Thursday, September 22, 2011

Start Your Own...With Saffron Craig


Our guest blogger this week is Saffron of Saffron Craig.  Saffron is an Australian fabric designer who saw a need in the market and acted to fill it with her own creations.  Her website just makes me want to create quilts and her online shop makes it all too easy to go on a shopping spree!  Get.Over.There.Right.Now.  If you are interested in watching Saffron create, you can follow her current projects via her blog

Saffron Craig has super-generously offered readers of this post a $25 gift voucher for use in the shop.  To enter, just go over to her online shop and find a fabric that you love.  Come back here and leave a comment including the name of your favorite print.  I'm curious to hear what you'd like to make, if you feel like sharing!

Thank you, Saffron, for writing such an inspiring, informative post for us this week!

Saffron Craig Quilt Fabrics

I've been interested in design, and particularly fashion, since my teens. I studied Fashion Design at RMIT and after travelling the world for a couple of years I started my own women's wear fashion label which I ran for a few years.

After the birth of our daughter however I had to change plan and my mother in law got me onto quilting. Frustrated with the limited choice of contemporary fabrics I started screen printing my own on the kitchen table.  I transitioned from fabric - lover to fabric designer out of necessity. A few years ago there wasn't many modern, vibrant fabric designs available so I started making my own. It wasn't a conscious choice to make a career out of it but a gradual transition. But once we realised people like our fabrics and would pay for them we got hooked!  The feedback was very encouraging so I took it up a level and debuted my fabrics at the Sydney Quilt and Craft show in 2008. Since then I've been totally immersed in designing patterns and motives predominantly for fabrics.

Infinity 50cm bundle, purple

In my free time, I make a bit of everything and my sketch book is always close by. However, it's a blurry line between free time and work time as I love what I do so much. So, really, free time means doing something totally different, like Yoga, drawing, going for walks on the beach, reading blogs, doing fun stuff with my husband and daughter.

Beetle Bugs, red

I was never worried about leaving  a "proper" job to pursue fabric designing as I didn't really have a "proper" job to give up. I was lucky enough to do what I love and turn it into a business slowly. In a lot of ways it is a relief to be able to focus on patterns and not run a fashion label.  I'm worried sometimes as the amount of effort and time we invest is not always reflected on the balance sheet, especially in these quite difficult economic times.

Bird Tree, blue

I'm sure every small business owner would agree that the difficulty is to find a balance between work and life, and not making things that used to be fun into a chore. Also, once you start turning a hobby into a business there's a lot you need to learn that has nothing to do with why you started it in the first place.

Dandelions pink

I never stopped learning, particularly because I work on the computer so much and software keeps improving and changing.  We've cobbled together business advice from friends, books and online as we needed it, but we're now at a point where we're looking to find a business mentor to take us to the next level.  Also, partnering with our current distributors has helped a lot to focus on what I do best, which is designing. 

Day Owls

And though I run my own fabric label I do design for other companies as well. Which is nice, as I don't have to be involved in the production and selling process but can just send off a design and it's done. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive as I have so many designs that will never make it onto my own fabrics, designs that we plan to sell.

In fact I want to expand my bespoke design services, so if you're looking for a custom design let me know!


Forest Elementals 1m bundle, aqua

I think everyone has to find their own way and make it work for them, their situation, how much time they can invest, etc. It definitely pays off to have someone to help you with the things you struggle with as running a business involves so much these days. I'm lucky enough that my husband complements my skills in many ways. One thing is for sure, you can't be half-hearted about it. You got to be really passionate about what you do as the shine will wear off sometimes and it's the love for your work that will get you through the challenges you're facing.

Owl Appliqué Kit

Thank you, Saffron, for contributing to the Start Your Own series here at Fluffy Sheep Quilting.  OK, my flock of Fluffy Sheep...get over to Saffron's shop then come right back here and leave a comment to enter the giveaway.  I will use a random number generator on Friday night to choose the winner of the giveaway!  Good luck :)

25 comments:

Kirsten N said...

Saffron has such gorgeous fabrics and I love her "owls" range but my favourite at the moment is the Infinity Flowers.

Judith said...

What a great post! Thanks Saffron for your inspiration and honesty. I visited Saffron's shop and really liked the Blossom Patch and Bird Tree range. Thanks Cindy for a great series! Jxo

Sarah said...

Great post! I love Saffrons owls, and the nesting owls in particular is fabulous :-)

pippablue said...

Have always been an admirer of Saffron's fabrics. I love the Bird spot, indigo. Having said that, it was really hard to choose :)

SewHappyGeek said...

OMG I LOVE the bird fabric! What a lovely designer, thanks Cindy!

Elisa Black said...

Thanks for introducing me to Saffron Craig! Just visited her shop and there's lots to love, but my fave would have to be the Little Bird. That applique owl kit is pretty darn cute, too! Thanks for sharing!

Lynne said...

Another great read - and a fellow Aussie to boot! Thanks again!

susan said...

Arrrghhhh! More fabric that I NEED!!! The Bird Tree range. I have a sudden desire to rip my credit card out my wallet. I love it!

gill said...

Great fabrics! I love the Forest Elementals and especially the Birds on Leaves fabric!
Any of Saffron's fabrics would make a great picnic quilt!

Katy Cameron said...

Great advice, and I do love that bird tree line

Flying Blind... said...

I love love love the Running Bugs!
Get you and your famous friends xxx

babiesdoc said...

I like the bird trees!

Anonymous said...

I love the whole Forest Elementals line - even in different colorways, they all go together. the blend of colors isn't the 'same ole same ole'. VermontPines@aol.com

Jennifer said...

I never knew about this - thanks for the info Cindy!!
I love the beetle bugs in red, they're so cute spanning the boxes!

Aideen said...

gorgeous! totally torn between the pink dandelions and the night owls!

Erin@Billy Button Design said...

It's the birds in the tree for me...they are so cute. little purses, and cushions, and....Oh just endless ideas

memmens said...

I've been an admirer of Saffron's work for a while and at the beginning of the year I found an excuse to buy some of the Bird Tree Range in purple - it is gorgeous. I love the Beetle Bugs range, would be great for my little folk!
thanks for the giveaway

Quilter in the Gap said...

OMG OMG OMG....the owls! I have never seen this line or this designer. I think I am in love!

diane said...

I absolutely love the bird spot indigo!

Pat V. said...

Oh gosh, I love those little yellow birds in the tree, and all the fields range, and the owl softies...man, Cindy, why did you send me over there?

Archie the wonder dog said...

The owls, the owls, I LOVE the owls!! The birds in the tree are also marvellous ;o) Great post - thanks for introducing me to such a wonderful designer! Did you hear that? My credit card has just gone into hiding!

Fiona said...

I am lucky enough to already have some of Saffron Craig's prints in a gorgeous pouch and needle case made for me by a very lovely Aussie partner in a swap and they are gorgeous!
If I won I think I'd choose Beetle bugs red and use it to make a hot-water-bottle cover for my son. He would LOVE that print!

yorkie mom said...

Wow! What a great designer! Love the red owels and bugs! Those are definately my favorites!

Catskill Quilter said...

Wow - so much to love! My very favorites are the dandelions in pink and in yellow. They are so delicate!

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