Interview with Little Dipper Founder Emilie Drumm: Part II


Little Dipper Blog interview continued... 

LDB: Now that Little Dipper is open for business, what are you feeling really excited about? Can you give us a preview? 

ED: Let me just begin by saying that I am so excited to be open for business! For me and Keith, Little Dipper is dream brought to life!

And there are so many things to look forward to. During Thanksgiving week, we're changing Black Friday (blah) to Colorful Friday (hooray) with a great discount for ordering our colorful fabrics (HOORAY)! 

Speaking of colorful fabrics, right now I’m very keen to experience our first fabrics in their tactile form. In a matter of weeks, we will have our first strike off's in hand. Soon after, will be our first commercial run on commercial presses. Next, on the heels of our fabric runs, we will begin to see what our amazing community is doing with our original fabric designs designs. I mean. Wow. Exciting!

Also, I'm super-excited about the artists we are working with this fall. We currently have four different artists whose work is live on Little Dipper, or very soon will be. Each artist has produced 3 designs...so that is 12 amazing potential fabrics. And that is just the beginning. 

 

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

ED: There are three aspects that set Little Dipper apart from any other fabric companies that exist: quality, innovative design and good pay. To explain further…

Quality! When it comes to quality, while we are producing artist-made fabrics, we are NOT one of those businesses that prints 1-yard at a time on the surface of the fabric, using inkjet printers. We know that the best quality printing comes from very expensive commercial presses. Unfortunately, it is not viable to print short runs on these machines, which is why we are crowd-sourcing our artists’ designs. If enough people want to buy the designs, then we will print them at affordable prices because our community shares in the cost. This means that as a fabric-lover, you do not have to choose between innovative designs and quality product!

Innovative design! Traditional fabric companies only work with a small number of designers, and the executives that decide which designs to produce are not artists or fabric lovers. We use the word executives intentionally: people who decide which fabrics to produce are typically risk-averse, which means the first criteria for most designs is cost, without.

At Little Dipper, we feel the fabric production process is backwards because are thousands of amazing designers who want to get their designs out in front of a fabric-loving audience! And there are tons of designs that have never been printed because traditional industry sees them as too risky. With Little Dipper, we empower our customers to decide which fabrics we produce. This enables designers to offer the most innovative fabric with to you. 

Good pay! Like so many industries, the fabric industry is not well known for treating its designers well. An understatement, actually. If you are fabric designer working for a big company, you are required to go to trade shows (you usually pay your own way, including travel expenses) and convince people to buy your fabric designs. And at the end of the day you're lucky to be paid $.28 a yard. Most designers don't get this much either!  I see this industry as drastically undervaluing artists & designers. 

At Little Dipper, all artists get paid $.50 a yard, and are not required to take on additional costs such as trade shows. This also means the first check they receive from us is for a minimum of 300 yards, so that means the minimum amount an artist gets paid is $150. Our aim is for both our customers and artists to do very well on our site—they deserve it!

 

LDB: Has there been any progress on the Kickstarter gifts? 

ED: Well, as Little Dipper Blog readers—thank you for reading, by the way!—may or may not have heard, we launched Little Dipper with a fall Kickstarter campaign. Not only did we meet our goal, but we exceeded it by 35%! This week, we plan to send out a survey for our backers to tell us which designs they want for each of the products. 

In the background, we have been working with several mills to source premium fabric production. Our next step will be to order the fabrics from our Kickstarter campaign. Because we are so focused on quality, we need to ensure that the mills exceed the expectations of our supporters. This takes some time and more than some effort. But we can't wait to get our first run going. 

 

LBD: What inspires you? 

ED: I find it very difficult to explain what inspires me, because inspiration comes from so many different and often unexpected places. Today I met with a surface designer, and I was blown away by his visuals. His work is stunning and distinct. But what inspired me was the sight of a beautiful blackened teakettle with beautiful warm-colored flames licking its sides. Looking at that kettle made me feel really warm inside... and I want to design a fabric that makes others in our community feel the same! 

Yesterday's inspiration was watching friends & family carve pumpkins. Not a stereotypical Halloween jack-o'-lantern; they were all original, all beautiful, and all representative of different creative processes. Perhaps the pumpkin-carving example is the best to explain where my inspiration comes from. Inspiration comes from creativity, but it also comes from taking a moment to appreciate something different. Appreciating that something different and innovation on the whole is why we founded Little Dipper!

The end. Please! Leave other questions or comments for Emilie, and the LDB will ask!

Part I of Emilie Drumm's interview is just as exciting. Don't miss it!

Emilie Drumm says, "Little Dipper is dream brought to life!"


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