One of the biggest dilemmas I face is what print to do next. Quite frankly, it’s the hardest part of the job.  For many people the idea of creating new designs, playing with colours and images, is heaven on earth and they would happily spend hours (days, even!) on the task.

Perversely, for someone in the clothing and fashion industry, I’ve never been able to adroitly and effortlessly manipulate shapes and shades to create another whole entity of an image. My mind works better with structure and order that demonstrates a result; a reason for its placement. There’s some low-level autism right there.

Most of my skills are fine for running and organising a business, but not the most helpful when it comes to textile design. My strategy to overcome this is to quietly log all comments and remarks from customers on colours and imagery – and there are many – for future reference. These can be throw-away comments about what particular colour appeals, to direct requests for a particular animal (llamas anyone?).

The flaw with this strategy is that by the time we need to order the next batch of fabric I have a lot of data that can both conflict and overwhelm. This where over-thinking becomes the enemy; foxes are trending – do we want to follow trends? Rabbits are cute – not to everyone. Something native to NZ – bit overdone. I told you the process was fraught!

Then we need to consider demographics and something that will appeal to everyone. This, of course, will never happen. That lovely floral print that Nana would love would not go down well with Gavin from Winton. The key is to have a good range of prints so that someone, somewhere, is going to love at least one of them.