Congratulations on opening your brick-and-mortar shop earlier this year! How's it going?
Keli Faw of Drygoods Design: Thanks so much! It's going well - we started out at weekends only and are now open six days a week and it's rather fantastic to get to see our customers most every day. While our online customers are fun in and of themselves, getting to be a part of someone's in-person experience of such a tactile product like fabric is really rewarding. Merging online and storefront experiences, I hope, is beneficial for both groups of our community.
You recently began hosting a monthly craft night, which we're determined to attend. What kind of projects are people working on?
Would love to have you there and share your crafting know-how! Although we've just had two so far, I have to say I am so glad it worked out to do these and with any luck this will become a weekly, rather than monthly, event. It ranges from embroidery, knitting, hand sewing (quilt bindings), quilts, apparel to handmade gifts. There's something so magical about like-minded people gathering in a room and producing thoughtful creations. We fawn over the construction, gasp over the fabrics or thread/yarn, discuss what approach might work best and even better, laugh, chat and partake in a glass of wine and sweet treats. It's really the sense of community that inspires me, hopefully others too, and brings gratitude to be a part of it.
How do you choose such great fabrics? There must be so many out there.
It's not easy to edit down the amazing selection out there these days. However, I really try to live and die, from a buying perspective, from something I learned from a coworker when I worked in retail and we were basically handing our paychecks back to the company with the amount of clothing we purchased. If it didn't give you butterflies, you couldn't buy it. While I always want to have our merchandise mix tell a story, unless I love it or customer requests it, it doesn't come into the store. Of course, there are wild cards but I believe that if you love it, more than likely, you will find others that do too. However, the downside is that I often get sad when something sells out. It's like saying goodbye to a good friend.
What seem to be the trendiest patterns right now? Anything you're in love with currently?
Chevron and ikat definitely are still on the top of the list in the modern quilting cottons, however, I am really loving the play on geometrics as well as what we've seen in type become popular - a more hand drawn and watercolor feel. We're also seeing a heavy dedication to nautical prints and primary colors. I am rather obsessed with the combination of navy, coral, teal, grey and citrine. I head to Houston for one of the bigger fabric shows with weekend and I am excited to see what's new for Spring 2013! Every time I think it will be hard to see something new or unexpected and every time I am overwhelming surpassed in expectations.
Is there a designer you would be excited to see develop a fabric line?
I would really love to see Susan Connor of SusyJack* bring something to market. I know she's working on it but I have loved what I have seen. And Jenny Gordy of Wiksten. She's made her prints available on Spoonflower but it would be so fantastic to have them available in a collection that's more approachable in prices. The same, with respect to price, would be true for Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. I satiate my love for her artwork via her cards and paper goods we carry.
We're inspired by so many small-business owners, and wonder how you balance work and home life. How do you juggle it all with two young (and adorable) kiddos?
To be honest, I drop a lot of balls when I juggle :) And thank you, I think they are rather amazing, and adorable too. The notion of running your own business is a very romantic one. It's hard, and I keep an impossible schedule of late nights and early mornings.However, I also know that real balance will eventually come, it just takes a lot of time. Our recent growth has allowed me to expand my team, and I feel very fortunate to have the staff that I do. Each person adds something to the mix and I love the diversity in perspective, skill set and interpretation of craft. Truthfully, I couldn't do all that I do without the understanding and support of my family, specifically my husband. Partnership is key and between my business and his insane travel schedule, we just really try to work on maximizing our work time and our family time with the understanding that they will never be completely equal but it is our time, no one else's. It has taken time to just figure this out and we're continually learning about what works better than other approaches. Making time to hang out and laugh makes it easier. Kids and friends are something for which I feel very grateful.
Now for some fun ones! What do you like to do in your off-time?
While there is little of that at the moment - I like to play with my family, food and cocktails. I also like to sew. When I am not making things for the shop or customers, I am finally taking on what I deemed most intimidating of sewing - apparel and quilting. Both are much more approachable than I originally thought and gratifying.
If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?
Easy answer, but really, part of my life is doing it. I hope to leave my other job by the middle of next year but other than that I get to buy, sell and help others discover the fabrics and other goods that they want in their lives and turn into something handmade for their favorite people. However, if I could add more international travel into it, that would be pretty sweet.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Has a transporter been invented yet? Because if so, it would be perfection to live near the Mediterranean. I am a sucker for old world charm, sun, good food and wine but proximity to family and friends is important, hence the need for advances in transporting technology.
If you could eat at only one local restaurant for a year, where would you go and what would you order?
We are so lucky in Seattle to have so many options but I think Delancey would be it. While their pizza is amazing, I love their salads and the beverages. The days they are closed we could consider detox/fasting opportunities and to offset the pizza further, we could walk there more often!
If you could invite one famous person into your shop/studio, who would it be?
Hardest.question.ever. Can I categorize the famous folks? If so - from the textile perspective: Lotta Jansdotter; from the design and lifestyle community perspective: Martha Stewart. I used to be more critical of her, maybe because everyone was into her. But after hearing her speak at a conference and her perspective and seeing her headquarters, I think it would rather awesome to receive her feedback - the good and the ugly. From a current events/general perspective: Michelle Obama. Lady has class and would love to sit back on the couch and hear her thoughts on life and the world (okay and maybe about her rocking arms too).
Images via Drygoods Design's Instagram