Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ashley Redmond and I am 27. I am originally from California, but currently reside with my fiancée, Todd (who is also the other half of Branch Handmade) and our two rescue dogs Olive and Pixel in a house on a bay in New Jersey. I have a BA in Interior Design and Business, before starting my current companies I ran my own retail home furnishings store, as well as did freelance interior design.
What do you make?
Currently I produce, with Todd, a line of hand screen-printed home textiles as well as men and women’s apparel. We hand screen print everything as well as create all the imagery that we use either through our original illustrations or from photographs that we have taken.
What inspires you & what is your creative process?
I am constantly inspired by the landscape around me. I see the beauty in the cityscape and in nature: I love both and feel inspired by both in completely different ways. Architecture, furniture, fashion, modern art, textile patterns are all things that inspire me to create. A favorite activity of ours when we feel creatively stumped is to go to a local antiques mall and just rummage through the shelves until inspiration hits! I love looking through books, old magazines or fabric swatches.
Our creative process is quite jumbled and disorderly! Todd and I will come up with possible ideas to print and we bounce those off of each other, the idea changing as we go along until we agree on the final product. Todd will work on the digital aspect of the image, while I usually do the printing, We burn new images in between all the ruckus, and somehow it all gets done!
Where is your studio and how has it evolved? what is your plan for it in the future?
Our studio is a long room adjacent to the living room in our house. I love it because it’s all windows and gets lots of light and is somewhat separate from all the other rooms in the house. The studio has evolved by becoming more and cramped with new merchandise, equipment, screens, inks and packing materials! We plan to move in the upcoming year, so I have dreams that my next studio space will be much bigger! Ultimately I would love to have a separate space in the back yard to “commute” to and have space to use for photo shoots.
What tools & equipment do you use?
The tools and equipment that we use include our Nikon D80 digital camera (that I would be lost without), our Apple computers and multiple printers, press, inks, fabrics, paints, paintbrushes…
What else do you do? Is this your full time gig?
Mainly Branch Handmade is my fulltime job- I also have another business, Sulee Candles that is a line of eco-friendly soy candles (www.suleegroup.com). Branch is really what takes up most of my time between creating products, marketing and promoting, selling and filling orders, working with clients etc.
What do you hope to get out of this, what are your goals?
My goals for our company are to continue to grow sales wise and product wise. I hope to eventually have a small staff to help increase production, sales reps to get the product out to different regions and gain a foothold in boutiques and retail stores. My goal is also to continue to be challenged to better our brand and company to create the best pieces that we can.
How do you promote yourself?
We promote ourselves in a variety of ways and hope to continue to branch out in terms of promotion. Word of mouth and return customers are fantastic forms of promotion. Connecting through social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Indie Public. In addition we have a newsletter that people can sign up for through our website branchshop.com. We send out emails to our customer list periodically and have fantastic family members and friends that hand out our promotional materials. We are also very active in updating our website and blog with new materials to keep things fresh and interesting. Branch Handmade also just welcomed a great new member to our team who is going to be helping us out with the PR portion of our business.
Any tips for fellow crafters/artists?
I’m not sure how qualified I am to give tips out to other artists, I am sure there are many out there who can show me a thing or two! If I were to give advice it would be to be confident, focused and have a goal. Never let anyone tell you can’t do something and remember what you are trying to achieve. Stay focused on your work and on bringing it to the next level.