Happy Friday everyone! Today I’m excited to be interviewing Farzana Chowdhury (Fuz) from online fabric store Cloth and Candy. What caught my eye about Cloth and Candy was the contemporary fabrics on offer and the gorgeous patterns they stock. I’m now thinking of sewing a skirt or a bag as they have left me pretty inspired!
• Tell us a little about yourself and how Cloth and Candy started.
Well, I guess it all started whilst studying for my final year exams at university almost 15 years ago, I decided my dream was to one day open up a shop full of beautiful things. Not quite the expected path when you are about to graduate with a geeky science degree! The next ten years or so saw me move into the retail industry to learn about how a business works. I’ve worked with some incredibly creative people and such gorgeous products, but it was a trip to Pakistan in search of my wedding dress that got me hooked on textiles being the business I wanted to be in. I visited the most amazing store which had hundreds of handmade rugs and throws that were just beautiful. So here I am now, a few years later, with a strong fascination in colour, pattern and texture, with an online store selling a fabulous collection of cottons with an emphasis on just that!
•What inspired you to start an online business and what were the challenges you faced?
As with a lot of small business start-ups, I didn’t have the biggest budget in the world so I had to get creative! I sought advice and did lots of research into how I could do this on my own. I had to learn a LOT, from basic accounting and legal stuff to the big one, building the website. It was a real labour of love and I am pretty chuffed about how it turned out….*cheesy grin*.
On the day I launched, I remember my heart was pounding so hard with excitement and nerves all at once.. then there it was, I had gone LIVE! My dream business began that day and then two weeks later, I faced another challenge… terrible morning sickness!! I found out I was pregnant and in a few months time, life is about to get very busy indeed but it’s very exciting! As for coping with running a business and having a baby? Well, a taxi driver in Marrakech once said to me, “when you jump in the river, you just have to go with the flow” …wise words quite frankly!
•A lot of your fabrics are unusual prints, how do you select what to sell?
Choosing is NOT easy.. there are far too many amazing fabrics out there, so I always go with my gut instinct. Saying that, I put in a lot of time into researching what’s new and keeping my eyes open for inspiration around me, be it on my travels, from magazines or the internet, shopping trips and even a little bit style stalking on the streets of my city, London. Fabrics are chosen for their striking designs, colour and quality and most of all, we stay true to our motto, “if we don’t love it, we won’t stock it!” .
•What is your top tip for storing fabrics?
Oh, I’m such a fabric hoarder it’s unbelievable…my husband is always asking why on earth I need more? As if there’s an answer to that question?! I’ve picked up fabric from all over the world and the collection keeps on growing! One day I’ll get round to making things out of all the lovely fabrics I still have left over. I think the main thing for me is to keep them out of direct light – the last thing you need is for exposed piles of fabric to get faded along the edges! I generally keep all my bolts in closed bookcases – as a tip, the Ikea Billy bookcase is the perfect size and you can get doors for them if you want 😉 For smaller pieces of fabrics try wrapping them around rectangles of card or plastic – then you can arrange them on a shelf and be able to see exactly what you have at a glance.
•Can you give us any sneak peeks or exclusives for new products coming up?
Ah ha… well, yes I can! l I have a plan you see, and that plan is to expand into the home decor market. Watch this space as next year, you will see gorgeous items perfect for your home that sit within our brand’s contemporary style. Don’t worry, we won’t be giving up on our lovely fabrics!! They were always going to be just the start of something we hope you’ll find very exciting…
For those of you who have read to the end YAY! You are the lucky ones as Fuz has kindly put together a giveaway of fabric including 8 fat quarters of premium cotton worth £30! Just head on over to my Instagram to be in with a chance of winning.
A big thank you to Fuz for this awesome interview and giveaway!