Nikki Butler Design
Tell us about your business.I am a graphic designer and learned to sew when I was very young by watching my mother make quilts. My business was launched in 2011 shortly after I discovered digital textile printing. My old-fashioned sewing skills were suddenly introduced to my cutting edge computer skills! My work is a blending of the old and the new. Digital photographs are manipulated using design software and printed on silk and organic cotton fabrics. In 2012, I was awarded a “Made in West Virginia” award—winning first prize in the “Fashion & Accessories” category. This along with some success breaking into the regional wholesale market, makes me particularly optimistic about the future of my business. To build upon this, I intend to exhibit at the Atlanta Apparel Mart in January 2014 as an “Emerging Designer.” A big goal for the future is to sell my prints to manufacturers to produce. To facilitate this, I will exhibit next May at Surtex, an international surface design conference in NYC.
What makes your business stand out?My business is unique because it is a blending of the old and the new. My old-fashioned sewing skills have been introduced to my cutting edge computer skills. Graphic design skills benefit me in every aspect of my business—from initial design to packaging and marketing—even social media. The ability to sew allows me to create my own product samples, and also explain to someone else how they are constructed. This blending of two eras is something I strive for in all of my products. My infinity scarves put a bright new twist on an accessory that has been around for centuries. Unique, modern patterns, that I design myself, continuously loop and bring a pop of color to any outfit. My clutch purses use a vintage-style, clamshell closure combined with bright, modern organic cotton sateen fabric. A nod to the past that is not shy about making an appearance today.
What's the best business advice you've received?Popular TV host and fashion commentator, Kim Parrish, is a former Miss West Virginia and has become a mentor and good friend. When I confessed that I was nervous about an upcoming wholesale show and how I would manage the potential onslaught of orders she told me, "Take all the orders you can. Don't turn anyone away. Then, come home, have a panic attack, maybe even get really drunk and FIGURE IT ALL OUT!" With her suggestion, I am continually urged to move forward even though I may not see how all the intermediate steps will fall into place. She often encourages me to believe in the power of positive thinking and "put ideas out in the universe to provide."
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 9, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
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Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
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