Interview/Giveaway: Melimba & Beccabury on Rainy Days and Mondays

Melimba & Beccabury are Melissa Snyder Wood and Rebecca Snyder, a two-sister design team whose debut fabric collection Rainy Days and Mondays was recently released by Riley Blake Designs. This little collection has been enthusiastically received so far for its bright, happy colors and clever adaptation of umbrella and rain motifs into geometric patterns. I’d never really thought about designing fabric as a team effort before, and I wondered about the challenges of benefits of such an arrangement, especially when, like M&B, they live in different states (Melissa in Texas, Rebecca in Utah). They told me all about it, and the inspiration behind the fabrics, via email …

You are a team of two sisters, right? How did that come about, and what is your workflow like, since you live in different cities?

Rebecca: We are indeed two sisters, even though we have different last names. Melissa has always been really great at sketching and decided to pursue art in college- which made me, her little sister get interested in the art world. She got accepted into both the graphic design and also the painting and drawing program. She decided to do painting and drawing so I am just fulfilling the rest of her dreams in the graphic design program. :) We have similar styles but our schoolwork is in different mediums so it is nice to combine worlds. We live in different cities but Melissa comes to visit quite often and we love to communicate online.

Melissa: Thank you, Becca. That was nice of you to say that I am “great at sketching”. hA! Whatever that means!? As far as our workflow goes, we typically send each other a billion screenshots a day. If you were to take a look at our email inboxes, you’d see anywhere from 3 to 13 emails back and forth each day. Some applicable to fabric, great blog posts, good music links, and our favorite YouTube videos.

{ some of Melimba’s stationery design work }

Please tell us about your pre-fabric design life as stationery designers.

Melissa: Well, I guess the stationery thing is pretty much my thing. However, before I sell anything or deliver proofs to people, I typically have Becca, my other siblings, and my mom take a look and vote on their favorites. I am such a big fan of paper and always have been. Seriously, my all time favorite purchases are REAMS of paper. Is it wrong that Ron at our local paper warehouse knows me by name? Currently I have WAY too many different colors of card stock in my possession. If people ask me what they can get me for my birthday or different holidays, I tell them paper… or envelopes… or paper. :) I was able to get a better feel for the stationery world when I worked at a darling little stationery store here in San Antonio called Moon Mippy for a few years. Currently I maintain a little Etsy shop and do lots of orders through word of mouth. Designing prints and stationery keeps my feet wet and really justifies my paper ream addiction, while I stay at home with my two kiddos.

{ Rainy Days & Mondays, green colorway }

How did you make the transition to fabric and start working with Riley Blake Fabrics?

Melissa: We have a mutual friend who introduced us to Cindy, the president of Riley Blake Designs. We told her that we had a few ideas and she and her team were able to look through our sketches of an umbrella concept. Fortunately for us, they loved it. Actually, at the time we presented it to them, we had pretty much every pattern created, except for the main umbrella print. Last minute, we decided to throw on a single umbrella on our thumbnail sheet. From that single umbrella they suggested we develop it more, and that’s how the main print came about. We are thrilled to be working for such a great company. Not only are they really nice people, they give us freedom to think outside of the box. We love it.

How did you come up with the name Melimba & Beccabury?

Rebecca: Melissa came up with the name Melimba a few years ago for her stationery stuff — probably because she loves anything that starts with a “ma” sound and ends with an “ah” sound (so much so that she named her first born “Matilda”). For our fabric, I decided to just add on to that Melimba goodness. The name Beccabury comes from my blog title so Melissa decided to combine the two while I was basking in the sun at Lake Powell. But I can assure you, it has been quite the feat to come up with a simple logo using that many letters.

Melissa: Is that why I chose the name “Melimba”? Who knew?! :) Becca, you didn’t explain how you came up with Beccabury. Her blog is called Beccabury Tells (a play on words, like the Canterbury Tales). I was really surprised at how clever it was and love it. And, because Riley Blake needed our “official title” to print on the promotional material while Becca was was on vacation, I had to wing it on my own. She wasn’t TOO thrilled that I decided on that for her title, but since then, she has embraced it and loves me for it.

{ white colorway }

Congratulations on the release of your first fabric collection! What was the inspiration for Rainy Days & Mondays? What came first — the title? The umbrella motifs? The mood? Something else? I like how it sounds melancholy but is actually quite bright and happy.

Melissa: Thanks for the congratulations! We are pretty jazzed (a nod to our favorite Utah NBA team). The inspiration was really found as we thumbed through our million sketch books. Years ago, I gave Becca a few drawing lessons. For some reason we drew a lot of umbrellas to help her grasp drawing spatially. We figured that we could come up with a lot of design ideas with raindrops and umbrellas — and I don’t know, it just came together for us pretty quickly.

We work best under pressure, and I was going to be leaving back to Texas shortly, so we buckled down, turned on some good music and got to work. We knew from the beginning that the gray + yellow/orangey color was important. We really like that color combo. Next came the green idea. I have a great wallet I found that is a dreamy bright avocado leather. We loved it and wanted to incorporate something similar to that. Lastly came the pink color. It was funny, because I don’t know if we ever imagined it would be as “happy” looking as it is. And, interestingly enough, I don’t ever think we clued into the next lyrics to the song, “Rainy Days and Mondays … always get me down.” hA! We weren’t trying to go for a total contradiction, but it is kind of fun that it is! Our mom is a big fan of the Carpenters (as are we, by default), and we tend to sing songs probably more often than most, so it just happened. I don’t know! Lame explanation, but there you have it.

{ pink colorway }

Please run down the prints and colorways in the collection — what are their names, and how do the pieces all fit together?

Melissa: The names are as follows: umbrella damask (gotta have a damask in the bunch … I’m a huge fan of a repeating damask), umbrella tops (like a bird’s eye view of the umbrella), raindrop squares, raindrop strands (our take on a multi-colored stripe), raindrop polka dot, and, of course the main umbrella print. Six total designs in the three colorways. Originally, we presented about 12 different designs to Riley Blake Designs, but these ended up being the crowd favorites. It’s interesting how even Becca and I have very different favorites. It’s funny because a few of her favorites are my least favorites, and vice versa! I guess there’s something in the line for everyone!

And please tell us all you wish to share about your process. Do you sketch, paint, take pictures? Or start directly on the computer? Or perhaps something else?

Rebecca: Melissa and I both really love to sketch. When I started college — I told people I just wanted to major in “doodling” — so we are excited about fabric because it is an opportunity to use our sketches and small scale drawings. Most of what we do is on the computer but every thing starts on paper because that is how we work best.

Melissa: Yes, paper first. Random ideas in the day are jotted down there, and then we can take our favorite and fine tune them on the computer. We both tend to gravitate to clean and simple designs, so often times we end up simplifying our patterns in the end.

Another neat thing about our process is that we are a sister team. That means, at the end of the day, we’ll always be “stuck” together. So, it gives us the freedom to speak honestly about our opinions about what things we think work best on a design because the other won’t be offended.

How do you envision your fabrics being used? Have you made anything yourselves yet?

Rebecca: Whenever someone tells me that they bought our fabric, I always ask what they are going to do with it. All the fabrics we did for this line are fairly busy, so we like the idea of them used in a quilt, but perhaps adding something like a crisp white in between patterns, to help your eye rest a bit. But we have seen a few designs that highlight the fabric, so that is exciting for us. I know of people making baby quilts, dresses, coin purses, skirts, pennant flags, tote bags, coats, pillowcases, and even shower curtains. I also know of people using the fabric with mod podge to decorate random things. The only thing I have made so far is a swatch package for my upcoming portfolio review — but I hope to make an apron this summer!

Melissa: Our sweet hairdresser made this dress (see attached) for my toddler as soon as our fabric came out in stores, and I just love it. It’s one of those pillowcase dresses. She said it was really easy, and I can’t get over how darling it turned out! She loves wearing it. Because our mom is quite the seamstress, I purchased a little trenchcoat pattern that she is making for my toddler as well. I’ve started making a few little neckties for my newborn to wear to church. !!! It’s gonna be pretty fun, I think (and, let’s face it, a lot easier to sew than a trench coat!).

What is next for you two? Melissa, congratulations on the recent birth of your son! Are you out of the fog yet?

Melissa: Thank you for the congrats on the baby! Man alive, I think there is wisdom in the whole “Plan of Life” having newborns needing a lot of sleep! It certainly helps in the transition. Luckily, Calvin has been truly the best baby I’ve ever seen. He eats like a champion, sleeps well, and is a genuinely happy baby. And did I mention he is a doll? :) We’ve slowly been coming out of the fog (what a great descriptive word that is!), and I’ve been able to find a new energy to get things done as of late. I have five garbage bags of random “stuff” to donate in our garage to prove it!

But, back to fabric, what’s next? The future is wide open. We are busily working on four different line ideas at the moment, so who knows if any of them will come to fruition. We think RED is definitely going to be a color of choice in the next line, which we love. So, we’ll all have to wait and see!

Thanks so much, ladies! We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Giveaway Time! Comment on this post for your chance to win a fat quarter pack of the entire Rainy Days and Mondays collection, courtesy Riley Blake Designs. Comments will close and a winner will be selected randomly next Friday, April 23, around 3pm Central U.S. time. Readers worldwide are welcome to enter. Good luck!

214 Comments

  1. Tracey says:

    I love the umbrellas-cute line and great colors!

  2. Vicki says:

    What a great fabric line. Thanks for the interview!

  3. nikki says:

    I absolutely adore all the raindrop prints. so cute.

  4. melimba says:

    wow, kim, that was really fun!
    thank you for the opportunity!
    we’re some of your biggest fans!
    thanks for thinking of us!

    love melis & becca
    (p.s. you don’t need to enter us into the drawing. we have a little bit of our own stash). :)

  5. Wendy says:

    I have been waiting and waiting for this fabric! Love everything about it; the interview was great, too!

  6. Ann Bates says:

    This Rainy Days and Mondays will perk me right up!

  7. Pattie C says:

    Super cute designs, love the pink so much. Congratulations.

  8. mamamagoo says:

    I recently got my hands on a little bit of this collection but need MORE, MORE, MORE…. It’s so beautiful and spunky funky in so many ways. Congrats to the two lovely young ladies and their debut in the fabric world. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!!!

  9. penny g says:

    I absolutely adore the umbrellas and the thought that living in 2 different towns and still cxreating together is way beyond me.

  10. carmel says:

    i loooove this collection!
    so sweet!

    thanks alot!

  11. Colleen says:

    This is one of my favorite new lines! I can’t wait to start sewing with it (once I clear up my have-to-do list). Thanks for the chance to win.

  12. Patsy says:

    I love all the Rainy Day fabrics and colorways and can’t wait to outfit my 3 precious granddaughters in them. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks, Patsy

  13. kathy ss says:

    I love rainy mondays. I think I like the circles and umbrellas best. I think these would make incredible twirly skirts and little quilts. Being in Arizona, we love our rainy mondays literally. Thanks for this interview and wonderful collection. Hope to see much more from these sisters.

  14. Kat says:

    Swooning all over the shop here – girls you are on to a winner. Bravo!

  15. Tressa says:

    I love the umbrellas and the fabric name. So fun!

  16. Margaret says:

    Oh I love this line – it is so cheerful and in keeping with my own aesthetic. Love that green colorway.

  17. Julia says:

    Oh such lovely fabric. And there’s not a blue Monday in the bunch!

  18. mab says:

    When I first saw these prints online, I said “OOOH!” Thanks for the chance to enter!

  19. Larina says:

    Super cute! Would love to make a patchwork skirt for my daughter with this fabric. Love Riley Blake fabric. Love the True Up blog too!

  20. Amy says:

    Wow, this is a sweet interview. Count me in on the giveaway!

  21. Pepie says:

    great interview, great fabric design. my favorite one is the pink colorway :) .

  22. Jeannette says:

    What a great story! I love the entire collection, thanks for a chance to win!!!!

  23. Phyllis says:

    Love this line…and the Carpenters’ song is going through my head, but….that was way back in the day… always loved umbrellas…but yours are SO much fun. Will plan to make a dress for my little grandaughter. Enjoyed the interview, being the mom of all girls. Thanks for entering me in the giveaway!

  24. Rebecca says:

    Fun interview! And I LOVE anything by Riley Blake – thanks for the chance!!

  25. Aditi says:

    Fantastic designs! Thanks for another great interview!

  26. Those prints are just adorable, especially the damask and the strands! And in the pink colourway – swoon! Great interview too and thanks for the giveaway!

  27. Rachael says:

    Does anyone else start singing the song on autopilot when they see this line? I love it, so springy and perfect for picnic blankets, clutches, June Cleaver style dresses, triming hand towels, and garden aprons. Truly a delightful line that will fit for children or adult accessories! Who wouldn’t want an umbrella skirt?

  28. Alexia says:

    Lovely fresh designs, very springlike. I couldnt agree more, I wish I could just do a degree in doodling, sounds like the perfect course!

  29. Lisabee says:

    I love this fabric line! I’ve been watching it since it came out and am just waiting to have a little extra money so I can get me some.

  30. Oh, this is one of my favorite collections right now! I just love the green on white! Thanks for the opportunity to win such a generous giveaway!!

  31. Jackie H says:

    Happy and fun – love it! The line just makes me smile. :)

  32. Cathy says:

    The fabric is gorgeous!

  33. Dot says:

    Kept humming the song whle reading—fun, cheerful designs. As I have a Melissa I am probably partial to these sisters.
    Kim—nice interview (as usual)thank you.

  34. Eleanor says:

    I adore this fabric line so much. And as someone who’s best friends with her sister, I’m excited to find out it was a designed by a sister team!

  35. Tammy says:

    I saw the white colorway in one of our quilt shops and loved it! I also love the pink! Would love to make a quilt for my daughter!

  36. Jenn says:

    what wonderful unique fabric! (and that main umbrella print is just screaming to be made in an oilcloth version!)

  37. Anne Marie says:

    Lovely fabric.

  38. Christy K. says:

    Love the Umbrellas!

  39. Julie Richardson says:

    adorable fabric!! and umbrellas – how perfect for the Northwest! :)

  40. The darling things I could make my first granddaughter Audrey with this lovely fabric is just flying through my head!!

  41. Elizabeth says:

    I have three sisters of my own and I loved reading the interview where you talk about your relationship and how it works for you in the designing business. I’ll be following your partnership as you go along, that’s for sure.

    Please enter me in the drawing for the giveawy–your clean graphics and clever and whimsical designs need to find a home over here in my Stashland!

  42. Rachel says:

    Any time you can make a rainy day brighter, go for it! I’m in Vancouver, and we need all the opportunity we can get! beautiful!

  43. Heather says:

    Love that fabric, especially the umbrellas and dots!

  44. Vickie E says:

    this collection is amazing! I have sooo many ideas for it. I can’t wait to see what will be next for this duo

  45. Helen says:

    I love all the happy fabrics that have been coming out. What fun it would be to use fabrics like these in a baby quilt! Congraulations to Melimba and Beccabury!

  46. Lyssa says:

    I love this line and I love Melissa! Thanks for this chance!

  47. Suzanne says:

    Such a great line. Thanks for the interview and the chance to get to know the designers better!

  48. Lori R says:

    I love this line–so cute!!

  49. Great fabric! Interesting interview … thank you!

  50. Den says:

    I like the one that looks like diatoms!