There is no doubt that working with Makower UK on my first fabric collection is a dream come true. I have worked in the UK & USA craft industry for well over 10yrs now, designing graphics that are primarily used in paper crafting software. It’s been wonderful work and I’m forever grateful that I’ve been able to work from home doing what I love.
However, a couple of years ago, I started to feel that I wanted a new challenge and a career path change, and all I could think of was seeing my designs on fabric. As a quilter and sewist, I love fabric! I’ve always enjoyed doing little soft furnishing projects for my home and kept thinking how I’d love to have my own fabric collection. How amazing would it be to have my own designs on fabric?!
I looked at a couple of the fabric printing services and initially ordered some fabric with my designs on and it was so exciting when they came in the post. But it wasn’t enough. I wanted to change my business. I wanted to do this for a career. Even as someone in my 50’s. You’re never too old to dream a new dream!
And so, through my membership with AFCI UK (Association for Creative Industry UK – formerly CHA UK), I booked one of their “new designer” tables at the craft trade show Stitches (Craft, Hobby and Stitch) back in 2016. Previously, I worked my backside off working on illustrations and pattern collections to make sure I had a good portfolio to show. I had several postcards, prints and other marketing material made up as well as signs etc. I created a little list of “dream clients” and attended the show. You can read all about it here – Designer Showcase at Stitches 2016.
Makower UK was on the top of my “dream clients” list and was excited when they agreed to meet me and look over my portfolio. They gave me some amazing feedback and invited me to one of their design meetings. All very exciting. I spent more time refining my work and after another meeting, we agreed on a first collection. Interestingly, it wasn’t any of the collections I had designed but a little mermaid character caught their eye so I worked with them to develop her into a collection. It has been a steep learning curve working on this new collection. It’s one thing to sit and design a collection and present it, but it’s a whole other thing to make it commercially viable and appealing. I’m hugely grateful to Makower for their patience and industry insight in helping me to get this first collection together.
For any artists/illustrators wanting to get their work in front of art directors/buyers, I’ll be doing another blog post in the next week or so about my experience. I’m all for sharing my knowledge in the hope that it helps others on their own creative business journey. It can be so scary to put yourself out there and show your work. Please sign up to my newsletter if you’re interested so you don’t miss that blog post. I’m also happy to answer any questions so please feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to help.