Rose Corrick comes from a line of women textile makers. The weaving, dyeing and quilting she saw growing up inspired her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in textile design at the University of Minnesota in the 1970s. But practical and financial concerns drove her and her architect husband to start a commercial interior design firm focused in part on health-care environments. After 25 years, Corrick, with the blessing of her husband, was able to rediscover her passion for cloth in a venture of her own called Art of Cloth.
Art of Cloth is a business and design think tank where Corrick creates elegant wearable art as clothing, in jersey or linen. Patterns are created using the ancient Japanese shibori method of removing color from fabrics and then reapplying colors to create richly textured, multicolored designs. “Women respond to our clothing because our colors are vibrant, our fabrics feel fabulous, and our styles are flattering on women of all ages,” Corrick says. After watching her booth at a trade show it seems repeat customers love to wear her fabrics even as they come to restock their store shelves. One New York retailer wore both an Art of Cloth vest and scarf. It was only a matter of time before other buyers appeared wearing her tunics, skirts and t-shirts.
How did this Ohio-based designer know she had a winner with her clothing business? While at church a fellow patron admired Corrick’s tunic, which she had designed and sewed. She offered Corrick $175 for it if she would take it off and hand it over right there. Seeing this as a sign, Corrick took the shirt off her back and went home with her check. (In case you are wondering she did have a turtleneck on underneath.) The rest is history. She has been building up her target market of women, ages 35 to 65, who are interested in expressing themselves in a creative way, while also opening up the line to a younger demographic.
Corrick does share one tip for business owners. She advises not to spend money on online marketing before having a clear objective for your business. She had been encouraged to expand her market by selling clothing online before thinking how it would affect her business plan, which has a focus on the wholesale market. So while her time was put into developing wholesale customers, new designs and figuring out her market, she was too busy to drive people to e-commerce. Now she focuses her online strategy on sending visitors to information on the clothing, nearby retailers which number around 400, and contact information. Along with overseeing her contract workers who produce some 600 garments a month for her studio, Corrick stays pretty busy.
Art of Cloth’s hand-dyed line which includes ponchos and jackets are remarkably moderately-priced. The fall season’s color palettes are nature-inspired and include: Sedona Sky, which dramatically mixes ultra-violet, rust, golden yellow and olive, beckoning the Sedona’s rocky red landscape at dusk. More information is available at artofcloth.com or by calling (440) 708-1116. Sample items can be found on artofclothdirect.com