Today on the Craft Industry Alliance podcast I’m talking with Stephen Fraser, co-founder of Spoonflower. Spoonflower is the largest marketplace of surface designs by independent artists all over the world. Through Spoonflower anyone can upload an image, tile it as a repeat, and have it printed on wrapping paper, wallpaper, or over a dozen different kinds of fabric. We recorded this episode while I was visiting Durham, North Carolina a few weeks ago. I had the opportunity to tour the Spoonflower headquarters and sit down with Stephen in person to chat.
In our conversation Stephen and I talk about:
- What Spoonflower’s day to day operations are like right now.
- How digital printing with pigments differs from dye-based printing. We talk about wash fastness, crocking (when fabric rubs against itself), and fading.
- How Stephen and his co-founder, Gart Davis, met and came to found Spoonflower and what it was like in the very early days (2008).
- Why taking small jobs from hobbyists and quilters was a customer base that nobody else wanted to deal with and how Spoonflower embraced those customers and built a business around them.
- What happened when the New York Times Home section put Spoonflower on the cover in 2009 and orders flooded in but getting a loan to buy new printers was proving to be very difficult.
- How Spoonflower is funded.
- The role of the Spoonflower marketplace in the site’s success and why Stephen considers Spoonflower to be part of the “Etsyverse.”
- Partnership contests with other companies like Creativebug, UPPERCASE, and Skillshare and the Fabri8 contest.
Stephen refers to:
- Near and Deer faux taxidermy
- the Google virtual tour of Spoonflower
- Kornit textile printers
- SBA loan
- corgi fabric
P.S. Thank you to Cody from Lu and Ed who talks about her email newsletter at the start of the show.