Searching for the “right” way


When I share with you that there is an abundance of information in this industry, I am sure you’re not surprised. It’s everywhere and if you like to explore your craft (like me), you quickly realize just how much is out there. It seems like everyone is sharing their techniques, their experiences, and their methodology at a rapid rate. Why is this happening?

I believe there a few reasons why technology has opened up an exciting new opportunity for us in the design industry. For starters, it has become so easy to share information now. You can share something with an individual or the public in a matter of seconds. The more we become accustom to this, the more we appreciate the ability to immediately share something. And when you are mindful of what’s helpful about this, it can really help your design career skills and ability to connect with potential clients.

Another benefit of technology is that it does feel good to share your wisdom. When you offer and share your experiences with others it is often with the hope of helping another person in some way. To be able to inspire someone or help someone achieve a goal feels wonderful. Personally, I innately crave this feeling and I believe that many others do, as well.

But what I am seeing in our industry is that as many designers watch tutorials, take courses, and listen to podcasts they are feeling more pressure with their work, than inspiration. They feel like they must design in a certain style or market their work in a way that is neither comfortable nor authentic to whom they are. Often those techniques and tips that are shared are amazing, but there is no system or process for helping designers to explore how to apply the technique or process to their own style. There is no feedback, support, or guidance. So, what do you do?

While some designers are fine working without feedback and can easily see how to make newly learned techniques their own, others feel overwhelmed, uninspired, and begin questioning their place in the industry. This is not okay!

We are not in a one-size-fits-all industry. There isn’t one way to create, sell, or market your work. Just because a technique works for one designer doesn’t mean that it is going to work for your business. There absolutely is not just one “right” way.

Yes, there are tracks and programs and recommendations that are going to work for many, but one system is not always going to work for everyone and it is frustrating for me to see designers feel like they will never be a part of this industry if they don’t fit perfectly within one of our pre-designed boxes.

One way that we are working to stop this from happening in the Textile Design Lab is by building a diverse team of experts who offer personalized feedback and advice to our members. When I started the Lab a few years ago, Chelsea and I were the only team members providing support and feedback through our private forums and live chats.

While I love doing this work, I quickly realized the wide number of areas of the industry that I was not an expert in. Have a question about activewear or the fashion industry? I’m your gal. Have a question about wallpaper? Well, there are other experts who are better suited to advise you in that market.

Recognizing this as an opportunity to help everyone and not a hindrance is something that I am extremely proud. Now, the Textile Design Lab consists of a team of experts that all bring different strengths and areas of expertise to the Lab. This experience comes from different markets, geographic locations, and business models, and in most cases we are able to help our members figure out the best way to apply our courses and methods to their individual styles.

In a world saturated with information, personalized feedback and recommendations have become even more important.

Like many other platforms out there in the market, the Textile Design Lab has countless tutorials. But where we differ, and why our members get such great results, is that we help our members to figure out the best techniques and systems for their individual artistic style and personality. This brings a more energized environment to the lab and has lead to many exciting goals being recognized for our members!

Curious to know what it is like to be a part of the Lab? Sign up to receive more information about joining the Lab and access some of our favorite resources – for free.

  1. Michelle, what you have shared is so true! Thank you for posting this article because it is freeing. Our industry is not a ‘cookie cutter’ one. It is a great spectrum of creatives of which I am appreciative of.(The TexLab is truly a spectrum of creatives!) About ‘sharing’ what you know with other designers, I have found myself doing that quite a bit. ..even found myself learning more as I am sharing or helping another designer.
    Again, thanks for this post! Hugs <3

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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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