Unveiling Artistry: A Conversation with Colette Brown of By Coletti

Meet Colette Brown, the creative mind behind By Coletti, a vibrant collection of hand-drawn floral patterns adorning luxurious silk scarves. Colette’s journey began during a European adventure in 2021, where her love for bright colors and travel experiences converged, inspiring her to start sketching the world around her. What started as simple drawings blossomed into intricately designed patterns, now gracing Coletti silk scarves that have gained attention for their uniqueness and limited editions. In this interview, Colette shares insights into her artistic journey, entrepreneurial lessons, and the inspirations that fuel her creative passion.

What first sparked your passion for creating hand-drawn floral patterns?

In the summer of 2021, I was traveling around Europe with my now-husband for two months.  I’d recently changed jobs and had some very welcome free time on my hands, so I brought my iPad along for the trip!  I’ve always loved bright colors, so I started drawing what I could see – trumpet flowers outside the rental apartment in Marbella, echinacea in my in-laws’ garden in Slovenia, and wildflowers while hiking in Romania.  All of these started as simple sketches, but as I learned more about Procreate, I started duplicating, inverting colors, and playing around with the drawings.  That’s how the patterns we now know on Coletti silk scarves came to be.

Could you share a bit about your journey from starting By Coletti to where you are today? 

By Coletti is still a small little design shop, having launched only at the beginning of 2023!  I started with a first collection of three silk scarves, all inspired by the travel destinations mentioned above, which I had visited back in the summer of 2021.  Last summer, I launched a second collection, with designs inspired the Dutch tulip fields in the Netherlands, seaside lantana in Croatia, and the city parks of Cologne, Germany. The designs are so different, but the characteristics of the collections are identical: just 50 pieces of each design, which is double-sided digital printed on the highest quality silk twill I could source – 18 momme with hand-rolled edges, similar to what Hermes is using. 

They’re 65 cm (25 inch) square, so the perfect size for neck scarves, scarf tops, and handbag accessories.  To date, I’ve sold exclusively through Etsy and a few pop-up shops locally in Miami, but the plan for 2024 is to diversify.  No spoilers yet, but I’m looking into new sales channels (in person and online), as well as new scarf shapes.  I had a very limited run of silk scrunchies during the first launch, which I’m still getting requests for, so that’s one idea, but I’m also thinking about pocket squares and long Twilly scarves too.  More to come!  You can always find out about my launches on Instagram @colettidraws, plus for behind-the-scenes content, I publish infrequent updates to my newsletter thepostcardbycoletti.substack.com

What lessons have you learned along the way that have been instrumental in your growth as an artist and entrepreneur?

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is to just start.  Start small and do something, even if it’s not perfect from the beginning.  I take this approach with designing, with social media, and especially with events and collaborations. I’ve found it hard to break into the market online, so I’ve been doing pop-ups and events around Miami this winter.  The first few, I had no idea what I needed, but each time, I’m refining the setup, approach, payment methods, etc., and the community building and sales are following!

How do you stay inspired and motivated, especially during times of creative block or uncertainty?

Travel is my primary source of inspiration.  Each Coletti silk scarf has a story behind it, inspired by different places I have been on my travels, and I have loved filling in the map with my designs over the last couple of years.  My husband and I are currently planning our summer schedule, and I’m already thinking about the designs I might be inspired to create in the different destinations. Right now, we’re thinking about going back to Marbella, as well as spending some time with our families and friends in Slovenia, Serbia, Paris, Montreal, and Connecticut, but we will see how it all shakes out and what By Coletti designs come of it!

What advice would you give to aspiring artists or entrepreneurs looking to pursue their passions and start their own creative ventures?

My best advice for creative ventures is to change up the environment.  I derive so much inspiration for my Coletti designs and for life in general, from being in a new place, surrounded by new people.  Experiencing new cultures, nature, and personalities is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, especially early on in life, so I would say: just get out there!  Explore this beautiful planet and make something with what you find.

Could you share a memorable success story or achievement that stands out in your journey with By Coletti?

The most memorable By Coletti success story has to be the photoshoot I did with Aoife Casey (@aoifecaseyfineart on Instagram) for my second collection last summer.  I was traveling around Romania, England, and Ireland coordinating samples, purchasing, and packaging materials for the summer launch of my second collection, which was tricky, but still manageable.  However, I hadn’t yet put much thought into organizing a photoshoot.  When I saw a sunny break in the typical cold and rainy Irish summer weather, I decided to pull everything together in the span of 48 hours – Pinterest boards, location scouting at the gorgeous Muckross House, an epic photographer who’s worked with Vogue Italia, and a miraculous hot sunny day all came together for a perfect Coletti photoshoot.  My motto is “it’s always summer somewhere,” and the bright colors and fun patterns of my designs aim to bring that sunshine to the day-to-day anywhere, but County Kerry totally pulled through for me with the sunshine that day!  You can see some of the photos attached.

by Harness Editor

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