|Sample hand dyed wool pack from Woolin Rouge|
Many years ago I was a freelance translator, working with marketing materials and ad copy from English into Brazilian Portuguese. Since I loved what I was doing, was very good at it, was reliable and fast, clients were abundant. After a few years I decided to open my own translation agency. Within two years the agency was profitable, and by the time I sold it to a competitor – some 10 years later – we were translating into over 150 languages, managing about 1,500 freelance translators all over the world, and had a roster of returning clients which included Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, software companies, medical device companies…
1. When and how did you start working with wool?
I have hundreds of sketchbooks filled with drawings. I also paint and sell my folk art paintings in my Etsy shop. Every time I’d put a painting up for sale, I’d blog about it. Sylvia (my partner in Woolin Rouge) followed my blog. She mentioned to me that my designs would translate wonderfully into art pieces made with wool.
I shared the idea with Lynn Stalowy, owner of Bigfork Bay Cotton Co. She agreed to license our designs as it would be a wonderful way to promote Aurifil‘s wool thread. Bigfork Bay Cotton Company is a distributor of Aurifil thread so the partnership was perfect. That is how Woolin Rouge Designs came to be.
2. When did you decide to start your own business? What did it entail?
The most important part of starting the business for me was a catchy name. We thought and we thought and we thought. Then one day I was in the shower and out of nowhere, like a lightening bolt came this idea:
Anyone Can~Can Do Them!
3.Where does inspiration for your patterns come from?
My inspiration comes from an array of different things. I am an artist by nature. Not a day goes by that I do not crave to create something! I try very hard to live in the present moment and take advantage of all my senses. Whether I am composing a photograph, creating a painting, writing a song or designing a textile piece the world outside me becomes silent and all I can hear, see and smell are the going ons of what lives inside me.
|Holly Birdie by Woolin Rouge, featured on the cover of MagicPatch magazine.|
Growing up I was introduced to many forms of artistic expression. Living in the Bay Area allowed me to go to live concerts, plays, musicals, ballets and museums on a regular basis. I also have a wide range of life experiences. Everything from living in a tee-pee to being flight attendant to traveling from sea to shining sea teaching. I find myself tapping into my memory bank quite often.
4. What is (are) the best thing (s) about your decision to start your business?
I have helped make so many other people’s vision’s come true. I feel I have put my time in. When a set of unforeseen circumstances came up with my job position, I had a talk with God and asked if perhaps now was my time. So far, it appears that God is in favor of this transition. With God in the lead, Sylvia and I are working toward realizing our own dreams. That is the best feeling to turn over the reins to God and let Him lead you down the path you are meant to be on.
5. What are the drawbacks, if any?
I am always saying, “inch by inch the snail reached the ark.”
6. Please introduce us to your family.
7. How do you juggle your family commitments and your business?
Woolin Rouge isn’t my only business – I also sell my fine art photography and paintings in my Etsy store. I have collectors across the globe! You can also find my photography at the Sundance Resort Art Gallery.
8. What do you do for relaxation?
9. Do you have any advice for someone contemplating starting their own quilt-related, or craft, business?
Congratulations on your new venture, Traci and Sylvia! Stay tuned for Part Two where we learn about Sylvia!