By Anita Zhu
Textile pattern designer Fabienne Good attributes her whimsical and colourful designs to a childhood growing up on a farm and her international travels around the globe.
As a freelancer, Good, who teaches a free community sewing class at the Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre on Prince Albert Street, sells her designs on three different websites.
Sheena Randahl, a friend of Good’s, thinks her designs are really unique. Randahl said that Good is not afraid to mix colours and patterns, but is also capable of tamer and less experimental works.
“She’s got a bit of everything. She can appeal to the masses. And then also appeal to the weirdos,” said Randahl, who also attended the community sewing class last Wednesday. The community sewing project is open for beginners to experts, and takes place every Wednesday until December 11.
Her designs juxtapose her unique upbringing. Born and raised in Canada by European parents, Good has always immersed herself in new cultures.
“Having been raised in Canada doesn’t feel more Canadian than European. It’s nice to have different cultures,” Good said.
In her lifetime Good has visited Europe, Taiwan, Japan, China, Australia, Guatemala, Peru, Columbia, India, Italy, and Switzerland. While in Italy as a 16-year-old, she learned Italian, and while in Switzerland, Good completed her master’s degree in German.
“I feel like it’s a lot of cultures that come together and you look at things differently; like colours and combinations,” Good said.
Fabienne Good’s clients praise her work
Debra Wertman, a recent purchaser of Good’s work, and an entomologist with UBC, said the fit of Good’s shirts are “incredible and versatile.”
“I greatly look forward to wearing this top to conferences – the other entomologists will be jealous,” she said, laughing.
Tara Nery, a jewellery designer from Toronto, and another purchaser of Good’s work, said she would recommend her designs to others. Nery said Good’s work is like no other she has seen before, describing them as chaotic yet organized.
“Her pieces make me smile. I get so many compliments whenever I’m wearing any of my Fabienne Good pieces,” Nery said.
Good moved to Vancouver from Switzerland earlier this year. When she first arrived, she noticed how different the West Coast felt from the rest of Canada.
“It’s Canada, but it’s totally different [than home]. It still feels like I’m still travelling. It’s kind of bizarre,” she said.
Small businesses in British Columbia
The small business sector in B.C. is a vital part of the economy. Nearly 1.1 million British Columbians worked in small businesses in 2018.
Fabienne Good is a local entrepreneur and manages an online business and presence through several E-commerce sites. Good says it is very important to keep an online presence active and professional to maintain relevance.
Through Redbubble, Good submits her digital files to the website for potential customers to browse. From there, the company will do everything including deciding on the sales price. Redbubble manufactures their own clothes, sourcing from different countries depending on where the customers live. Good said that this method is supposed to be low waste and ethical, but can be quite expensive as the website takes a significant part of the cut.
“I do it because it’s exciting to have my designs on clothes, but it’s not really the best business model,” she said.
Good is now looking to local retail stores in Vancouver to sell her productions.
“A lot of those places will take like 50 to 75 per cent of the artist’s earnings as well, so it’s good for exposure,” she said. “It’s just a matter of finding good places that will properly represent your work.”