Take A Look Inside Printfresh's Historical Philadelphia Studio
Learn the story behind the pattern designs.
Have you ever wondered where the amazing patterns on all your clothing comes from? Well there's a big chance they may have originated in the Philadelphia offices of Printfresh Studio. Founded by husband and wife team Amy and Leo Voloshin in 2006, the company has fostered an amazing team of creatives to produce patterns for top brands ranging from Zara to J.Crew to H&M to Anthropologie.
With an all-female creative team and a cool office in an old Philadelphia textile factory, Printfresh Studio has been expanding into new territories like vintage fashion, stationary, and community outreach. We chatted with founder Amy Voloshin to learn what it's like to run such a unique artistic venture and tour her amazing studio.
What inspired you and Leo to start Printfresh?
Amy Voloshin: We founded Printfresh Studio because of my love for pattern design. I’ve always been obsessed with all things fabric and print, and I began my career working as a designer for Anthropologie and Free People. Surface design was the part of my job that I loved the most, so it was a natural transition to start our own textile studio.
Recently we added on a new line — Printfresh, a stationery collection that is focused on printed fabric journals and textile-oriented paper goods. I spend so much of my time writing and sketching but I’d always struggled to find notebooks and stationery goods that suited my aesthetic. So I figured, why not create what I felt was missing from the market?
How has Printfresh expanded into the multi-faceted company it is today?
AV: The studio grew really organically over the years. I’d collected a bunch of vintage and antique textiles as inspiration, and eventually it just made sense to add on the vintage archive, PF Vintage. As clients started requesting unique artwork projects, we added custom design services for fashion designers to our offerings. And after doing so much work for private labels, we felt really inspired to produce our own product and moved forward with the new stationery line! We’ve been in business now for 11 years — things have changed, but our focus always centers around print and fabric. There’s always a lot going on in the studio, and every day whizzes by with all of the exciting projects we get to work on. I love the variety!
How does your studio space foster collaboration with your team?
AV: We have an open-floor plan, so it’s easy to see everyone working on a variety of projects. It can be so inspiring to watch how different artists approach a new design, and we host monthly skill shares within the office where designers share with one another new and unique techniques. Our process for designing stationery is especially collaborative.
When we’re about to start a new collection we work together to brainstorm ideas, and then we decide who will work on which concepts. We’re a small team, but it still takes a lot of back-and-forth and revising to create a strong collection. Collaborating on the actual design work can sometimes be a challenge (creating artwork can be a really independent process), but we kind of talk things over, split up to draw/work digitally to develop ideas into actual designs, and then meet up again to critique.
What is your favorite part of working in an office with so many creatives?
AV: It’s fun working in a design studio, surrounded by creative women! It’s energizing to be around so much creativity, and in general I find talented people help push one another to create even better work. It’s helpful to always have someone to turn to to get advice on a new design, or to inspire me to try a different technique or new materials. There’s so much inspiration — everyone here is always wearing cool prints or has found some amazing new piece of vintage. We all get a lot of ideas from one another. Working alone can sometimes feel really isolating, and it’s easy to get stuck on a design. I find it so much more productive to have a community to work with.
What design elements of your office make you the most happy?
AV: Does our espresso machine count as a design element? Other design elements that I love are the exposed beams — we work in an old carpet factory which my husband and business partner, Leo, finished renovating last year, and the space still has a lot of the old gears and machinery that was used for running the ancient rug weaving machines. I love that our space was used for textiles 100 years ago and that it is still used for textiles today!
The lighting in our office is also a favorite. The fixtures were made by Lambert & Fils and are so modern and simple — they actually resemble the shapes and forms of a lot of the jewelry I like to wear! We’re also lucky to have giant windows in our space that give a ton of natural light and epic sunsets (the sunsets actually inspired the coloring of our new pouch designs). Our studio is divided into three different floors so it’s nice to have different zones for organizing and working in a focused way. The kitchen is also great. I live in a small Victorian row home and I’ve always had kitchen envy. It’s so nice to finally have lots of cabinetry and a giant island to prep food on and gather around.
What do you see in the years ahead for Printfresh?
AV: I’m excited to see our stationery line grow and and add on new lifestyle products. As such a new brand, it’s impossible to really guess where it will take us! We’ve been talking a lot about starting to create bedding and home textiles, which would be such a fun way to expand the brand. We do a lot of our work with artisans in India, and there is such a rich history of rug making, embroidery, and beautiful hand techniques. I’m so excited to explore different craft techniques over the next couple years, and figure out how to translate them into a more new and modern bohemian aesthetic.
Community involvement is also a big part of what we do, and a piece that we’re really excited to expand over the coming years. Each quarter we partner with a local non-profit and donate a portion of our online sales. Our focus is on organizations that encourage creativity in the youth of Philadelphia. Sometimes the support helps fund creative programming, and sometimes it goes towards something as simple as supplying paper and art supplies to neighborhood schools to make sure kids have the resources to create. As we grow I’m looking forward to doing more for the kids in our community, and figuring out how to tie in our own programs and workshops.