BEHIND THE BIZ // ELIZABETH OF STONE TEXTILE STUDIO

elizabeth mollen - stone textile studio - meg biram - behind the biz 7

ELIZABETH MOLLEN // STONE TEXTILE

Austin-based interior decorator, product designer and shop owner, Elizabeth Mollen, gives us some insight into her business — Stone Textile. #behindthebiz

Was there a moment in your life when the lightbulb went off and you just knew what you were going to do?

It was clear that art was important to me from the beginning. I have always wanted to design for a living. After obtaining a degree in textile and apparel design and working in the fashion industry for many years it was my move to Austin that caused the lightbulb to go off. Austin is an evolving city full of creative innovative artists and architects. There is abundant inspiration at every corner.

Stone Textile has such a strong aesthetic, how did that come about?

I relocated to Austin from Los Angeles in 2010 and wanted to switch gears switch gears and focus on home product design. Creating “Fashion for the Home” was an easy transition.

Once you knew you wanted to have your own line, what steps did you take to make that a reality?

Stone Textile launched at the end of 2011. It took about a year to really get everything together: branding + packaging meetings, website meetings, production meetings, first samples, second samples, and REPEAT! It was a crazy 10-11 months but I had to be satisfied with every aspect. Seeing the website finally go live was a special moment.

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How do you go about deciding on inspiration for your product designs?

I am always inspired by current and vintage fashion trends, jewelry, and design from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. My grandmother (for whom Stone Textile is named) was an antiques dealer. She had an appreciation for unique pieces and it is something I was lucky enough to inherit from her.

What lessons have you learned along the way?

Organization is essential but flexibility is the key.

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What has surprised you about owning your own business?

Owning your own business is not easy. I have always been a hard worker but I had no idea what hard work meant until I started my company. To be honest, I have surprised myself.

What hardships have you had along the way?

Hardships come with the territory and you have got to be prepared to put out fires.

elizabeth mollen - stone textile studio - meg biram - behind the biz 7

What do you wish you would have known going into this?

Success and recognition do not happen overnight! Building a brand takes time and patience.

What have you found works for you as far as organizing your business and time?

Because the production of my product is not done in house, but my design studio and office are in my home. I am a planner so Sundays have turned into my weekly scheduling time. That schedule never leaves my side! P.S. Thank goodness for interns!

elizabeth mollen - stone textile studio - meg biram - behind the biz 7

Highlight of your career so far?

A few months into launching, Stone Textile was featured in House Beautiful’s “The Best” column. They wrote (in reference to our Stripe Dip Pillow) “the loose drape of this cotton stripe is pure couture for your sofa” The fact that the editors of one of my favorite design magazines understood what Stone Textile was trying to do was very meaningful. They understand, “Fashion for the Home” … I bought 20 copies.

elizabeth mollen - stone textile studio - meg biram - behind the biz 7

Best advice you’ve been given?

When I was 19 I lived in New York and interned for a European boutique button and trim company (they supplied pieces to Proenza Schouler, Carolina Herrera, and Oscar de la Renta etc.). My Italian boss always said to immerse yourself in what you love and learn what to do and what not to do from people in the industry. I took his advice and lived in New York each summer working for a different fashion design firm. I am a hands-on learner. Paying your dues is important and I would not have been able to start this company without the many years of small business experience I had prior.

elizabeth mollen - stone textile studio - meg biram - behind the biz 7

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Behind the Biz takes a deep dive behind the scenes with business owners and entrepreneurs. Don’t miss my other Behind the Biz features with Abbe of Studio Ten 25Mandy of Waiting on MarthaKarin of Crane & CanopyLee Kleinhelter of PiecesEmily of Elva FieldsRochelle of The Shirthandbag designer Blair of Blair Ritchey, and Jess Levin of Carats & CakeTweet along with me at #behindthebiz and @megbiram.