Disruptor Status: Spoonflower

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What’s up?! It’s Shannon, bringing you the next feature in our market disruptor series. Last time, Jared shared how Harry’s has built a relevant story of authenticity with their men’s razors. This go round, I’ll take us inside fast-growing textile manufacturing company, Spoonflower.

Spoonflower was born from the visionary wives of two software developers who wanted to design their own fabric to make curtains. This vision has now lead to the largest collection of independent fabric designers in the world (talk about  a major market disruptor).  Designers, crafters, and business owners are utilizing this service in unique ways that continue to drive Spoonflower into uncharted territory.  What’s a Spoonflower you ask? A plant in the founder’s backyard, “which seemed to fit the idea of a business built around creative personal expression and handmade things.”

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Image courtesy of Spoonflower.com

At Spoonflower you are able to design, print, and sell fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap (that’s right, you could have customized Republic green arc pants, wrap all your presents in glitter Android gift wrap, and cover your bathroom walls in a combo of the two!). All you need is an image file to get started.

Another standout value of Spoonflower is that you can also earn money through your designs. Once you upload a design, you have the option to sell it for 10% commission!  There are thousands of customer generated designs available in the Spoonflower marketplace for sell. You can purchase as much or as little fabric as you need. Every time you purchase one of these original fabric designs, you are supporting an independent designer (way cool!).

Spoonflower is by far one of the coolest work spaces you’ll ever behold. You’re greeted with customized upholstered chairs against contrasting wallpaper and at every turn you see crafts displayed of vibrant fabrics and paper. Everything is done in house at Spoonflower. They print, cut, and ship orders around the world from Durham, North Carolina – just down the road from Republic HQ in Raleigh.

How do they do it? Take your inkjet printer, multiply it’s size by a gazillion and you have a digital textile printer. Spoonflower uses inkjet printers that have been modified to print on pre-rolled fabric. They also have large scale printers for wallpaper and gift wrap.  From their site:

Unlike conventional textile manufacturing, digital printing entails very little waste of fabric, ink, water or electricity. Spoonflower prints using eco-friendly, water-based inks on natural and synthetic fiber textiles. No additional chemicals are used in the printing or preparation process.

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Image courtesy of Spoonflower.com

Lastly, Spoonflower has built a flourishing niche community of DIY enthusiasts, design lovers, and decorative gurus. On their blog you can find design contests, giveaways, and DIY project guides. We’re especially impressed that the Spoonflower blog offers resources for building your own small business. From designer interviews to free online design software, you can find relevant articles for your projects. Giving back is also a value of the Spoonflower Community, the “Emerging Designer Grant” awards up and coming design students $150 towards creating their own fabric or wall media. Customers and followers are invited onsite for workshops and classes housed at “The Greenhouse”, which is a large crafting room designated to the community. They also open up this space to non-Spoonflower sponsored events and groups, gaining a close relationship to the Durham arts community.

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Image courtesy of Spoonflower.com

Spoonflower is definitely making it’s mark in the textile industry and we see why. Providing value is an understatement for what Spoonflower offers it’s customers. Tapping into everyday people’s creativity, providing an opportunity to create one of a kind products, and the option to make money all rolled into one. Here at Republic we also strive to extend value to our members and view our Community as an extension of our company. With programs like Think Tank and Republic Labs, we hope to keep you a constant part of the conversation. Here on Phone. Wallet. Keys. and in Community, we aspire to keep you engaged with content that goes beyond just a phone and service, but that also helps arm you with the essentials you need for smarter living.

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