Founder, Pepper B. Design
What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I’m a textile designer by trade and the founder of Pepper B. Design – I design all patterns, fabrics and products for the brand. We’re all about happy-yet-sophisticated, well-made pillows and accessories that help transform your home into a place you really love. Pepper B. launched July 2015 with a collection of six fabrics and three pillow sizes, always with plans to add more fun goodies!
Very cool that you design all the fabrics! What’s your creative process?
I usually start by collecting inspiration from books, the web, my surroundings or photos from a recent adventure, then I’ll move to my sketchbook and play around. After I’ve come up with a few designs that I’m happy with, I’ll put it all together in a large moodboard so I can visualize how all the patterns and styles feel together. I love this part of the process so much because I can step away from the computer, which is where I spend most of my time. Once I’ve narrowed down the patterns for the collection, I’ll finalize the colours and send them out to my printer to be sampled. After a few colour or scale tweaks, the patterns will be printed in yardages on fabric, then sewn into pillows and other products here in Toronto. Without a doubt, the most exciting and rewarding part of the process is seeing something I’ve dreamed up transform into a complete and finished product.
Where do you find inspiration in the city?
One thing I LOVE about pattern is that inspiration can be found everywhere. I of course find it in flowers and nature, but also in abstract places like the way the leaves have fallen on the ground, shadows and reflections on the sidewalk from the sun hitting skyscrapers, or the colours of boats docked in the harbour. Toronto seriously gets more inspiring by the day – there are so many cute neighbourhoods or new coffee shops to check out. I’ve always found architecture to be particularly inspiring, so I like to try taking a different route home whenever I can to discover some new gems I haven’t come across before.
How has the Toronto community helped grow your business?
This community has been incredibly welcoming and supportive to me as a creative entrepreneur, and I’ve met so many wonderful new people since launching. Some have been through Pepper B. events, some through social media, and some through good ol’ introductions from friends. Torontonians really love seeing their own succeed and take huge pride in the city (our collective obsession with Drake is proof of that, not that I can really compare – ha!), so we’re willing to help each other out, which I think is really special. Creativity’s really thriving in Toronto and it feels amazing to be a part of it.
What does an ideal Saturday in Toronto look like?
I wish I could say I did more interesting things on a Saturday! Because I’m running around all week and my husband works outside of the city, we usually use our Saturdays to sleep in then sloth around the house, because binging on Netflix and eating chocolate-covered pretzels with abandon is truly the best thing ever. Otherwise I’ll go for a run on the waterfront trail, sometimes followed by brunch at Portland Variety or tacos at La Carnita for dinner (I’m obsessed with Mexican food). In the summer you’ll probably find me with coconut ice cream in hand from Scoop Shop.
No one is judging your Netflix binges, girl! As an entrepreneur, life must get hectic – how do you achieve work/life balance?
I’m still working on figuring that out. My schedule varies from day-to-day, so sticking to a routine isn’t really an option. When you work for yourself it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough, and the next day like you have so many things planned that it’s impossible to do it all. My favourite mantra for this is: “Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.” I look at it both ways – if you don’t hustle and work hard, you won’t make any progress towards what you want. On the flip side, if you put too much pressure on yourself and don’t give yourself time and space to relax, you’ll end up stressed and burnt out. I do swear by eating a good breakfast each morning to start the day off right.
There are so many great ones – the city is filled with super creative and talented people. For interior inspo I love @larkandlinen; Jacquelyn is such a pro and has a great eye. For food it’s @juniperwoodkitchen; those girls have some serious food styling skills and I’m veggie so the eats are inspiring too. And for fashion my go-to’s are @GabyBurger, @thelustlistt and @kastorandpollux.
Great picks! So where can we find you next?
Well, I have a few mini collections of new products coming out in the next couple months that I’m super excited about. I’ll be adding tea towels and new pillow styles with giant happy tassels to the collection, then in the spring I’ll be adding new fabrics and patterns as well. You can also find me at the One of A Kind Show in Toronto from March 23-27 (come say hi at booth F9!).