Insight Spotlight: Expert advice from Evie Ashworth of Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Welcome to our new column ‘Insight Spotlight’, where we share insights from industry experts in some of the hottest markets out there. First up is Evie Ashworth, Design Director in the Retail Division of Robert Kaufman Fabrics.


What is your primary market?

Fabric by the yard and for manufacturers of fabric related products globally. Our main buyer selects fabrics that will work for beautiful quilts primarily, secondarily clothing and accessories. Our customers come to our company for top quality products, service and design. The licensing of artwork has given us the opportunity to have many wonderful relationships with our designers. It’s always fun to see what they’re up to! Our artists keep our products in demand.

How can this market be lucrative for an artist?

For us, the more artwork you have, the larger stable of designs you will get placed. We select hoping the designs will stay in the line as long as possible. The more diverse your work is makes you available for multiple categories in our line. We need to fill themes from sports, infant, kids, florals, novelty, holiday….and many more.

What is going to be hot in your market in 2015?

We’re looking at texture for our new basics. Color continues to be bright for us…but used in interesting ways…mixed with gray, taupe and peach to soften the look. Handrawn or painted geometrics feel right to us….metallics used as well.

What kinds of products/offerings are a growth sector for your company?

Basics are our best sellers and we’re expanding this area. This includes lots of classic geometrics done in a new fresh approach.

What do you look for when buying new art?

Is the artist easy to work with? Flexibility is key. We know what’s best for our market. Something special in technique or theme…and a built out collection is a real hook. We’re always hoping to connect with an artist that we can brand and have a long term working relationship with. Our customers look for their favorite artists.

Is there any rhyme or reason to why some products sell well and why others don’t?

Interesting question. Many times it can just be well timed or poorly timed launches. Less competition on an item…well priced…not too much in a niche. Grabbing a trend early and enjoying the ride…and knowing when to slow it down. An appealing new color palette can grab our buyers.

What is the one thing you wish artists would do differently when pitching art to you? Or what do you love that they do when they pitch to you?

Keep your emails brief….no long stories please! Have a workable website. Don’t include a link to your site with a presentation if there isn’t much more there than what your pitching. Don’t get discouraged if we pass on a group – your next one could be just what we want. Don’t give up! We need fresh art continually. We may have passed because the art duplicates another’s work. I have a hard time critiquing work and am frequently asked to do so if we pass. I really wish I had the time to go there.

What one piece of advice do you have for artists trying to sell their first piece of art in that market?

Do your homework – are you offering something different in our market? Show a lot of art. Have a good sized portfolio. Ask what timing is best for submission. Don’t give up!

About Evie:

Evie-Ashworth1-150x150An established member of the textile industry for over 40 years, Evie has traveled the world to all production points from Europe to Asia and in between. She brought her expertise to Robert Kaufman in 2000 to establish a whole category of product specifically for quilt fabric retailers. She merchandised the line, introducing the concept of coordinated samples and print basics, including the trademarked Fusions(TM) brand, and today continues to ensure Robert Kaufman brand’s association with only the highest quality standards. Evie currently directs a large internal design team as well as several art studios abroad, to produce Robert Kaufman’s signature in-house Luxe and Gallery looks as well as a broad range with external licensed artists and brands. Evie is one of the esteemed judges on the Global Talent Search judging panel.

Find out more at www.robertkaufman.com.

Want to learn more about making more commercially viable art whilst staying true to yourself? Join our acclaimed online course ‘Make Art That Sells‘, led by top agent Lilla Rogers. Next class starts March 2 – find out more and register here!


1 Comment

  • Great post! Super informative for artists because in any relationship it’s so valuable to know and consider the other’s perspective. Thank you Evie and the Lilla Roger’s team.

    January 21, 2015

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