of bridal gowns to women in the military and those engaged to military men on active duty.  She also created a fashion/business internship program at the shop, partnering with her own high school, as well as Notre Dame, Trenton Catholic, Nottingham, and West Windsor, and The College of New Jersey.

After immersing herself in the bridal business for eight years -- and opening the flagship bridal store of Alfred Angelo in Cherry Hill -- Nutt made the decision to sell the Bridal Suite in 2011 so she could spend more time with her three children.  She currently works part-time in the sales operations department at McMaster-Carr Supply Company.

A self-made woman, Nutt continues to be an active member of her community by using the skills she’s developed throughout her career in a volunteer position at her children’s elementary school.  She serves as the public information officer for the PTA, where she does various creative tasks for the school, including grant writing, press releases, and website updates. 

“It’s a great fit for me because I get to be involved with my kids while also doing something I enjoy,” she said.  “It’s the best of both worlds.”

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