Welcoming New Partners to the Spoonflower Team

AUG 26, 2015 updated Apr 26, 2021

Friends,

It’s been long time since I took to the blog to talk about what’s happening behind the scenes at Spoonflower. But we have big news this week that I wanted to share personally, as it represents a major milestone for a company that started seven years ago on my dining room table, when Kim and I (and Gart and his wife, Anne) spent many late nights cutting cotton swatches and stuffing them into envelopes to send to the patient souls who had signed up to try out the world’s first web site for designing your own fabric.

North Bridge Growth Equity, a terrific investment firm based in Boston, is joining Spoonflower as a partner to help fuel our growth into new products and directions, as well as our first formal expansion into other parts of the world. Also participating in the investment is the talented team behind Bull City Venture Partners, company based here in our hometown of Durham, North Carolina. We could not be more excited about the news and the opportunities it represents. [You can find the formal press release about the investment here.]

Gart cuts fabric

Spoonflower co-founder Gart Davis cutting fabric on my dining room table in 2008

Our original office was a one-printer operation in an un-airconditioned old sock mill, where our first employee, Danielle, and I used to spend lots of time trying to coax uncooperative machines to get just a few usable yards of beautiful fabric out the door. But today, in our lovely, climate-controlled HQ here in Durham, we’ve got a team of 150 talented and dedicated people and a print room that hums around the clock, every day of the week. We’ve built up our fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap-printing factory to such an extent that it recently drove our office staff — engineering, accounting, customer service, product, marketing and HR — right out of the old suite and into a new one across the parking lot (where you can, by the way, find lots of lovely wallpaper and fabric created by the Spoonflower community on display).

Having a bigger factory means that we now no longer have to sweat turnaround times, but it also frees us to pursue cool products and concepts, like Sprout Patterns, a new site for cut and sew patterns that launches this fall (be sure to sign up for their email list!). Over the next year or so, expect to see other exciting new projects that have in common with Spoonflower a powerful digital textile printing platform and a focus on design and community.

Another exciting component of our announcement today is that we’re finally taking concrete steps to support our European customer community in the form of  an office in the happening city of Berlin, Germany. After getting our feet on the ground in the Berlin office, at some point in the not-to-distant future we hope to be able to show off a website that allows you to order fabric by the meter and in a language or two other than English!

There are many plans afoot (including our new book, which comes out next week!), but another element of the news today should not go overlooked, which is the addition of a handful of very smart, talented folks to our board of directors. North Bridge is a company that has a lot of experience supporting and guiding growing companies like Spoonflower, and working with Holly Maloney and Russ Pyles from North Bridge so far has already been a pleasure and an education. Bull City Venture Partners consists of two individuals, David Jones and Jason Caplain, who we have known almost since Spoonflower first started and who have, unfailingly, been a great source of support, knowledge and advice. Our merry band of fabric lovers has a lot of work to do to make the most of the success we’ve had up until now, and we’re lucky to have found the perfect team to help us get where we want to go.

-Stephen Fraser

Stephen Fraser, Spoonflower co-founder

#SpoonflowerHandbookSelfie

 

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43 comments

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  • Julien, what a wonderful note. Thank you! We are excited to be able to give creative people more tools to bring their work into the world. -stephen

  • Brenda, thank you so much for bearing with us during our long adolescence. Our community means the world to us. You rock!

  • Maggie, your note means a lot to me and to all of the other people who have worked to get Spoonflower so far. Thank you so much! -Stephen

  • Michal, apologies for taking so long to respond. If you are saving your files as JPGs at 150dpi, which is what we recommend, then you should be able to upload fairly large patterns using files that remain under the 40MG limit.

  • What a great location–Berlin is a hotbed of cutting-edge individual design. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Hackasche Hofe courtyard complex of shops/design. I recommend Casa Camper to stay at, also in the Mitte–LOVED the 24-hour free food on the top level with view. One of my favorite Italian restaurants is actually in Berlin: Al Contadino Sotte Le Stelle.

  • Julien Aleksandres

    Congratulations on your success thus far and THANK YOU for your contribution to my own forthcoming success. I’m SO EXCITED by the service you provide and I am USING IT to full advantage.
    None of my studio projects are able to be viewed by anyone else; I’m keeping it to myself at this point.
    You give such great tools for a creative person such as myself and I really appreciate that.
    Thanks! Here’s to the future!

    LoveLoveLove
    Julien

  • Stephen- Thank you for your diligence and hard work to build spoonflower into something larger and continuing to grow and offer more for us. Your work has been life changing for myself, and others who are now able to be their own bosses and use your wonderful services to build creative businesses that matter. Without spoonflower, my entire families life would not be as fulfilling. Thank you!

  • Congratulations !!!! I order fabrics from your company since 2009 (I then lived and worked in NY) and now that I moved back to my home country -France-, you can’t imagine how happy I am to read this terrific news !!!! Let me know if you need help here in France ! Would love to.
    Best.

  • Michal Mussell

    Congratulations!!! I am so looking forward to the “cut and sew” aspect of your news. I have wanted to make garments that way since you started! My designs printed exactly where I want them on a garment! (That is if I understand the concept correctly.) File Size has always been a factor for me though. Thoughts?

  • pennie brown

    congratulations on amazing growth. your site is wonderful, fabrics exciting & service fantastic. keep up the good work. and congratulations again.

  • Alice Meynell

    I’m pretty sure there will be customs between Germany and UK, sadly. EU doesn’t have a blanket import/export tax policy.

  • Hope an Australian office is not too far down the wish list. Love the concept. Love all the fabrics I’ve purchased. Just don’t like the mailing costs. The free shipping to anywhere a little while ago was AWESOME!!!

  • I am so happy for you all, cannot wait to see all the improvements, and exciting things coming In the future !
    Emily Sanford

  • Helene Michau - Cassiopee

    Opening in Berlin!!! Such a great idea, (even I used to “think” and order in yards as if it was meters since the time! lol) but I’m sure more people in France will be able to order! I don’t remember how much potential customers gave up because of distance, language and yard conversion!!
    I can’t wait to see that!! I definitively LOVE Spoonflower!! Thanks!!!<3

  • Love how I can get fabric easily within a week of ordering as long as I’m prepared to pay the extra freight charge. Would love it if you opened her in Australia.

  • This has totally made my day! So many UK and EU customers are going to be so so happy! Though now I will have to think in metres again? Not so cool 😉
    Thank you Spoonflower! I guess I might be going to Berlin next year! 😀

  • Louise, we’re still a long way from knowing when and how we’ll be shipping fabric from Berlin. We’re just starting to get things in motion at this point. But we will definitely keep our customers in the UK updated about plans!

  • Alice, we certainly aspire to be able to ease the pain associated with customs charges for Spoonflower customers in the UK, but we’re still in learning and planning mode at this point about what will and won’t be possible once we’re up and running in Berlin. We want to make it better! And thank you, by the way, for your lovely comments about the company. -Stephen

  • Great news about the Berlin office. Can you just clarify, will the fabric be shipped from Berlin? As this would mean no customs to pay for us in the UK

  • Alice Meynell

    I absolutely LOVE what you do, the company is fantastic, and I love the can-do helpful approach that comes over loud and clear on your website. I long to design tons of fabric, and buy more of the ones that your brilliant customers have made on your website, but here in the UK we are hit SO hard by customs duty when we order from you that it makes it almost prohibitive to buy. Any thoughts on opening a branch over here? We’ll have the same issue buying from the German outlet as we do from you in the US. (sad emoticon)

  • Berlin, eine schönste Stadt! I was just there recently and think that is a great choice for expansion. A very creative, forward thinking place.

  • Hi Michelle, you can reach our Customer Service team by emailing help@spoonflower.com, or, you can live chat with us by clicking on the chat button on the bottom right of your screen. To find what you’re looking for, you can try typing in your desired search terms to the bar at the top of the screen here: http://www.spoonflower.com/shop?shop=fabric, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for you can always design and upload your own image. Hope that helps!

  • I can’t find how to email you. I need “welcome to the gun show” with a black background and white gun outline for a costume. Do you have it?