Fabric Design Insights

I have been trying to clear out my email.

One of things I do with my email is that I use my Inbox as a To Do list (one of them). I get notices of happenings in the quilt world and leave them in my email Inbox until I deal with them. If people email me, I keep their email until I can craft a thoughtful reply. I get notices of new uploads to various sites. When I go and look at the site, I delete the email. I joined QNN TV last year so I could watch Mark Lipinski. I have found it hard to allocate the time watching the videos so the notices of new episodes have been stacking up. I spent some time watching some videos the other day and found some really interesting.

In one episode Jodie and Mark interviewed Gail Kessler, a designer and Marketing Director for Henry Glass about fabric design and Michelle Bencko of Cicadia Studios. They talked about fabric design including numbers of fabric in a collection and how to get started. Gail Kessler said that she gets contacted every day by people who want to design fabric. She said that the first thing she asks is whether they are famous.

I was shocked, initially, but I think it was a way to get people’s attention; to make them pay attention to the realities of the business. What I understand she meant by her comment was that she has staff to design fabric. I think it is a valid point when she says that what sells fabric is the name on the selvedge and she wants -needs – to work with people who are out there teaching, writing books, writing a well followed blog and willing to help market their fabric via those outlets. Fabric is tough business.

Thinking in terms of business, this makes sense. It is easy to think that something is easy and lucrative. Nothing is ever as easy as it looks and we often don’t know what people do all day when they go their jobs. I think that Kessler’s comments are good. There are a lot of talented people out there who have great skills in design. They can be in house designers for fabric companies and churn out designs that the fabric companies can sell. The missing piece is the marketing and that is really important. If people don’t buy fabric designs, the fabric companies won’t make fabric and won’t stay in business. I think Kessler is right that names sell. It makes sense.