Our Changing Industry, And How To Become A Hero

Become A Hero- Pattern Observer

The textile design industry is changing rapidly, just like most industries do. That’s what happens with time, growth, and in the spirit of progress. Budgets are tweaked to fit different business strategies, timelines have become tighter and with more being done via the internet the opportunities to travel and meet with clients are rarer.

Even so, we still love and respect the industry, don’t we? We still feel passionate about design. So what do we do? We take more and more on ourselves. We try to be the hero. We try to do it all in an effort to give our best work to our industry.

We find ourselves doing work that isn’t our passion and isn’t our area of expertise because we know that the work needs to be done. We think doing it ourselves will save us (or our clients) time and money. We find ourselves doing things like designing websites instead of focusing on patterns. We find ourselves designing patterns when we ought to be designing products. The list goes on and on…

Instead, we need to focus on finding solutions that help clients, while saving ourselves from becoming overwhelmed or disconnected with our favorite parts of the business. We still feel passionate about design and want to deliver exceptional products. We want to feel like a hero—the one who gracefully gets it done for our clients, even if we have those “frazzled” moments that we all have on occasion. Those are our little secret!

So, how do we make it happen?

We need to understand the changing demands of our clients, without losing the insight as to what we love about the industry, which is a reflection of us in so many ways. To do this, it requires focusing on four things:

  • Dependability—when we deliver what we say we will, clients will appreciate that. This never goes out of style!
  • Passion and innovation—staying abreast of the trends and what our clients’ expectations may be in regards to them helps us be better, and for most of us, it’s a joyful part of our creative experience.
  • Flexibility—if we show that we can adapt and keep delivering high quality results to clients, even if their budgets and scopes are changing for any reason, we show our value as a collaborator and partner, despite being independent.
  • Excellence—our goal should always be to produce high quality patterns that we are proud of, which is the main purpose that clients need us. Everyone’s ultimate success always lies in the design and its application to the products.

Yes, this is quite a list! It’s tough to balance these requirements when you’re trying to do it all. Imagine if… You could stop trying to do it all and focus on what you do best. What if you reached out for help so you could focus on the quality work that got you here in the first place?

Perhaps it’s time to stop doing everything so you can truly become the hero. By focusing on what you do best, you’re set free to deliver exceptional products. Your reputation will become stronger and that will give you all the makings of a hero.

That’s what I want for you. That’s what I want for our industry.





  1. “By focusing on what you do best, you’re set free to deliver exceptional products.” Wise words. My mantra to help me stay focused is “simplify, simplify, simplify” as I strive to maintain clarity of my mission and design work. Thanks for sharing, Michelle. Well done!

  2. Great Post Michelle, as an agent I want my artists just to be artists – but there are so many corporate pressures on our clients that it is still not easy for me to get them the jobs or royalties they deserve. I am trying hard to negotiate good terms for artists while meeting our clients needs. It is certainly not an easy industry- but we love it.
    Nerida x

  3. Thank you for this article about focusing on one thing instead of multitasking. I have so many ideas in my mind that I don’t know where to focus first. Most of the time I am influenced by my clients’ ideas or thinking that I started doubting myself. So it’s time to re-wire my thinking and start focusing on what I enjoy most.

  4. Such a great post, Michelle! It’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of the day-to-day and try to be everything to everybody. Thank you for the reminder to stay true to our passion.

  5. Thank you Michelle, For sharing such a informative about what we can achieve by focusing on what we have and make it innovative from others rather what we could be in the imagination. Best Line – “Make a product in such a way that world is come to you rather you have to approach”

  6. Hello
    It is so nice to read the article and comments.I am an artist and I also paint and print on silk.I am based in London.I want to show you few of my designs just to check if they are OK for textile industry.I am preparing my hand painted and hand printed silk scarves and designs which can be used anywhere,eg scarves,home accessories,wallpaper,greeting cards ,limited editions etc.
    Although I have been painting on silk from the last 20years but I am new in textile industry.I want to settle my business and want to have my own brand.Do you buy designs.I want to reproduce these designs but I am not sure what people like.I will start with women silk scarves for fashion brands.

    I will appreciate your time if you could guide me on this.

    Kind regards
    Fariha Mobin

    1. Hi Fariha, your work is lovely! We do not buy designs but we have an e-learning site, the Textile Design Lab (textiledesignlab.com) that seems like it would be a great fit for you. We offer courses on putting designs in repeat, developing a pattern collection for a particular market of your choosing, and many others. We also have guest expert tutorials, a private forum, an extensive resource guide, weekly live artwork critiques and more. You may also want to start out with our free training: https://patternobserver.com/design-textiles or some of our other free resources and popular posts here: https://patternobserver.com/start-here/ Thanks for reaching out!

  7. Oooooh, I LOVE this post!!! Yes, this is what my brain is constantly struggling with. So nice to hear the reality of it all and how one can deal with it. Thank you for the reassurance that my thoughts and overwhelms are real. 🙂

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At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and our private design community, The Textile Design Lab.

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