Meet: Deane Christiansen
I am the designer and owner behind Sweet Bee Designs, a Textile Company located in Canada!
I was born and raised in Southern Alberta, Canada. I grew up in an incredible family of crafty and creative women, my mom and Grandma being my biggest influencers. One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting beside my Grandma on her floral print couch, learning how to crochet.
From there I went on to sew, knit, paint, draw and sculpt. But it wasn't until my early 20's that I began to quilt. I took a Beginners Quilting Class and fell in love! I was hooked! It was then that I realized my passion for fabric and the whole quilting world.
I soon started working at my local quilt store and became quite proficient and skilled. Making store samples, teaching classes, cutting fabric for customers, writing my own patterns and selling sewing machines made me realize just how much I loved the quilting business. A few years later I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to open my own quilt store!
My world opened up to Quilt Market, ordering fabric and connecting with designers and distributors. Surrounded by all the beauty in fabric, it really was no surprise that I found myself wanting to design my own fabric collections.
But how to start? Well after a few Google searches I found Bonnie Christine's Surface Pattern Design class. Everything I needed to know was in Bonnie's class!
I dedicated countless hours pattern making while still running the quilt store and finally, after nearly a year I felt I had three strong fabric collections. Now what. Well I have always believed that things happen for a reason and within two short weeks, I found myself selling my store, going to Quilt Market and making appointments to show my portfolio!
It was an amazing experience, one I will never forget. By the end of the weekend I had two companies that were interested in my collections, but also, an opportunity presented itself that really sparked my fire!
In between my meetings with art directors, I had coffee with my Canadian Distributor, who was at Market on business. We got chatting as to why I was there, I showed her my portfolio, and she said "hey, if you ever want to do this on your own, we would distribute you in Canada". Pardon me? Was my first thought. Are you crazy? was my second! And then my mind started to say, Why Not?
I will be honest with you. I jumped in. Head first. Eyes closed. I signed up for a booth for the following spring and made my debut at the St. Louis Quilt Market. Sweet Bee Designs won Best Double Booth Award!!! Pinch me!
It has been a lot of hard work, time and tears but well worth it. I am now on my 11th fabric collection and preparing for Quilt Market in Portland, May, 2018. Sweet Bee Designs has three designers, besides myself now. Our fabrics are printed on 100% cotton from South Korea and distributed worldwide. We are still in our baby phase of business, but we are fierce!
This has been an amazing dream come true for me. I was able to take my 25 years of experience in the quilting industry and combine that with a passion for fabric design to create a career that makes my soul sing! I am extremely blessed.