FK chats to Stephanie about her lovely & fun, Melbourne based textiles label Pepper and Polly.
Tell us a bit about Pepper and Polly and what products we can expect to discover?
Pepper and Polly is a Melbourne based label that offers original screenprint designs on a range of homewares and children’s products. All designs are screenprinted locally on quality fabrics. The current range includes: homewares (cushions, tea towels, aprons, coasters) as well as children’s products (aprons, smocks, bibs, cushions, artwork, cards). All of the prints are original and designed by me (Stephanie). They are simple designs but bright and fun. I own and run the business and decided on the business name Pepper and Polly, as it is a combination of the nickname given to me when I was younger: ‘Polly’ and my childhood doll’s name: ‘Pepper’. As I have been interested in art and craft from a very young age, I thought it only appropriate to include something of my childhood in the business name.
What is your background and how did you started working with homewares and children’s products?
My background is mostly in film and television, where I worked in a variety of roles for 10 years. Ever since I was young I’ve always needed a creative outlet, and found that in photography, filmmaking, designing my own clothes, painting and many other crafts. I learnt how to sew from both my nan and mum, and I still use my nan’s old sewing machine. In November 2011 I graduated from RMIT with a Diploma of Arts – Studio Textiles and Design. It was during this course, my interest in screenprinting took hold and I spent many hours creating new designs and printing. While Pepper and Polly officially launched in 2012, the business has been many years in the making, and I’ve had an enormous amount of help from my family and friends over the years. I decided to offer both homewares and children’s products because I didn’t want to just focus on one – I love homewares and I also love designing children’s prints, so my answer was to do both!
How has your creative style developed over time? and what inspires your work?
My style has developed over time, and I would hope has become more refined or polished, but when I look back over my early work, I do see that basic shapes and simple stylized images were evident then, so there has been a continuing theme. The course at RMIT really helped me to understand how to work through an idea and experiment and trial using a variety of materials to come up with new designs. My designs are inspired by nature and travel and I am always drawn to vintage fabrics and Scandinavian design.
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
My workspace spreads over 2 rooms: my fabrics and sewing machine in one, and my computer in another. I also take over the back shed at my house if I need to set up my printing table (my boyfriend loves me invading his shed space!). I like to surround myself with inspiring images, books, photos and reminders of people in my life who have inspired (and still inspire) me. I am always taking photographs of my surroundings: leaves, flowers, birds, or anything that takes my eye. I’ll always take a small sketchbook with me on holidays and my iPhone is full of random notes and ideas.
Where do you source materials for your range? and are their challenges in doing so?
I’ve spent the last few years researching and purchasing from various suppliers. As my prints are my own original designs I don’t source printed fabric, but sourcing quality plain fabric that is a regular line that I will be able to order again and is not limited stock, has been one of my biggest challenges so far.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
I have an online store which my step-dad (a computer programmer and web developer) created for me (and did an amazing job). I also have stock selling at a beautiful homewares store in Gardenvale, Victoria: Bequeath and Bestow. In the future, I hope to gain more stockists in both Australia and overseas. I am also working on some new designs and products and hope to launch them soon.