Inspiration

New Oliver Fabric

Lately we’ve been committed to finding gorgeous new fabrics that we can offer to all of our customers! After plenty of research, sourcing and testing we are very excited to announce that we have a NEW fabric! Introducing Digital Fabrics’ newest polyester fabric – the Oliver. For those looking for a new fashion fabric the Oliver is definitely something you’ll be interested in.

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The Oliver is a lightweight, 127 GSM Polyester Spandex blend (95% Polyester / 5% Spandex), which provides the fabric with a little stretch, making it a really comfortable option for fashion garments. Oliver has a bright white base with a matte surface, which results in strong colour reproduction when printing! The fabric is breathable, super-soft to touch and has an excellent drape.

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This fabric is ideal for fashion applications, especially for those designing easy to wear, relaxed garments. Oliver is perfect for dresses, skirts, tops, soft accessories and loose-fitting Activewear.

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Sample swatches of the Oliver are available now through our Sample Pack Order Form. If you’ve got an idea you think the Oliver might be perfect for, we’d love to hear from you!

Nailed It: Q & A Style Interview With Sarah Kalidis From Studio Onethirty

Nailed It. Creative business success story

Here at Digital Fabrics we love finding a new and interesting success story on a brand or business that is inspiring to the creative community. We thought it would be useful and informative to find out how these creative businesses nailed it, lessons learned on the way and tips they might have. We have asked them to share important “How to’s” and growth hacking tips for start-ups and emerging designers. Read it, get motivated and nail it yourself!

Today we are talking to Sarah Kalidis, the artist and designer behind Textile label and self-named bricks and mortar shop: Studio Onethirty. We will be chatting to her about how and why she began, what challenges she faces and what she sees for the future of her growing brand.

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Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_10Tell us about your creative business, what do you create, how did it begin and where did the name for the brand come from?

Hello I am a textile designer, furniture designer and artist. The business began while I was taking time off as a new mum; I started drawing and painting in my down time. After trying to source fabric for homewares pieces, I found there was a lack in the market for something bold and playful, and at that moment I decided that I would create something myself. Thus began the transition from drawings to textile pattern.  The name ‘Studio Onethirty’ is where my studio first began; my home address number of 130. It would be a reminder of a humble beginning, and those few precious years being a new mum and juggling a new venture.

You began your career in interior design, what led you to start your own business and if you could go back and tell yourself anything what would it be.

After becoming a mum and taking time off, it gave me plenty of thinking and reflection time. I decided I wanted to forge my own path rather than help some someone else achieve their dream. Having my own business would give me flexibility of choosing my own adventure. It hasn’t been easy, as working solo from the beginning meant that all responsibilities were mine, and working on designs, prototypes, sampling; meant plenty of back and forth while carrying an infant around.

If I could go back and tell myself something, it would be not to stress the small stuff; things may seem difficult and every day you may feel like you are pushing up a very steep hill, but keep looking forward and try to remember the reasons why you took this path. The pure joy and satisfaction of creating your own collection is far worth it.

What did you learn through the interior design industry that has helped you with building your own brand and what skills are transferable?

Being an interior designer has definitely helped with conceptual development of the range, and I give myself a brief and manage all aspects of the product from initial sketch through to assembly. I not only see each piece aesthetically, but it is important that there is a relationship between form and function. Certainly the skills of being able to visualise a product from conceptual stage has helped. I have a vision right at the beginning of how the piece should look, and having the material knowledge allows me to liaise with different local artisans and collaborate on the manufacture process.

Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_4You opened a bricks and mortar shop earlier in the year, a designer’s dream some would say. What were the biggest challenges in doing this and what led you to make the bold move.

Yes it is a dream move most certainly! And having only started the business a little over a year before, it was a very quick progression. However a store came up in my local area, in a lovely boutique little shopping strip, and it was a blank canvas. I thought what an amazing opportunity to provide locals with something unique and inspiring, and bring something different to the area. The space is my retail flagship store, and it also houses my art studio upstairs. I love that I can create pieces entirely onsite, and customers can visit to experience the whole design process.

Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_9What do you love most about what you do, what does a typical day in the shop look like and do you ever miss elements your old job?

The thing I enjoy most is being able to design and create each piece myself. It is a real sense of pride to be able to introduce people to the collection and explain that the art, textiles, homewares & furniture are my very own designs. And they are proudly made in Sydney! A typical day in the store during opening hours, is working in-store serving customers, along with tending to emails, orders & social media. And if there is some quiet time I can work on some new concepts and art pieces. I do miss my old job where I worked with some fabulous people and clients, however having the opportunity to be creative in a completely hands-on way is a really lovely new direction.

What would your advice be to someone dreaming about opening a shop or creative space? Have you faced anything you didn’t foresee as a challenge?

Making the decision to open up a creative space is one that takes a lot of consideration. You need to have a clear goal of what you are setting out to achieve, and know the risks at hand. The retail market is not an easy during this economic climate, so you need to offer your customers a unique experience and a level of service that would make them want to return. The challenge I faced right at the beginning was educating the local community on the store concept. The site had been a beauty salon for over 15years, and not expecting a creative space in an area such as this; it took a little while for people to realise what Studio Onethirty was all about.

Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_8As well as having a real life shop you also do the independent design markets, what do you think the main benefit of these are to Studio one thirty and what would your advice be to someone keen to showcase their brand at these events.

I love doing design markets! I feel that my products need to be experienced first-hand; and what better way to see a product than to touch and feel, and meet the artist themselves. My first ever launch to the public was at The Finders Keepers Market 2017 in Sydney, and over 3 days 20,000 people came through the doors! So the exposure my brand gained in the early days was incredible. Exhibiting at a design event is something I highly recommend when developing your brand. You will be exposed to a diverse range of customers, & gain feedback on your product that enables you to grown and adapt to the retail market.

What are your biggest inspirations and favourite materials to work with and is there a material or discipline you would like to work with in the future?

I love painting botanicals and native flora, and I do like to give my pieces a contemporary feel. It is all about colour and texture. I do enjoy working with linen as I love the organic feel of the fibre, and there is something about the way my designs translate to the cloth; it adds dimension to the artwork yet achieves a softness. I try to be eco conscious when developing the range, working with more recycled materials would be a great step.

How do you approach new work or designs, do you create for seasons or trends? In your experience is this valuable or do you prefer to follow your own path and see what comes naturally.

I prefer to follow my own path when designing pieces. My range is quite unique, and so it is important for me to keep inspired by external influences other than trends. I do feel that my work is a reflection of the season; I am often inspired by the natural environment, and so many of my artworks include colours that I am surrounded by at the time of their conceptualisation. It is generally a natural progression while painting and drawing.

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Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_1What do you see for the future of Studio One Thirty, do you have any projects in the pipeline you want to let us know about? 

I hope that my pieces can continue to bring a smile 🙂 and one day I would love to see my upholstery fabrics in an amazing hotel somewhere fabulous, like New York or Paris. Dreaming BIG I know!

What is the best piece of business advice anyone has ever given you and if you can pass on any words of wisdom what are they.

One of the best pieces of advice was that you should believe in yourself and have the confidence in your product, as it will evidently show in the quality of work you produce. Words of wisdom would be to find something creative that you really enjoy, even if it is just a small hobby, and make some ‘me’ time to really enjoy it.

Studio_one_thirty_nailed_it_6Thank you Sarah! We loved having you as part of our Nailed It series.

You can follow what Studio Onethirty is upto: Website, Instagram

New Fabric Designs – Wearable Art

We’re very pleased to announce that we can finally share the new prints that we’ve been working on. Introducing our latest designs: Hand Dyed and Green Lily! For these new prints we’ve drawn inspiration from the ‘wearable art’ trend! Whilst the term can be used broadly, when it comes to print design think heavily textured dry brush strokes, pools of inky watercolours, emotive gestures of line and colour and scratchy pencil illustrations.

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To create our first print we experimented with tie-dying techniques to create a watercolour effect. To steer away from the ultra-colourful, psychedelic designs that tie-dye is often associated with, we wanted to create a print that felt more abstract.

The final design chosen was one with sporadic ink blots, plenty of negative space and a softer colour palette of denim blues and muted corals. The design’s organic feel and chosen colours gives the print a contemporary feel that we think would work beautifully for both fashion and interiors.

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With the success of using tie-dyed fabric as a way of creating a repeat pattern we then tried painting directly onto silk using batik techniques. For this print we wanted to create floral motifs that felt looser in their form than those used in our other floral designs.

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The dyes allowed not only for the creation of flowing motifs, but also an inky, spontaneous feeling background. The final design has a free-flowing, tropical quality, and is desperate to be made into gorgeous wardrobe staples such as dresses, trousers and head scarves.

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Digital Fabrics_custom fabric printing_tropical floral design_wearable art_watercolour prints_5Both designs were resolved as repeat patterns by scanning the original dyed fabric, and then manipulating the artwork digitally. These photographs show the repeats designs digitally printed onto our silk-like fabric Dilly, which beautifully maintains the hand-painted quality of the original artworks.

Whether you like prints that are crisp and minimal, or big, bold and colourful, the wearable art trend is certainly one to try! These prints are now available for purchase in our Design Library.

Brisbane Textile Design for Beginners Workshop

The weekend is almost here, and we can’t believe it’s almost been a week since we had our very first DF School workshop in Brisbane! We’ve had overwhelming demand to start running our workshops away from our studio based in Sydney, so it was wonderful to have such an amazing response to this first class.

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The day was full of curiosity, creativity and warmth! We had such a blast and would really like to thank all of the students who were lucky enough to book a spot for their support and enthusiasm on the day. A big thank you to Stacey Bigg as well for teaching the class.

Digital Fabrics_DF School_Learn Textile Design_Brisbane Workshop_5Digital Fabrics_DF School_Learn Textile Design_Brisbane Workshop_1Our Textile for Beginners workshop runs all day and is perfect for creatives who are just starting out with textile design, or those more experienced who feel like they need to refresh some basic textile design skills. The workshop covers the basics of digital fabric printing and seamless repeats, before teaching you how to create a full-drop seamless repeat and preparing your file for digital printing.

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Subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest updates on when and where we’ll be running our future workshops. Head to the bottom of any of our website pages to sign up!

Thanks for having us Brisbane! – Until next time 🙂

Snippets: Chats With Creatives – Series 2, Snippet 2

Snippets’. Chats with Creatives. We are back with series two! Here at Digital Fabrics we love everything print, pattern and colour and we love to know what makes designers tick. This second series is all about asking some fun and different questions and learning about the inspirations and ideas behind the artist and their work. We hope to inspire others by sharing snippets of these creative stories. We gave the artists and designers featured a varied and different set from series one list of questions to choose from so we will learn something new from everyone involved, should be fun!

Today on Snippets we are talking to Kate Blairstone, a US based artist, illustrator and designer who’s work can be seen across textiles, wallpaper and art prints with a unique and nostalgic botanical theme running throughout.

Kate_blairstone_snippets_series2_image4.jpgTell us a bit about yourself, your brand/label name what your creative practice is, how and when you began:

I design custom wallpaper and draw lots of stuff (mostly plants) under my own name. My formal education is in Printmaking – I build up images in layers, sometimes using ink on tissue, sometimes digitally. My business launched officially in the Fall of 2016.

I worked behind the scenes in restaurants for years before going full freelance. In that time I accumulated every possible creative hobby (leatherworking, beadwork, gardening) before figuring out that I could combine all those things into surface design and illustration. The restaurant where I worked always needed design help, so I resurrected my art degree to maintain their menu and website. Eventually when we opened a new location, the owner gave me the opportunity to help design the space, including a huge focal wallpaper.

Kate_blairstone_snippets_series2_image8Where do you call home?

I live in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, Oregon with my husband and 15 month old son.

What 3 words best describe your creative style?

Lush, Loud, Adventurous.

Which part of the creative process is your favourite and why?

I enjoy combing the visual world for inspiration, building color palettes, finding unexpected ways to communicate with color. Taking time to draw from life, getting into a meditative headspace and using my pencil to observe how a thing is structured. Mark making, especially with brushes and black india ink, where color isn’t a consideration at all, and I can just focus on the shape my brush makes. Twist my arm, and I might say my absolute favorite part is coloring my images, when I’ve been through all these other steps and the pieces finally come together.

Kate_blairstone_snippets_series2_image1Kate_blairstone_snippets_series2_image6.jpgHow would you describe your work, and what influences your style?

I think of what I do like looking at the world through tinted glasses, or at a photograph that’s yellowed as it’s aged. The color of light has a wonderful way of evoking memory and a sense of time and place; it’s a distorted reality. My palettes are designed to enhance this feeling. I spend lots of time looking at plants and working in my garden, and when I travel I pay particular attention to how the plants I grow are contextualized differently in other places, through both landscape and surface design traditions. It helps me to see things anew. I’m delighted by the cycles of my garden, of food and of fashion – I especially love when an iconic style can be seen through the lens of another era or culture and across media, like 70s Victorian Revival, or Art Deco Architecture via Latin America, or 60s MOD as seen through Italian Horror. My husband is a comic book artist: we are always playing with mashups to describe our work and find new inspiration.

Kate_blairstone_snippets_series2_image3If you could go back and tell yourself one hot tip or piece of advice when you started out what would it be?

Though I’ve always been creative and went to art school, it took me a long time – too long, maybe – to really own it. And it took me a long time to find a medium that really took hold of me the way that illustration has. Looking back, I can say confidently that everything I dabbled in has its place in my creative heart, and made my work what it is now. But I wish that I hadn’t been so scared to call myself Artist, to give myself to making things with my whole being. For years I thought I needed some kind of credential; the only thing that mattered ultimately was the permission I gave myself. An Artist is a person who makes art, and that’s what I do. If this resonates for you, go read Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic.” Living a creative life is what it’s all about, y’all. Also a reminder to myself, always: doing your life’s work is a long game, give yourself the time and make the commitment to get there.

What has been your proudest creative business achievement to date?

It gives me great pride to have built my portfolio to a point where my clients recognize my style, see what I can do for them and – for the most part – give me the freedom to do it. As a commercial artist there is sometimes enormous pressure to conform in order to get enough paid work to make it. It is such a privilege to have this kind of trust, and an absolute joy to deliver on it. Also I hired an accountant this year, which felt like such a big girl move, I literally teared up in the parking lot after our first meeting.

Kate_blairstone_snippets_series2_image10.jpgWhich other artists/ designers/ makers, artists or creative people are you enjoying at the moment?

Right now I’m inspired by Petra Borner, Andy Dixon, Tyler Keeton Robbins, Michelle Morin, Sonia Pulido, Marisol Ortega, Anisa Makhoul, and Gucci Gucci Gucci. All great follows.

What would your dream creative project look like? Who or what is your dream project, client or job? Tell us about why you would love to collaborate with them and what you find inspiring about their work.

For me, great projects involve trust, the opportunity to solve good problems, research and analysis, collaboration, strategy and beauty. I’ve been lucky enough be a part of a few such projects in my career; those experiences have shaped the way I find meaning in what I do, and defined the kind of work I’m looking for going forward. I love to participate in translating feelings visually – I get really excited about differentiating brands. There are so many small-scale production methods available to us now, why use the same stuff when we can be fantastically different?

My dream clients are great collaborators, passionate about what they do, confident in communicating their vision, and hire the right people for the right job. The beauty of seeing my work this way is that there are lots of dream clients to be had out there, but if Gucci wanted to hire me I might literally throw myself at Alessandro Michele’s feet.

Kate_blairstone_snippets_series2_image5.jpgYou can follow what Kate is upto: Website, Instagram

New Demi Fabric

We are very excited to announce that we stock a NEW fabric. Meet the latest addition to our Polyester range – the Demi. Anyone with a budding interiors or marketing project, this fabric is definitely one that you should have your eye on!

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Demi is a mid-weight, 159 GSM, 100% Polyester fabric which is extremely versatile. It has an off-white base with excellent colour reproduction, making it perfect for designs with strong, bold colours.

The fabric has a plain weave and medium drape. One of the best features of Demi is its resistance to creasing, making it really easy to care for! Plus it’s soft to touch and highly durable. As a result we think this will be a fabulous fabric choice for both domestic and commercial use.

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With a gorgeous matte finish and an easy to care for, ‘wash and wear’ nature, we think Demi will be just perfect home-wares, particularly tablecloths, cushion covers, curtains and wall hangings. When it comes to marketing and events we think this fabric will be ideal for banners, tablecloths and merchandising displays. We’ve given a few examples of these DIY ideas below, including some Digital Fabrics customer orders, to get you inspired!

Digital Fabrics_custom printing_fabric printing_marketing and events_demi_6Heavenly tablecloth inspiration: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/239676011399419396/

Digital Fabrics_custom printing_interiors_marketing and events_demi_11Such playful prints on these curtains and cushion covers: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/384494886918411290/

Digital Fabrics_custom printing_fabric printing_marketing and events_demi_7This wall tapestry is a real statement piece: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/107382772345269554/

Digital Fabrics_custom printing_interiors_marketing and events_demi_8Event banners printed for ‘GECA’

Digital Fabrics_custom printing_interiors_marketing and events_demi_9Commercial marketing collateral printed for ‘Gemlife’

Digital Fabrics_custom printing_interiors_marketing and events_demi_10Market banner printed for ‘The Raisin did it’

Sample swatches of the Demi are available now using our Sample Pack Order Form. We’re very excited to see how you use this exceptional new addition to our fabric range.

Snippets: Chats With Creatives – Series 2, Snippet 1

Snippets’. Chats with Creatives. We are back with series two! Here at Digital Fabrics we love everything print, pattern and colour and we love to know what makes designers tick. This second series is all about asking some fun and different questions and learning about the inspirations and ideas behind the artist and their work. We hope to inspire others by sharing snippets of these creative stories. We gave the artists and designers featured a varied and different set from series one list of questions to choose from so we will learn something new from everyone involved, should be fun!

Today on Snippets we are talking to Katelyn Tso, the textile designer behind Indigo Thread, a beautiful brand creating homewares, accessories and clothing as part of the slow fashion movement.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your brand/label name what your creative practice is, how and when you began:

I’m Katelyn, the designer and maker behind Indigo Thread. I’ve always loved design. All through high school I would make my own clothes, screen printing, sewing and adjusting op shop finds. After school I started studying Interior Design, however after the first year I realised that interior design wasn’t for me, rather I loved designing individual textile products. It wasn’t until I became a mum that I found the time to sew again and I started Indigo Thread. I’m now a self-taught textile designer, making accessories, homewares and a clothing range coming soon.

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Indigo_thread_wares_snippets_2_image4Where do you call home?

I currently live in Sydney but I grew up on The Central Coast of NSW and it still feels like home to me.

What 3 words best describe your creative style.

Simple Shapes – Fun Prints (sorry that’s more than 3 words)

Which part of the creative process is your favourite and why?

Seeing the finished product come together for the first time. Sometimes I skip ahead, not completing the steps in the most effective order because I’m so excited to see the finished product.

Indigo_thread_wares_snippets_2_image2How would you describe your work, and what influences your style?

Simple designs and shapes with stylised and fun floral prints inspired by Australian native flowers. My desire for practical yet attractive products fuels my designs.

What does a typical creative day look like for you? How do you stay on plan and organised? 

Being a work from home/stay at home mum means that it can be a bit all over the place and my work is very disrupted. I have a little more time now that my eldest has started preschool 3 days a week but I still have to fit work into small time slots throughout the day. I stay organised by writing lists. Daily, weekly and monthly to-do-lists help me keep focused.

Depending on the time of year and if I have a market to prep for, I could be just sewing sewing sewing. Whereas other quieter times I get a chance to design some new products and fabrics, so it varies a lot.

Tell us about your creative space, what are your tips for keeping a creative studio space organised.

My studio isn’t really a studio. It’s a big desk in the living room of my 2 bedroom apartment. My husband hates that I take up so much space in our home, especially when I take over the dining table as well (it’s the perfect place for screen printing and cutting out fabric). I would love to have a studio one day, or at least a separate room that I can shut the door on the mess but for now it’s working for me. I don’t mind a little bit of creative clutter but I do regularly have to re-organise so that I have the space to work and I always feel like I can work better with a clean workspace. The best tip I have is get a good storage system. I have these amazing deep drawers in my work desk (custom built by my dad out of an old pallet) that store all my sewing bits and pieces as well as a cupboard full of fabric.

Indigo_thread_wares_snippets_2_image6Indigo_thread_wares_snippets_2_image7What/who inspired you to take the leap in to your creative venture, how did you get started?

I just started Indigo Thread as a hobby while I was on maternity leave and I think that made it not feel like a leap, it just kind of happened naturally. I didn’t have the pressure to make money from it straight away which was nice and I think I’ve enjoyed the process more because of it.

Tell us about how you get your creative juices flowing, what is your process?

I am inspired constantly by the beautiful world around me. By colours, shapes and nature. I’m often taking photos of flowers or colour combinations to reference later as well as looking at clothing styles and figuring out how they were made.

Indigo_thread_wares_snippets_2_image1What projects or collaborations from last year stuck out, good or bad and what is coming up this year that you would like to plug!

I loved working with my bestie, Nicole from Better Together Paper, on a collaboration of Prezzie Sacks last year. We love a chance to catch up and be creative together.

This year I’m so excited to be launching a range of women’s tops. I’m currently still in the design phase but they will be released in the next month or so. Think simple boxy tops in my Australian botanical fabrics.

Indigo_thread_wares_snippets_2_image9You can follow what Katelyn is upto: Website, Instagram, Facebook.

New Fabric Designs for Mother’s Day

We’re launching a new range of prints at Digital Fabrics! It’s been a little while since we brought you our last set of designs and this time we took a different approach to bringing you new prints. Rather than focus on one cohesive collection, we’ve had three artists create three different prints for you just in time for Mother’s Day!

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The collection of prints range from flirty to psychedelic to sophisticated, and feature both hand-painted illustration and digital manipulation. With three very different styles represented, we’re sure there’s something for everyone.

Vanity Fair_Custom Fabric Printing_Digital Fabrics_Novelty PrintsIf you’re needing fresh ideas on what to spoil mum with this Mother’s Day, we’ve got you covered and have put together a few DIY ideas that we just know you’ll both love. A custom made gift speaks volumes, and is guaranteed to be a winner with mum this year!

Sunshower_Custom Fabric Printing_Digital Fabrics_Floral Fabric_Colourful Floral PrintsGot accessories in mind for a mum who always looks fabulous? How about making a gorgeous and versatile scarf? For something bold or bright you might want to use either our Roxy or Dilly fabrics. If you were thinking of something a little more sheer we would recommend our super soft Chiffon.

Woodlands_Custom Fabric Printing_Digital Fabrics_Floral Fabric_Handpainted Botanical Prints_Custom ScarfIf you think home-wares might be better suited, how about a tablecloth? Our Cotton Linen is an absolute dream for a decadent feeling table setting and our Waratah and Panama fabrics are excellent polyester options for durability. You could also make napkins to match! And we can’t forget the ever perfect gift of a stunning, custom-made cushion! It could be the perfect opportunity to try out our new Organic Cotton Canvas that we’re very excited to introduce! Of course our Cotton Linen, Waratah and Panama fabrics are also perfect for cushion covers too.

Sunshower_Custom Fabric Printing_Digital Fabrics_Floral Fabric_Colourful Floral Prints_Custom CushionSo whatever your, or your mum’s style, there’ something here to get you started on any handmade Mother’s Day gifts you might have been thinking about. Let us know how we can help you realise your next DIY textile project!

These prints are now available for purchase in our Design Library!

Nailed It: Q & A Style Interview With Megan Mckean From Mckean Studio

Nailed It. Creative business success story

Here at Digital Fabrics we love finding a new and interesting success story on a brand or business that is inspiring to the creative community. We thought it would be useful and informative to find out how these creative businesses nailed it, lessons learned on the way and tips they might have. We have asked them to share important “How to’s” and growth hacking tips for start-ups and emerging designers. Read it, get motivated and nail it yourself!

First up in this new series is Megan Mckean from Mckean Studio, an inspiring design label based in Sydney who create colourful, fun travel keepsakes with a modern twist.

nailed_it_megan_mckean_studioTell us about your creative business, what’s it all about and how did it begin?

McKean Studio is a design label with a focus on contemporary souvenirs. We’ve been running our business for almost 4 years now, and it came about after working on some passion projects to soothe the post-travel blues! Inspired by our time spent holidaying around the world, our pieces are a modern take on travel keepsakes.

Do you work on Mckean Studio full time now?

I work full time in McKean Studio, and am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of full time self employment! It’s been a rocky road for retail in the past year, but an interesting challenge in diversifying my skill set and exploring other avenues that I might not have otherwise considered. It’s been really great to have the time to focus more on what I’m passionate about, and try out so many different projects.

If so, how long did it take you to get to that place and what advice do you have on career transitioning for creatives hoping to do the same. 

I’ve been really fortunate with the timing of all my transitions, and each stage of change in the business has come about quite organically. I was working part time on McKean Studio and part time in a retail role for several years after studying, and this was perfect as it allowed me to create for McKean Studio without huge overheads or financial commitments (and still bringing in enough income to pay my rent each week). Having the flexibility of a casual position alongside the business also allowed for travel, which has been really vital for both my inspiration and product development. I think everyone finds the groove that works best for them, and there’s certainly no shame in having a ‘day job’ or part time role if it facilitates the creative work you want to be doing.

nailed_it_megan_mckean_studioWhat goals do you think are important to achieve before you can make that leap?

For me, making the decision to go full time in my business was mostly influenced by time; I was down to just one day per week in my previous role, and finding that I still wasn’t able to fit everything I needed to into my week. I had a couple of years of business data to look over and ensure that it was going to be sustainable, so eventually just had to bite the bullet and make the jump!

With your experience in mind, would you recommend to jump full steam ahead into a business giving it your full energy, with big intentions right away or would you suggest doing it slowly and giving the business time to grow before making the leap? 

I think if the opportunity is there to grow the business slowly and steadily, then I tend to lean more towards ‘cautious optimism’ and continue on that path. But at the same time, you can’t leap a chasm in two jumps, so it comes to a point where you’ve just got to make a decision. I always told myself that if the worst happened and I wasn’t able to sustain the business, then I’m still totally employable and can go and work elsewhere!

nailed_it_megan_mckean_studioManufacturing is a complicated process, there are so many angles to consider. Do you have any disaster stories? If so, what did you learn from that experience?

There are no major disaster stories, but plenty of ‘face-palm’ moments and frustrations at not always being able to achieve the end result I had in mind. I’ve worked with such a wide range of materials and manufacturing processes, between handmaking myself, local production, and offshore production, and have learned that sometimes trial and error is the only way to figure out what’s best! I’ve had some annoying communication errors with international suppliers that have meant the quality of a product isn’t where it needs to be (even just simple things like a print resolution not being high enough for the product) and other projects locally that I’ve sunk a LOT of money into but haven’t been able to find an affordable solution for the final production. I’m still working on that one! 😉

What is your advice on working with manufacturers for those who are just at the beginning of their journey?

Local is best wherever possible, there’s nothing better than being able to problem solve in person, or communicate directly with a business who knows exactly what the problem you’re having is, and how to solve it. I would always say it’s better to start small and closer to home, until you’ve got a better understanding of the processes and the outcomes to scale up from there.

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nailed_it_megan_mckean_studioYou do a lot of the trade shows and big markets such as Finders Keepers and the Big Design Market. What are the biggest benefits other than sales that you think come from attending them as a brand?

We don’t do any trade shows, only a couple of the big markets each year, and it’s such a great chance to get to spend time with our customers and chat directly with them. We get invaluable feedback from this face to face contact (even just on colour choices, or product suggestions) and it’s always lovely to chat with our audience and trade travel stories!

If you were to start your creative journey all over again, would you begin differently and what avenue you would take to accelerate your venture, if any?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had my creative journey run quite smoothly, so the only thing I would change if I could go back in time would be to tell myself to chill out a little bit! I’m a big worry wart when it comes to future planning, and wish I could have been a little more relaxed about trusting the timing. So many great projects I’ve been able to work on have popped up out of nowhere, and there’s no amount of planning I could have done to have made them happen. Even the books, which are such an important part of my career now, I had no plans to pursue at the time I was approached by my publisher. It was a wonderful, serendipitous meeting and something that I was able to find a new passion for and work into our range perfectly.

nailed_it_megan_mckean_studioWe saw that you have been nominated for small publishers Children’s Book of the Year, which is pretty impressive! Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you can tell us about? 

I’m so delighted to have long listed for an Australian Book Industry Award, and I’m still pinching myself! Working on the books the last 2 years has been such a different way of working and a great brain stretch… so keep an eye out for something new in that category later in the year!

You have travelled the globe soaking up souvenir inspiration, where is on your list for the future and could you ever see yourself living somewhere other than Australia? 

I am always dreaming of living overseas, and we’ve been so fortunate to spend time in some beautiful cities all around the world. I’d love to live in New York one day, or retire early in Palm Springs (or live bi-coastally between the two!). We also often talk about moving to Sweden, so you just never know! We love Sydney for now though. We’ve got some other travel coming up this year to Japan, but after that we’ll see where the wind blows us!

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nailed_it_megan_mckean_studioTell us something people might not know about Mckean Studio.

I think something that people don’t always know about McKean Studio is that everything is made/designed by just the two of us! I do all of the illustration work, and handle all of the production down to packing and sending out every order. People often think we’re a much bigger operation than we are, and I always chuckle when we get work experience and internship requests (as flattering as they are!). Our Mini Cities are entirely handmade and hand painted here in Sydney, and all of the new pieces are connected and work-shopped for quite a long time before they’re produced.

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You can follow what Mckean Studio is upto: Website, Instagram, Facebook.

Textile Collection Babushka

Exciting news from us at Digital Fabrics, we have launched a new textile collection! This time we dove head first into a private collection of vintage European textiles and found just the inspiration we needed! The Boho-Chic trend is one that pops up time and time again, and it’s for good reason. We just can’t get enough of bohemian patchwork, colours and textures, and have designed a range of prints heavily inspired by collected embroidery treasures.

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Whilst the boho design aesthetic is undoubtedly fabulous, the statement style can be a little overwhelming for some. We wanted to create timeless re-imaginings that pared-back the heavily embellished designs typical of bohemian textiles, resulting in versatile and accessible designs.

Bohemian Fabric_Folklore Fabric_Custom Fabric Printing_Digital Fabrics_Cherry Stitch_2Bohemian Fabric_Folklore Fabric_Custom Fabric Printing_Digital Fabrics_Boho Rose_2Bohemian Fabric_Folklore Fabric_Custom Fabric Printing_Digital Fabrics_4Elements of vintage textiles were scanned, redrawn and redesigned to create the Babushka collection. Finding the balance between streamlined design and textured details was key in maintaining the essence of folk embroidered pieces whilst still giving them a more contemporary feel, and negative space became as important a feature to focus on as the motifs and designs themselves.

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Bohemian Fabric_Folklore Fabric_Custom Fabric Printing_Digital Fabrics_7The collection features both flirty, feminine motifs and minimal, geometric design elements, whilst using bold contrasting colours to maintain a crisp aesthetic throughout the range. The range revamps vintage embroidered textiles, resulting in elegant, graphic designs that can be used for so much more than the blouses and table-wear that we so often associate with the bohemian style. We cannot wait to see what you create with these prints!

The Babushka Collection is available for purchase in our Design Library!

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