Working with the Right People
I feel so lucky when I look back at my journey with Blocked by Clark and think of all the wonderful people it has put me in-touch with and all the lessons I have learned along the way. I started Blocked by Clark because I love block print and I love India and this was a way to combine my passions and keep me linked to the place I love indefinitely!
Playing tour guide for a few days and showing my friend Lucy and her mum around Jaipur while I was there working on my textiles. Spreading the India love! Another friend thanks to Blocked by Clark as we met selling at a pop up shop in our home town of Brighton.
This amazing journey like any other hasn’t always been easy and there were certainly a lot of bumps in the road but each was a worthy lesson that I’ll try to share.
My background is Graphic Design and creating patterns is something I naturally love, but my experience in textiles was limited and this is the area in which I have grown the most since the start of Blocked by Clark in 2016.
When looking for a production partner it is really important to do your research, speak to people who know about the industry, spend time looking at the workshops and getting to know the people you plan to build your business with because this is what you will be doing. If you build a strong relationship you will both be working towards the same goal.
Unfortunately my first attempt at this was less than successful. I’d done what I’d considered to be enough research but I was wrong. Initially everything was great as all my questions had been answered satisfactorily but as time went on and I spent more time in the workshop (not something everyone does and not something my new partner had expected) it became obvious that the quality and standard I expected and the work environment for the printers was far from ideal. At this point I started to question my ability to work in the industry. Had I been too naive, too trusting? Actually no, well… maybe a bit, but the important thing was that I had been present and this is how I discovered that this was not the person I wanted to work with.
At this point I owe a big thank you to Jeremy Fritzhand, founder of Studio Bagru (@studiobagru) www.studiobagru.com. Jeremy is a fellow Block Printing enthusiast with a vast knowledge of the industry and Studio Bagru works with designers to help them navigate through the warren of possibilities and find the perfect artisans to create their pieces of art. They also run workshops and generally spread the block print love! It was the guidance from Jeremy that lead me down the right path to a block printing partner who I have been working with ever since.
Khushiram Pandey watching over our sampling process in the workshop in Sanganer, Jaipur
Khushiram Pandey (@khushiram_pandey) is a fifth generation block printing artisan and designer from Sanganer and is the Creative Director of A.K Textiles (@aktextiles.in). They have a lovely and creative printing workshop near his home in Sanganer as well and a new stitching unit so that their beautifully executed prints can be turned into the most wonderful garments. Since working with Khushiram the results of my collections have always exceeded my expectations (if you read my blog from January you will know a little bit about the process and what makes it so special). Working with the right people who share your ethics is so important so that you are both working towards mutually beneficial aims.
Vijay Ji working on our Monsoon print in the Sanganer workshop
When quality is more important that quantity it will take longer and it will cost more to produce a garment but that garment will last and will not leave a mountain of waste behind it.
The very talented Juhi Jain (@JuhiiJaiin) founder of luxury Jutti brand www.sozanjaipur.com wearing our new Island Blue Galee print kimono and pyjama. Photography by Lenswork Photongraphy (@lensw0rk)
Block printing is a slow process that requires time and care at every stage. By its very nature it is geared towards creating small batch unique garments that can be loved as unique pieces of wearable art.