How did you begin your business?
I graduated from the Fashion and Textile Hons course at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, which is where I grew up. After four years of spending every penny I had on fabrics, I jumped straight into full time employment as a selling assistant before realising within about a fortnight that I was creatively fed up. I made a cushion for my mum using one of the textiles I designed during my degree – a photograph of an agate slice I had manipulated into a print – and before I knew it I had several order enquiries from our family and friends. I realised that my designs might actually be worth selling and I could apply them to a whole range of textile products using the sewing skills I picked up at uni. To this day I still work full time as a fashion merchandiser but my passion definitely lies within TBApril and I have been juggling the two for about a year now. Within the year I have been scouted by Gok Wan, exhibited in Paris and gained an amazing social media following.
How would you describe your style?
My design style completely reflects my personal style – dark and out of the ordinary. I balance luxurious prints with areas of solid dark colour to create pieces which are wearable and fashionable but not like anything you’d see on the high street. I obsess over design houses such as Versace and Mary Katranzou but very rarely do we see prints of that calibre on the high street and with TBApril I wanted to bring some of that luxury, high quality textile design to a more accessible level. With TBApril I try and avoid putting my work into seasons as I find most of my customers wear very similar prints in winter as they do in summer, however I am trying really hard to make some lighter coloured prints!
How did you grow your business?
Through the power of social media! I often wish I had done a degree in digital marketing because sadly I have learned that it doesn’t matter how good your work is, if you are completely clueless and uninterested in learning about social media influence your work won’t get the recognition it deserves. I consistently use instagram and facebook to advertise my online store and etsy page along with having a presence at local markets and I’d say about 95% of my online sales come from social media posts or someone seeing my work in person and deciding to order it at a later point. All of the opportunities I’ve had such as exhibiting with Gok Wan have been because of my online presence – he found my website whilst searching for local Glasgow fashion designers. I’m still just scratching the surface with social media but hoping I can build on it over the next few months as I’m taking a gamble on some big events at the end of the year and need to build some momentum leading up to them.
Who are your favourite makers and why?
I have met some absolutely incredible people since moving to Glasgow to build my brand. Every single maker I meet has been so welcoming and kind to me and I get inspired by everyone who is following their creative dream! However a few that I always look forward to seeing:
Studio 5, an Edinburgh based slow fashion and textile brand ran by sisters Kitty and Lucy. I was fortunate enough to go to university with Kitty where we both specialised in digital textile design and I always felt inspired seeing her incredible drawings. The two of them make such a fab pair and are so on it with their branding it makes me wish I had a sister to help me! (I’m pretty sure my 18 year old brother isn’t even aware I run a business)
Darte Jewellery, for completely selfish reasons as I am in love with every single piece Gemma brings out and want it all! Simple but gorgeous jewellery, her aesthetic is to die for and her product photography is some of my favourite within the jewellery brands I’ve seen. I remember meeting Gemma for the first time at a market we were both having a pretty rubbish day at and I remember feeling for the first time that maybe the reason my product wasn’t selling is because I wasn’t selling it in the right circumstances rather than because it wasn’t good enough. After then I became much more selective with where I was selling my work at and focused on getting into more shops rather than accepting every offer for every event and often not even making my table fee back.
What are you currently working on?
As I touched on before I’ve taken a bit of a gamble on some huge events this christmas at the SEC on a scale unlike anything I’ve done before. I have already began to build up my stockpile of pieces and am looking to expand my scarf line into different shapes and materials. To help me out with the cost of my stands and to make sure I have enough materials to keep up with stock demand I am running a Kickstarter to raise £750 this month and in return am offering exclusive activewear pieces such as swimsuits and leggings. At the moment I’m deliberately quiet on the market front as I want to make sure I’m putting all the effort into these big events. My kickstarter can be found here:
Who would be your dream collaboration?
I would absolutely love to collaborate with Laura from Fernweh, it’s something we have spoken about in the past but are both so busy it’s been impossible to make it work. She creates incredible accessories for outdoor living and I may be biased but I think some of my prints would work so so well with Laura’s great manufacture and design skills. Hopefully we can make a mini collection work in the future if enough people want to see it!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Literally anytime I am outdoors I am constantly on the lookout for nice rocks to photograph, I’m like a crazy rock lady! Growing up in Aberdeen I loved photographing different textures at the beach and since moving to Glasgow I’ve had to try and find interesting textures in urban areas and parks. This time of year is so brilliant to get out and about and I always carry my camera on me incase inspiration strikes. One of my favourite places in Glasgow is in the Botanic Gardens and I have done photoshoots in Kibble Palace and also taken part in a great art and design market there.
Business Name: Textiles by April