Both hailing from successful creative careers in their own right, Julie and Kath are the founders of sustainable homewares brand JOOLKAT. Think colour, pattern and practicality...everything from beautiful cosmetic bags to reusable kitchen cloths and placemats. Ethical production and sustainability is integral to their business but it doesn't mean a compromise on style! We spoke to Kath, to discover how this brilliant collaboration came about and learn more about their business.
Kath and Julie in the print studio
How did your collaboration come about and when did you decide to create ‘JOOLKAT’?
We met in 2015 whilst working together and sharing a natural connection, mutual love of fabric and design, decided to form JOOLKAT. We spent two years experimenting, playing with ideas and developing an exciting and ever evolving range of products. JOOLKAT was officially launched as a business in 2017 with our signature style. Whilst deliberating over what to call ourselves , we just combined our names Jool & Kat… it was only supposed to be a temporary solution… however, it stuck!
You both have different creative backgrounds; do you have specific roles within the business?
Kath is the whizz kid on the digital side but we both design, print, research and make different products.
What inspires your designs?
Inspiration comes from a range of sources from architecture or the natural world, usually from travels or even from our own garden & balcony plants. We are currently working on some new designs, watch this space!
Sketchbook snippets from the seaweed collection
What processes are involved in producing your textile and printed products?
We start with photographs or drawings/ paintings/ collage. These are then transferred to screens via the computer and we then hand screen print our designs or have them printed digitally. We make all the reusables ourselves using offcuts or misprints. Other items are handmade by us, however due to increased demand we have found an ethical maker to produce some of our bags.
Sustainability is integral to your brand, tell us a little bit about how you source and create environmentally conscious textile products. We are extremely conscious of all the components of each item, cotton is organic OEKO-TEX® certified where possible, we use bamboo fibre, cotton thread and make use of all fabric offcuts. All our packaging is plastic free and all elements in the making process is considered for an ethical alternative. Our business stationery is printed with vegetable inks onto recycled paper.
Do you have a best seller or a favourite product to make?
Our best sellers have always been our make-up / soap bags. However, lately our sustainably sourced eucalyptus placemats and coasters have been very popular. Once people see the quality they are a winner. Reusable sponges and face wipes have flown off the shelves from day one too!
What small businesses or brands are you loving at the moment?
We love the bold simplicity of Marimekko.
Depends on the day and our mood! If we need to get things done some uplifting house tunes but general background noise could be Radio 4 or Radio 6 Music. Craig Charles on listen again is always a winner!
//Images courtesy of JOOLKAT, joolkat.co.uk and product photography by Megan Clark//