Creators In Quarantine: Kathleen Fitzpatrick of Tie-Up Textiles

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How has this whole situation impacted you?

I’m finding my emotions in regard to the novel coronavirus to be a bit of a roller coaster. My initial reaction and thought process, I’m sure like most small businesses, was to immediately think of the worst case scenario. What does this mean for my business? How will I come out of this? WILL I come out of this? What does profit and loss look like for not only the time being but the weeks and months beyond the initial shutdown? And while these are all true and reasonable worries to be having, they also weren’t leaving a whole lot of room for the right now.

And surprisingly, my right now has shockingly been quite busy. I am the owner and designer of the textile brand, Tie-Up Textiles. I create artisan home wares as well as a line of designer fabrics for architectural and design firms. With state mandated shutdowns occurring left and right, I assumed I could expect the worst – for my entire industry to also shut down. And while yes, most showrooms and offices have closed, their online presence couldn’t have stayed stronger. I am receiving just as many inquiries and sample requests, if not more, since before the spread of the virus. I’ve seen an influx of interest on our platforms and web presence as well. In recent weeks, that initial fear I was experiencing has calmed significantly as I am forced to switch gears within my thought process and focus on potential orders and client relationships. I am also reminding myself to just take everything one day at a time. If this pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s that things change day to day. That’s the reality we’re all living, and it’s also a sort of metaphor to apply to my business. I’m figuring it out day by day.

I’m fortunate enough to be in an industry of creatives. And creativity is a tough thing to turn off, even through a pandemic. While my line of work may not be life saving, I think providing people with a sense of normalcy and giving them something to think about, to talk about, outside of the scary unknown that we are living in, that’s important too.

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When this is all over how do you think it will impact you as a creator?

The pandemic has already altered my process as a creator. While we are currently busy with client communication and orders, I suspect that will slow with time. And that slowing affects how much inventory we keep on hand as well as how much we are reordering. It also affects many of our steps for moving forward such as adding to our retail and stockiest, expanding showrooms, and adding new products to our line.

For now, we’re fully utilizing the tools and inventory we do have in stock and making the most of the situation. We plan on reevaluating as go. This is a day by day process.

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What advice would you give to other creators/businesses during this difficult time?

My biggest piece of advise would be not to let the media consume your daily agenda. It’s easy to lose sight of your goals when it feels like we are living in this huge unknown. However, I am learning first hand that I still need to be fully available to my clients. We are still taking and accepting custom orders, as well as shipping samples and other finished goods. In addition, we’re also still creating. Our schedules for working have certainly shifted from the norm, but its just a matter of adapting. As a business, learning to adapt to change and riding through extreme waves is critical for maintaining the brand. The way I see it, the more I take advantage of this isolation period by truly staying productive, the better of a position I will be in as we move out of this.

Kathleen’s work can be found on her website at www.tieuptextiles.com or on her Instagram @tie_up_textiles

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