In 2016, I became the owner of my own company called Merely Susan, which was the result of my passion for watercolor painting and pattern design. At that point, my main goal was to share my work with others.
For the first few years, I mainly offered prints of my watercolor illustrations and stationery in my store. I also cooperated with clients in designing patterns for fabrics, wallpapers and other products.
In 2020, I made the decision to create several collections of pattern designs only for my brand – consistent with my aesthetic, and then I set up my own fabric store. In 2021, I started working on my first textile collection.
If you are interested in the history of my brand – how I went from working as an illustrator and pattern designer to becoming the owner of my own textile store, read the article: In search of my own path – The story of Merely Susan.
Today, my main goal is to design with human connection in mind, as well as offer products with high artistic and craft value. I focus on my own ideas and projects. In my store I offer art prints, fabrics with digital prints of my hand-painted pattern designs and textiles made of them.
In this article, I want to share with you my approach to design and describe the values and principles that I want to follow as the owner of creative business.
I celebrate the slow process. The right amount of time allows me to create thoughtful ideas, detailed paintings, carefully made graphic designs ready for high-quality printing and products that can stand the test of time.
I also strive to work with as much precision as possible. Before introducing new fabrics for sale, I always order samples to evaluate and adjust the results of my work.
I create prototypes of my products such as art prints and textiles to carefully refine all the details. Only then can I be sure that I did my best and achieved the best results that I can.
Time for Sharing Stories
My illustrations and pattern designs are something more than just visually attractive compositions. Creating them is the way to tell stories as well as share various emotions and delights of simple everyday life.
For this reason, an important part of my job is taking the time to tell the stories behind the products at Merely Susan, i.e. telling stories about my inspirations and process.
Apart from publishing content on social media, I write a journal to provide my customers with the information they need about my products to make choices that will keep them happy for longer.
We live in a world where graphic designs can be generated in a second, and on demand products can be delivered even the next day. This is why I believe that a thoughtful process matters more than ever before. Our commitment and care allows us to create projects that have meaning and can last.
Simplicity & Natural Aesthetics
My work is characterized by a quiet aesthetic and connection with nature. I am inspired by interesting combinations of shapes, colors and textures that can be observed in the natural landscape.
Flowers are especially close to my heart because I grew up close to blooming meadows. For some reason, they are part of many of the memories I have from my childhood, and I associate some of them with important people in my life.
If you want to learn more about why nature is my greatest inspiration for work, and find the answer to the question where the idea for Merely Susan came from, read the article: Nature – my greatest inspiration for work.
I focus on high quality and natural materials, i.e. organic cotton and pure linen. I try to consciously decide on the technologies that are safe for our health and the environment, which are confirmed by the relevant certificates, i.e. Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and GOTS for fabrics and FSC for paper products.
In addition to choosing natural materials and ecological technologies, I focus on local production on a small scale – I order as much as my clients need and sell as much as I can without intrusive and aggressive advertising. I strive to produce with sustainability in mind, as well as encourage my clients to choose products that will stay with them for longer than just one season.
The greatest value of my work is personal contact with my clients – sharing my work with them, e.g. here on Instagram, but also by personally packing orders for them, e.g. writing small thank you notes added to each order.
That’s why I decided to focus on sales to private customers, resigning from development towards wholesale for other companies. I still produce locally on a small scale.
Of course, I love collaborating with brands when I have the opportunity, but rather small ones. That allows me to feel that I am still more a creator who runs a small creative business, not a wholesaler.
Thanks to this, I can also focus on what I am passionate about. I just need to involve a small part of my community in it. I don’t have to respond only to what the business client wants and to market demand, which they follow.
And such creative freedom is the most important thing to me. Various ideas appear in my head all the time, and I have a lot of space for them to develop very freely.
I can say that I have created a job in which I not only decide what I do and when, but also invest my time and commitment in what really matters to me. I can run my business in accordance with both my aesthetics and values. It gives me a lot of calm, joy, and fulfillment every day.