Photography by Lauren Lieberman
Delray Beach designer Nikki Poulos was an instant success in her native Australia when she founded Ecobaby, an eco-friendly line of children’s clothing. When she sold the business, Nikki embarked on a different career path and took up marine biology. After a year working for the Coral Reef Conservation Program in Florida, she felt a creative calling again and launched a women’s clothing line under her name. Last year, her modern boho-chic designs landed her on NBC’s Fashion Star, where they sold out within 10 minutes at H&M. Although Nikki wasn’t the winning contestant, the show opened plenty of doors, including an offer to produce a collection for the Home Shopping Network being released this month.
Word to live by: "Do or do not, there is no try." Yoda (Star Wars).
Where she grew up: On a 64,000-acre cattle farm in the Outback of Australia. It was so isolated, we didn’t have electricity.
Favorite childhood memory: When we were 7 or 8, my little sister and I would saddle up horses, pack a lunch and just ride all day. Having that sense of freedom is something we all long for.
First garment she designed: A bikini when I was 8—and I lived miles from the ocean.
Initial clients: High school classmates.
Her design ethos: I’m a firm believer in fit and cut. Tailoring is everything.
Her muse: Myself. I make clothes that I would wear.
Looking back on Fashion Star: It was intense. I lost a ton of weight filming—probably about 10 pounds—just because of the stress of it.
Favorite spot in Palm Beach: The Armory Art Center.
Most recent purchase: A lot of fabric. Honestly.
Dream date: Quentin Tarantino. The guy’s a genius.
Playing on her iPod: Iron and Wine.
Last book she read: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. You need a lot of Kleenex for it.
Most unusual item she owns: An Amazon dolphin skull.
What she never leaves home without: Great sunglasses.
Proudest achievement: Being adventurous. I’ve always said yes to everything. I’m an optimist by nature. I don’t see challenges as problems; I see them as fun puzzles to work out.
Favorite city: Paris.
Next goal: Taking America by storm in the fashion realm is a good place to start.
Best advice: Follow your heart.