Expert Tips for Self-Launching Minted Home Decor

Minted’s Self-launch Home Decor is an industry game-changer. When Minted artists self-launch one fabric design to their Artist Store, they will automatically be able to sell eight products using that fabric: fabric by the yard, pillows, curtains, drum lampshades, chandelier lampshades, placemats, napkins, and table runners.

“Watercolor Dots” Home Decor by Erin Niehenke

If you recently opened your Minted Artist Store and want to learn about the self-launch process, read these FAQs. Download self-launch templates here.

Kirby Lee Smith, a Minted artist who works by day as a home decor and fabric designer for a leading fashion designer—and who formerly created home decor for Target—shares these seven insights about the intricate details and the bigger picture of home decor design.

1. Research Trends and Gaps to Find Inspiration

Before you dive into self-launching home decor, kill two birds with one stone by researching trends along with gaps you might be able to fill. Kirby recommends looking at design blogs, Pinterest, and trend forecasting services, in addition to apparel, fine art, and larger social trends.

While conducting your research, identify larger themes—for example, wellness, softer colors, or punchy hues to understand where the overall design market is headed. And while considering trends, also think about how your design will look, say, five years from now. “Textiles should last longer than a purse,” Kirby says. Think about how you can innovate, and don’t be overly trend-specific. Designs that are overly on-trend might lose their relevancy after too long.

A lot of Kirby’s inspiration comes from trying different styles and seeing where that leads. She frequents museums and galleries to get inspired. “Experimentation is fun and interesting for me. I’ll try things like block printing and other new skills for inspiration.”

2. Create a Draft

Before solidifying a fabric pattern in Illustrator, you may want to create a rough draft. “I love to sketch or paint quickly to get ideas on paper,” Kirby says.

3. Learn How to Create Repeating Patterns

For a seamless self-launch submission, it’s important to design your fabric file for pattern repeatability. If you’re new to creating a repeating fabric pattern, read these tips and watch this video for technical instructions: How to Create Repeating Patterns in Illustrator. Larger home decor items require tiling your fabric pattern, so you want to make sure that the design looks cohesive when this happens.

Also, Home Decor Product Manager LiMin Lam says it’s important not to include borders around your fabric file, as they will add disruptive, unintentional lines. “When Minted produces a Home Decor item, we will often tile the fabric patterns, especially for larger items, such as curtains. If there’s a border, it will show up in the final product as additional, unwanted lines in the design,” she says.

4. Colors Are Key

As you might have guessed, colors are important. Kirby says that although it’s fun to add bold pops of color to fabric design, make sure they’re not too specific to a single palette and will complement various colors in a variety of spaces. We recommend offering your fabric in a number of colorways (up to 10) to provide customers with a variety of options.

Also, name colorways as true to the color as possible. “This will help customers search for colors they want,” LiMin says. “For example, ‘Hot Red’ is a good name, but ‘Lipstick’ or ‘Romance’ is not a good name.”

5. Think About Scale

As you’re creating your fabric patterns, think about how the pattern will look in a variety of Minted Home products, from curtains to pillows and table linens. Kirby likes to create large-scale designs that complement smaller-scale designs. “Some people want to purchase a curtain and a pillow that go together as part of a holistic approach, instead of just a one-off,” she says.

6. Read Between the Lines

Take a step back from your pattern to ensure that it doesn’t have a “dizzying” effect and that there are no “hidden” images. “You don’t want to see shapes that look like eyes or faces,” says Kirby. “It will be really distracting. Ask a trusted friend to look at the pattern, for a second opinion.”

Curtain, lumbar pillow, and lampshade: “Painted Oval Chain” by Alethea and Ruth; left pillow: “Deco” by Phrosné Ras; right pillow: “Pointillism” by Alethea and Ruth; art: “The Mountains Before Us” by Mande.

7. Consider Creating a Collection

Ready to take self-launch home decor to the next level? Consider creating a collection of Home Decor designs for mixing and matching or consider creating a harmonious theme that complements your Minted Art.

Kirby recommends designing patterns that complement a variety of home styles, ranging from modern to classic. “I use my personal space when thinking about designing,” she says. “I ask myself, Could this work in this room with these patterns? How could this one piece work in a variety of spaces?”

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

FAQ: How do I launch home decor items to my Artist Store?
Self-Launch Fabric Template 

Published April 8, 2016 • Become part of the Minted Artist Community. Submit to a Challenge here.

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