Caroline Cecil creates pretty textiles right up our alley! These fun prints in colors that pop would look pretty all over our office and homes! So we’re thrilled to pick her brain on our business blog about how she launched her successful business and what it looks like to be a textile designer. Her story is exciting and her passion is evident, so let her bountiful creativity and pretty products inspire you!
Tell us more about Caroline Cecil Textiles and how it all began!
At Caroline Cecil Textiles we design and manufacture artisanally printed fabrics for the luxury interiors market. We launched a year ago in showrooms across the US, and will unveil our second collection this February. All of our textiles are hand screen printed, which is an age old technique that we hope to help preserve. I have always been passionate about artisan textile techniques, and it’s invigorating to be part of the reemergence of craft in American design today.
In addition to our textiles, we also have a blog where we share emerging textile color trends, including free inspiration moodboards. So if any of your readers are interested in what’s fresh in the world of pattern and color, they should check it out!
2. Where did you start your career?
After getting my textile design degree at MICA and Parsons, I moved to New York City to work in the fashion textile industry. My first job was with a fabric atelier that specializes in french couture textile techniques. The client list was amazing – Vera Wang, Isaac Mizrahi, Peter Fasano, Carolina Herrera. It was incredible to be part of the small team that was painting, printing, and embellishing couture textiles for the New York fashion industry. Shortly thereafter Target recruited me to join their design team in Minneapolis, where I was the textile designer for one of their apparel lines. Since then I’ve worked for a few other companies from Angela Adams to Levi’s. My most recent position before starting CCT was as the design director for a women’s fashion footwear start-up in Silicon Valley.
3. Did you always have a knack for the creative?
Growing up in a coastal town in Maine, many of the women in my family were artists. My grandmother was a watercolor artist, her sister was a handbag designer, their mother was a painter, and my father was an entrepreneur. So I had a lot of amazing influences growing up. I feel lucky to have grown up in a family that placed so much value on art, culture, creativity, entrepreneurship. So yes(!), you could definitely say I’ve always had a knack for the creative!
4. What is the process behind creating a textile?
All of our designs begin as an india ink painting, and from there we translate it onto different ground cloths via hand screen printing. Hand screening is an age-old textile technique that takes much longer than conventional screen printing processes, and we believe that it infuses the fabrics with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.
5. Where do you pull inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere – from travel, to cinema, to nature, to another artist’s work. Recently I’ve been very inspired by the work of costume designer, Milena Canonero. She did the costumes for two of my favorite movies: Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, so needless to say her talent is staggering!
6. We want these fresh patterns in our home! Where can we find your textiles?
Currently our textiles are available at showrooms across the US. To see a full list of our showrooms, please visit carolinececiltextiles.com/contact. If people are interested in receiving samples of our fabrics, they are also welcome to email us directly via email@example.com
7. What has been the most defining moment for Caroline Cecil Textiles as a business?
Since starting the company a little over a year ago, there have been many magical moments. When you build something from the ground up like we are doing at CCT, every accomplishment feels amazing because so much work has gone into it. There have been many defining moments along the way: getting into showrooms, hearing designers’ response to the collection, getting great press. If I had to pick just one though, the most defining moment would probably be developing the new collection that’s launching this February. When we kicked off the design process, it was a chance for me to evaluate where we are now and where we are going. I spent a lot of time examining the first collection and the brand aesthetic we’re building before really diving into designing. With the second collection we will be introducing more ethnic prints and floral prints, and more tonal color combinations. It’s going to balance out our geometric print offering and take our assortment to the next level. This process was a defining moment for me, because reflecting and setting an intention for the future round of designs made me so excited for Caroline Cecil Textile’s future landscape!
8. What’s your favorite part about your job?
I love how creative my job is! From art directing photo shoots, to styling, to designing prints, to writing content for the blog, there are so many different ways to get creative. I also love connecting with designers, showroom owners, editors about what we are doing at CCT. From sharing the vision, to presenting our textile samples, to telling my story as an artist, connecting with others is always a rich and rewarding experience because it brings the brand to life.
9. There are so many unique decor trends out there right now, have seen your textiles being used in any surprising ways?
One of my favorite interior design trends right now is the cobalt color trend. It’s a trickle down trend from the runways, and it’s been fun to watch it migrate from fashion into interiors. Cobalt can work seamlessly with many different color stories. For example, cobalt adds a brilliant pop of color to an interior with a black and white color scheme. I really love how designers like Patrick Mele and Fiona Lynch use color in their interiors. They use color and pattern selectively – a statement textile in the living room, an accent wall in a kitchen. Cobalt can be used in this way. A few of our prints are available in cobalt, and designers have used it to add a really saturated, bright pop to an environment.
10. What’s the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
Time! There are only so many hours in the day, so figuring out how to maximize time and efficiency is something I’m always striving to perfect. As CEO of Caroline Cecil Textiles, I put a lot of thought into guiding the company’s efforts to make sure everything we do is on-brand. Simultaneously, as a small company, we all get swept up into the day to day rat race from sampling, to processing orders, to generating blog content, to sourcing, to managing production. It’s a tremendous juggling act managing all of the small details, while at the same time making sure our efforts feed the long term vision of CCT.
11. What business advice would you give to entrepreneurs like yourself attempting to start their own company?
Surround yourself with great people. Before starting Caroline Cecil Textiles a little over a year ago, I had spent a decade in the industry working with all different kinds of talented people. When it was time to start CCT, I had amassed an amazing network of photographers, videographers, designers, business minds to tap. It takes an incredible team to build a company from scratch, and without an amazing network it wouldn’t have been possible! So my advice would be to surround yourself with like-minded people, be team oriented, and learn how to delegate.
What you wanted to be when you grew up:
Fashion illustrator and fashion historian.
What gets you going on a Monday morning:
Drip coffee with almond milk and a barre fitness class!
If you could work with anyone, it would be:
Australian interior designer, Fiona Lynch.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” -Pablo Picasso