Meet Alison von Bibra: owner of Cotton Factory, supplier of all things texty, low volume (and it’s no secret she loves green).
What is your current business focus?
Sourcing excellent new products and notions, that are high quality, useful and suit the Cotton Factory style. I have more ideas than I have time at the moment, but that’s only of benefit to our Community, as new things are coming constantly.
What are your short and long term goals?
I had three very clear goals when I established Cotton Factory.
Offer fabrics that we not available everywhere. Back it up with easy, friendly service and establish an engaged community around the Studio. At the moment the community is bringing such joy to me and many others. It’s an engaged, sharing group of crafters, who love a chat, a share and are wonderfully supportive of any other. I am extremely proud of that, and delighted to have played some small part in it’s growth. So my immediate goal is to continue to nurture what we started, with gentle expansion so as not to lose the personality of the Cotton Factory community. Longer term there are some fab projects in play.
You are always coming up with new ideas and innovations – anything exciting coming up for Cotton Factory that you can share with us?
Just plenty. Stay tuned.
How has your work/business developed over the years?
Well it’s still so new. We were established in early 2014 – so I still see us very much in the establishment phase. The support from social media continues to develop and that has been a great strength.
What drew you to opening a fabric store?
The simple reality that no-one else in Ballarat was offering great modern classes, and there was room in the market locally for a modern stockist.
What is your proudest moment?
Adopting two sons. Period. No fabric pull or business venture will every match becoming a Mother. Like many, parenthood didn’t come easily for me, and in my own experience it is all the sweeter because of the long wait. (My boys are now hormonal pre-teens, and I could write chapters on some of that excitement).
You recently went to Quiltmarket in the US, how would you describe the experience?
Large. Very large. At times overwhelming, but on balance totally invigorating, and I have absolutely no regrets about going. Some big lessons, some more subtle, but all entirely welcome and worthwhile.
What is your current personal sewing focus?
I’d love to tell you I am a dedicated sewer, who starts and completes one project at a time. But we are live right, so no fibbing. I have sewn a lot of blocks for my #cfcblockswap. As it was my first Studio swap I was very conservative in thinking I needed heaps of blocks as back ups. Turns out everyone has over delivered and we are going to have loads of zesty quilts appearing in IG accounts near you. I am also an Olympic tragic, so evenings have recently been spent in front of the idiot box doing epp. Hooked on that, big time. I think I have three (all enormous) epp projects in play. Umm, no, four. Yep four. And then there is the UFO pile. Starting is truly fun, let’s just agree on that. And this week’s new start is the Patchwork Puzzle. A collaboration between 12 Aussie retailers and designers. It’s been fantastic fun and just gorgeous to be working with two dozen other woman from within the Australian industry.
Cotton Factory is typically open Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10-3. If you are making a special trip to visit us, please just check we are about (0434600817). I do close for the Victorian school holidays – and occasionally a sports day or music performance takes me away. Our online store and social media accounts never close. For online biz: www.cottonfactory.bigcartel.com