Interview with Little Dipper Co-Founder Keith Anderson


keith-anderson

Little Dipper Blog: Why did you decide to join in founding Little Dipper?

Keith Anderson: After experiencing founder Emilie Drumm’s loving and cheerful personality, along with her dedication to design, we became instant friends back in 2011.

In 2012, Emilie told me about a dilemma she was facing as a surface pattern artist. She wanted to share her creativity with the fabric community but because she earned very little money for her designs, she didn’t feel that she would be able to continue. However, Emilie—who is creative in both visual design and business—had an idea for how to fix this problem. That idea became the beginning of Little Dipper.

LDB: What is your background?

Keith: Like individuals in our community, I’m a creative striving to make life more colorful, more interesting, more palpable through design. In my more practical life, I study and teach language: I earned my B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and then my Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. But I've always been inspired by beautiful artwork, so I also studied web and graphic design in my free time. Now, as my day job, I “wear many hats” at Academy of Art University. Independently, I consult on web design projects, and--best of all--I work with Emilie to bring Little Dipper to life.

I love teaching—those “ah hah moments” with students from (literally) all over the world are magic. But I derive real satisfaction through creating alluring experiences through writing code that brings what you see on a computer monitor to vivid, colorful life!

LDB: How does your background influence the work that you do for Little Dipper?

Keith: Both Emilie and I believe in making viable opportunities for artists to share their designs with the world, and we’re working really hard to make this happen through Littledipper.co. While I am new to the fabric industry, we find that I bring a fresh pair of eyes and perspective to an industry that has been dominated by a handful of very large companies. Historically, decisions those companies made disadvantaged designers by not providing fair compensation. But also, these companies disadvantage all artists who wish to bring their own visions to life.

When Emilie approached me to join her with Little Dipper, I immediately knew I wanted to work with her on this fantastic business. Our goals and drive are perfectly aligned to make Little Dipper a company that helps artists share their unique designs and offers fabric lovers a new level of innovative, limited edition designs that have never been seen before!

LDB: What do you want to bring and to share with members of the Little Dipper community that is special?  

Keith: Emilie, I and Little Dipper want to empower our artistic community by allowing them to decide which fabric designs they like and get produced. For far too long, big companies have had an exclusive power over what fabrics are brought to market, but we believe that artists and fabric lovers should be the ones making these decisions!

Both Emilie and I have felt taken advantage of when selling our surface design patterns. It is extremely important to us that our business treat designers and makers fairly for their work. We want artists and makers to be excited and proud to be part of the Little Dipper family.

LDB: How did Little Dipper's Kickstarter campaign go? 

Keith: Our Kickstarter campaign was very successful! After 30 days, 126 backers donated $12,664. Little Dipper is funded and 2 stretch goals were met. We’re so grateful to our backers!

But what took me by surprise were the many personal emails and comments we received with a humbling amount of support. Community and personal connections with so many people is very inspiring!

LDB: What is Little Dipper's next, post-Kickstarter move for potential customers?

Keith: This is a big question! To start with, both Emilie and I are planning to attend local sewing and quilting festivals, charities and events throughout the U.S. Last weekend, actually, we went to the Pleasanton Quilt, Craft and Sewing Festival and met some great people who care about our mission as much as we are. After we produce our first run of our fabrics, we hope to be able to have a booth as festivals, so people can feel our 100% cotton fabrics. We want to be part of the fabric community, and in order to do this, we want to talk with people about the fabrics they love and get them as excited about Little Dipper as we are.

LDB: And?

Keith: Little Dipper is also contacting surface designers and textile artisans in order to give potential customers lots of great options to choose from. For example, Kat Uno’s design called “Cute Fish” is exactly that. The fabric makes me smile every time I look at it. And it is already available for order! In addition, we’re creating a market for artisans to sell the art that they create with textiles. For example, we’re selling a gorgeous Floating Stars Lap Quilt by Suzannah Richardson. The quilt is one-of-a-kind—and, we plan to offer many special or one-of-a-kind objects to our community.

In fact, if you are interested in being one of our artisans, please email me directly at [email protected]

And, watch this space! The focus of our Little Dipper blog is creativity, but we also plan to share news and interact with our community via our blog.

LDB: Regarding Little Dipper, what are you most proud of so far?  

Keith: I’m proud—and honestly astonished—by the reaction and excitement we have garnered from people all throughout the world! With each person who has personally reached out to me about what we’re doing, I have become even more motivated and inspired to make Little Dipper not just a dream of mine and Emilie’s, but a dream of all of us who love unique, one-of-a-kind products and want to support our local community.

LDB: At Little Dipper, we ask: what inspires you? 

Keith: Lots of different things inspire me! Right now, in fabric patterns, I’m drawn to more quirky and colorful designs with an aesthetic by artists such as Keith Haring and Elizabeth Olwen… ideally, we’d mix them together! I love eclectic and cute collections of items that work individually and as a group. 

My parents have also been a big influence on my life, and both of their positive-ness continues to inspire me to be keep growing and learning from others. While this sounds cheesy, their optimism pushes me to be the best I can be. I carry their optimism with me every day at Little Dipper.

 

Pictures from Keith and Emilie's visit to Pleasanton Quilt, Craft and Sewing Festival.
We learned so much! We had so much fun!


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