Bonbon Kakku

You probably have already heard of Bonbon Kakku through Whipup or the Craft Magazine blog or elsewhere. It is a digital textile printer out of Finland with a Threadless-type business model. People submit designs, users comment and vote on them, designs are picked for production based on this feedback. So that I’m not just reporting old news, I emailed Bonbon Kakku with a few questions that I didn’t find answered on their site, and Päivi (cool name!) was nice enough to answer them promptly:

What do winning designers receive?
The designer gets 6 meters of the winning design printed on fabric free.

Will you ship outside of the EU?
The shop is open only in EU but you can score the designs everywhere!

What does Bonbon Kakku mean?
Actually Bon Bon Kakku does not mean anything. bonbon= sweets, kakku (Finnish) = cake, to decorate with fabrics, to have a party with designing fabrics, to have fun together, is a playground for creativity.

What is the weight of the fabric? I understand that it’s interior decorating fabric, but how heavy is it?
87% CO 13% PES 220 gr/ m2, plain weave

Are you considering other kinds of base cloth, say for quilting or garments?
At the moment we have only one base cloth, haven’t thought about the future yet.

The sample images on your site look like the designs are all very large scale — can the designer control the scale?
The repeat does not have to be big, but only in digital printing it is possible to have these large designs, perhaps that is the reason.

This is interesting and I will certainly be watching the business evolve. What do you all think of the business model as applied to fabric production? I am generally against spec work, but in this case designers are not designing for any one specific client. Many people find value in the community aspect built into this business model and are willing to put their designs out there for free just for the exposure and constructive criticism. It is up to the individual designer to decide if the compensation for winning is adequate.

P.S., I do love Bonbon Kakku’s crazy busy site design. Reminds me of Paperrad and Superbad, from the old-school days of experimental web-art.

One Comment

  1. Leslie says:

    This is awesome! I wish they would do this in the US. There some many pattern fabric enthusiasts. it seems to me that pattern design as well as short run digital printing of fabric is gaining an unprecedented level of interest amongst designers.