Meet the Sponsors: Drygoods Design

This week’s Meet the Sponsors interview is with the lovely Keli, owner of the new shop Drygoods Design. I think you’ll love the beautiful, inviting design of her shop — everything is well organized and a cinch to browse, and I love the chalkboard backgrounds and the typography. And, boy, does she have a knack for curating fabrics. Below is the assemblage of yellow and grey fabrics currently on her front page — it makes me look at some of these prints differently than I had before ( = want!).

Keli is offering a $75 gift certificate for one lucky reader today. Just visit the site and name your favorite collection or print. Leave a comment here about it, and I’ll draw a winner randomly next Wednesday, August 24, around 11am Central U.S.

See the end of the post for a special coupon code and more good deals from Drygoods Design.

Where do you live? What is the textile/crafty scene like there?

Originally from Oregon, I live in Seattle, WA and it definitely feels like there’s a craft-centric community in the Pacific NW. The Drygoods Design “headquarters” are lucky to be in Ballard, a vibrant neighborhood within Seattle that’s heavy on local and handmade. I am really looking forward to the Schoolhouse Craft Conference in September, which I think will be a great representation of what’s going on here. As for textiles, we have the typical larger retailers such as Jo-Ann’s and then just a few smaller shops, which can be hit and miss on the more contemporary and modern selections.

How and when did you start selling fabric?

The site launched in mid-May, just a month before I welcomed my second child. After teaching myself to sew about four years ago, I developed an unstoppable love for fabric. Sewing was, and is, a way for me to evolve my love for design and pattern. One thing led to another and I was making custom orders for friends and now a couple of shops in Seattle carry my handmade goods in addition to my Etsy shop. At the end of last year, I decided to put a site together so I could be surrounded by beautiful fabric, connect with people and hopefully offer a unique online experience for the recreational sewer/crafter, both beginner and experienced alike. That idea finally came to fruition in May.

How did you come up with your name?

I wanted a brand that could span several years, not knowing where my business would take me. I have long loved the term “drygoods” and feel fabric falls into that and conjures up the idea of when people would go to the general store to buy fabric to make their clothes. Or maybe I just watched too much Little House on the Prairie when I was little :) . Drygoods Design has been in place since 2007 and then Bread & Salt came to life as my handmade goods line from Eastern European culture where people often offer bread and salt as a welcome gift to new neighbors. I believe that that’s root of all gift giving – welcoming someone to their new role in life – be it a year older, a new house, new baby, etc. I hope customers can find something they too love or be inspired to make something on their own.

What surprised you most about the business?

So many things but I think the standout is the sheer magnitude of creativity in the online sewing/craft/design community. There’s so many talented people, both designers and customers/crafters. I have a hard time editing down my fabric selections since there’s so much out there and if I could, I’d have even more inventory. I also have so many projects I want to do but can never find the time in between managing the shop and my own retail endeavors. The folks that are constantly creating are such an inspiration and one day, I hope to one day catch up on my Google Reader feed and all the starred Twitter posts I’ve bookmarked.

Is this your full time job? If not, what else do you do to pay the bills?

Right now it is since I am on maternity leave from my part-time contract job. Typically you’d find me doing communications and marketing for a global technology company based here in the Puget Sound.

How would you characterize your shop?

Modern, fun, edited and hopefully, refreshing and inspiring.

What are your hot sellers right now?

Anything geometric – the Premier Prints chevron print, especially in ash/white, is hard to keep in stock. Also hot right now is Children at Play by Sarah Jane, Miscellany by Julia Rothman (on my personal wish list), Anna Maria Horner’s Loulouthi and Heirloom by Joel Dewberry.

Are you online only, or do you have a brick & mortar shop?

Online only for now but Seattle folks can always visit my studio and pick up there. I would love to eventually do a brick and mortar concept.

Do you run the shop alone or do you have help?

All by myself, unless you count my newborn who is always with me these days, which is great but also can be a challenge. However, I think there are so many mom/small business owners that we’re creating a whole new generation and approach to running a business while still having some semblance of a life :) .

How do you deal with the challenges of the current economy, and increasing competition in the retail fabric business?

As a longtime online fabric consumer, I’ve always known what I am looking for and how much I need, which can make me the best customer or the most critical. As a shop owner, I know I can’t BE everything for everyone so instead of chasing trends or competing with all the online fabric sites, I try to keep focused on why I am here, which is a genuine love for fabric and sewing, sharing ideas and connecting with people. It’s a slow road but I am enjoying every minute of hard work it takes and getting to know those in the industry. Speaking of which, I am really hoping to make it the Fall Quilt Market!

What are the (other!) biggest challenges — and biggest rewards — of being a fabric merchant?

One of the biggest day-to-day challenges is keeping things fresh and new while maintaining a decent amount of regular posts, either on the blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest without bothering folks. When it comes to cutting orders, I love it – there’s something so therapeutic about unrolling, cutting and folding fabric, except for the manufacturers that can’t seem to line up their selvage edges :) . Often I imagine what it will become for someone.

As for the biggest reward, it’s hands down connecting with my customers. I love getting to see pictures of their projects, help find the fabric they need, answer questions and resolving any issues that might come up.

What’s your personal stash like?

Probably a little out of control. When I moved into an office my husband was shocked by the amount of fabric I literally had stashed in the house :) . It runs the gamut from five year old japanese imports to older midweight lines from Heather Ross, Liberty of London (wish I had more) and Alexander Henry to newer home decor fabrics, such as DwellStudio and Kokka oilcloth. I have tons of scraps calling out to be used.

Who are your favorite designers, from the past and/or from the present?

I’d be lying if I didn’t say Amy Butler was definitely a part of my early sewing projects. I think most people would agree that she was integral in how the quilting fabric industry has shifted to a designer-based model in the past several years, which I think, overall, is a great thing. Sites like Spoonflower are a wonderful resource for seeing new and fresh designs as well. It’s self-publishing as its finest. As for designers, there are so many whose collections I covet but I love me some Melody Miller, Sarah Jane, Estuko Furaya, Anna Maria Horner, Jennifer Paganelli, and Lizzy House (super excited for Outfoxed), to name a few. I could go on and on about my favorites but will stop there.

Thank you so much, Keli!

Special Coupon Code! Get 15% off your order, now through next Wednesday, Aug. 24, with code TRUEUP15. Cannot be combined with other coupons. Join Drygoods Design mailing list to get news of new arrivals and special offers regularly — and subscribers are eligible for the Drygoods10 Rewards Program. In this program you receive $10 towards a future purchase for every $100 you spend in the shop. If you spend $500 within a calendar year, you’ll get a bonus $25 credit! More info here.

160 Comments

  1. Rachael says:

    I love the Storyboek Whale Watch in Shroom on the front page. So cute!

  2. ~Michelle~ says:

    I love the whole yellow/gray mosaic above, but if I had to pick just one, I’m diggin’ the Spa Scallop Citron.

  3. Angie says:

    My favorite is Loulouthi!

  4. Sarah says:

    I love the Alexander Henry prints in the sale section, and the whale watch print mentioned above.
    Sarah

  5. Jacey says:

    Keli’s shop is fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing this giveaway. While I love the grellow feature you mentioned on the front page, I am currently coveting the Miscellany line. And like Keli, I am super excited about Outfoxed!

  6. BFromM says:

    I love all the fabrics on the front page. That’s a great collection. I also love Miscellany Nethercote

  7. Jan says:

    I’m lovin’ Children at Play collection by Sarah Jane.

  8. Nicole says:

    I love Joel Dewberry’s Heirloom!

  9. Chris says:

    I really like the Miscellany line, as well as the Heirloom designs. The fabrics you have curated on the home page are beautiful together. Thank you for a chance to win!

  10. Alli says:

    I love Storyboek! I’m trying to think of an excuse to buy it… :D Thanks for the chance to win!

  11. Deanna says:

    I love the Loulouthi and Children at Play and Storyboek lines. I like the greys and yellows too! So much to choose from!

  12. ♥duff says:

    gorgeous shop with easily-navigated pages, Keli! I particularly like the format for purchasing fat quarters such as “Loulouthi U-Pick Fat Quarters.” My favorite line that you are currently carrying is “Nani Iro by Naomi Ito” oh! i can see a Shearwater Kaftan in the floral!
    i’ve signed up for the newsletter so I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon!
    ♥Duff

  13. Jamie says:

    Wow, that collection of citron and grey is amazing, I WANT IT ALL! I am really feeling Loulouthi right now. Some of the blenders in that collection are just amazing and will be permanent staples in my stash.

  14. Jennifer W. says:

    I love Storyboek and Miscellany collections right now!

  15. Angela says:

    I’m completely in love with Storyboek right now and love all of those prints!! Definitely high on my must have list!

  16. Tong says:

    There are a ton of pretties there, but my favourite print is the Spa Scallop print in coral, I haven’t seen it anywhere else before! Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. Anna says:

    OK, I’ll take everything on the homepage! Gorgeous! The Spa Scallops in citron are fun. Thanks :)

  18. laura says:

    Thanks so much for the introduction to Drygoods Design…delightful! Love the variety but especially love Storyboek. who can really choose anyway???

  19. Jeanell says:

    Loves me Loves me not by Anna Maria Horner is my favorite!

  20. beth lehman says:

    I love searching by color and would order fat quarters from the grey and yellow pages! Toomuchery Demask Steel is so pretty – I would love to have some as well as the Nani Iro stripes.

  21. Bronwyn says:

    Miscellany Nethercote is truly fascinating as well as the Candy Trees!

  22. Evelyn says:

    I love the new ‘Children at Play’ line. I had fun clicking through all of the lines, and I’d never seen a few, like ‘Toomuchery’ (love that name!). It’s nice to know about another fabric resource in the area (I’m in Redmond). Good luck with your shop, Keli!

  23. Kim says:

    I am still in love the with the Ruby Star Rising line…but I also love the yellow and gray choices…I’ve been trying to get together enough fabrics for a yellow and gray quilt and this is immensely helpful!!!!

  24. AmandaL says:

    The black and white stripe oilcloth! What a cute lunchbag this would make.

  25. dawn says:

    I really like the Springbook Street “Sketchbook Flowers” in both orange and green. Fun print that I could use for many different projects!

  26. Adele says:

    Miscellany is a big favorite

  27. Katie B says:

    I’d love to get my hands on some Storyboek!

  28. i’d have to agree, the collection of yellow + grey prints on the front page is stunning!

  29. Hilary says:

    I like Haven’s Edge by Tina Givens – need to look up whether it’s new or old, as I haven’t seen it before.

  30. Molly says:

    Nani Iro Floral. Love!

  31. I love Tula Pink’s Prince Charming collection the best. Great colors and such a fantastic non-novelty print! You can cut them up and they still look amazing.

  32. Rebecca says:

    I love the selection in their shop! My favorite print is Ozborne Damask Storm. THANKS for the chance!
    ourbusylittlebunch(at)hotmail(dot)com

  33. Laurie says:

    That storyboek line is to die for!

  34. Gabrielle says:

    Children at Play!

  35. Elizabeth B says:

    I want all the grey fabrics ever!! I want to reupholster our couch in the “Ozborne Damask Storm” by Premier Prints but my husband would object. We’d both love the Free-Spirit Solids in Slate Grey though!

  36. tracy_a says:

    Wow – your front page is so inspiring – love the spa scallop and I had NEVER noticed that print before.

  37. Cathy says:

    Love the give away. I Love how they let you search by color. I do love their picks. Too many fabrics to love.

  38. Joy says:

    What a great shop…thanks for the chance! I love the Summer House Belmont Popsicle Pink in print.

  39. Courtney says:

    I just love that storyboek whale watch in shroom. My boys would love some things made up in that!

  40. Kat says:

    I love the whole miscellany line! And “Gone Fishing” is cute as can be.

  41. Sequana says:

    I’m very fond of Helen Dardik’s Toomuchery collection. I’m thinking that might be my first purchase at Drygoods Design. A really nice website just awaits my mouse clicks. Thx for the good interview.

  42. Patti Adams says:

    The orange Sketchbook Flowers from the Spring St collection makes me happy! So in love with orange!! Happier by Deena is super fun also. Fabulous shop! Thanks for sharing!!

  43. Vanesa says:

    I love the premier prints geometric prints she has? Thanks for the interview with this new shop!

  44. Becky says:

    Chevron in Village Blue and Natural by Premier Prints is to die for!

  45. Jane says:

    Oh my gosh, they have Ruby Star Rising Viewfinders!!! I crave this fabric!

  46. Rebecca says:

    The whole front page is making me drool. I’m doing my new baby’s room in yellow and gray and I’ve already used the yellow chevron print for curtains. I really like the Smirk Gray Grid, though, ’cause my husband and I are engineering geeks.

  47. Ella says:

    I love the Miscellany. I’ve never seen that line before…thanks for the chance to win!

  48. Allison C says:

    I love the children at play balloons…everyone else must too because it is sold out!

  49. Jotham Bailey says:

    just got back from an Alaskan cruise…. The whale watch calls to me and I would likely use it with dots and chevrons… They are crazy with quilt shops up there but nothing the likes of Drygoods Design! Where I am in NJ, there is a slim selection beyond Jaonnes Fabric and Walmart… yikes! I guess I have to go back to the northwest or NYC.

  50. katie says:

    I love the Zig Zag Ash and White – yum!