About five years ago, we did a series of staff interviews which introduced you to Chad, the shoeless, Lindy — scattered, smothered & covered, Janet with an appetite for destruction, among so many others. A lot has changed in five years, so we thought we’d introduce you to some new faces who’ve joined our merry band of fabric lovers since then, and also reacquaint you to those Spoonie veterans who have grown and changed — many are in new positions, have become new moms, dads, transitioned to our Berlin location, experimented with new hairstyles…well, you’ll see. Each week we’ll post a new interview of 12 questions for a different member of the team right here on the blog. First up, it’s a pleasure to introduce you to Sarah Ward, VP of Marketing who started at Spoonflower about 10 months ago. Since then she’s been a mover, shaker, beat box enthusiast and bringer of fine pastries to the office.
Have you ever received a Spoonflower order and wondered about the faces behind your personally signed order receipt? Today, meet the faces behind those signatures as you get to know three employees helping to process your orders, each and every day!
Famous for her electric blue locks, Paula has been in the Operations department for the three years she’s been at Spoonflower. Her favorite part about working at Spoonflower is “my co-workers and the whole online community. They are are just so fantastic. Being surrounded by people who are constantly making things is so inspiring. It’s a magical place.”
Paula models two of her handmade creations. Spoonflower designs : vintage 22 by kategabrielle on the Ginger Skirt at Sprout Patterns on Organic Cotton Sateen and gold honey comb home by swissette on Cotton Lawn Ultra
Q : What is your favorite Spoonflower fabric to work with and why?
A: Modern Jersey! A thousand times over. I live in t-shirts and a yard of Modern Jersey is the perfect amount to create the perfect comfy shirt. I’ve also recently ventured into sewing with woven fabric. I made a few dresses with Cotton Lawn Ultra this year and it is such a dream to sew with and wear. Can a fabric be a dream come true? Because Cotton Lawn Ultra is.
Q : Do you have a designer super crush?
A : Oh gosh. I don’t even know how to answer that. I feel like I’m constantly finding new designs and designers that I love! A few of my favorites are: Spellstone, Mandasisco, Heidikenney, Thirdhalfstudios, and pennycandy .
Q: What is your Spoonflower super power?
A : I am Paula: Fabric Wizard, Mim Master, The Mother of Heat Beasts, The Packslip Fairy, The Schedule Goddess. I’ve acquired many powers over the last three years. The ones I find most weirdly impressive are how straight I can freehandedly cut a line and how neatly I can fold 10 yards of silk. Those are skills I never even knew I would have one day.
Joining the Spoonflower team this past March, print operator Gina starts each day with a printing pep in her step! With a focus on repurposing waste fabric, Gina is always on the lookout for kid-friendly crafts to use at upcoming Greenhouse events or up-cycled items to stock her Etsy shop.
Gina proudly models her Organic Cotton Knit romper made from Spoonflower design kitten hipster pink by curious_nook
Q: What do you like most about working at Spoonflower?
A: I love knowing that the work I’m doing is helping a new entrepreneur get started, allowing someone to make adorable clothes for their children, or inspiring a corporation to create a beautiful event space. Our customers use our products for so many amazing things, and I’m thrilled with the fact that I’m working in a modern-day factory where creativity rules.
Q: Do you have an Etsy shop or website to showcase your handmade goods?
A :Yes! You can find my shop on Etsy: With Love from Dove! I love being able to take some of our waste fabric as well as things I find thrift shopping or foraging in the trash, repurpose them, and turn them into something unique.
Q : Spoonflower employees are notorious for snacking. What’s your favorite cereal?
A : Frosted Mini Wheats. I can’t even buy them anymore because I’ll eat nothing else until they’re gone
Q: Do you have a Spoonflower Marketplace Design that you can’t stop thinking about?
A: There are so many beautiful, and creative designs available in our Marketplace that my favorite design changes pretty much weekly. I am all about dinosaurs in general right now so I just ordered some Dinosaurs in Space by kristykate for a special Print Room project and I love it!
While new to the Spoonflower family, Operations team member Denise has proven her sewing expertise, including a win for the coveted Most Creative award during the employee Halloween costume contest. Whether she’s making costumes for Playmakers, testing Sprout Patterns, or cutting down your order, Denise is always looking for opportunities to grow her fabric knowledge.
Denise wowed the crowd during the employee costume party with her couture butterfly costume and is a breath of fresh air in her handmade dress sewn with blood roses, blood roses by peacoquettedesigns printed on Kona Cotton
Q: What do you like to make with Spoonflower fabric?
A: I like to make baby blankets, curtains and costumes with Spoonflower fabric. I am currently working on repairing a vintage 1920s dress with Spoonflower fabric!
A: I really enjoy working with the Poly Crepe de Chine. It is so soft and flowy, but really easy to work with.
Now that you’ve met Paula, Denise and Gina, three of the many Spoonflower employees helping process every order, maybe you’ll be the lucky one to receive a signed order receipt from one of these fine ladies!
You probably won’t be surprised to find that we take Halloween very seriously here at Spoonflower! Each year we compete to see who can come up with the most original/ nerdiest/ scariest costumes. Bonus points are awarded for using Spoonflower fabric, of course! We hope you enjoy. Happy Halloween, friends!
Last night the founders of Spoonflower, Stephen and Gart, were in New York City to be honored at Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards. It was incredible to be included in a class of such talented makers, and fun to meet our fellow honorees in-person at the event.
Here’s a behind the scenes recap of the festivities:
After crossing the velvet rope, we were escorted into the building where we ran into our friend from Martha Stewart, Paige, and dozens of food stalls. Our particular favorites were the oysters, and a North Carolina corn whisky made by Troy & Sons. In fact, we enjoyed chatting with each other so much, they gave Stephen an entire bottle of the shine.
After sampling the good grub, we took photos with Martha Stewart on the ‘champagne’ carpet. We were totally dazzled by Martha’s style and grace.
Danielle relaxing on a sofa reupholstered in her own Queeny Brass design.
We’ve still got decorating on the brain here at the new Spoonflower office, and just accepted delivery of some beautifully reupholstered furniture all done up in Spoonflower fabrics, of course, by Chad’s very skilled uncle. Those of you who have been with Spoonflower for awhile may recognize Danielle’s Queeny Brass fabric above as the winner of the Spoonflower staff contest way back in February of 2011.
About a dozen Spoonflower employees got together last night for the first-ever crafting event in the Spoonflower Greenhouse, an education and crafting space we’ve created in our new, larger office. If you’re in NC and want an excuse to come visit, check out upcoming events as they’re created through our events page. First up is an Open House on 11/3, and we’ll be announcing more sewing and crafting classes soon!
Happy weekend, y’all!
As we return to normal after last week’s Spoonflower Staff Challenge madness, I’m happy to introduce you to Jennifer Finan, help desk maven. Jennifer also happens to have been my hanky-making partner in the challenge, so I enjoyed learning a little more about her pre-Spoonflower life in her own words. I hope you do, too!
I grew up in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Since leaving, I’ve developed an affection for my hometown but growing up outside of the city ingrained in me a desire to always want to leave and go to the city. Philadelphia offered art, music, humor, adventure, a sense of urgency and sometimes danger, whereas my town provided stability and safety. (You can probably guess which option seemed more appealing to a teenager!) Now I enjoy going back to visit, and I think having that duality of “town mouse and country mouse” as a kid was a really great balance for me.
My first job (besides babysitting) was teaching a swimming class to five-year olds at our high school while I was in the ninth grade. That summer, my best friend and I bleached and streaked hot pink through our hair. After a few pool sessions, my blonde-pink hair began to tinge green from the heavily-chlorinated high school pool. The kids loved it, though. I probably looked like a cartoon character.
When I was 20, the prospect of working all summer in a restaurant or something like that wasn’t really appealing to me. I ended up stumbling upon a website looking for au pairs (nannies) and immediately signed up. I was eventually picked by a family who lived right outside of London. They sent me a plane ticket and, sight unseen, I arrived as their American nanny. In England, I developed a true appreciation for spicy curries, traveling alone, and English beer.
Prior to the winter of 2011 when I was hired at Spoonflower, I had worked mostly as an editor and writer for newspapers and several news-y blogs in North Carolina. I ended up in journalism almost on a complete lark. My real love was creating and editing video, which I had just gotten a degree in from Temple University in Philadelphia. I thought I would move to New York City and become a video editor. I even got a couple of offers to stay on with the various internships I had while in college. But the truth was that I was really restless after living in the Philly area pretty much my entire life. So when I found the opportunity to move to Appalachia to work for a New York Times regional newspaper, I went for it. It was just random enough to feel like an adventure.
I began as a copy editor, and quickly moved onto reporting and video. Short-form documentary video was just burgeoning back in 2008 as newspapers struggled to stay solvent with younger audiences. I was happy to be a part of it with a company like the Times. (You can view some of Jennifer’s videos here.)
I’ve had the most fun working on docu-style videos, profiling individuals and bands. One of my favorite stories and videos I did was on rescued wolf dogs. When I pulled up to interview a wolf farm owner, after somewhat miraculously navigating up a remote, unpaved road in my Nissan Altima, I was met by the howls of nearly seventy enormous wolf dogs. It was awesome…and kind of terrifying. I really developed a soft spot for wolf dogs after doing that story, though, and it even motivated me to adopt a rescue dog of my own.
That’s just the tip of my curriculum vitae iceberg. In general, I like to know how things work and I like to have fun. Working in customer service at Spoonflower is definitely my favorite job. It’s fulfilling and refreshing to provide an earnest service that allows me to learn something new every day. My favorite moments on the Spoonflower help desk, besides getting positive messages, are solving issues that have been causing a headache for the customer. It’s like a breakthrough moment in therapy and you go, “O-oooh! I get it!” The most frustrating moments include everything that happens prior to that realization. (Joke!)
Spoonflower is filled with cool, charitable people who are all talented in their own ways. It’s totally a compliment to be grouped along with them. Working here, I now basically want to cover everything in fabric. One of my favorite Spoonflower designers is Domesticate and I also adore anything by Anda. I basically love any designer that uses a limited color palette with bold graphics or illustrations. I also love anything printed on my favorite fabrics, our linen/cotton canvas and organic cotton sateen. Those fabrics make anything look great to me.
As for my own creative pursuits and free time, I’m currently in the throes of March Madness and am rooting for the UNC Tarheels to take all. Despite that, though, I’m taking a break this weekend to visit some good friends in Washington, D.C. My friend Jessie Hemmons is putting together an installation at Corcoran College of Art + Design of her awesome knit bombery. I’ll probably find a way to squeeze in some NCAA action, though!
I have a growing list of future projects on the horizon, including setting up a homebrew kit because I’m a huge craft beer nerd. I’ve been lucky to live in NC which in my opinion has the best beer culture in the country, though Philly and Portland, OR are pretty exciting places for beer, too. Besides that, I’m planning on putting together some animated tutorials for Spoonflower users, and I’ll be sewing some actual summer clothes this season as well.
I’m really excited for the future. There are lots of places new to me that I want to explore, like the Falkland Islands (almost purely for the penguins), and also places I know I will always revisit, like Asheville, NC and Philadelphia. It’s good to have friends sprawled out all over the place with open couches.
This week, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Caroline Okun, a graphic designer at Spoonflower. Caroline designed our logo and other elements of the site when we first launched in 2008, and is now working with the engineering team on a more regular basis in the sunny front offices at Spoonflower. I hope you enjoy reading about Caroline in her own words as much as I did!
My childhood on Long Island, New York was centered around any type of artistic activity — drawing, painting, clay, building forts. Our neighborhood had a lot of kids in it so we were always outside playing ghost tag, street tennis, or your basic hide-and-seek. I also have quite a competitive streak, so I gravitated toward any games that had teams or the possibility of a ribbon or trophy. I was on a swim team for 10 years, and at school I played lacrosse and field hockey.
During the summers, I started a small business selling sodas and snacks at the pool after swim team practice. I was 12 years old. Luckily my father didn’t charge for driving me back and forth to the store to restock supplies so I was able to make enough money in a few months to buy a small sailboat. That was certainly fun and I got a tan while working, but my favorite job was working as a DJ at WKNC. It’s a college station at NC State University in Raleigh, NC, but a lot more professional than your average school station in terms of technology and opportunities. I interviewed a lot of musicians, my favorite of which was Greg Graffin from Bad Religion. I also interviewed Motörhead, Deftones, and Tool.
On Valentine’s Day in 2008, I got an email from Stephen asking me to work with him and Gart to design the Spoonflower identity and website. At the time I was working at Lulu.com as a graphic designer, and I knew Gart because he had hired me to work at Lulu a year earlier. Fast forward four years. I was no longer at Lulu and was looking for a new job. Gart gave me a call, we chatted, and shortly thereafter I was very happy to join the team! I now work on the Spoonflower engineering team primarily designing web pages and elements. (Under the tutelage of Stephanie and Chad, I’m learning HTML and CSS.) But I also create print collateral, fabric tags, packaging and whatever else we might need to visually represent Spoonflower.
I wanted to go to art school out of high school, but my parents thought I should be a lawyer (I like to talk!), so I went to college at UNC-Chapel Hill. In every job I’ve had since then, I’ve found a way to design something – logos, brochures, posters. When I tried to find a job specifically as a designer, though, I was told to go back to school and fine-tune my skills. After having been out of college for a few years then, I went back to NC State as a sophomore in the design school. My personal site is a work in progress, but a lot of what I’ve done is here. What inspired me way back when is still true now. Design can’t exist in a vacuum. It needs to be seen, interacted with, and used to influence and guide.
Some of my favorite Spoonflower designers are Holli Zollinger, Heather Dutton, Gollybard, and Zesti. They all have a phenomenal sense of color and layout and innate design ability. Using some of their printed designs and some of my own, I’ve been learning to sew. Stephanie helped me to get started and I’ve been going full speed since December. For a while I was in tea towel production, but now I’m working on a design for a yoga mat carrier that will be featured in the Spoonflower staff design challenge and hopefully picked up by Lululemon afterwards!
Part of what I love about working at Spoonflower is our esprit de corps. The engineering group recently purchased a panini press and we’ve been making grilled cheese with guacamole. Gart’s dachshunds were in the office recently and one of them was sitting on my lap during lunch. I looked away for just a second and he had taken a huge bite out of my sandwich! It was pretty funny – I think Chad was crying, he was laughing so hard.
I spend weekends taking long walks with my dog, Alba. Her full name is Albatross Cyan Creature of Destruction. She was a rescue from a kill shelter in Durham. While all the other dogs were barking and jumping around, she was quietly laying down, her nose sticking under the gate, following me with her eyes. It was love at first sight. She is part Australian shepard and part pit bull as far as I can tell. Her tail was cropped and she has a dark ring around it which really stands out against her white fur. If Alba was a person she would be Hannibal Lecter. I know that sounds morbid, but she is ridiculously protective and can be scary when you first meet her. Once she gets to know you, though, she’s all love and kisses (but she’s never cooked me a gourmet meal served with Chianti).
One of my goals is to become a certified diver. I’ve been snorkeling since I was four, but have only been diving once. Last winter I was in the Bahamas and we dove a wreck, about 30 feet down. The water was crystal clear and there were tons of gorgeous colorful fish. When I looked up at the top of the wreck there were seven huge barracudas floating there, sort of like bouncers at a club!
Once I’m scuba certified, I’d love to take diving trips to Thailand, Australia, Central America, the Caribbean, and South Africa. Last year, I embraced jumping out of a plane but decided I’d rather be under water than in the air!
In the latest installment of our Meet Spoonflower series,
we'd like to introduce Jaysen Wilson in his own words:
Right now, as I listen to the harmonious drone of the Spoonflower printers here in Durham, I am reminded that a year ago I was managing an automotive repair shop in Charlotte, North Carolina. Three years ago I was assistant manager and lead technician in a shop in Orlando, Florida that worked on high end cars like Aston Martins and Mercedes-Benz. When I was a kid I wanted to be a police officer. I looked up to them and admired their dedication.
I heard about Spoonflower from my wife, Melodie. She makes and sells handmade bow ties on Etsy. One day she was looking on the Regretsy blog and came across some custom fabric that Spoonflower had printed for a Regretsy contest. For the next six months, I heard nothing but how cool Spoonflower was and how she would love to work there.
My favorite days at Spoonflower are the staff meeting days with lunch. The meeting is a time when all or most of the employees get to just relax for an hour, eat, and cut up a little before going back to work. It's a spirit-lifter.
I have not always been a fabric person, but I feel that I understood Spoonflower from the beginning. After being in retail sales for five years, I sense that everyone at Spoonflower takes pride in what we deliver to our customers. I think our customers have a more personal connection to our product that is unlike other fabric or clothing retailers. Would you rather buy a shirt just because it's kind of nice? Or would you rather make a shirt with our fabric with your kids' faces on it?
If I could retire and live anywhere, it would be someplace like the Outer Banks because I'm a total beach bum. I imagine running a three-story bed and breakfast with large sea-facing windows and a huge wrap-around porch. And watching reruns of Flight of the Conchords, which is one of my favorite shows.