Her fans include a design firm in Chicago, a customer in Australia, multiple customers in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver and a well-heeled baby In New York — on Park Avenue, to be exact.
To say Kamloops designer Nicole Duff is destined for stardom based on her success so far . . . well, that would be an understatement.
"I would really love to be a name that people knew," said Duff, owner of Mood Design Studios. "I would love to be a brand that people knew, to be something that people aspire to have when they are designing their house."
The 32-year-old Kamloops mother, who makes bold and colourful accent chairs and other decorative household items, is well on her way to that goal.
She spends hours each week transforming chairs, lampshades and pillows into works of art to be snapped up by happy buyers almost as fast as they appear on Etsy.com, the popular online market.
As the only employee in her home-based workshop in Batchelor Heights, Duff maintains a hectic pace. But this former licenced practical nurse — who eased out of her job during maternity leave — wouldn't change it for the world.
"I think a lot of moms find that they have this creative spark when they have kids," Duff said with a laugh, as she explained how she went from nursing to designing.
"I don't know if we're colouring more with the kids or what it is, but it happens."
Duff's creative spark flared about four years ago, after her daughter was born. It was a joyous time, mixed with some disappointment. Duff and her husband had wanted to raise their child closer to family, which required a move out of Kamloops.
The move didn't pan out, but the situation proved fortuitous because it put Duff on a path to discovering her passion for interior design.
"I thought, 'OK, if I can't be closer to my family, then I'm just making this house the best home ever," she said.
"I wanted to make it the kind of home that I wanted to live in."
While still on maternity leave from her job at Royal Inland Hospital, Duff set about finding furniture and home accessories in the bold, bright colours and patterns she loved.
But "everything was beige."
So Duff decided to make her own home accents — starting with the furniture.
She bought an old chair, some fabric, researched books on upholstery techniques, watched instructional videos online and got to work.
"It would take me a really long time to get stuff done, but, in the end, things would turn out just as I had pictured it in my mind," she said of her early projects.
"And it just kind of gave me a thrill."
Within months, she was sewing and stitching like a pro — not to mention getting rave reviews from family and friends, who saw her finished products at home and in photos Duff posted to Facebook.
"That set my passion on fire even more," said Duff, who by then had given birth to her second child, a son, now two.
She quit her nursing job and focused full time on her family and newfound passion. She established Mood Design Studios and began selling her work.
Soon her pieces started popping up on design-focused websites like Pinterest and in online magazines such as Houzz and Bespoke.
Last October, Duff set up a page on Etsy.com, which has produced no shortage of international customers wanting to buy her vibrant chairs, pillows and lampshades — particularly those fashioned in her signature Happy Houndstooth fabric.
"I'm excited for people to see my products because I know that they will love them when they see them," she said.
Her work sells from $60 to $600, depending on the piece. One of her first sales was an antique rocking chair, bought by a young couple on Park Avenue in Mahattan, who wanted it for their child's nursery.
"That was really exciting," she said.
So far, Duff has no plans to return to her old job. She misses working with patients but this unexpected career change has taught her a lot about herself.
"I think when you're growing up you kind of forget about your creativity, you know, that you have this creative side to you," she said.
"And you get into your job and you do what you're supposed to do and have kids and you just kind of go along with your life the way you think you're supposed to live it. Then when something happens and sort of brings something out of you that starts a little flame, I just think you need to capture that and harness it and see where it takes you."
To learn more about Duff's creations, visit www.moodstudio.ca or search for Mood Design Studio on Etsy.com.