Designing women success

BEING the stereotypical broke artist was never part of Bathurst creative Tori Stowe’s future plans. In fact, the well-known Eastern Cape artist has over the years proven just how multifaceted her creative talents can be – running several successful business ventures.

Other than the source of revenue she brings in with her fine art exhibitions, her handprinted fabric business, which she started in 2007, has been a runaway success.

The Stowe and So fabric, which won the best new product at Decorex in 2009, is sold to several fabric distributors and supplied to niche retailers, including Mongoose Handcrafted bags and Gypsey Lou handbags.

“It has evolved naturally, and proved to be a very successful venture and has done really well so far. “We even have a project in the pipeline this year to supply fabric to a well-known retailer,” Stowe said.

While the Stowe and So fabric is her company’s main product line, she also designs stationery and makes ceramics at her studio in the family’s specialised premises, The Corner Gallery, in Bathurst.

Growing up in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, Stowe met her husband, Craig, at Rhodes University while he was studying human movement sciences and she graduated in 1994 with a degree in fine art.

As co-founder and owner of The Corner Gallery, Stowe says Craig is manager of all her business ventures, while she enjoys focusing on doing what she loves – “the creative stuff”.

“My husband is Italian, which may explain his natural business flair.

“Working with my partner is fantastic – we both do what we love and can move easily between our business and home,” Stowe said.

While studying, Stowe printed Tshirts and fabric to cover her living expenses and pay her university fees.

- Cindy Preller