On a bright Tuesday morning we ventured out to Durham, NC to catch up with textile extraordinaire Redden Goods. When it comes to textile and fiber art this girl does it all, from weaving, sewing, dying, embroidery, knitting, and more.
What drew us to her was not only her amazing talent but her visually rich Instagram account (her preferred method of marketing) seriously you have to check out how gorgeous and intriguing this thing is.
Keep reading to learn more about Katie, her unique dying techniques, her business practices, and take a look into her amazing studio.
For more information visit her website here.
How did you get started? How did you know you wanted to start this business?
Redden Goods was born out of a deep desire to create goods with purpose and meaning. Since getting my BFA in Textile Design from East Carolina University-- where my fiber obsession began-- I have wanted to make responsibly made textile goods to share with the world. Once I finished college, I taught myself how to naturally dye and over the months experimenting and playing with fibers and plant dyes, I just knew that this was the path that I needed to take.
What makes Redden stand out from other textile makers?
The driving force behind my brand is making sure that at the end of the day all of my goods are responsibly made. This means that I make it my goal to source my supplies well and create/produce my goods in ethical ways, both for humans and for the earth. Over the past few years, I have become very aware of how much of our American life is produced outside of our country, most of the time at the expense of human life and our planet. I wanted to be a part of the movement that is reviving textile production in the US and bringing business back to well-made, ethically produced goods at the local level. All of my supplies at the moment are domestically sourced, even the tags I use for my products, ha!
How did you come up with your business name?
Redden is the Old Dutch word for "to save," "to rescue," or "to redeem." I have familial ties to a Dutch heritage and I love some of the fun words that come from their language. I give a portion of my profits to an organization called Not For Sale. They protect people and communities around the world from human trafficking and modern-day slavery. It seemed only fitting to name my business after the concept of rescue and redemption.
How do you identify weaknesses in your craft and business? How do you keep perspective?
Spending time at markets and listening to feedback from folks passing by my booth is one way I keep tabs on what's working and maybe what's not. A lesson that I have to keep learning over and over again is to remember that my business is my own and unlike most others around me. It's easy to think that you may be failing when you're at a market and your neighbors are killing it, but that may not mean that your craft or business has a weakness-- you may just be at the wrong market...
What is the hardest thing about being owning this small business in the RDU area?
I'm not sure I've discovered anything particularly hard about having a small business in this area. Our community is so creative and collaborative, I feel that has made things easier if anything, ha!
What drew you to working with textiles? What inspires you?
You know, I don't quite know the short answer to that, ha! I could give you a laundry list of rational reasons of why I love fibers and textiles-- it's a 3-dimensional medium, it helps me feel more connected to the earth, everyone uses them, etc.-- but really the connection is something that is sometimes a mystery to me. I feel my love for fibers likens to one's love for a soulmate-- when you know, you just know. I originally went to school for graphic design, but once I held fiber in my hands and made something with it, I knew I could never do anything else that would make me feel that way.
Describe your office space and what your most productive time to work is.
One of our guest bedrooms serves as my studio. We call it the "loom room" since my floor loom takes up most of it, ha! When I'm knee-deep in a project, the space can get pretty cramped and slightly chaotic as I spread out all over the place. When the weather is nice, I do my dyeing outside on our back porch. I am a morning person through and through! The morning is my most productive time. I have breakfast and a bit of quiet time and then get to work on weaving or dyeing or whatever is on the docket for the day.
What is your favorite piece that you have made or are currently selling?
I think the Weven pillows are my favorite. I love all of my pieces, but the ikat pillow fronts on those beauties be-still my heart every time.
What’s the most tedious but necessary task in owning a business? How do you hustle through it?
Emails. It's one of the primary lifelines for communicating and needs to be utilized well to make way for new opportunities and what not, but I usually don't want to do it. I also have the terrible habit of reading an email, replying in my head, and not replying in real life (sorry to those who that has happened to...). I usually reply to emails during a lunch or food break. Food always helps me get things done, ha!
What are some goals you have for your business?
This year my goal for Redden Goods is to be more deeply involved in our local community. I would love to teach more and introduce others out there to the joys of natural dyes and weaving! Collaborative projects are also coming down the pipeline this year. A long term goal I have for this business is that it will be sustainable enough to become my full-time hustle. I work a full-time job at the moment and do Redden Goods as my side gig.
What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business?
Just keep going! Don't give up! It's really easy to play the comparison game, but it's just not worth it. It will make you crazy. Be collaborative, not competitive. And do what you love.
Where can we buy your products?
You can find Redden Goods' wares on my site at www.reddengoods.com and on three other sites-- www.enkledesigns.com, www.themakersmercantile.com, and www.48andsea.com.
You can also find my goods at the beautiful Kleur shop in Winston-Salem, NC.