With over 75% of our workforce identifying as female, you could say that everyday is “International Women’s Day” here at Spoonflower. Last year, we started a tradition of taking time to ask a few women in our community to share their greatest accomplishment in honor of International Women’s Day. We loved reading their answers so much that we decided to bring it back again this year and shine a spotlight on some new friends. So today, in addition to supporting women-owned businesses, watching films by female directors or reading books by female authors, we hope you’ll take some time to celebrate the women in your life and honor their achievements. Why not start with these 10 amazing women designers and makers from the Spoonflower community?
What is your greatest accomplishment?
“My biggest accomplishment is starting Ruth Nathan’s. I had been doing a lot of research on production, quality fabrics and printing processes (all the things) before actually getting the brand started. I wish I would have discovered Spoonflower much earlier! Since I’m committed to quality I wanted to ensure everything was perfect before launching. I soon learned that there’s never an ideal time to start a business…except that whenever you start, it will be ideal! One of the hardest parts about becoming an entrepreneur is getting grounded and knowing that you can (and very well should) open your doors for business even if you feel it’s not ready. Push past fears and know that things will fall into place once you start your gears. I realized the potential Ruth Nathan’s had to honor my family tradition while bringing customers delight and for this, I am very proud!”
“My greatest accomplishment is that I followed my dream and moved from the northern city of Russia to an absolutely magical place by the ocean with all the waves, sunrises and sunsets, with incredible nature and people living a very simple and happy life. This magical place fills my work with meaning, power, energy and love.
If I talk about my art projects, the one I am proud of is a pattern I did for Seasisters community. It is about dedicated surfing in Sri Lanka as an instrument for changes in social and gender roles for women in that country.”
“My greatest accomplishment is becoming a full time illustrator while being a single mum. They are my inspiration for my active and diverse art business. Being a creative individual and a mother has been challenging but immensely rewarding. I have created a beautiful life for us where I have to embrace the season, make the most of it, and live life to the fullest. I’ve learned to not care so much, not sweating the small stuff as I juggle various roles. I’ve learned that dreams and goals are only as big as you make them. All of us dream of traveling and exploring the world together.”
“Before I made the decision to create my own brand, I was stuck at a 9-5 designer’s job where I was doing almost nothing creative. I was going through a rough time, knowing that I had nothing more to learn from my day job and I knew I had to regain my creativity somehow otherwise I would end up being miserable. That’s when I first created Cherry and Mint which was an art blog at first, a space where I could share my personal projects, process and evolution. In the process I found out that surface design is something very exciting for me. I already knew how to sew, it was something i loved all along and combining these two mediums was the next natural step.
The fact that I pushed myself to the limits in order to create the “dream job” for me, is my greatest accomplishment. I worked on my free time which was weekends and late nights with no extra budget to start a business and I overcame all the fears i had of sharing my work or being criticized about it. I’m incredibly happy that I took that decision because i now work on something that i truly love, and i hope that in the process i will inspire other people to go for their dreams too!”
“My greatest accomplishment, as far as work is concerned, might be that I was able to make a living as an artist, being paid for what I love doing. My first job was designing greeting cards for Hallmark. After I married my husband, we started our own company, Hartland Cards. Soon after, I started illustrating children’s books, a few at first, then more and more, at last count, over 100. I’ve been with Spoonflower since their early days, only designing for my own projects. A year ago, I decided to put together a collection of patterns that would appeal to the home decor, apparel and children’s market. It’s a work in progress but I feel it’s finally coming together.”
“One of the things I am really proud of is my little corner of social media. On the face of it my Instagram account might seem like just another crafting/sewing account but for me it runs much deeper than that. Being a hijab wearing Muslim woman of South Asian descent, my page gives me a chance to amplify my voice and my story. My collaboration with Spoonflower last year (making a modest swimsuit) is one of my proudest moments. Through sharing the process of making it, I was also able to start an important conversation around the hijab and modest wear (as well as sharing sewing tips, too!), and that’s what I love about it: it’s a space for me to be unapologetically me, share things I’m passionate about and hopefully challenge some misconceptions at the same time.”
“My greatest accomplishment is completing my undergraduate degree. I had everything working against me (first generation college student, low-income, working to pay for college, sick parents, etc.), and it almost ALWAYS felt like it would be so much easier to quit. But, my mother instilled a deep sense of independence – and I saw education as a means to build independence through financial freedom. While I STILL graduated with debt after fully self-financing my entire academic career, I ALSO graduated with a mindset that says – I can do hard things. I think this mindset was reinforced from my accomplishment of walking across the stage with my friends and family members cheering me on.”
“I launched the Tiny Activist Project as a way to help correct three issues I see in cultural resources: 1. Lack of representation in histories that are preserved. 2. Funding gaps for students and emerging professionals to pursue continuing education opportunities 3. Lack of whimsy. Through hand sewn dolls and workshops, the Tiny Activist Project works to connect urbanism, heritage, and community activism to diverse age groups. Every item sold contributes to scholarship fund that provides tiny scholarships to people with big dreams. Scholarships are open to students, emerging professionals, and grassroots preservationists.
In 2020, the scholarship program expanded to allow applicants to choose between attending PastForward- the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual conference, and the Docomomo US Annual Symposium. The dolls have allowed me to expand the narrative of who can make an impact in their community, empower others to learn more about icons (ex: I.M Pei came to America during the Asian Exclusion Act), and provide assistance to my peers—the people who are the next generation of cultural resource leaders and to help them get the best/next practices to build their toolkit.”
“Two years ago I opened Freon Collective and became a fully self-employed woman. This had brought a set of challenges, but as the primary manufacturer for many local companies in Toronto, Ontario, we have grown so much. I love being able to collaborate and work with so many women-owned businesses and appreciate the supportive community I now work in. In addition to production, I opened our in-house brand of eco-conscious lifestyle good that has grown to be loved by so many. Being able to share my passion for environmental lifestyle changes through my brand and business is a great accomplishment and I look forward to many more in the future!”
“Quite honestly, my greatest accomplishment is running two family-owned businesses and still finding time to work out almost everyday. The world tells us that we “can have it all” but that isn’t true. You can’t give 100% of yourself to everything, math doesn’t work that way. At some point, you have to choose the things you want to invest your time in and get help with the rest. Better yet, start saying “no” to things! I am proud of the fact that I have found a balance of work, life, and play that works for me.”