In today's Brand Spotlight, learn how "Fabric is our Fun" with Riley Blake Designs!
How did you begin in the fabric business?
Bret Cloward grew up in the fabric world and learned the business from his father. His parents, Blake and Kathy, owned fabric stores along the Wasatch Front in Utah for more than 30 years. They also owned Christensen Wholesale with Bret and Cindy, an established fabric business that had served the community for 80 years. After the death of Bret's father, he and Cindy took over the family business. Other family members joined the company and they started manufacturing their own flannels in 2005 under the Alpine Fabrics brand.
A labor and delivery nurse for more than a decade, Cindy's lifelong love for sewing and fabric grew when she joined Bret's family. Gradually she felt capable of being more involved in the business. Cindy was convinced the current market was lacking in colorful and fresh fabrics and patterns that would have a broader appeal. To make her idea a reality, she surrounded herself with local designers whose work exactly matched her vision - fabrics whose prints express cheerfulness, freshness, playfulness, and charm.
They debuted their first Riley Blake Designs fabric line 'Just Dreamy' at the Spring 2008 Quilt Market in Pittsburgh. 'Just Dreamy' was an instant hit which led to more successes for the company. Bret's sister, Kim, came up with the name for Riley Blake Designs as a tribute to new and old generations. "Riley" came from Bret and Cindy's daughter, and "Blake" came from Bret's father. They credit their success to hard work, their talented designers, their dedicated team, their loyal customers and their supportive family.
How has your brand evolved over the years? What caused the evolution?
We started with flannels and gradually moved to producing designer quilting cotton. The evolution came from a lack of bright, fresh, and cheerful fabrics in the marketplace.
Tell us one thing people might not know about your brand/product.
Riley Blake is not the name of a single person! The name represents the old and new generations of our family owned company. “Riley” came from Bret and Cindy’s daughter and ‘Blake’ from Bret’s father.
What’s your brand motto?
Fabric is our fun! We produce high quality fabrics to inspire and delight quilters, sewists, and makers.
Describe your aesthetic in 3 words.
Bright, cheerful, and playful
What was the inspiration behind your latest fabric release?
One of our newer partnerships is with the talented artists at Anderson Design Group. In collaboration with them we have produced several beautiful collections and stunning panels inspired by the National Parks.
What is the most sought after fabric/color/design from your entire line?
Our company put out several colors and sizes of Chevron in our basics collection and people LOVED the Chevron! The height of the trend was 2013 and we were shocked by how popular it was. We had more colors made, new patterns, tutorials, sew alongs, you name it! Now Chevron is not at all in the limelight, funny how styles change!
What projects are on the “must make” list right now, especially with this collection?
Our top must-make is definitely the Jane Austen Coverlet quilt. This quilt is going to be a labor of love but it is stunning!
What do you love most about creating (or seeing customers create) DIY projects with your fabric?
We love the feeling of community that it brings. Especially this year with COVID-19. It’s been such a difficult time for so many but when quilting cotton was stated to be one of the more effective choices for DIY Face Masks we saw makers from all over rally together to make masks to protect themselves and loved ones. We still smile when we see a mask with RBD fabric!