5 Top Tips for Selling Your Designs to Print Buyers

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5 Tips For Selling Your Designs To Print Buyers

Vicki Wallis from 29andSeptember Print Studio gives her advice for freelancing and selling your pattern designs to print buyers, and a FREE checklist to help you prepare for your next meeting.

As someone who’s been on both ends of the process; as a print buyer and designer, I can tell you that print design is much more than pretty motifs. Unfortunately, in a world with so much competition, it’s not enough to just design things you like and hope it sells. Print design is big business and as print designers we have to treat it as that – a business.

That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy making designs that you like, but in order to make sales, there’s more to consider than just the design aesthetic. This post is to try and help you to make the most of your design talent by understanding what buyers are looking for and covering key information they’ll want to know.


How To Get A Meeting With A Print Buyer

If you’re new to the industry and don’t have any contacts yet, the first step is to find potential clients to arrange meetings with. I find it very beneficial to network, both in real life and online via social media. There’s lots of events throughout the year relating to textiles and print, such as sourcing fairs and trend forecasting seminars, where a lot of industry professionals will be looking for new ideas. Putting a face to a name can really help and being there in person is very different to sending an email that can be ignored.

Of course, there can be some success by sending ‘cold’ (contacting people you haven’t spoken to before) emails, but keep in mind that people are busy and emails can easily get lost. Do your research before emailing someone, don’t send an impersonal mass email. Choose brands to email that have a similar aesthetic to you and attach a few relevant examples of work to the email; keep the file size below 10mb as some businesses block emails with larger files and you don’t want to annoy people by slowing down their mail service. Keep the email brief and to the point, explain why you think your work is a good fit and essentially help the buyer to understand why meeting you would be beneficial to them.

Snail mail also has its place in making contacts. I like to use postcard printing company Moo for promotional materials. I choose them because I like the quality and they have a ‘printfinity’ option, meaning that you can print a different design onto each postcard that you order, meaning I can send a few different prints to showcase my work to potential clients. As with sending an email, enclose a brief message about who you are and what you can do for the company.


When you’ve got some appointments set up, the next step is to prepare for the meeting;


1. Be aware of costs

In order to have a successful business, cost awareness is crucial. Not only will pricing your works appropriately ensure that you have a viable business, but also understanding the cost implications of your designs will help you when speaking with clients. For instance, if you’re working with a client who is on a budget, it’s not a good idea to design a screen print with 15 colours, as this will be very expensive compared to a print with 4 colours.

Often clients aren’t very knowledgeable about the printing process and there is sometimes an expectation that the designer will advise on the process. Try to gain a working knowledge of print methods and costs so that you can help them, as this could give you an edge over your competition.

If you’re new to the industry, I’d also encourage you to make a business plan. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something really involved, but having some structure and financial goals will help you when it comes to pricing.

5 Steps To Work Out Your Selling Price


5 Tips For Selling Your Designs To Print Buyers | How To Sell Your Pattern Designs | Buyer Meeting Preparation | Commercial Textile Printing Designer


2. Be clear about what you are offering

As a print buyer, I found that different designers would offer different things, for example, some would sell a flattened file so that it wasn’t possible for us to edit in house, whereas others were happy to provide layered files. Before you meet with a buyer, consider what you’re willing to give and how you will answer questions on file types and what they can and can’t do with them.

Often brands already have their own colours chosen for the season, so they will want to use their own colours. You may be asked if you can recolour, or if they’re allowed to, so make sure you have a response and price if applicable. Nothing knocks your confidence in a pitch more than fumbling around trying to answer a question.

In terms of the print setup, I was surprised how many times people pitched a design that looked as though it was a repeat, only to find that it was a placement print. In my experience in the fashion industry, particularly the high st retailers, there’s often a demand for 4-way repeat prints as these can be very cost effective vs other print methods. Make sure you can easily tell potential clients about the print setup and any recommendations you have for the best result.

Another key thing that buyers will want to know is the terms of the license. Are they getting exclusive rights? If so, they may ask if the print has previously been seen on your website, social media accounts or by other clients. Some customers will insist that the print cannot be shown elsewhere.


3. Be organised

Pitches can be nerve-wracking, I’m a terrible public speaker but have found that good organisation can really help with the nerves. Before you go into a pitch, make sure you’re prepared for the questions on costs and your offering – if you need to write this down somewhere that’s absolutely fine, but make sure that you can access it easily. A few seconds looking for a piece of paper will feel like forever to a busy buyer sitting waiting for you!

Before going into a pitch, I’d recommend organising some sort of order for the designs you’re showing. This would depend on how you work, but for example this could be organising by collection, theme, or for customers with wide product ranges, prints suitable for a particular product or customer type. Even if the prints aren’t designed to be bought together, it’s best to consider how they’ll look on a rack or together on a table, you want to avoid colours or styles clashing as this can detract from the individual prints.


5 Tips For Selling Your Designs To Print Buyers | How To Sell Your Pattern Designs | Buyer Meeting Preparation | Commercial Textile Printing Designer


4. Be yourself

Buyers are busy and you wouldn’t have been allowed to show your work if they didn’t think you had talent. Therefore, an important lesson I’ve learnt is, stick to what you’re talented at. I know it’s tempting when you see a gorgeous print and would like to emulate the feel of it in some way (be inspired by, never copy, of course!), but if it’s a watercolour painting and you have no experience with watercolours, it might not be the best use of your time.

Don’t feel pressured into doing something because it’s on trend. It’s often a plus to be trend relevant, but there’s so many different trends each season, find the ones that appeal to you and your skills, rather than being totally driven by them. It shows when you’ve done something because you felt you had to.

Buyers want to be inspired and it’s ok to have some surprises in your offering, so don’t be afraid to follow your own style.


5. Be relevant to the client

If you’re showing work one on one to a client, this is the most important tip I have – make sure the work you show is relevant to them. A couple of brands I worked at have very specific tastes and even though trends change, season after season you can easily identify one of their prints; they have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about them. We would have people pitch prints that were totally wrong for us. It quickly became clear that the designer hadn’t made any effort to tailor their offering to us, which was disappointing as the work we had seen online was promising.

Buyers want to know what’s in it for them, why is the work going to make their range better. If you make their job easier, by carefully curating your offering to them, you prevent them from wasting time sifting through lots of unsuitable designs and instead they can focus their attention on a smaller range of prints that their customers will love.

If it’s a brand that you particularly want to work with and their style aligns with your skills, I’d encourage you to design some extra prints specifically with them in mind. Of course, this is extra work on your part but if you get it right it shows them that you understand their brand and are willing to work in order to build a relationship – traits that will have buyers calling you again in the future.


5 Tips For Selling Your Designs To Print Buyers | How To Sell Your Pattern Designs | Buyer Meeting Preparation | Commercial Textile Printing Designer


I hope this post has helped you with things to consider when selling your print designs – remember you’re selling something and as such you have to treat it like a business deal. I’ll be keeping an eye on the comments box, so feel free to message with any questions and I’ll try my best to answer them for you.


Preparing to launch your next collection? Download our free launch plan to help you get organised.


Vicki Wallis Bio

I’ve been working in the fashion industry for over 12 years and have been fortunate enough to work in a variety of roles, including fashion and print designer, buyer, garment technologist and production management. I’ve worked for some of the UK’s biggest retailers, but found that smaller labels suited me best as I get to work on products from start to finish, rather than focusing on a small area.

I started my company, 29andSeptember Studio, to help small and start-up fashion labels understand the fashion industry and succeed in their business, through educational blog posts and one-on-one training.


Designer Interview: Edwina from Wall Circus

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Designer Interview - Edwina from Wall Circus

Graphic designer Edwina talks colours, start up business tips, and design inspiration, as we find out more about the beautiful children’s print company Wall Circus.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 
Hi, my name is Edwina, I live in south west London with my husband and our 3 little tearaways. I worked as a graphic designer commuting into London for several years. After I had my second son, I made the really hard decision to give up my lovely job and work as a freelance designer from home. It was a huge leap of faith but I haven’t looked back. The freedom this has given me is amazing – I still manage to do the job I love but with the bonus of being able to work flexibly around my children. 
Designer Interview - Edwina from Wall Circus
What inspired you to start Wall Circus?
I spent 10 years designing posters for the arts and entertainment industry. After I became a mum and stopped commuting, it felt really instinctive to design for the new world I was now inhabiting. I am also really aware of the power of art and that surrounding children with positive messages can have a really great impact on their confidence and self esteem. All Wall Circus‘s designs are intended to do just that – I love bringing impactful, inspiring and affirming messages to children’s surroundings.
We found you on Instagram, where you have a gorgeous account. Do you have any advice for designers on curating their images?
That’s very kind, thank you. It certainly takes a bit of trial and error. I am definitely still learning but I think the key is consistency – sticking to just one filter and a particular colour palette can really help this. You can vary the content and the composition but if you follow to this tip, your feed should flow well. 
Designer Interview - Edwina from Wall Circus
Who are your favourite accounts to follow on Instagram?
I love @littlebigbell – her use of colour is stunning. I am also always in awe of @jsyamsek – her styling is gorgeous. 
Do you have any advice for designers looking to set up their own business?
The best advice I probably have (which came from my husband!) is to try & find a cost effective way of testing the viability of your product in the market before investing too heavily. If you are able to take orders for products rather than investing in stock, then this can really help. Taking stalls at fairs is also a great way of getting good value feedback from customers on your products.
Designer Interview - Edwina from Wall Circus
Colour looks to be a really important part of your work, where do you find your inspiration?
I have always loved colour and it’s ability to say so much without words. Every Wall Circus design is intended to be positive and feel-good so colour and combinations of colours are hugely important in this. I love playing around with my Pantone swatch book trying out different colour combinations to achieve this.
Which artists or designers inspire you?
I’m fascinated by the evolution of poster design and draw inspiration from many different sources. I love David Hockney’s work, I think he is amazing with colour. I’m also really inspired by retro graphic styles by designers such as Tom Eckersley and Dick Bruna. I love the boldness and beauty of simplified, clean shapes and flat colour.
Designer Interview - Edwina from Wall Circus
What are you most proud of achieving since launching Wall Circus? 
I’m really thrilled by how well the business has grown. I started it as very much a local business but we are so lucky to live in an age where we have the internet and social media at hand to grow our businesses. I am now sending orders to as far a field as Australia and Singapore. 
Can you tell us about something exciting you are working on at the moment?
There are new designs appearing on the website regularly but most excitingly, I am looking into a few different applications for my designs which will bring some new and exciting products to the Wall Circus on-line store. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with our latest additions!
Designer Interview - Edwina from Wall Circus
If you’d like to keep up to date with Wall Circus, or buy some of their gorgeous prints, you can visit their website, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram

Lampshade Making Workshop

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Hello, Beki from Print & Press, London here. I ran a lampshade making workshop at The Plumstead Pantry in Greenwich earlier this week, and it was absolutely fab! Thank you so much to the amazing ladies who came along, I’m so proud of how quickly you all picked it up.

I’m in the process of setting up some more workshops for the next few months, so watch this space.

London Lampshade Making Workshop with Beki Gowing

London Lampshade Making Workshop with Beki Gowing

London Lampshade Making Workshop with Beki GowingLondon Lampshade Making Workshop with Beki Gowing

9 Creative Ways To Use Personalised Fabric To Promote Your Business

9 Creative Ways To Use Fabric To Promote Your Business

Personalised fabric is a great accessory to showcase your pattern designs and make your packaging and promotional materials stand out.

For all of these examples, you can use a beautiful patterned fabric, or why not make your own pattern which includes your company logo and contact details to promote your business.


1. Fabric Presentation Bags and Wrapping Paper

Beautiful packaging and presentation will make your customer feel extra special, and make the process of unwrapping your products even more enjoyable. Use a beautiful fabric to make your gift bags or fabric wrapping paper something your customers want to keep.

You could also offer this as a giftwrapping service on your website or for special events like Christmas and Mother’s Day.

Instructions on handmadiya.com


Digitally printed banner for market stall

2. Banners and Table Cloths

If you sell your products at markets or trade fairs, you know how important it is to have eye catching signs to draw attention to your stand. You could print customer reviews, your most popular Instagram pictures, or just your company logo on a nice bright background.

1m of fabric is big enough for a banner, and 2m will cover most market tables.

Image from alyssaleannehoppe.com


3. Badges and Magnets

When you’re making things with fabric, you always end up with lots of small scraps. Instead of throwing them away, make personalised fabric badges and magnets to sell alongside your other products, or to wear at markets and networking events. Buy a kit to achieve a professional finish if you want to sell them.

Badge instructions on pintsizedtreasure.com

Magnet instructions on andreasnotebook.com


4. Fabric Business Cards

Show you’re a textile creative by including your fabrics on your business cards. You could sew examples of your patterns to the back, or sew a ruffle or flounce to the edge to make your business card stand out in a pile.

Why not print your business cards directly on fabric, and use interfacing to make it rigid? You could make 112 double sided digitally printed fabric business cards from 1m of Cotton Sateen.

Image from sappyapple.blogspot.co.uk


5. Fabric Business Card Holder

For customers you really want to impress, give them your card in a bespoke fabric business card holder. They will be reminded of you every time they give anyone their card.

Extra gifts like this can be a great way to build your relationship with customers and keep them coming back to you.

Instructions on makingtheworldcuter.com


How to make fabric ribbon

6. Personalised Ribbon

Art prints, folded fabric, handbags, and dresses, everything looks better if it’s wrapped with a ribbon. And even better if the ribbon is a beautiful pattern that promotes your business.

Instructions on tikkido.com


7. Printed Fabric Labels

Any products you sell made from fabric should include a label with your business name on. It makes them look more professional, and reminds people of your company if they want to buy any more, or promote you to their friends.

Digitally printing your labels means you can include as many colours as you want, and you can include extra information like washing instructions, fabric composition, and your website. To make your labels, just set up a metre canvas in Photoshop or Illustrator, and copy and paste your label, remembering to leave enough space for a seam allowance.

All of our fabrics are suitable for printed labels, but we like Furnishing Cotton as it is easy to sew but has a nice weight.


8. Personalised Swatch Book

Create some mini fabric swatch books to give to potential buyers or retailers. These don’t need to include your full portfolio, but are a great way to remind people of your style and how your designs look of fabric (and are much more exciting and likely to be kept than a printed PDF!) Always keep one in your bag for impromptu meetings.

Have a look at fabric and wallpaper swatch books in department stores for ideas on how to make and present your swatch book.


How to make a fabric collage card

9. Thank You Cards

A lovely customer, another creative who’s helped you out, a mentor who’s given some great advice, or the organiser of an event you went to. It’s always nice to send a thank you card, and even more thoughtful if it’s handmade and includes your own fabrics or designs.

Minki Kim shows how to use fabric scraps to make an applique card, or you could try making something more 3D or layered.



Do you use your personalised fabric in any other ways to promote your business? Or has this inspired you to try something new? Write us a comment on Facebook, we’d love to know.

How Much Does Digital Fabric Printing Cost?


How To Make Money From Your Textile Design Skills

posted in: Start Up and Freelance Advice | 3

How To Make Money From Your Textile Design Skills

If you’re a recent (or not so recent) textile design graduate, you might have experienced a horrible moment where you’ve wondered where on earth all the jobs are, and how will you make money? Luckily, Textiles gives you practical and useful skills, and you can use these to sell your work, or even start your own business.


1. Design artwork for local events and organisations

As a print designer, your role is to make beautiful images. These are normally repeat patterns, but you could turn your skills to creating a poster for a local market, a new logo for a small business, a beautiful newsletter for a charity, or an online banner for a local organisation.

Think about your strengths – are you good at hand illustrations, bold colours, imaginative compositions, photography – and build on these to think of designs you could make outside of pattern design.

Most likely you won’t have the technical skills to pitch for big jobs or national companies (although it’s always worth trying), but approach small or local organisations, who might not have the budget to pay a professional design business. Show them examples of your patterns and drawings, and let them know what you think you could offer them, quoting a fair price for your work.

Websites like Freelancer and Fiverr are also options for advertising your skills, although don’t feel you have to match the incredibly low prices offered by some, quality is more important than quantity.


2. Offer art and design portfolio coaching to school students

You’re building your professional textiles portfolio, so you have a great insight into what students need to show in their portfolio to get into a Foundation or Undergraduate degree course. Ask your old school/college if they would hire you for a day, or could advertise your services to students, create a poster to pin on noticeboards in your area, and post an ad on Gumtree.

Remember to give honest but constructive feedback, and if possible show examples of what a great portfolio looks like. Give advice on designers they should look at, exhibitions to visit, and extra projects or designs to try.


3. Websites that let you print and sell your designs on products

The great things about sites like Red Bubble, Society 6, and Print All Over Me, is you can sell products made with your patterns, without having to invest any money in stock. You agree to give a percentage of the sale to the website, and in return you can sell products including tshirts, mugs, art prints, towels and dresses with your designs on. Great for starting out, but the commission and selling prices charged by the sites can be quite high, so as your business grows you will want to take over production of your products.


4. Sell your pattern designs online

While not always as easy as it sounds, it’s worth setting up an account on the popular freelancing websites like Patternbank, The Creative Finder, and Behance and adding images of the patterns you would like to sell. Ensure your designs can’t be easily copied, by never showing a full repeat and including a watermark. Once you have an online portfolio, send it to any contacts you have so they can see examples of your most recent work.


5. Run a textiles, printing, or art workshop

This can be a fun event to run with a friend, especially if you feel nervous talking in front of people. Come up with an idea based on your skills (often the simpler the better – don’t try and cram in too much), and organise a workshop.

Think about some of the best classes and workshops you attended at university, and remember your students will want to leave having made a finished product/artwork.

Ask local churches, village halls, cafes and businesses if they have an affordable space you can hire, buy all the materials you need, and advertise like crazy.

You will need some upfront investment, and the first one might have a few hiccups, but if it goes well you could start a regular class, and income stream. It’s also a great way of meeting other creatives in your area.


6. Teach a local art class

If the idea of setting up your own workshop sounds too much, create a CV and portfolio that highlights your teaching/coaching experience, and approach local art classes and summer schools. Create a lesson plan to demonstrate how you will teach a particular skill, show examples of your work, and list professional experience and/or awards won. It’s also worth mentioning if you have a strong social media following, as places like this will appreciate if you can help support and promote their classes.


7. Start a fashion label

I don’t mean a ‘proper’ fashion label (although, why not?), but you can easily make some clothes and sell them. Your design skills mean you have a unique personal style, and most likely a clear idea of what you do and don’t like.

Try the #girlboss approach and customise charity shop finds, or digitally print your best designs and create some clothes. There’s lots of simple clothing patterns on the internet, or companies like the ethically focused Kalopsia Collective can make professional quality clothes for you, with their newly launched Assemble Apparel service.

When you have your finished creations, hire a stall at a local craft market, and set up a boutique on Asos Marketplace.


8. Design artwork for bands

Bands are always looking for unique and innovative artwork for their merch: tshirts, posters, albums, websites, etc. Think about your design handwriting and ask what type of music genre you would suit. Brent Galloway has written a great post on how to create band merchandise, and you can also show your portfolio to bands and see if you have anything existing that they like and would want to use.


9. Sell your products on Etsy

Things like cushions, zip bags, pencil cases, tote bags, etc are really easy to make, and don’t need much sewing knowledge. In fact we have DIY cushion and bag Pinterest boards which can help you with how to guides.

Digitally print your favourite patterns (Print & Press prices start at £20 for a metre, enough to make 6 cushions or 16 A5 zip bags), and spend a weekend making your products, photographing, and setting up your Etsy page.

There are also other sales platforms like Folksy and NuMonday which are smaller but cater more to UK audiences.

Read: How Much Does Digital Fabric Printing Cost?


Don’t forget, if you are making anything to sell, (or selling your services) you should work out a selling price that will appeal to customers, and pay you for your time. Read our 5 Steps To Work Out Your Product’s Selling Price article to find out how.


How To Sell Your Products: 7 Questions Retail Buyers Always Ask

posted in: Start Up and Freelance Advice | 0

How To Sell Your Products - Questions Retail Buyers Always Ask

If you are selling your products to retailers, there are certain questions retail buyers will always ask you. Know your answers to these questions off by heart so you look professional and well prepared.

So you’ve managed to get a meeting with a buyer – congratulations! Retail buyers are busy people, and they won’t meet you if they aren’t interested in your brand. Now you’ve got their attention, stand out and show them why they should sell your products in their shop. You need come across as professional and competent, so they know they can trust you with their money, and you will deliver the right stock on time.


  1. Tell us about your brand.

It’s likely the person you are meeting doesn’t know very much about your brand. They may have seen your website, or you may have been suggested to them by someone else. Make sure your elevator pitch is perfect and your delivery is confident. Not only are they looking to find out about what you make/sell, they’re also trying to find out if they want to start a working relationship with you, and what you will be like if any problems arise.

REMEMBER TO SHOW YOUR PRODUCTS! Retail buyers are creative people and your physical products are what will excite them.


  1. Who are your other stockists?

This question finds out a couple of things:

  • Do you already know how to work with a retailer of their size
  • Are you stocked in reputable/fashionable shops (which may improve your reputation)
  • Are you stocked in shops which are likely to discount your stock (which may damage your reputation, and make your products harder to sell at full price)
  • Is there any possibility of exclusive products

Whatever you do, don’t lie; a quick Google search can easily reveal fibs.

If you aren’t stocked anywhere else, turn this into a positive: you won’t have any distractions and will be able guarantee them stock, and they can sell your products exclusively (for now). This is also the time to mention if you are having conversations about selling with any other retailers.

If you have worked with similar retailers before, make this clear. Most buyers will value that you understand how the buying, ordering, and delivery process works, and it may make them more likely to trust you with a larger first order.


  1. What is your current turnover?

When you prepare for your meeting, you need to know your figures inside out. Buyers have to to meet sales targets, and they want to know they can trust you with their money. They may fire several figures questions at you at once to test if you are making anything up. Try to answer, but if you aren’t sure or can’t remember, promise to send everything through after the meeting. It is always better to delay than guess and give incorrect information.


  1. Can we sell your brand/range/a product exclusively?

Exclusivity is a key marketing tool for retailers, and helps them to stand out from the competition. It can be the decision maker for a buyer, so come to the meeting knowing what (if anything) you are able to offer them exclusively. If you are already stocked elsewhere, could they have UK exclusivity? A different colour? A slightly different specification? A free add-on gift with each purchase? A different range?

If you agree to an exclusive item, be very clear on the terms. Some items are only exclusive for a limited period of time (known as an Exclusive Launch), others may be exclusive for the lifetime of the product. Some retailers will be happy for you to also sell the product on your website, while others will want to be the only retail avenue.

Don’t agree to anything you’re not happy with, or that won’t work for your brand. For example, if the Buyer wants 100% exclusivity, but only wants to order 500, and your minimum order is 1000, then you will be left with 500 products you can’t sell. This might not be a problem if the wholesale price they are paying is enough to cover the full order (and you can write the rest of the stock off), but this is another reason it’s important to know your figures so you don’t get caught out.


  1. What are your wholesale prices and recommended retail prices?

Selling prices can be complicated when working with retailers. If you aren’t familiar with the law, download this guide from the UK Government: UK Competition Law. Very simply, as a supplier you cannot dictate selling prices to a retailer, their selling prices are their decision.

You can give, and will probably be asked for, your Recommended Retail Prices. These are your suggested selling prices. The retailer will most likely use these as a guide, but they do not have to adhere to them. Buyers will want to know your RRPs for two reasons:

  • Where your products will fit in their pricing hierarchy (are you low, mid or premium for their store)
  • What will their profit margin be, based on your wholesale prices

The profit margin is the important part of this conversation. Buyers will have margin targets, and it is likely they won’t be able to add a supplier who doesn’t meet this. They won’t want to increase selling prices any higher than your RRP, so if the profit margin is too low, they will look to you to decrease your wholesale prices.

It’s worth trying to find out the retailer’s margin requirements before you go to the meeting. Don’t ask them directly (they will of course tell you a high figure!) but online sleuthing or speaking to your contacts might reveal something.

If you know you’re wholesale prices may be too high, you will need to have a plan to put to the buyer. Is there anything you would be willing to trade for a lower wholesale price – free marketing on their website or in store/ a discount for a bulk order over a certain amount/ a prominent position in their shop/ the retailer also stocking other products from your range?

5 Steps To Work Out Your Product’s Selling Price


  1. How are your products different from other products/brands we currently stock?

If the buyer doesn’t ask you this question directly, make sure you find a way to tell them anyway. This is your chance to shine and to really sell your products. Bring examples and invite everyone there to touch them, show your passion and your knowledge about what you do, and why you are a hundred times better than the competition. Don’t forget to also talk about your company and why you are so great to work with, your customer service, ethical credentials, social media followers, endorsements, marketing campaigns, awards you’ve won, etc.

The other reason for this question is to find out your point of difference. It’s likely the retailer already sells products similar to yours, you need to show they aren’t the same. It’s your opportunity to show you have researched the retailer’s current range, which makes you look well prepared and thorough, and for you to show exactly where you fit in their assortment. Think about the sort of customer who shops with them, who you will help them to attract, and how else having your brand in their shop will help them.


  1. Do you have a UK warehouse/How much stock do you hold?

This question will depend on the size of the retailer you are speaking to. The main thing they want to know is how quickly can they re-order if your products are successful. If something is a sell out, they don’t want to have to wait 2 months for more to be made. If you can offer backup stock then great, make sure you let them know this.

However, if you are a small business who makes to order, approach this as a conversation. Find out what stock holding would make them feel comfortable – could you manage this on your bestselling lines? Alternatively could they place a larger upfront order on certain lines and then call this in over a few months? This means if the sales are strong they can call the stock in quicker, and if they are slow then can call it over a longer time frame.


If you take one thing away from this post: do your homework! Getting a meeting with a retail buyer is difficult, once you’re there, make sure you don’t jeopardise your chances by not being prepared. Research their company and their current product range, and be ready to talk all about your beautiful products and why you love them. Good luck!


We hope you found this article helpful, and are feeling more confident about selling your products to retailers. We will be starting a new series to help designers and small brands grow and find distributors for their products. If you have any feedback, or any topics you’d like us to cover, please send an email to hello@printandpresslondon.co.uk.

Design Book Review: Best Books For Surface Pattern Inspiration

posted in: Inspiration | 2

Our most popular post on Instagram was a photo of the team’s favourite textile design books. So we’re starting a regular feature where we will review and recommend our favourite design books, starting with the best books for surface pattern design inspiration.

Here’s our top five books for when you need some ideas to move your designs on, you want to start a new project, or you need some beautiful images to start off your sketches. Have we missed your favourite pattern design book? Recommend it to us on Facebook.


Textile Designs: 200 Years of Patterns for Printed Fabrics arranged by Motif, Colour, Period and Design

by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers

If you are new to surface pattern design, and only want to buy one book, make sure it’s this one. This is the bible of printed patterns, with every type of pattern imaginable clearly categorised. It’s a great way to learn about the different traditional patterns (could you identify a Chocolate pattern? Vermicular? Eccentic? Bonnes Herbes?), and more advanced print designers may find it useful for ideas on repeat structures, borders and compositions.



by Drusilla Cole

Some modern pattern collection books can be very focused on a cutesy, vector style of design, which although popular, is not particularly unique. Patterns by Drusilla Cole is great because it showcases a whole range of modern surface pattern designs, including vectors, paintings, hand drawn, photographic, collage, stitch, and everything in between. All images are flats of the patterns, allowing you to see the detail and textures, although this does mean the repeat is not always obvious. The colours and style are contemporary and exciting, and every page is completely different, making it the perfect place to look if you need some inspiration.


England Is a Garden: A Wayfarer’s Companion

by Catherine Hamilton

This beautiful book is full of pencil sketches and watercolour illustrations of English flowers and buildings. You can pick it up online for pennies, and it’s a great resource for floral and leaf shapes, if what you want isn’t in season, or you don’t want to leave your house. 


Fashion Print Design: From the Idea to the Final Print

by Angel Fernandez

The best part of this book is the images of finished garments, and patterns printed onto fabric. Ignore the text (it’s nothing particularly useful), there are hundreds of images of contemporary fashion print designs, and examples of initial sketches, finished digital prints, and the final fabric. A good resource for fashion designers and students to highlight the importance of composition, and how different a pattern can look on screen compared to on fabric.


Textiles Today: A Global Survey of Trends and Traditions

by Chloe Colchester

While this is a more academic book than the others, it still has lots of beautiful pictures, and looks beyond traditional print to encompass weave, knit, stitch, and technology. At face value the images can inspire designs based on pop culture, structures, collage, and texture, or could also be used as a supporting read for a more in depth critical study or project.


We hope you found this useful, let us know which type of design book you’d like us to review next on Facebook.


All books were bought by Print & Press, London, and we did not receive any fees for recommending them. However, if you click on the above links and decide to buy them, we will receive a small amount of commission.


Inspiring Women: Beki Gowing Features on Jennifer Hamley’s blog

posted in: News | 0

Beki Gowing | Print & Press London | Jennifer Hamley

If you follow us on social media (you should! – we post lots of beautiful photos) you may have seen that Print & Press, London founder Beki Gowing has been featured on Jennifer Hamley’s Inspiring Women blog this week.

Jennifer sells beautiful, considered handbags for busy working women, and her blog features female entrepreneurs and businesswomen. Beki recently spoke to her about leaving her corporate buying job, setting up Print & Press, London, and how she stays organised (including discussions of critical paths and our FREE product launch plan).

Read the full article on Jennifer’s blog.

There’s also a separate article called ‘What’s In Your Handbag‘, where Beki shows the contents of her bag.

If you’re setting up your own business, or freelancing on your own, have a look at the rest of Jennifer’s blog, there’s some fantastic stories from some truly inspirational women.

Designer Community: Where To Buy Notebooks, Paintings and Swimwear

posted in: News | 0

Love our designer patterns, but don’t have time to make something yourself? Here’s some of the places you can buy their beautiful patterns on fashion, homeware and accessories.


Varpu Kronholm

Print & Press London | Varpu Kronholm textile designer

As well as freelancing, Varpu paints beautiful watercolour art prints, which are available to buy from her shop. She has also collaborated with the fashion brand Walnutte to create these stunning silk scarves.

Varpu Kronholm’s shop



Anna Jayne

Print & Press London | Anna Jayne stationery and artwork

Anna will be selling her floral patterns on cushions and bunting at the Country Living Fair at Alexandra Palace this weekend, 27th to 30th April 2017. She is available for freelance design work, and specialises in creating artwork and stationery for weddings. You can also buy her artwork and cards from these shops in Buckinghamshire:

Signature Flowers

Horizon Framing

Lakers Nursery


Sofia Alves

Print & Press London | Sofia Alves swimwear

As well as designing her own prints, Sofia also designs patterns for two swimwear brands. They have beautiful photography, and the styles perfectly show off Sofia’s delicate watercolour paintings.

Hinna (all 2017 prints designed by Sofia)

Alumar Swimwear


Lotti Brown

Print & Press London | Lotti Brown Pet Art

Lotti sells her designs on the online platforms listed below, and also runs an art and design business. She has recently started selling bespoke pet portraits, and to celebrate the launch she is offering the chance to win a portrait. Entry details are on her website, and the competition closes on 9th June.

Lotti Brown’s Etsy shop

Lotti Brown’s Society 6 shop

Lotti Brown’s Redbubble shop

Lotti Brown Pet Art


Megan Roberts

Print & Press London | Megan Roberts phone cases and notebooks

Visit Megan’s online shop to buy her gorgeous patterns on phone cases, notebooks and mugs, all manufactured in the UK.

Megan Roberts’ shop


Jill O’Connor

Print & Press London | Jill O'Connor textile designer

Jill also sells her designs through RedBubble, and her beautiful patterns can be bought on a range of stylish and flattering clothes.

Jill O’Connor on RedBubble

National Stationery Week: How To Make A Lined Pencil Case

posted in: Techniques and How To's | 0


National Stationery Week starts today, and Lisa Dolson, one of our favourite illustrators and printed textile designers, has created an easy to follow how to guide to make your own lined pencil case.


Hi I’m Lisa Dolson, a freelance Textile Designer and Illustrator from Glasgow, Scotland. I have a passion for textiles, drawing, sewing, quilting and weaving. I enjoy making zipper pouches, pencil cases, clutch bags and quilts with my fabric designs, and as a fabric and stationery hoarder, I love trying out new pens to draw with or different techniques for creating art. I’m inspired by everything around me, mostly nature, flowers and the countryside, particularly at my holiday home in Loch Lomond where the wildlife is amazing and the views are breathtaking. I am also inspired by the everyday objects we use, and recently developed a collection of prints using drawings of shoes, cassettes, cameras and watches. I’m in the early stages of collaborating with a shoemaker who wants to use my designs on their handmade shoes! It’s really exciting to see the possibilities that print designs can have, and I’d love the opportunity to collaborate with more companies. In particular, I would love to see a range of my designs on purses, pencil cases, bags, and more! 

As it’s National Stationery Week this week (24 April 2017) I thought I would share a step by step guide on how to make one of my favourite things…a pencil case! No self-respecting stationery hoarder would be without one! They are so much fun to make, especially using your own digitally printed fabric. I often like to line them with a contrasting colour or design.  You can make them in any size to store all sorts of stationery goodies, give them as gifts, and make them for yourself as I like to do. You can adapt this pattern to make them any size you want, and they are handy for putting in your handbag when travelling. I recently made some new pencil cases for my sons, and I made them fairly large to hold all of their coloured pencils. I have to warn you, these are very addictive and once you know how to make one, you will be hooked!

You can use any fabric for your pencil case, upholstery fabrics and canvas type fabrics add more structure. However, if you are using a lighter fabric you can always add an interfacing to give it more strength. I also love to quilt and enjoy creating improv pieces using a variety of scraps and handprinted fabrics to create unique pencil cases and pouches.  You could use vintage fabrics, screen printed fabrics and hand dyed fabrics. In this demonstration I am using a Furnishing Cotton printed by Print & Press with my Handcreme print, and for the lining I am using linen, with an 8” zip with brass teeth. The size of your zip will decide the width of your fabric to cut. Although this is a 8” zip, the overall length of the zip is 9”, so make sure you measure the full length of the zip and not just from the pull to the stop of the zip teeth.


Ok, lets get started!

Print & Press | Lisa Dolson How To Make A Lined Pencil Case


How to make a lined pencil case (or a zip bag)


  • Fabric for the outer layer
  • Fabric for the lining
  • a zip (I am using an 8” zip)
  • contrasting threads, scissors and some wonder clips (or pins)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron


Step 1.  Cut 2 pieces of the outer fabric 9”x 6.5” (You can make length of your fabric any size but I think the 6.5” length creates a decent size pencil case). Cut 2 pieces of your lining fabric 9”x 6.5”


Step 2. Layer your fabrics –

a) Place your lining fabric face up on your work surface


b) Place your zip on top of the lining along the top, ensuring you line up the raw edges of the fabric with the edge of the zip. *The zip pull will be on the left hand side of the fabric


c) Take your outer fabric and place this face down on top of your zip and lining fabric, ensuring all 3 edges are lined up.


Step 3. Secure this ‘sandwich’ of fabrics and zip in place for stitching. I like to use Wonder clips as they hold the fabric in place well and are bright and colourful. I purchased mine from Hobbycraft, they have a world of amazing little things you never knew you needed!! You can also use pins if you wish. Place 4 clips along the top of your fabric holding the lining, the zip and the outer fabric in place.


Step 4. Using your sewing machine you want to stitch about 1/2” seam allowance to secure the fabric to the zip. I like to use my zipper foot as the needle can get close to the zip without the presser foot getting in the way.

a) Start stitching about 2” down from the top, the pull of the zip will get in the way if you start at the top of the fabric. I start about 2″ down and stitch all the way to the bottom.

b) Once you have done this, open up the fabric ‘sandwich’ and check your stitching, if it looks ok, open the zip a little (3”) and fold fabric back in place. You can now stitch the rest of the fabric from the top to where you first started (I always start with a back stitch and end with a back stitch to secure my stitches.)


Step 5. Now you want to do the same to the other side so you will repeat step 3

  • Place your lining fabric face up on your work surface
  • Add your zip (which now has your 2 pieces of fabric attached) to the top of the lining fabric
  • Your zip pull will now be on the righthand side of the fabric
  • Place your other outer piece of fabric on top face down
  • Repeat step 3 by using your clips or pins to secure this all in place, taking care to make sure you have all the edges lined up
  • This time once fabric is secured you can stitch from the top straight down using a 1/2” seam allowance, or as close to the zip as you can
  • Make sure you stop about 2” from the end as the zipper pull will be at the bottom this time
  • Repeat the same process, open up the fabric ‘sandwich’ and then open up the zip about 2″, fold back in place, and starting with a backstitch finish off stitching until whole side is stitched


Step 6. I like to open out the fabric with the zip in the centre, you should have an outer and a lining on either side of the zip. Take this to the iron and press out the seams from the centre out – taking care to ensure your iron is at the right temperature for your fabric. I like to do a test first to ensure it isn’t too hot!


Step 7. Once pressed, take the fabric to your sewing machine and add a topstitch either side of the zip, this helps hold the fabric in place, and prevents any fabric catching inside your zip.

  • You can use any stitch size you like, I like to make mine about 3″. You could even use a contrasting thread.
  • Still using your zipper foot stitch a straight stitch either side of your zip and secure with a back stitch
  • Check over your stitching and make sure your zip works


Step 8. This is the important part – this is where you must remember to open your zip or else once you stitch the whole pencil case you will not be able to turn it the right way out

  • So, you have been warned! Open your zip about half way
  • Take your 2 lining pieces together and your 2 outer fabric pieces together
  • This can be a bit tricky, but make sure your 2 zip ends are flat against each other and the teeth are facing the lining fabrics, and secure with a clip
  • Do the same with the other side, make sure the zip ends (that are open) are flat together and also facing the lining section
  • This can create a bit of bulk so take your time to ensure the zip teeth are facing the correct way and pin in place


Step 9. Finish pinning or clipping around the whole ’square’ of fabric

  • When you come to the lining fabric, leave a gap about 3”. This will be your opening for turning the fabric the right way out and pulling it all through
  • I use 2 pins to highlight the area I need to keep open
  • Start by stitching a back stitch at the 2nd pin and stitch all the way around the fabric square using a 1/2” seam allowance
  • Stop when you reach back to the 1st pin, and backstitch


Step 10.Trim the corners of all 4 points to remove any bulk

  • You can also trim the edges including the zip ends as they can often be bulky
  • Leave the edge of the lining with the opening though. as you will be turning this in anyway


Step 11. Now the magic….

  • Using the opening place your hand inside the opening and pull the inside out (thankfully we opened the zip before stitching!)
  • Use a seam ripper or sharp pencil to poke the corners of the outer fabric to ensure it looks nice and sharp


Step 12.

  • Pull the lining pocket right out too and poke the corners out
  • Then fold in the opening on your lining fabric and secure with a pin, stitch this opening closed with a matching thread and secure with a backstitch
  • Then place the lining back inside your pencil case and check over your pencil case ensuring the zip works


Step 13. I like to iron over my pencil case and press it inside to ensure a nice clean finish….and voila! You have just made yourself a cute pencil case!



We hope you found these instructions useful and feel inspired to make one yourself. You can see examples of Lisa’s work on Instagram, please add a comment to her page to let her know how you get on, and tag us both in your creations @lisadolson and @printandpressuk.

If you want to create your own customised fabric for a pencil case you can order a metre, or try a Lucky Dip to get an A3 sample of personalised fabric (for only £7.50!).


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