Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in home care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Deb Spofford, Founder of Made on 23rd, located in Vancouver, WA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Made on 23rd, makes high-end linen products for home decor and table tops. We have wholesale accounts and online retail customers.

Tell us about yourself

I'm Deb Spofford, owner, and designer for Made on 23rd. Our studio and production space are located in Vancouver, Washington, just across the river from Portland, Oregon. I've always had a passion for textiles. The abundance of color, pattern, texture, and intricate design speak of history and purpose. Whether utilitarian or decorative, textiles are an important part of our lives.

While my children were little, I worked in the DIY industry writing how-to books and magazine articles. Soon after the kids were grown, my family and I moved to China. Our travels took us all over the country, where we were introduced to the rich history of textiles. This renewed my passion for the process of creating fabrics. Luxurious embroideries, batiks, and silks spoke of centuries of artisans dedicated to their craft.

Upon returning to the US, I was inspired to learn more about fabric design and production. This took me 2800 miles away from home. After a three-year course of study, I received a Master of Science degree in Textile Design at Philadelphia University. When school finished, I returned to Washington and began exploring block printing.

Woodblock printing is an ancient technique for printing images or patterns on fabric and is still widely used throughout East Asia and China. Early examples of block printing date back to 220 AD! I love the wabi-sabi of the process; perfectly imperfect. As each print is made by hand, the signature of the artist is embedded in the cloth.

After an additional 1 1/2 years of experimentation, Made on 23rd was born. As each season approaches, I am inspired by the world around me to create a new collection. Our collections start with themed inspiration and hand drawings. The drawings are then cut into woodblocks and used to hand-print linen, wool, or velvet with heat-set eco-friendly inks.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Surviving the pandemic by creating new revenue streams and thinking outside the "printing block."

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Staying focused through the tough times and wearing many different hats.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Find a niche market for your product and use everything you have to promote it. No matter how good your product is, it will not sell without focused hard work and perseverance.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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