If small business founder Polina was to describe Good Fabric in one sentence, she’d say “sustainable fabrics that don’t cost the earth.”
If we were to describe Good Fabric in a few more sentences, we’d say it’s an online independent fabric shop, specialising in sustainable fabrics. Polina makes sure to source the most gorgeous eco-friendly fabrics, prices them affordably, and then she lists them with all the info and eco-credentials you could ever ask for as an at home dress maker.
But we wanted to tell you all about Good Fabric in even more sentences, which is why we invited Polina to take part in our new small business blog series, Lovely Small Stories.
- Good Fabric founder Polina outside her studio in Wimbledon
A disclaimer – Good Fabric is one of our loveliest small business clients. Studio Cotton worked with founder Polina to create the Good Fabric branding, design, and build the website, and we worked on their marketing too – creating a cohesive look across social media, as well as writing some dang nice blog posts – a really very nice project which our entire team worked on. A special shout out goes to the Good Fabric Pinterest, which is chock-full of inspiration for exciting sewing projects for all skill levels, and lots of dreamy photos of sustainable fabrics to get your creative juices flowing.
And, by the way, we’re not the only ones who think we did a very good job on building the Good Fabric website – it was noticed by Elementor and featured as one of the Elementor websites of January 2022.
1. Why did you start your small business?
Somewhat out of necessity. I was made redundant during first lockdown, and it was my second redundancy in a row. I did consider applying for jobs within my industry, but I struggled to balance a well paid job with motherhood, so I felt like being my own boss was the answer.
I really got into sewing during lockdown, so the idea of building a business around my hobby sounded great. I’ve worked in fashion all my life, so running a fabric shop didn’t feel too foreign. I felt confident in my ability to source the fabrics, and I had enough contacts in the industry to ask questions about PR, marketing, shipping, Brexit, and accounting.
It honestly feels like it was meant to be – the business came to me at the time of my life when I was ready for it.
2. Tell us about your background before Good Fabric
I worked in product development and production within fashion accessories for about 12 years. I used to travel to the Far East and Europe 4 times a year to sign off collections, source materials, attend trade shows and develop packaging. A lot of the tasks that I do now are very similar to what I did in my pre-Good Fabric career.
Honestly, I don’t think I would have gone for setting up my own business in a field that I haven’t worked in before. Having the knowledge and even understanding of how things are done gave me the peace of mind that I can do this.
- Subtle lifestyle imagery for Good Fabric, photography by Chloe Upton Studio
3. How did you come up with the name Good Fabric?
Oh, I really struggled with one – I think it took me 3 weeks of solid thinking about brand names to come up with it. Ultimately, I have always loved brand names that are so simple that it’s genius – it does exactly what it says, and there is zero confusion as to what the business is about.
I suppose I gave myself a task to describe my business in two words – Good Fabric. No confusion, it does exactly what it says, and I would like to say it’s genius, but I am biased 🙂
4. What’s your bestselling product, and why do you think it’s so popular?
Recycled nylon Econyl lycra has been our bestselling product by far since the launch of Good Fabric. Running a business with sustainability in mind attracts like-minded people who want to find fabrics and materials that do not harm the environment.
Lycra traditionally is made from polyester, which is plastic. Most of us don’t want to wear plastic, so when Econyl became available it was a fantastic solution to a problem. Econyl is made from waste such as bottles and carpets, and it can be further recycled too.
I am not surprised it has been our bestseller – it is everything that you would want from a sustainable fabric, and it top of that it comes in over 40 colours. I am hoping one day Good Fabric will be able to stock them all.
5. What’s the loveliest thing a customer or fan has said about your business, that still makes you smile now?
I’ve had couple of messages recently from customers on Instagram, saying how much they love my feed and photography. Honestly, I think these are two areas that I really struggled to get grips with. When I got my professional camera, I couldn’t figure out how to take pictures and edit them, so for someone to say how much they like them is a huge compliment and boost of confidence.
It does feel like I am learning and improving and it is being noticed, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. As for my Instagram feed, like most businesses, I have fallen out of love with Instagram, as no one sees my posts – it’s hard to be motivated to keep posting when only 20 people see your photos. But such nice comments from my customers about my lovely feed, makes it all worthwhile.
- More sumptuous lifestyle photography by Chloe Upton Studio in collaboration with Studio Cotton
6. Sing the praises about of organisation or professional that helped you on your small business journey (and let us know how)
Studio Cotton! Hands down, the best investment in my business.
I had a vision of the Good Fabric brand and website, but I couldn’t even formulate my ideas, let alone make them a reality. Being able to somehow communicate them in the form of bullet points, images, and Pinterest collections – Aime just got my vision straight away.
Studio Cotton has done my branding as well as build by website, which is probably one of my proudest professional achievements – it has come out better than I imagined. But on top of it all, I feel like a I gained a whole team. Although we don’t have any ongoing projects at the moment, I feel like we speak few times a week – being able to do this means I know I am not alone should I feel stuck or torn, or not sure about something.
(We 100% promise that we did not tell Polina to say this, but we really really love that she feels this way about the work we have done together.)
7. What’s a lovely thing you have planned for the next 12 months of running your small business?
I have started working with few small fashion brands, helping them with sourcing fabric for their collections. I really enjoy these projects, as it’s the perfect balance of running the Good Fabric business and applying everything I learned from last 12 years in the fashion industry.
I feel like it’s a very natural extension of the Good Fabric business, and I am leaning towards growing it more. We have a lovely Trade and Consulting page on the website, which is a great start, but the aim is to give this page a bigger platform and start shouting about it a bit louder.
8. As recommended by Good Fabric
We asked Polina to recommend 3 podcasts, blogs, or Instagram accounts that she’d recommend to other small business owners…
You can’t help but feel inspired and uplifted after each episode, even if you don’t know the guest or don’t particularly care about their field of business, the stories are all human and so relatable.
I love this podcast for covering a whole range of topics, from mindfulness, sustainability, food, social and political issues. It is discussed in such eloquent manner, that I can’t help but be drawn to it.
I have learned so much about sustainability, fashion and environment from the guests on this podcast. I feel like this is a good trusted source.