Staying open to opportunities has been textile designer Caroline Z Hurley’s motto since she started her business. For many business owners, that’s a figurative turn of phrase but not for Caroline! The company has a ground floor showroom in Brooklyn where they sell products and fabrics and also work in the back. One day, the CEO of Schumacher happened to walk in. Before she knew it, Caroline was designing her own collection for the textile and wallpaper company.
Caroline says, “We have our own team of block-printers that we have trained and work exclusively for us in New Bedford, MA. Schumacher is a company that really cares about quality and craft and was really drawn to our little workshop in New Bedford, so it was a natural fit for us to collaborate.”
Once the collaboration was underway, Caroline knew exactly what she wanted to create for her line for Schumacher. “I am always inspired by place – for my paintings and my textiles – it always starts with a place. For this collection, I based it on my very favorite spot which is Chillmark, MA, located on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. I went to RISD for art school and started going to this magical island on the weekends with friends and it became a really important place that I always returned to. There is gold in the air there and the colors are like no other place I’ve seen. It has always felt like home to me.”
Despite her degree from RISD in painting, Caroline is fully self-taught in textile design and block printing. Her block prints started as pieces to incorporate into her paintings, which lead to Caroline block printing a few throws for herself to take to the beach which lead to her textiles being carried by a few shops which lead to the CEO of Schumacher walking into her showroom.
Looking back, Caroline recalls, “It was a very organic process for me, there was no business plan, no financial structure, and I never raised any money. I always just followed my instincts and did what felt right and it worked out!”
In fact, this collaboration was a chance for Caroline to step back from the business side of, well, owning a business, and focus on her art. “Working with Schumacher was a dream come true because I was able to focus exclusively on the fun parts: the design, colors and concept. A real treat for someone who runs a business and block printing workshop! Owning a business is so fun but it’s very rare that I get to focus on designs exclusively!”
See the result in the slideshow!