About Nicole Kiefer Design (NKD)
NKD stands for Nicole Kiefer Design and I consider it my brand name. I’m not a fashion designer. I don’t create cuts, shapes or that sort of thing. What I create is art to wear, share and decorate your home with. It all started with my first computer and a program named Corel Studio.
When I was in my early teens my mother started a small home-based print business, creating business cards, flyers and such. Back then internet wasn’t that common and clip arts still had to be bought as CD’s. When she started her business she bough a new computer that would keep up with her work as well as software she needed. I was the one getting her old computer and access to her new software Corel Draw. The software came with a big catalog of clipart’s and fonts. I remember spending hours just looking through it, fascinated by those pictures. I was a terrible student and homework was the bane of my existence. (You have a lot of homework in German schools) But when I had this software I began to find doing homework was fun (except for math, nothing makes math fun), because I now was writing it on my computer with cute, sexy, bold and interesting fonts adding clip arts to make them more interesting.
I had fun, was doing my homework and after a little while everyone was happy with that. (My teachers weren’t sure they could accept my homework like that. It was very unusual for the late 80s in Germany for a teen to have their own computer)
The skills I gained during my time in school helped me later on in my apprenticeship and then again when I went back to school. Over the next 20 years I used those skills on and off for work or with clubs and committees I was part of. I created flyers, booklets, business cards but I never considered doing it as a job. Then after we moved to Canada and I developed Fibro I had to face the fact that my job as a cook wouldn’t be for long. I loved it, but the physical demand was wearing me down. I had written two books back in Germany before we left and had been published, so I thought to return to writing. I wrote two books before I reached the point where I had to quit my job and self-published them. Because unlike back in Germany, I wasn’t so lucky as to be discovered here and my dyslexia made my material a hard or impossible choice for publishers. Self-publishing and the lack of a budget forced me to create my own book covers. To my own surprise I discovered that I wasn’t bad at it, and that I loved doing it.
From there I started to learn on a daily basis to draw, create and modify graphics. I wrote several more books but more and more I fell in love with designing. The thought that someone would walk around wearing a shirt, jacket or hat with what I drew made me giddy.
In 2016 I slowly started out by putting some designs on clothing using POD companies and retailers like Zazzle and Redbubble. I learned as I went, using Corel PaintShop at first then adding Corel Painter to my software. In 2017 I started to order real merchandise and go on Trade Shows, Farmer Markets and local events. As with everything in life there is a learning curve for that and with no budget to speak of it’s an expensive learning curve. I also added my first online store. An endeavor that didn’t turn out too well, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing.
Now I’m in my third year, a little more experienced, but still at the beginning. I hope by using and investing in a proper online store, offering products you can’t get from retailers like Zazzle and Redbubble or VIDA to reach those who love my art. While giving them all the convenience a online store should have.