Over on Society6 today I chat about running a small creative business, the great live/work debate and our recent trip sailing around BC’s southern coast.

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I haven’t done an ‘around here’ in awhile :

  1. I have been spending as many weekends out of the city as possible enjoying the gorgeous coastline outside Vancouver. But just to take a time out on blog writing – WTF is up with this non-summer we are having?? I know I should not complain. I know I live in a safe and stable country, with progressive leadership and all my comforts provided for BUT the only way to survive living in a northern climate is to revel in the brief hot spells of summer. I am sick of wearing sweaters in July. Annnnnnnd complain break over.
  2. Textile styling on the coast of Tugboat Island – one of the small gulf islands on the south western coast of British Columbia.
  3. A beauty shot of our Nomad Scarf in Soft Pink.
  4. Next week I’ll be installing a window display at the Aviary.
  5. Been thinking about hanging textiles for it.
  6. This year has been……shit. For a lot of people, in a lot of ways. I have started to work on some goods with the phrase ‘happy future’ just to remind myself that there will be a break in the clouds at some point. I’ll let you know when they start to be available…
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I’ve been spending a lot of time working from home as I dye and dye and dye for wholesale orders. Good for the coffers / bad for the soul, I think.

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I’ve been practicing with hand stamping with indigo…

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Spending these slow Spring days dyeing scarves for wholesale orders. It is always amazing to me the colours that come out of natural dyes – they are never what I expect but are always so, so beautiful. I also found some blank silk tank tops that I had made way back in 2012 that I’m dyeing up too – hopefully they’ll be available to purchase in a few weeks time. Each of them will be dyed with natural dyes and will be one of a kind…

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I spent yesterday shooting with Andrea Fernandez and Brittany Simpson in a cute white studio on the edge of town. It was a SUPER stormy/grey Pacific Northwest winter day so I used a projector to cast shadows and match some of what I had shot last week when the sun was around. The new line will up in the online shop early next week including the limited edition hand dyed wool gauze scarves pictured in the last shot. No two are alike so make sure you are poised and ready to grab the one you have been eyeing…

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I completely lucked out with the weather this week – the Pacific Northwest is not known for sun during the winter – and have been shooting our spring/summer 16 lookbook in the front atrium of my apartment. I am south facing and during the winter the sun shines almost completely through my space making a mosaic of shapes out of light. Next week we’ll do some on body stuff in studio and the collection should be up and ready to shop by the end of the week!

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At the end of last year I shut down my Vancouver studio as most of my production had moved to Portland. As an experiment I worked from home – crossing my measly 400 sq foot studio apartment from bed to desk in the morning to get to work. My ‘work from home’ trial was a disaster – I have learned that I need to have to put on shoes to get to my work place in order to be a happy human. After a bit of a search I found a beautiful shared office concept called The Aviary just down the street from my home. This is week two of working out of it’s beautifully designed space and I can not stress enough how valuable being around other creative people has been to my daily life.

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I’ve been doing a lot of dye work these days – focusing mostly on natural dyes which I haven’t worked with in years. The colours are so beautiful – the perfect muted hues. Just a few more weeks before they are available to sell online!

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A few shots from around life these days :

  1. The eternal mess of running a dye studio – usually it looks a lot less photogenic than this…
  2. Just booked my ticket back to this winter wonderland for the Easter weekend – I’ll be returning to Toronto for the Spring One of a Kind Show so make sure to stop by and see me if you’re in the area.
  3. Working through some signage options.
  4. Slowly gathering all the bits and pieces together for the Spring line – should be ready to shop in February
  5. Matching my socks to my life! I love how just simply adding iron into the dye mix changes the colour of a cloth from light amber to deep purple/brown (the canvas I’m standing in front of was dyed with one Brazilwood dyebath and the colour differences you can see here are just from adding different levels of iron).

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2015 has come to a close and, as per the tradition of this blog, I thought I would pull together a few images that help to tell it’s story (on a sad note I broke my camera card this year with a TON of images on it that were not backed up so this collection is pulled from what I could find in my archives) :

From the very beginning of the year I knew I was planning on spending a couple of months in Los Angeles and I spent the first bit of 2015 setting up S&C to run without a daily presence in the studio. All my time was spent dyeing, marbling, shooting, photo-editing, and organizing before I got in the car and headed south. After spending the majority of 2013 and 2014 getting S&C established in Vancouver and Portland I knew I needed to spend an extended period of time away from the business to recharge – heading to LA for April and May was one of the best decisions I made all year.

I headed south down the I-5 from Vancouver to Portland and then onwards to San Francisco and finally LA. I had never done a solo road trip before and I would highly recommend it to anyone – I had so many beautiful and personal moments while driving that it felt like I was living every road trip/wanderlust cliche to the fullest. Los Angeles was kind to me, the weather was lovely and the time away from my daily grind was energizing and re-focusing. I relaxed with friends, met new people and took time to work on personal projects – one of which I continue to work on in spare moments – Places I Have Stayed. Scout & Catalogue started as a personal project of mine while living in Mexico and, while I recognize the value of working on ideas that inspire ‘just because’, it has been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to do so.

When I drove home summer had arrived to the Pacific Northwest and I used the hot and lazy months to prep all the dye work for S&C’s Fall/Winter 2015 collection. I also said goodbye to the studio space I had shared for 2.5 years in Vancouver and moved the bulk of my production down to Portland.

The last quarter of the year was all about selling the goods. I launched the new collection in mid October and then promptly spent most of November and some of December selling in markets, in stores and online. The pace was hectic but, after so much time off this year, I was happy to hustle. In the last few weeks of the year I hunkered down and spent time with friends and family and tried to enjoy winter instead of fight against it.

And now here we are in January. I am busy pulling together some new items for the new year and feel happy and excited about what is to come. I hope you all had amazing 2015’s and are looking forward to a rewarding and exciting 2016.

xo Bre

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A few shots from around here :

  1. Display options for gift shows are everywhere in my tiny apartment
  2. Proofs for new business cards and postcards. I am a strong believer that everything looks more fun when you print on peach paper. This works for business excel sheets too.
  3. Silk and cotton waiting to be dyed.
  4. A wall of shibori – a possible effect for my OOAK booth.
  5. Adopting a ‘Just Do It’ attitude for the holiday season!
  6. And I’ve arrived in Toronto. My beautiful friend Tamar who was my window display designer at Aritzia is helping me pull together a booth in Toronto. Her cabin in the woods an hour out of the city is one of my favourite places on earth.

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A few shots from life these days:

1/2) I am temporarily without a studio and I’ve been using a friends apartment with great light and an even more amazing view to shoot my product in for the online shop.

3) Cacti in the corners of this apartment.

4) Life piles. Still unpacking from my recent trip to Toronto to see a good friend get married.

5/6) Work piles. Product waiting to be shot.

7) For some reason I find this shot very amusing. Like this cactus just at some point decided it was over growing up and took a sharp right turn to horizontal-ville…

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For those of you have been following Scout & Catalogue for years you know that this brand was born from a time I lived in Mexico. It was there I started hand dyeing and assembling bags and scarves that were inspired by my tropical surroundings. I then moved to Toronto where I set up a home studio and diligently sourced, dyed and constructed every item in the line. When I finally moved back home to Vancouver I again set up a studio to dye and construct S&C goods by hand.

As the years went by and interest in the brand grew I began to be weighed down by the production demands of the line and so, last year, I made the call to start working with a small factory in Portland. Visible manufacturing, livable wage labour and sustainable sourcing are all core values of S&C and finding Spooltown, a factory whose own principles so closely align with my own, has been an amazing experience. Over the last year we have worked together to (in my opinion) vastly improve Scout & Catalogue – developing product I could not have produced on my own with a team who have quickly become friends.

This partnership has been so fruitful that this past September I made the decision to shut down my Vancouver studio and move all manufacturing and dye work to Portland. This centralized production base should allow the brand to strengthen and grow in a more sustainable way. Most excitingly and – for the first time ever – our shipping will now be coming out of the US. For years the majority of our clients have been American and I am so excited to be able to offer faster and more efficient shipping for all of you who, in the past, waited weeks for items to arrive from Canada.

In time I will re-open a Canadian studio but for now I am enjoying working from home and travelling often to Portland to oversee the factory team as all of these changes are implemented. It is so exciting to have a project I started on my deck in Mexico now involve such an amazing group of people and, as always – thank you for purchasing S&C over the years and giving me the opportunity to take these next, exciting steps.

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Happy last long weekend of the summer! I hope you are all playing hooky from your daily grind and sharing this day with friends and family.

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After two and a half years at our Vancouver studio we are moving on to new adventures. This September we’ll be shifting all of our operations to Portland to work hand in hand with our factory on the development and production of S&C! After six years of working on S&C alone I am so excited to have a team of people to help support and manage the brands growth. I will be working very closely on all aspects of the business and will be spending time between Vancouver, Portland and Los Angeles to do so.

With all this exciting change letting go of my existing studio made the most sense but it’s with a heavy heart that I give the space up. My studio has been a constant over the last couple of years and the community I’ve met here (Bruce Wayne included) has been such a contribution to my daily life. And in that vein I’ve pulled together some of my favourite photos of our space – I am so grateful for having had the chance to create here…

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There are two Rainbow Casa Bonita cushions left in the online shop. This colour-way won’t be available next season so if you’ve had you eye on them, snap them up now!

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Friday dye-day – working on getting all the dyed canvas down to the factory so they can start cutting and sewing. The labour is pretty physically demanding so it will be nice to take a few days this weekend away from the studio – I can’t wait to stretch, get out on the water and take advantage of the last month of the summer. I hope you all have a great weekend!

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It’s one of the first rainy days of the summer and the soft, grey light made me want to capture my little studio before I get going with work. Last month countdown on this sweet studio space…

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Happy (holiday) Monday everyone! Using this extra day off to catch up on some studio work…

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