Our next fabric collection, Vintage 74, is finalized, and I’ll be putting in our order at the end of the week! It used to be that I would design a collection, place the order, and then introduce it shortly before it was due to arrive, with fingers crossed that it was well-received. That required me to guess at what would be the best-sellers (so I could order more), and also which ones would be slower, as well as selling the fabric after the fact. Over the years I’ve honed my skill at predicting, but I still lack a crystal ball, so inevitably I’d miscalculate on something.
After a few years of feeling frustrated that I was spending more time on sales than on design, we decided to change our model and pre-sell the fabrics to our wholesale customers, and then place our order based on those sales. Total game-changer. Now I know what my customers want, so I can make sure to order enough, and I can avoid the pitfalls that come with the occasional quirky print that worms its way into my heart… but fails to appeal to many others. It does take a little bit of the excitement out of the big reveals that used to happen at industry shows like Quilt Market, but it just means that the reveals happen online, as they do for most customers anyway.
Now I’m getting really excited for our upcoming collection, Vintage 74! This group started out as a loose collection of gouache paintings, but once I had them grouped and colored, they reminded me so much of my grandmother’s Michigan farmhouse where I would sometimes spend summers as a kid. I don’t have many photos of the inside, but it was surrounded by fields and meadows, with a flower garden in back. I remember kitchen valences made from a cottage-style floral (in my memory it was just like our Orchard print), and the windowsills were decorated with her colored glass collection in shades of rose and amber. There were wooden bowls full of sugared fruit, and little carved chicadees – endlessly fascinating to a kid. I was 10 or 11 when she sold the farmhouse and moved to town, but that house is still so vivid in my memory.
This collection should be landing in May, and I’m already making plans for summer sewing. The palette and prints really lend themselves to bright, summery designs, with a bit of a retro feel. As always, the fabrics are GOTS-certified organic, and will be printed on our premium poplin, and possibly on lawn as well (I hope so!).