Interview with Kate Murray
Hi hey, how are you? Good. How are you? Good. Thanks for talking with us today, can you just well, I just want to start out so you could just tell everyone what your role is that blend fabrics and what todo I am lined art director that's one fabrics, which is a license division of anna griffin were kind of a high end textile design company that license different artists for printed cotton fabric. So I manage and oversee probably about a little probably fifteen artists, and I just work with them doing, you know, with third art, getting it put into, you know, re feats and color ways, um everything that needs to get done to be able to put it, yeah, and so can you tell me a little bit about the process that blend goes through and actively seeking out artists to work with and what, what? How you find people and how you've come across some of the people that you're artists you're working with, we actually have a point, if you have. What if you feel that inquire with us through our website, w...
e have a little submissions guidelines on there and how to submit your art to us, but we've gone through I mean, through different shows, I mean, it shows placed on shows, turn shows, I mean just we've gone look on essie shot, you know? I mean, we just really kind of looked at a bunch of different artistic get a whole different array of, you know, artist to have under our belt, you know? I mean, I'm trying to think where else we go, I could speak teo you I came to anna griffin and blend via a superfan who recommended me to you and that was kind of awesome. I loved that so very much sounds like you kind of find people the same way that we all dio yeah, yeah, I mean, we have agents was, well, different three verses that contact us and send us different artists, you know, that they think might work might not you know, some do some don't and, you know, so yeah, there's a big penis huge pool to choose from out there that's for sure. So when when you're looking to work with artists to develop fabric collections, is there anything you're looking for in particular in an artist? Do they have tohave repeats in their portfolio already or they know no, not necessarily? I mean, I think what we're looking, we're really trying to look for people that are not already out there in the fabric world, you know, we want something different and that's just the same we have way wanted her I could get a little feedback we tried teo want to develop the artist versus their art so we can you know have them under you know more than one collection and not do one hit wonders so we're kind of looking for everything and but they don't have to have any kind of repeats no, I mean like we're more than happy to help we'll do what we can I mean, if it if we can help train on or if we need to do it for them or if you know, obviously it's a great I think you have under your belt if you can't do that but it's not necessary now that's totally amazing I think that that's I mean it's everyone wants a fabric collection I think that sort of everybody every designer's dream. So yeah, I mean some of it's obviously harder than others when it comes teo, you know, doing some repeats, but I mean, we've had people that are just artists, painters, you know, they draw we've taken scan it in and that's about as far as they can go and then we'll take it from there if we need teo so that speaks a little bit tio my next question, which is about some of the parameters of working with artists who do things by hand and what the advantages and disadvantages of those are well, I mean, I think obviously the obvious advantage ready artists working by hand it's just that unique style that they have that they could bring to the table that no one else could bring to the table disadvantage obviously being that exact kind of same thing if they don't know the repeats that they don't know tio you know, work digitally that could be a little bit I mean it's not going to hold us back, but it certainly gives a little you know, along the way we need teo taking to account that kind of stuff, you know? I mean, like so we need to take me to take a little bit longer trying to figure out the repeats and itjust things might just take a little longer in the end of it, you know? I mean, you might end up doing fewer collections a year because of the amount of work that goes into and then you know, from from the work that we've done together there's there's, some limitations and color and how the printing process works and that can change the design from hand teo surface and I'd love for you to talk to speak to that a little bit and and what happens in the process? Yeah, so I mean, when printing, obviously it is a screen that they're printing so we have a limit of eighteen colors so obviously, anyone that this has been a painter or any done anything hand and knows that you probably have if you're paying and blue, you may have twenty different blues, so we have to index that color as we want to call it, so you will not. You may not get the beautiful brush strokes. You may not get the beautiful difference, you know, the tones of the blues. I mean, we just have to limit that a little bit, and sometimes it takes away from the work. Sometimes it turns out absolutely beautiful, you know, it's, just really one of those things you just have tio give it a try and see what happens, how if you have advice for artists who are interested in working with you, what they can do to submit themselves, I mean, I know that there's a submissions on the website, but what would you like to receive when people submit to you? Do you want to receive images you want, you know, samples of spoon flower fabrics that they've printed their own on their own? Do they need to know how to so no, they don't need teo I mean, obviously, if there's a perch, canoeing and having that ability behind you, but you do not need to do that at all. To submit honestly, you could submit I mean, we'd like to see a range of your work, you know? It does not necessarily have to be repeats or anything that's printed on fabric on east blue flower, anything if you control together what you would like to see a fabric collection, what you think, mix up the fabric collection, that would be wonderful because there are so many things that are involved, I mean, different textures, different tone, als and blender fabrics that have to come into play and, you know, so I mean, if you khun translate what you think and again, it does not have to be in repeat doesn't even have to d and, you know, different color options that could be in one color way and just a kind of variety, you know, I would say, I mean, researching, looking at through the very fabric companies and, you know, seeing what's out there is a huge help I've been looking at the trends and fashion and home to core is a huge, you know, plus seeing what's out there and what isn't out there and that's what we're looking for, what isn't out there, and I think, you know, sometimes people will submit things that look like things that are already in. The collections at at a particular company and I think that could be a mistake like you want to separate yourself out and make sure that you're submitting things that would compliment the other artists that are working with a company and I think that's something that people can do that you have questions you have questions are rolling in now. So question for kate do you? This is from shiv do you prefer to work with artists directly or with agents or do you have a preference? What is what is the difference for you? You know, it's not really a big difference. I mean, itjust depends some I don't work with many agents. We have a couple artists that have agents and it's just a matter of keeping down in the loop, which was sometimes hard when you're working with artists, could you just gonna shoot them an email and tell him what's going on? And you know, sometimes you forget about that agent, but now it's neither their pulse pretty easy to be honest. So either way, it's fine. I mean, great. All right, we have a question from angela. You talked about your eighteen colors. Is there a resource where people can find out more about four blend? What are those colors that people can use or what should they be thinking about with those colors like look they can use any colors they want I mean, you know like our g b c and like a a pantone both taken pick colors and send me to watch is I mean whatever they want to use this sign there's no specific it's not a special eighteen killers it's a you can use eighteen colors max eighteen colors with eighteen colors yes what I meant was they wanted to be fantastic this is a question that kind of keeps coming up as a new designer do I need to have a strong online presence prior to sending you submissions for review? So if you don't have any online presence is that a problem? No, not at all not at all I mean that's just that's one way that we find artists so I mean that's but no you do not need that have that at all I would just be happy I mean you said me submit and you know if you have a little online portfolio you can link to that would be great but if not you to death definitely do not need that that's great. And we had a comment from someone that said earlier it's so good to know I always thought I had to know how to do repeat patterns in orderto have printer ready repeat so that is a big aha and bonus for people that I mean like I said it's obviously a plus if you can do it and maybe it's a learning tool down the road you know but now it's not necessarily needed so this question comes from sarah york do you does blend have an aesthetic looked that they like do you have a target customer that these artists might be thinking about when when they're thinking about what to submit to you what really I mean cause we really we just do what you know cotton so it could be anything people use it for children's clothing teo you know, napkins and tablecloths to quilt which I mean, you know originally it's all melting fabric but it's amazing how many things people use this special her that's mac will but no, I mean there's really not. I mean, the best I can say is take a look at our website and our artists I mean we have links to every single one of their web site. You can see every single one of their collections and see what's out there and I would like something different than what our artists are bringing to the table um and this is a little bit of a nuance on that but when I think we talked earlier about this trends versus looking for inspiration and how do you know what the trends are so shit asked what kind of trends are you looking for if it's not already out there how do you how do you go about that? I think you everything kind of has a there a trend starts somewhere and it filters down so I don't know I come from the fashion from children's clothing design so I you know we would look too obviously europe and that kind of stuff where it's going to filter down to us then some of times you know, the home to course filters in the fashion so I mean I think he was going to have to look at all the different facets of what's out there you know? You look at all the fun home the core places look at you know I mean the european websites and what they're doing and I mean honestly like you can't really put your finger on where to look you just kind of have to come across that and say, hey, I haven't seen this and this is fun or this is a great color way or this was a great you know, idea I mean I can't give you an exact unfortunately reason were replaced to look you know, it's a donald upto what you see is a trend you know? I mean, I don't think we're necessarily looking for the greatest next bus trends it's just what we think is you know what you think is going to be great and I like the fact that you're talking about looking for what's not already there what? What's different what's new do have another good question that came in from online do you have a submission calendar for sir seasonal work so for example do the holidays christmas need to be submitted nine months in advance or what does that look like? We it is tough but that is a tough one so we just we came back from quote market which is one of the biggest shows it's twice a year so this quote market in october we show two thousand fifteen holiday but it's just on paper so I mean I just I would have to have it almost a year in advance over a year in advance um it usually ships I should say maybe close to a year in advance that ship's usually may june of year before the holiday so two thousand fifteen collections will ship may june of two thousand fifteen for christmas two thousand fifteen does that make sense? So yes, there is a deadline like you have to have it into us by a year in advance so next holidays I would need by april may of next year that's really good to know for those those little ways yeah because it is a huge and it's a huge and if a quick window look holiday so I mean to get in and get it done and it's a quick selden sells out it's done so it's really a great little ah do you have a great christmas or holiday halloween collection? Another way? Maybe one more question from online this one is from sarah be so for people who are working with you are your license agreements exclusive or can people use that same pattern with another supplier that's not a fabric supplier? Or how does that work for the artist working with you way you'd be explicit to us for printed tatin fabric for you to use that art on other things is no problem. So if you wanted to dio, you know, some kind of stationary or some kind of home good, you know, plates and napkins, you know, that kind of stuff that's not a problem. Now we do have the anna griffin portion of that we do do stationery and cards with some of the artists, so that's always an option but that's up there as a different area that's an ana decision. So what? She does do her fabric accessories and cards and stuff that is always an option, but only if they're exclusive on that. And so that's a whole different conversation for someone that we signed first that's right? Let's read no, yeah that's so great. Um, well, I think we're pretty much there with time I thank you so much for talking with us today and taking the time to sort out all the technical things to make that happen I appreciate it and I'm sure you're going to get a flood of san francisco three great yeah I mean, you could send like I said two submissions at one fabric dot com or you can send it to me kate at one fabrics like um I owe you know I will get both of them and the way will you know what happens great. So that's how people confined you it blend fabrics dot com or kate yet but in fabrics dot com great and if you go on our web site under designers off to the side there's a little submissions guideline that just kind of just gives you an idea of what we're looking for again it's not set in stone so feel free to send what you think is your best work but we're happy to look at it awesome. Thank you so much. Kate thank you. Have a great afternoon, right? Random applause for camping. How did you go about first working with blend? Well, I mentioned earlier in the phone call with key that super fan of mine and there's that had a relationship with them. She contacted them directly. Kate murray and the owner joe um are you our ceo? I should say joe and mentioned my work and said you should check her out and they contacted my agent and ask we could talk and looked at my portfolio online, so I have a big, you know, web presence so that they said up she's not doing fabrics we should grabber. And so honestly, it was kind of interesting because my first, the first license I was interested in trying to get with my agents help was a fabric collection I really wanted teo open up into into that arena, and for me, the quilting fabric world is very specific, and my relationship was like she mentioned I all the patterns that we create our for quilting fabric only so if I then wanted to expand that into patterns that are relicensed elsewhere for other products. It's really nice, like even home fabrics like upholstery or curtains are betting or other things that's all still open for license. So quilting fabrics I mean it's a big enough market that they can do that on their own and still retain and it's an amazing opportunity. Tio for me it was I wanted to push myself to learn how to do the repeats more, and I wanted to learn how tio think about it, like one of the questions I was hoping to be able to ask her, which was great. The audience questions were awesome, but I think something that we could talk about more is like what goes into a collection like what makes a good collection and not something I'm still trying to figure out and I would love to talk with kate some more about then I think they're you know they're good there are a lot of really great designers out there that do you talk to that? I'm jessica swift as an artist I would look up and check out and she also works with blend she's another artist there and she does a really great job of talking through some of that stuff with her block and also she teaches an online pattern class um called pattern camp I think so you know, I think the thing is is that it's that I take away from that is that they're really just they want to take the best that they could find and make it fit in with their like, blend family, right? So, um it's a really interesting story behind blend too if you have a chance to look it up but anna griffin is the owner of the company and she has her own brand but she started blend as away teo give artists like sort of a cooperative in some ways place tio license there quilting fabric on a really high quality cotton and she as a someone who licenses her own work a lot and she understands what it's like to be on both sides of the coin and it it makes working with her really great because you can. She knows who you where you are in europe, a place of licensing, and understands your interest in your investment, in the pattern making and the process and the the quality of the product. So it's, great it's. Almost like working for another artist in that sense. And I think that's helped a lot and making it more successful as a company.