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. Cornelia says:

    Rainy Days and Mondays won’t get me down anymore! I love how these designs and colorways capture how rainy days can be fun. I also like the way the umbrellas came to be incorporated into the design — by chance, but also by the fact that the talented sisters had used umbrellas in their earlier sketching lessons.

  2. Wendy P says:

    We need rain here in Pensacola! Maybe if I win the fat quarters the rain will come? Yeah, right. I’d like to win them anyway!

  3. Becky Easton says:

    Melissa is a good friend of mine and she is such a great artist. I love that she now has fabric, because… I’m just going to say it…. I’M ADDICTED to fabric. I love fun prints and this is such a great design. I can’t wait to see the next line of fabric…maybe some boy color combos!)

  4. Kate says:

    Love this fabric, so cheery and fun! I enjoyed the interview, it was neat hearing how the fabric line came about, such creative sisters!

  5. Lindsay Ramon says:

    Melissa and Rebecca remind me of my sister and me. We have always wanted to start something artsy together (but we live in different states- so it can be done!).

    I love these fabrics- especially the white colorway. It reminds me of lemonade. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  6. Diane Harris says:

    What happy designs! It’s great news for the industry to have young women designing and sewing. Hope to see lots more of these two.

  7. Whitney says:

    I love everything about this fabric line…as well as the creators. I cannot wait to start some fun projects!

  8. Jenny says:

    Such a super cute collection!

  9. Deann Sandage says:

    I love it! I bought a bunch today. Had to have it. I can’t wait to see what these girls come up with next.

  10. Sylvia says:

    So pretty! And such unexpected colors for rain!

  11. Richelle says:

    As soon as I saw these fabrics, I started looking everywhere for them. Nothing gloomy about these rainy days. Thanks girls for coming up with such cool fabric!

  12. Emily says:

    I am a print graphic designer and I just recently got into a home textiles company. Seeing all the fabulous textiles everyday I started to quilt and I have been in love with fabric ever since. I absolutely adore and am completely inspired by the relationship of Melissa and Rebecca. I would like to be able to transfer my love of print design to textiles as well. It is a wonderful combination that I hope someday will come to fruition. This collection is fantastic! Can’t wait to see what comes next. Thank you Melissa and Rebecca for the most delightful interview!

  13. corentine says:

    what a great collection ! I love those patterns and colors !
    I would be glad to enter the give away challenge. Thank you !

  14. Bonnie says:

    Fun post. Love the fabric.