modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Sandra

This will be a long interview, but she just has so much to tell. Why? Because she started the company many years ago. Meet the boss: Sandra!

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Sandra, 31 years old. I am the Managing Director and founder of modes4u. My hometown is Bregenz in Austria, but I have been living in Hong Kong for more than eight years now. After I finished my Masters degree in Computer Science I was invited to join a summer university program in Hong Kong and Beijing. I liked it so much that I decided to stay. I moved to Hong Kong and studied Business Management.  During that time I met my husband Alan and after graduating we started modes4u.com together.

What is your job at modes4u?
At the beginning I did everything from A to Z as there was only Alan and I. I looked for suppliers, ordered products, wrote product descriptions, packed and shipped orders, blogged, organised partnerships, answered customer emails etc. Meanwhile my tasks have changed, because now I have a great team that supports me a lot.

I am still responsible for purchasing, so I order products, look for new suppliers and do everything that is connected to that. I also visit trade shows all around the world several times a year to check out the newest products and trends and to meet business partners.

I frequently start new projects, as I have so many ideas for improving and simplifying the shop. Despite that I am still pretty active in the day-to-day business: I answer lots of emails every day and do paper work and administrative tasks. But when we have lots of orders I still help packing.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I like everything we have, otherwise I would not have ordered it. But personally I like our fabrics the most. I have done quite a bit of sewing with our echino fabrics, but I also like to use cute designs with matryoshkas, owls, deer etc.
Washi Tapes are on second position in my personal priority list. We have a very big variety now and I really like the beautiful prints.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
I am in the very special situation that I have founded this company, therefore I have to say: everything! It is a very special feeling for me to see the shop grow each year and get more and more professional opportunities.
Also I like the work attitude in Hong Kong. Everybody is working eagerly and without complaining. Our team is really great and I appreciate that a lot.

I feel like you can try lots of new projects here. In Europe many things would not be possible that easily and without a lot of bureaucracy. There is an innovative atmosphere, the people are not afraid of experimenting and also willing to take a risk.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
I like to craft very much if I have a good occasion. Like when I sewed curtains with our echino fabrics for our whole house, because we needed some. It took super long until I was done, but even though it was lots of work, I totally enjoyed it.

For my little nieces I sewed bibs with our fabrics, as a mother can never have enough of those. And I also like to use fabrics as decoration, e.g. by just framing them.
I have also used Washi Tape to decorate vases and glasses or used them as name tags for glasses at parties and BBQs.

Big Rilakkuma is asking Sandra lots of questions at our lunch table

Big Rilakkuma is asking Sandra lots of questions at our lunch table

Sandra sewed these bibs for her little nieces

Sandra sewed these bibs for her little nieces

Not yet finished, but already very pretty. A Little bag sewed with our fabrics

Not yet finished, but already very pretty. A Little bag sewed with our fabrics

Sandra used different echino fabrics to sew curtains for her whole house. Seen here: Living room curtains

Sandra used different echino fabrics to sew curtains for her whole house. Shown here: Living room curtains

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A “shop” in Hong Kong where Sandra bought fleece for sewing.

Her cat Miu also liked the big sewing project. So comfy!

Her cat Miu also liked the big sewing project. So comfy!

Sandra crafted a pinboard by stapling fabric onto cork coasters

Sandra crafted a pinboard by stapling fabric onto cork coasters

A whole new vase design made with a couple of stripes of Washi Tape

A whole new vase design made with a couple of stripes of Washi Tape

New: Asia fabrics category

We have so many fabrics with Asian designs or typical symbols that we wanted to group them in a new fabric category in our shop. From now on you can select the category “Asia Fabrics” in our online shop and find lots of fabrics with Chinese characters, geishas, Kokeshi dolls, lucky cats and other Asian designs. Lots of fabrics in this section are from the Japanese labels Kokka and Cosmo, but you can also find brands like Alexander Henry, Timeless Treasures or Robert Kaufman from the USA.

Visit our new product category Asia Fabrics

Visit our new product category Asia Fabrics

black Japanese ninja characters fabric by Robert Kaufman USA

black Japanese ninja characters fabric by Robert Kaufman USA

purple-violet Japanese flower fabric with gold by Kokka

purple-violet Japanese flower fabric with gold by Kokka

grey Alexander Henry fabric Japanese woman and skulls

grey Alexander Henry fabric Japanese woman and skulls

ecru structured Lucky Cats fabric from Japan

ecru structured Lucky Cats fabric from Japan

black Kokeshi cat dolls fabric by Alexander Henry

black Kokeshi cat dolls fabric by Alexander Henry

Japanese scenery fabric tree flower Timeless Treasures

Japanese scenery fabric tree flower Timeless Treasures

Customer sews incredible shirt for boys

What a great outfit! Our customer Caroline from the Blog Sew Can She showed us what wonderful boys’ clothes you can make from our fabrics. She took two of our cars fabrics from Kokka and sewed an incredible shirt for her son. He seems to like it as much as we do, at least he looks quite happy, very comfortable and active wearing the shirt. Great Job, Caroline.

It’s such a pleasure to see what customers make from our products, so keep showing us the results of your creativity.

What a great shirt for boys! SewCanShe made it from our Kokka fabrics.

What a great shirt for boys! SewCanShe made it from our Kokka fabrics.

funny white cars fabric for boys by Kokka Japan

funny white cars fabric for boys by Kokka Japan

dark blue cars fabric for boys by Kokka Japan

dark blue cars fabric for boys by Kokka Japan

Safe laminate fabrics in our shop

Safety is always a big issue, especially when children are involved. Lots of our customers ask us if the laminate fabrics from our shop are safe and suitable for sewing projects for children. And the answer is: YES. All our suppliers confirmed that the coating they use for their laminates does not contain the industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA).

Our American suppliers like Robert Kaufman, Riley Blake or Alexander Henry also stress that their laminates are CPSIA compliant, so they meet the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which is an US law since 2008 to improve the safety for children’s products. The laminates are therefore lead and pthalate free and can be used in childrenswear intended for ages 12 and under. Of course the manufacturers all have official documents about this and get their products tested by research institutes, so they really have reliable data.

So you can use the water-resistant fabrics without any concerns for projects like totes, raincoats, baby bibs, playmats, bags and more.

 

All laminate fabrics on modes4u.com are BPA free

All laminate fabrics on modes4u.com are BPA free

echino laminate fabric Buck stag deer with glasses black

echino laminate fabric Buck stag deer with glasses black

green polka dot laminate fabric by Cosmo from Japan

green polka dot laminate fabric by Cosmo from Japan

Robert Kaufman premium laminate fabric red ladybirds

Robert Kaufman premium laminate fabric red ladybirds

green Riley Blake laminate fabric with train locomotive USA

green Riley Blake laminate fabric with train locomotive USA

white Eiffel tower laminate designer fabric from the USA

white Eiffel tower laminate designer fabric from the USA

Dino Dudes PUL Polyurethane laminate fabric Michael Miller

Dino Dudes PUL Polyurethane laminate fabric Michael Miller

blue Mexican folklore laminate fabric Alexander Henry

blue Mexican folklore laminate fabric Alexander Henry

Michael Miller premium laminate fabric gingham checker

Michael Miller premium laminate fabric gingham checker

Our favourite product of the week: echino maruco fabrics

It’s so basic and so good. A couple of days ago we added more echino prints from Japan to our shop. Now we carry all the designs of the latest collection in all colours. The cool maruco collection is our favourite of the week. Why? Because it’s a classic design with big polka dots in bright colours.

purple echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

purple echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

pink echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

pink echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

blue echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

blue echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

yellow echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

yellow echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

brown echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

brown echino polka dot poplin fabric maruco

New echino fabrics from Kokka arrived

Bright colours, wild animals, pretty flowers and cool retro prints – we just got the latest echino fabrics with our latest Kokka delivery from Japan and really hurried to put them online as soon as possible. Not an easy task so shortly before Christmas. A lot of the designs are available in four colours, so be sure to check out all the echino fabricsto find your favourite combination of colour and design.

pink echino birds and berries canvas fabric cherry

pink echino birds and berries canvas fabric cherry

black insect echino canvas fabric insect

black insect echino canvas fabric insect

yellow echino airplane poplin fabric airplane

yellow echino airplane poplin fabric airplane

pink echino bike poplin fabric cycling

pink echino bike poplin fabric cycling

black echino retro bus poplin fabric bonnet bus

black echino retro bus poplin fabric bonnet bus

echino poplin stripes fabric kikka purple-black-green

echino poplin stripes fabric kikka purple-black-green

Patchwork piece echino canvas fabric blue-green-black

Patchwork piece echino canvas fabric blue-green-black

teal wildflower echino canvas fabric bird flower

teal wildflower echino canvas fabric bird flower

purple echino canvas safari animals fabric acacia

purple echino canvas safari animals fabric acacia

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Bianca

It’s time to introduce our fifth team member. And it’s getting international again, because Bianca moved from Germany to Hong Kong to come to our office every day.

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Bianca, 31, from Wuppertal in Germany. One year ago I moved here to Hong Kong and started working at modes4u. It’s still super exciting here; the city is surprising me over and over again. In Germany I lived and worked in different cities, most recently as a public relations officer in a ski dome. Before I was a television editor.

What is your job at modes4u?
I am the copy writer at modes4u and work with words every day. My main task is to add new products to our shop. That means every new item for modes4u.com has to pass my desk first to be measured, weighted and described.

Also I am in charge of the German and English company blogs and constantly looking for new ideas and topics to write about. In addition to that I deal with inquiries from media and journalists. And whenever a text for our website, for an announcement or for another occasion is needed, I write it as well.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I absolutely adore our Washi Tapes, which I discovered in our shop for the first time. Before I didn’t even know the cool Masking Tapes existed, now I already own a box full of them. No letter or present leaves my house without at least one stripe of Washi tape decoration.

From all our characters I am a big fan of the cute Otogicco Little Red Riding Hood by Decole. I’m always really excited when we get new products from that series. Also I am profoundly in love with our echino fabrics. Unfortunately I can’t sew at all, so the ways I can use those lovely textiles are kind of limited.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
There are no limits to my creativity. I have never worked in such a modern and open company. In Germany I often felt that rules and rigid structures slowed down new ideas. Here in many ways I really have the freedom to do whatever I want creatively. I can try a lot and start new things which I really like.

Our team is totally great too and the bosses really care about the well being of their employees. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be natural in many Hong Kong companies and I also had mixed experiences in Germany about that. So I really appreciate it and feel in good hands here.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
My creative activities always have certain phases. At the moment I’m in my Washi Tape phase; I love decorating glasses, stationery and photo albums with the adhesive tapes.

Sometimes I also design my own T-Shirts by embroidering, drawing or just applying an iron-on. In Germany I loved baking cakes and tarts a lot, but this passion is a bit on hold now. Baking is not that common in Hong Kong so a lot of times I lack the needed materials. Still my Chinese colleagues are always very excited when I bring something self-baked every now and then.

The bear and the girl - Bianca and Rilakkuma chatting

The bear and the girl – Bianca and Rilakkuma chatting

Bianca decorated all these jars with Washi Tapes

Bianca decorated all these jars with Washi Tapes

She also enjoys decorating photo albums with the colourful Masking Tapes

She also enjoys decorating photo albums with the colourful Masking Tapes

The office was super excited about Biancas self-baked cookies for Valentines Day

The office was super excited about Biancas self-baked cookies for Valentines Day

Meet the fabric designers on modes4u: Melody Miller

Retro time in our fabric designer series. Today we introduce you to the beautiful work of Melody Miller. Her designs for Kokka are one of a kind. You won’t forget once you have seen them.

Melody Miller

With a background in fine art, Melody has done everything from study industrial design, to work as a makeup artist and, later, as graphic designer and marketing maven. So it is not very surprising that she found her way into fabric design sooner or later. Melody taught herself how to sew and and started her own business sewing custom window panels. Since 2010 she has been designing for the Japanese fabric manufacturer Kokka and has released a spring and fall collection each year since.

Melody Miller lives with her family in Atlanta, USA, where she develops her fabulous retro designs. Her love for flea markets and vintage designs totally shows in her collections. It’s not hard to guess where her inspiration comes from: “I find myself spending a lot of time staring at vintage florals.  I just love them. Kokka is a huge fan of the vintage objects I include in my designs, so for each fabric collection, I try to include meaningful objects that are nostalgic without necessarily being kitschy.”

We currently carry Melody Miller fabrics from her Ruby Star Vinyl Spring collection, all the fabrics we had from her earlier lines Ruby Star Shining and Ruby Star Rising already sold out completely.

Melody just released her first book ‘Ruby Star Wrapping’ and also finshed her new fabric line which contains metallic inks. Melody is presenting both her new projects at this falls Quilt market. Besides that she hopes to have a long and happy career with Kokka.

We can’t wait to see the new Kokka collection. Visit Melody Miller’s blog to find out about her work.

mint green disk record retro fabric by Kokka from Japan

mint green disk record retro fabric by Kokka from Japan

purple Kokka retro fabric with phone flower rectangular

purple Kokka retro fabric with phone flower rectangular

red Kokka retro fabric with phone flower rectangular

red Kokka retro fabric with phone flower rectangular

green Kokka retro fabric with clocks woman head Japan

green Kokka retro fabric with clocks woman head Japan

red Kokka retro fabric with clocks woman head Japan

red Kokka retro fabric with clocks woman head Japan

canvas retro fabric with typewriter & heart by Kokka

canvas retro fabric with typewriter & heart by Kokka

Lots of new echino laminated fabrics arrived

So far we only carried a couple of echino fabrics as laminates. But with our latest Kokka delivery which arrived this week, we got a whole bunch of echino laminate fabrics from the latest collection. This means that you can get designs like the super popular stag with glasses, the frame or Dahlia series as canvas cotton fabrics or as laminate versions.

And we restocked some of our echino cotton fabrics too, so check our shop website if your favourite textile item has been sold out.

echino laminate fabric Buck stag deer with glasses pink

echino laminate fabric Buck stag deer with glasses pink

green echino laminate fabric Gothic leopard & ornament

green echino laminate fabric Gothic leopard & ornament

turquoise echino laminate fabric Frame owl giraffe deer

turquoise echino laminate fabric Frame owl giraffe deer

echino laminate fabric black zebras & stripes Japan

echino laminate fabric black zebras & stripes Japan

off-white echino laminate fabric Dahlia bird & flower

off-white echino laminate fabric Dahlia bird & flower

echino laminate fabric scooter Vespa purple

echino laminate fabric scooter Vespa purple

blue echino laminate fabric with cars

blue echino laminate fabric with cars

echino laminate fabric turquoise forest stag owl

echino laminate fabric turquoise forest stag owl

Lots of our fabrics in German creative magazine

Magazines really plan ahead and have an early schedule. Already at the beginning of this year the German creative magazine “Lena Creativ” contacted us, because they wanted to introduce some of our fabrics for their Christmas issue. Now it’s finally released and we are super happy with all the cute things they made. The magazine sewed a wonderful children’s apron with our green apples fabric from Kokka, an oven glove with the green Kokka apples and the Robert Kaufman forest animal fabric, an amazing lamp shade with one of our pretty ornament fabrics and colourful cushions with our flower fabrics. The magazine also provides you with the sewing instructions for those projects so you can copy all the lovely things yourself!

We already made the cover - on the right you see the cushion made with our fabrics

We already made the cover – on the right you see the cushion made with our fabrics

This wonderful apron and the oven glove are sewed with our Kokka and Robert Kaufman fabrics

This wonderful apron and the oven glove are sewed with our Kokka and Robert Kaufman fabrics

Greatr idea - Lena Creativ made a lamp shade from our fabric

Great idea – Lena Creativ made a lamp shade from our fabric

These three colourful cushions are made with modes4u fabrics as well

These three colourful cushions are made with modes4u fabrics as well

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