It was a long path, but looking back, it all makes sense. And now I think that I am doing what I was meant to do.
After college I was a copy writer/graphic designer in the advertising industry. But after having my first child, I started puttering around with crafting. At some point I turned to sewing, creating a handbag. Apparently what no one wanted to tell me at the time, was that it was a relatively badly made creation. Today I call it "The Ugly Bag". But I was so pleased with having accomplished that, I just continued making bag after bag after bag and eventually turned that into a small business. That was where my advertsing background came in handy. I was able to create the graphics for my website, advertising etc. on my own. It was addicting. And it lent itself to fabric design which I secretly wanted to do.
Then, in early 2008 I attended the Country Living Women's Entrepreneur event. The woman who did the keynote speech talked about verbalizing what it is you want. Until then I didn't want to say that I wanted to design fabric. I didn't want to be a "wannabe" and frankly, I didn't want to publicly fail. But when I got home, I immediately blogged about it. Then I set to the work of designing. When I came up with my first line, I had it printed digitally . I made appointments with companies and licensed it by December of 2008 and it was shown at market in Spring 2009.
Since then I have produced two additional lines of fabric and this year I started a line of sewing patterns.
What is a typical day like for you?
I get up around 7 AM and get the kids to school. I'll often take a quick walk around. Then it's straight to work. Some days are filled with designing and some days are just mundane paperwork and shipping. When the kids get home from school and activities and have started homework (they are 12 & 14 and pretty self-sufficient), I work a bit more and then it's family time. Dinner. Clean up. Bed.
What is your favorite color to design with?
Ooh, that's tough. I'd have to say I like anything bright. Bright pastels especially.
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming book, Inspired to Sew. What is your favorite project in the book?
I'm really excited about this book! It incorporates all of my favorite kinds of sewing projects. A lot of people assumed it would be bags, but it really covers a large array of projects. There are collage projects, applique, a little embroidery and so much more. And it is filled with my "Keeping it Real Sewing" tips that you also find in my sewing patterns so that anyone can do the projects.
Is there any project (quilting or non-quilting) that you would like to tackle next?
I really want to do more apparel. I've done a little bit, but I'm looking forward to really homing my skills including pattern grading and drafting etc.
What is next on the horizon for you?
I want to build the Bari J brand. So I am working on getting my designs licensed in other arenas, including home goods, scrapbooking, office goods, and more.
I want to thank Bari for sharing a little bit about herself with us!