We love Bora products. It’s official. They’re bright, colourful, and sometimes a wee bit cheeky. What’s more, all of the fabric is organic (hurrah!)
We’ve been lucky enough to catch up with Deborah who is the creator of all the Bora products, and she’s kindly agreed to be interviewed by us mere mortals here at Funky Kitsch.
So what’s the story behind Bora? How did it all start?
I’ve always loved to draw and paint. And when I had to choose a direction to go it was very clear: art school!
At the Willem de Kooning academy in Rotterdam I studied ‘illustration’. I got my degree in 2002 and became a freelance illustrator for children books for education publishers.
When I was pregnant of my second child I though it would be nice to design my own wallpaper and curtains. So found Spoonflower.com. It motivated me to learn how to make patterns. And that gave me so much joy that I haven’s stopped making patterns since then. Fabric brands and clothing brands saw them and ask me to design for them.
Besides designing I have a little webshop that sells the products I designed. And sometimes I do a illustrations for books, cards, etc. But most of my time is spent on the fabric design.
Scandinavian style is all the rage just now and Bora fits right in! Was that a deliberate choice, or a natural extension of your own taste?
I’ve always loved to use happy bright colors. And from the beginning of artschool the themes I loved most to draw where whimsical happy animals and children.
Because of the process how the fabrics are made I was forced to simplify my style. I’m limited to using only a few colors and not too many shades/ structure/ etc.
I must admit that I was not aware that my style fitted in the ‘Scandinavian style’. It was just how my style developed during years of drawing and designing.
What inspires you when you design your products?
Children give me the most inspiration. Most patterns I make are based on my interest, my life or just what I would like to have, wear, see, enjoy, etc.
Little and big moments can give great ideas! If it’s a cloudy sky, a day in the park, sorting out tools, baking a cake; it can all turn into a lovely image or pattern.
Do you strive to provide ethical and sustainable products to your costumers? If so, what drives your ethos, and how difficult (or easy!) is it to stay true to your beliefs?
That’s very important to me. The fabrics I design for Lillestoff are all organic and produced fairly. It gives me a great feeling selling it my own shop knowing that it’s a good product. When there is a choice I will always choose the most sustainable and environmently friendly version.
If products will harm people or the environment that will go against my philosophy of making children and adults happy with my designs.
What’s in store for Bora in the future? What are your plans?
As before I just love to draw and design; I’ll keep doing that with no special plans in mind. I’ll see what comes on my path But I can tell you that i’m working on new cards, posters and a new website. But I’m not in a hurry, because I’m pregnant of my 3rd child
What’s your favourite Bora product?
That’s a difficult one, I design so much that I have no idea what I like most haha!
But the things I like most are the designs that lay close to my life, because it’s about my interest or the interest of my own children. Those designs that come to me and just made for fun. Like the camping fabric design for example. Inspired by a weekend spent with my children camping .
What’s your favourite non-Bora product?
I love a lot of non-Bora products! You can see on my pinterest
For fabrics I’m fond of merino wool! It keeps the children warm on cold winter days. I also love old stuff; all thing enamel, teapots, blankets, kitchenware, lamps.
If you were on a desert island, which 3 items could you not live without?
First it would be my family of course But as you ask for items i would choose:
My computer to draw, my sewing machine to sew and my little 2 row accordion to make some music at a campfire
(I hope there will be electricity on that desert island
Thank you Deborah for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. We’re really grateful.
If you would like to see more of Bora’s products you can see them on our website.
Being ever the optimist, I’m sure that summer isn’t yet over. It can’t be. I need to get burnt and go lobster red at least once. But rainy days can be good days. Good days for sewing at least. I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on too much when I look through the office window and see it pouring down.
I’ve not had a huge amount of time to sew in the past few weeks. The school summer holidays have seriously cramped my style and I’m ticking the days off on the calendar to the 3rd September. In the meantime I haven’t been idle. We’ve had a huge delivery of some rather splendid, dare I say stupendous, fabrics from Sweden and Germany. We can’t get enough of those scandi fabrics here at Funky Kitsch! I’m preparing the autumn and winter clothing for the shop whilst keeping an eye out for some pretty impressive Christmas gifts to add to the stock. Keep a close eye out for new stock landing at the end of August. I wish I could reveal more but I’m sworn to secrecy. **cough** Blafre **cough**
The keen eyed amongst you may have spotted that our ever popular range of scandi knit fabrics have a new lower price. We’ve taken 10% ish off each fabric. This isn’t a fleeting special offer, oh no. We have permanently discounted them. We want to share the fabric love at an affordable price.
My Pinterest boards are groaning with nonsense really useful knitting and craft projects. There’s some lovely free sewing patterns that you might like, especially for going back to school, Halloween and Christmas. Make do and mend is definitely on the agenda for us this year. I’m firmly a believer that Christmas (or birthday) gifts that are handmade really are made with love (sweat, tears, hysterics, crying, gin etc). If you’re not already following me on Pinterest here’s the link to save you sifting through millions of pins. Am I good to you or am I good to you?
If you would like to catch up with me in real life, up close and personal, then you can find me at Levenshulme Market on Saturday 24th September. As usual there’s a plethora of all things bright and beautiful and, we’re having a MAHOOSIVE sale. Nothing to lose and everything to gain for you dear reader. If you can’t make it next Saturday I will be there each fourth Saturday of the month up until December when the final market of the year is being held on the evening of the 20th December. Christmas innit.
Great news – new awesome lillestoff fabrics have been gifted to us (well we had to pay for them – but they are so yummy we didn’t mind!)
We have recently added 10 more lillestoff fabrics for you to buy…although mostly they are only in small quantities so they are sure to go fast (not so subtle hint – hit the buy button to avoid disappointment).
What’s been happening at FKHQ then? We took the children camping to Worcester and had a most pleasing time sunning ourselves (not often I type those words), catching up with friends and having a brilliant all round time.
Here are the birthday girls blowing out some improvised candles.
Aren’t they cute?
The navy sun dress is one I made for Katherine and will be up on the website to order in the very near future.
We are already looking to autumn/winter 2013/14 and the emails are already landing with previews of new fabrics to order. The Scandinavians really do know how to brighten up the dark nights with their beautiful Nordic designs. Expect the unexpected, as usual.
In other news, we’re having a mid-season sale at the moment in both the fabric and funky stuff departments. Lots of lovely bargains to be had so go have a rummage. Stock is limited so be quick!
In the near future we are thinking of offering a gift wrapping service at no extra charge and welcome your thoughts on this. We are always open to suggestions and ideas and would love to see photos of our products that you have received and any anecdotes of products you have bought from us.
After the recent Royal Mail price increases we have taken the decision to stop using their services where possible and will be sending future orders out using a courier. This should not affect postage prices in the UK although we are still looking into international delivery prices.
And finally, here’s birthday girl Verity in her Bambi dress. I’m told from a reliable source (her mum) that she loves it. Rightly so too.
Sari Ahokainen is a Finnish designer born in 1977. Her formal education is in human sciences but eventually she discovered her true passion in designing. Sari works for companies worldwide creating fun, funky, simple yet strong designs for different products – ceramics, fabrics for Lillestoff, including sweet days and rainbowphant and more.
Welcome to our new look website. It was designed with ease of use in mind. You’ll notice that some of the photos are bigger and better with a zoom feature added. Hopefully we’ll be updating some of our older photos when we can get round to it. We’d love to hear any feedback on your thoughts, suggestions and criticism.
Moving on to our new fabrics that have finally landed; first up is the crazy world of the ‘Night Fox‘. Foxes are still ‘bang on trend’ and coupled with the lush background blue, it makes for a truly funky design.
Second up is our Bambi fabric from Znok. Pink and green hues with the kitsch bambi in the foreground makes for a very pretty design for the summer.
Next is ‘Sweet Days‘ from Lillestoff. Browns, pinks and more sweeties than you can shake a stick at. Very pleasing to the eye.
Finally we have the Rainbowphant from Lillestoff. A very popular print that has seen a reprint lately. Thank goodness as it sold out first time around. This print has everything for me; rainbows, happy faces on raindrops and in your face colours. Everyone who has seen this up close has uttered the words ‘wow’…I kid you not. It goes without saying that these fabrics have been awarded Oekotex certification and are composed of 95% cotton, 5% lycra.
You might have noticed we’ve added to the Funky Stuff on our website. I’ll be featuring these separately over the coming next few days as there are many. But to give a brief summary of what’s in there we have Bora, Flat Pets, Noodolls, Lapin Woodland Dolls and some amazing rainbow muslins by Faye & Lou. I will be doing a feature on the muslins tomorrow so watch this space.