Just a few years ago, fabric printers didn’t exist. What started off as a challenge soon changed into a booming industry for those who were brave enough to launch a fabric printing business.
Spoonflower.com defied the odds and became one of the most successful digital fabric printing businesses in the world.
As the company gains new business each year, Spoonflower has turned into an online site for fabric lovers and designers to make their dreams come true.
“Our website has become a marketplace for independent designers from all over the world,” said Stephen Fraser, the co-founder of Spoonflower.
Overcoming a Challenge
Fraser’s wife, Kim, was the inspiration behind Spoonflower. As a lifelong DIY-er, Kim wanted to draw her own fabric design but couldn’t find a website that allowed her to do that.
Fraser, familiar with print-on-demand printing as an Internet consultant, wanted to try out the concept of running a fabric printing business because the market was unknown.
“I thought, ‘Why can’t you do that with fabric?’” Fraser said. “We were really making it up as we went along.”
After gathering an overwhelming positive response from online users, Fraser and Gart Davis, Spoonflower’s other co-founder, got down to business and tested their concept in a dusty old sock mill in North Carolina.
The bootstrap startup worked their way up the ladder of success and are now one of the most successful fabric printing companies in the world.
A Diversity of Fabrics, Patterns and Design
Spoonflower’s creation process is very entertaining and quite unique. Customers can either upload their own sketches or choose from Spoonflower’s designs, which are hand-drawn by indie designers. If there is a design or pattern you’ve been looking for, no matter how crazy or weird, Spoonflower probably has it.
“The best thing about Spoonflower is the diversity of designers in the marketplace,” Fraser said.“No matter how weird the theme, you get just some amazing artists.”
At Spoonflower, the designing process is easy and enjoyable. Each design is created to inspire every customer, whether he or she is using the fabric for curtains or any other creative use. Spoonflower also offers wallpaper and gift wrap, so customers can purchase more than just fabric.
“People enjoy it even when they aren’t buying stuff,” Fraser said. “It’s fun just to think about what you can do with it.”
Digital Textile Printing at Its Finest
Finding the perfect digital fabric printer wasn’t an easy road for Fraser and the Spoonflower team, but it was the best road taken. In the beginning, they were unable to find efficient or reliable digital fabric printers because they were made for something else and had been tweaked for fabric. Finding printers that worked well was a long process.
After testing several printers and printing methods, Spoonflower began producing quality fabric that customers love. Spoonflower now prints around the clock and completes every order in a timely fashion. Due to the complicated printing process, Spoonflower has little competition.
“We have one of the largest digital textile printing facilities around the world,” Fraser said.
Spoonflower also prints on natural fibers (which is more difficult to print on than synthetic fibers) and use water-based, eco-friendly pigmented inks instead of dyes. Quality is Spoonflower’s mantra.
“What we’re selling isn’t a finished product,” Fraser said. “You’re using it to make something else.”
It’s All About the Possibilities
The customer’s imagination is meant to go wild on Spoonflower’s website. Fraser and the Spoonflower team want customers to dream up any design or pattern they want and make it a reality.
Between Spoonflower’s talented indie artists and customers’ unique ideas, anything is possible when it comes to creating and printing beautiful fabric at Spoonflower.
“Spoonflower is about inspiring people with pattern and texture and thinking about the possibilities they can make,” Fraser said.
For more information on Spoonflower, visit their website at www.spoonflower.com.