Have you ever considered starting your own yarn company? Today we chat with Daphne Marinopoulos who did just that.  Daphne founded The Fibre Co. back in 2003 in Portland, Main, USA and today, she now runs a beautiful global brand from the UK.  Daphne very kindly took the time to answer some questions for the blog on starting a yarn company, working with independent designers and the importance of sustainability within the industry.

Hi Daphne, Can you give us an insight into your creative background?

I grew up in an era when all young girls learned to sew. I made my own clothes, embroidered my bell bottom denim jeans and knitted woollen scarves. I was guided towards a non-creative career but always had something going on as a creative outlet. I’ve enjoyed the creative process in sketching, painting, beading, knitting, sewing, mosaics, and renovating old houses over the years.

 

What was your main influence for starting The Fibre Co.?

It was a personal love of textiles, knitting and natural fibres in general that drove me to start The Fibre Co.  I was in a career transition and looking for something to do that was based on something I had a passion for.  I wanted to create products to knit with that I had dreamt of but could not find on the shop shelves.

 

What has been your most memorable success to date?

By far, my most memorable success is having fostered an environment that has attracted the most amazing people who make up The Fibre Co. team.

Open Waters Shawl by Melanie Berg in The Fiber Co. Canopy Fingering

 

What are the core values of The Fibre Co.?

The original brand statement for The Fibre Co. back in 2003 was:

Fibre expressed as art.  Crafted with a passion for the unusual in beauty and texture with subtle variances, intentionally imperfect.  These are the characteristics that make up our unique artisan yarns, ready to receive your artistry and inspiration.

Not much has changed over the years as we are still all about sharing a heartfelt passion and creating yarns inspired by nature. As we’ve grown in our fibre journey, we have been able to expand on our ideas and in addition to being passionate about what we do, we now include collaboration, sharing, helping, nurturing and respectfulness on our list of core values. We believe our purpose is to nurture and inspire others by using colours and texture to encourage creativity, bring a sense of well-being and allow all makers achieve their goals.

We’re also very much about the independent designer community.  It is humbling to know that the best of the best designers use our yarns – and we’re keen to promote their work and encourage new talent.

Finally, I would add that it has always been about the triple bottom line for The Fibre Co.—people, profit and planet. We’re always asking ourselves how we can improve our sustainability. We know that sustainability is an essential ingredient for our long-term success. We understand that sustainability is a process and see ourselves as a greening business constantly looking for ways to improve our impact on the environment.

 

What has been the most challenging thing you have had to overcome with The Fibre Co.?

My biggest challenge is carving out time to step out of the day-to-day and give myself the space to observe, think and create.  I’m working on it and learning that trust is the key to building an environment that will keep me on top of this challenge.

 

 
Mirehouse by Fiona Alice in The Fibre Co. Arranmore; Fell Garth Collection II

How do you make your brand stand out in this competitive industry?

We genuinely care about our community — our stockists, independent designers, knitters, and those who tell the great stories about our industry like Cottage Notebook.  I also really love the team that I work with.  Caring and loving is a recipe for success no matter what one does in life.

Currently, what is your favourite yarn that you produce and why?

My favourite yarn is the one that I’m working with at any given moment. No really, it’s true!  My favourite yarn turns out to be whichever one is in my hands — whether I’m working on new colours, test knitting a new yarn or making up sample cards.  If you press me though, I’d say that Terra is very close to my heart as one of the very first yarns I created and with which I learned and developed the art of dyeing.

 

Many of us have dreams of giving everything up and starting a yarn company but in reality, what does a typical working day look like for you?

My days start early and end late!   The typical day begins by reviewing my key projects, making a list of who I need to reach out to, and setting out priorities for the things I must do that day.  Sound familiar?  Its really what I’ve done throughout my working life, only now with The Fibre Co., I have a passion for the product and community that surrounds me.  I’d say to anyone who has a dream, that the most important thing to do is to first be clear about the ‘why’ behind that dream and, then, if that ‘why’ still resonates, go for it.

 

If you could go back and chat to yourself in 2003 what advice would you give?

I would tell myself to relax, enjoy the process and have more belief.

What’s in the future for The Fibre Co.?

I just finished updating our 5-year plan and there are so many fun things on the horizon.  We have plans to round out our range of yarns and expand The Fibre Co.’s brand ethos into other products for our maker community. We can hardly wait for it all to unfold!

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Thank you so much, Daphne!  If you would like to hear more from Daphne you can pop over here and listen to podcasts about her experiences with The Fibre Co. as she chats about fibres, dyeing and yarn development. You can find tutorials, yarn posts and more from The Fibre Co. over on their beautiful blog, and of course, you can get in touch with them socially on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Thank you all so much for joining me and I will be back on Monday with some more crafty posts.

Best wishes for the weekend ahead!

xxx

 

 

 

 

**All photography is under the copyright of The Fibre Co. 

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