Nichole Sullivan of Keppel and Kismet creates classic wooden signs, ornaments, accessories, and decor with a whimsical flair. Her work is full of passion and personality, almost giving you the sense that you already know her just by looking at her creations. Keppel comes from the Pantone name of Nichole’s favorite shade of blue. As for Kismet? That’s the serendipitous way that, in spite of numerous challenges early in her journey, doors opened and pieces fell exactly into place, letting Nichole know that she was on the right path and doing exactly what she was meant to do.
Based in the Ashburton neighborhood of Northwest Baltimore, Nichole is mom to four daughters. Though she has always been drawn to the arts and has always considered herself a maker, she worked in a more corporate setting for years before launching Keppel and Kismet full-time. That experience, of course, made the business side of running a creative endeavor come more easily, and her savvy has helped her be more mindful of time and resources now that she’s in charge of coming up with ideas, executing them, and almost everything in between. She has also had to call on her knowledge of the commercial market, striking a balance between her personal aesthetic and what she knows customers will want, as well as knowing when to say no.
As a lover of art, music, poetry, and nature, Nichole says there are few creative blocks that a walk outside with some good tunes can’t cure. The pandemic, of course, presented an exception.
When everything shut down in March 2020, Nichole’s youngest was in 8th grade. As a mom, she acutely felt her daughter’s deep sadness about missing out on time with friends, not to mention so many long-awaited school traditions and celebrations. And as an artist, Nichole was creatively blocked as well, unable to create anything new no matter how many walks she took. She had just opened a beautiful brick and mortar workshop space in the Fall of 2019, and now everything she’d been working towards hung in the balance.
In spite of ultimately closing her workshop, Nichole was able to turn to the community she had been building in a different way. She grew her social media following and enhanced her online shop, put her work in various local boutiques, ran workshops in different locations, and even collaborated with fellow artists to bring their designs to life through digital fabrication. She’s looking forward to all of this and a lot more in 2022.
Even with her creative life on a different trajectory, it still feels a lot like kismet.
Follow Nichole on Instagram at @KeppelAndKismet.
Want to meet more local mom makers that are taking holiday markets by storm? Check out our Charmed Holidays guide.
FIND KEPPEL AND KISMET AT OUR #MADEBYMOM POP-UP! We’ll have items crafted by Nichole in our curated #MadeByMom pop-up shop at Green Spring Station’s Makers Market on Saturday, December 11th! Stop by between 10 AM and 4 PM!
Photo by Laura Black.