Courtesy of Block Shop Textiles
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The Hopie sisters and Lily Stockman created Block Shop Textiles, which sells everything from scarves and robes to rugs and homewares, to bring the printing techniques they’ve admired throughout their lives to the forefront. custody of their industry. “My three sisters and I grew up painting murals on the garage floor, sewing and building things, all thanks to a mother who loved to drag us to the Shaker villages of New England to study the Shaker craftsmanship,” says Hopie, CEO of the company. “We even went to a weaving camp together.”
The Stockman sisters fell in love with the world of textiles and its intricate handmade artistic processes. “We see textiles as unique works of art to live with, and that’s always how we’ve approached the design process,” says Hopie. The CEO dives into the story of Block Shop’s commercial origins and how the brand has evolved over its nearly decade-long history.
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Block Shop began as a passion project between Hopie and Lily in 2013. “We had always dreamed of running a creative business together as sisters, and an opportunity arose when Lily was living in India, where she met a cooperative of block printers looking for a partnership to help grow the market for their printed blocks,” says Hopie.
What you need is a point of view (one voice, one aesthetic, one target client, and one ethic) and a willingness to put in the constant work to see projects through.
—Hopie Stockman, CEO of Block Shop Textiles
During this time, they moved away from fast-growing, venture capital-backed direct-to-consumer business models, and instead focused on supporting textile traditions dating back hundreds of years. “We set out to design a small collection of scarves that supported the art of block printing by paying fair wages, investing 5% of profits in community health initiatives, reducing environmental impact through reuse of textile waste and providing women with training and earning power whenever possible,” says Hopie.
They launched their business by creating 300 units of scarves with a $5,000 loan from their mother, which they repaid upon launch. To this day, the duo prioritize creativity, beauty and compassion in their work. Now they have more hands on deck and a more structured company to keep moving forward. “We are now a thriving small business with a team of eight women and non-binary people in Los Angeles, and textile partnerships in Italy, India and the United States,” says Hopie. “We approach design with a spirit of creative experimentation, which continues to make everyday work interesting.”
Block Shop Textiles
Design with intention
Hopie leads the design and business operations of Block Shop, all of which are focused on small-scale work to meet the team’s standards for fair wages, healthy working conditions, low environmental impact and equity between the sexes. “We feel extremely fortunate to be associated with leaders in these practices, from the family-owned cashmere recycling factory we work with in Italy, to V-Weave, our artisanal certified weavers in Panipat, India,” says -she. This benefits both artisans and consumers. When a product is made with care – from the initial design concept, through the manufacturing process, to the packaging – you can feel the intentionality of the object when you hold it in your hands,” she adds. .
When designing, Hopie says she and her team draw inspiration from the art and architecture of their surroundings in Southern California, turning to her gardens to create botanical prints to the architecture when designing. of the invention of their iconic block-style patterns. “We draw our geometric vernacular from Art Deco rugs, Mughal architecture, Russian Constructivist painting, and pioneering artists Anni and Josef Albers,” says Hopie.
Creatives start by sketching; these go through their review processes and turn into digital files, which they then send to their team in India or Italy. All of their products are handcrafted with hand-printing and weaving design techniques. “For block prints, our designs are hand-carved from wooden blocks no larger than 8 by 10 inches,” says Hopie. Each color requires a different block, and their printers align patterns just by looking at its registration.
Carpets are also woven manually. The cotton yarn is hand dyed and then woven on hand looms by artists outside Jaipur. Cashmere is woven in Prato, Italy, where fine fibers separated from cashmere waste are re-carded into a super luxurious yarn, which is overdyed and woven in Block Shop’s signature geometric patterns.
Courtesy of Block Shop Textiles
Created for the comfort of home
When she started, Hopie worried that she and her team didn’t have a “disruptive” idea or a product perfect enough to launch successfully. Along the way, she’s learned that she doesn’t need a perfect business plan to get started, and it’s okay and fun to tweak it when needed. “What you need is a point of view (a voice, an aesthetic, a target client and a philosophy) and a willingness to do the constant hard work of seeing projects through,” she says. Hopie recommends that business owners become their own biggest fans when launching a brand, just like they are their own textiles. She designs with the intention of putting these creations in her own home.
Block Shop’s products are meant to celebrate the full expression of an interior and provide a sense of joy to all who find it. “If the pandemic has shown us anything about our industry, it’s that home design is so much more than frivolous decoration,” says Hopie. “It’s about creating an inner world that helps soften the contours of the daily challenges of outer life.” Her hope is that textiles can exist alongside other loved objects in a home.
Building a community brand
Hopie and his team support locals by donating 5% of profits to community initiatives in Los Angeles and India. In India, they fund biannual health camps and partner with a local occupational health NGO to bring in ophthalmologists, dentists and general practitioners from nearby Jaipur to perform health checkups for their communities of artists. In Southern California, they work with two nonprofit organizations that provide arts education, therapy, and training to disadvantaged youth.
The team continues to grow its brand with the launch of a new wallpaper made in partnership with its Connecticut-based printers, Twenty2. Hopie’s goal is to see the wallpaper in homes, hotels and workspaces around the world within the next year.
In terms of future goals? She hopes to maintain their creative vision. “Social media can make me feel like we need to do more, but when I look back, I’m happy with where we are,” she says. “We are entering year 10. We started with scarves and have expanded to a full range of home products including artwork, rugs and wallpaper. We continue to bring beauty to the world, to create jobs and to celebrate the textile processes we’ve come to love so dearly.”