Company: Kaye Rachelle
Proprietors: Bonnie Kaye Whitfield + Susan R. Dreifuss
Located In: Philadelphia / New Jersey
Art Star: Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What are your backgrounds & how did you two meet? When did you decide to transition your art making into a business?
Kaye Rachelle: We met at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY in 2008 as MFA candidates in Printmaking. We were studiomates, busy focusing on our independent work. But within the next year, we were asked to collaborate as designers & printers for a special Pratt project – we designed & screen printed all the home textiles for two showroom apartments at 3rd + Bond Apartments in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. We had never before screen-printed on fabric – and it rocked our world. Custom orders started rolling in from our friends and family. After getting entrepreneurial advice live on Fox Business News just days before graduation, we dove forward & have yet to look back.
AS: Are you able to focus on Kaye Rachelle full time or do you have day jobs?
KR: While Kaye Rachelle certainly feels like a full time job for both of us, we have day jobs, too. Bonnie is a teaching artist for the Mural Arts Program, and Susan teaches art classes for a non-profit organization in NJ.
AS: Do you both work on all aspects of the business, or do you each have specific jobs that you focus on?
KR: We collaborate from start to finish but we do have specific tasks. We live about two hours apart, so we are constantly communicating via g-chat and email. Primarily, Susan is in charge of inventory, printing fabrics, & research, whereas Bonnie sews & works on daily communication, such as emails, Etsy posting, & social media.
AS: What is your creative process like? Do you fully plan out a piece from start to finish?
KR: Our goal is to release a new batch of designs twice a year, with other special & custom design projects in between. After deciding on a main theme & creating an inspiration board, we then work individually to come up with a variety of designs. From manipulating photographs we have shot to scanning in drawings, we pull imagery from our daily inspiration. Together, we choose & polish the designs that are the strongest and most complimentary to one another. Lastly, we select our seasonal color palette. We like the idea of customers being able to pick a product, design, & color that fits perfectly with the aesthetic of their home.
AS: What types of items can we find in your collection?
KR: Our collection includes screen-printed pillows, placemats, table runners, cloth napkins, tea towels, wall organizers, market totes, cocktail napkins and small prints on paper.
AS: What are some of the inspirations for your collection?
KR: Our latest line (Fall 2011/Winter 2012) is called Transported. It consists of a collection of prints inspired by travel and transportation, such as crosswalks, traffic lights, bicycles & Philly’s 30th Street Station.
AS: Where do you hope to see Kaye Rachelle in the next 5 years?
KR: We hope to be in a variety of retail locations nationwide and to eventually open our own space. Our goal is to find a location where we can print, teach, sell, eat & entertain. (We are both avid cooks!)
AS: Do you have any new products in the works?
KR: Yes! We are currently working on wine totes, aprons, and Philadelphia-inspired recipe cards.
AS: Aside from the Art Star Craft Bazaar (and soon Art Star!) where can
customers find your work?
KR: In Philadelphia, our products can be found at COOK, SquarePeg Artery & Salvage, and Lodge215. We also sell at Clover Market in Ardmore, PA, and will be at the Crafty Balboa Holiday Market on Sat. Dec 17th at the Broad St. Ministry. We also have products at Teich in the West Village, NYC. Last and not least, you can find our latest creations on Etsy, at www.KayeRachelle.Etsy.com.
AS: What can customers expect to see in your ASCB booth?
KR: From floursack tea towels to linen throw pillows, expect to see a cozy array of our screen-printed textiles, ready to wrap up as gifts. We will also have hostess gift bundles, a sweet way to say thanks to your holiday hosts.
Visit Kaye Rachelle at Booth # 10 at our upcoming Art Star Craft Bazaar