…deSHAster… life of SHALMIAK…


deSHAster is hard work, sleepless nights and a countless amount of tears… deSHAster is desperate efforts to push through against all odds… deSHAster is sarcastic laughter and a glimpse of hope to make things work in the end…

The last few years have been really crazy! Everything that could go wrong went wrong. Every single effort lead into a disaster and ended up in a nightmare where I kept running but got nowhere. I tried to correct things but only made the situation worse. Of course I also experienced some happy moments and glimpses of hope but the outcome was not what I hoped it would be. Now SHALMIAK is at a crossroads with big, difficult decisions ahead…

It was kind of an accident that I ended up working with fabrics. I started with designing for gifts, ceramics, swimwear etc. Then I wondered where else creative concepts could be used and thought of fabrics… I offered my designs to fabric companies and surprisingly they were interested. But when I designed my first fabrics I knew nothing about them! I even had to google jersey :D. How embarrassing! :D. But people seemed to love my fabric designs and I got constantly requests from new companies to design something for them too. So, quite suddenly I designed mainly for fabrics. Me, with no experience in fabrics or sewing! 😀 I can still remember a catastrophic school project and a shirt I never finished… I think that even my teacher thought I was hopeless :D. But all of a sudden I fell in love with the fabric world… and especially all the creative people that had so much passion for sewing and made my designs come alive! Suddenly I couldn’t see myself working with anything else…

In the beginning I was very excited about designing for different companies. I was so happy and grateful for all the opportunities I was offered. But after a couple of years I got tired… I worked like a machine, making constantly new designs with no common thread and very little control over the results. I was also badly burned by a company who started treating me like trash after I had gained a little success and name for myself. But this company also taught me an important lesson – don’t put all your faith and future in one basket. And don’t let people walk over you – no matter how big and powerful they are. You need to respect and have faith in yourself. Luckily I also got familiar with a lot of wonderful companies and especially people – some that work with their heart and soul and not only towards success at any costs. I felt really bad about leaving some great partners behind but the desire to move on truly on my own kept growing. And in the end I was confident that my creativity would not survive if I didn’t have the courage for changes.

This decision was also given a push from retailers who had often reached out to me with the request of buying fabrics as wholesale. I had to guide them to a bunch of different producers but couldn’t control if they were able to buy something or not. All materials and qualities were different, some were organic and some not, nothing could really be mixed or matched. My designs were all over the place and I had no control. I was only a small part of the chain…

I started my own production with so much enthusiasm and confidence. I could finally do what I love and make plans for collections with solid frames. I think I had it all to make things work. All the pieces of the puzzle were there. But for some mysterious reason I couldn’t make them fit. Everything simply crashed. It started with a massive delay in production and big pile of poor quality fabrics. I had to disappoint my customers who were excited to finally order fabrics directly from me. It took quite a while to sort that mess out, recover from that disappointment and have faith and trust in starting something new again. But after all that mess I could only move up… or at least so I thought… but how wrong was I… One disaster lead only to another and another… more delays, more problems with quality and more companies and people that only failed my trust. And with all the adversities I panicked and probably made some mistakes on my own too… But still I didn’t loose faith in my potential. I had a plan and a dream and I was not ready to give up.

Spring 2017 gave me some hope. I finally found a production process that worked! Finally all pieces of the puzzle fit! I experienced a moment of joy and hope. But there was one huge problem… time… too much time had passed… I had simply fallen out from the fabric world… The fabric business has changed tremendously during the last few years. When I started out everything was quite new… at least in Finland not many did what I did… designed for fabrics… But now the market is swamped with both designers and fabrics, everyone producing their own collections. It is more and more difficult to stand out and feel that you are doing something unique. I still have faith in SHALMIAK but is the future of this brand in fabrics? Not sure anymore… Because fabrics weren’t really my thing in begin with perhaps it is time to open myself to other venues again…

But do I regret taking the plunge into the fabric world on my own? Definitely NOT. It was a path I needed to walk through… And do I feel like giving up? No. I have done everything I can to make things work. Of course I could struggle and fight some more but would it be worth it? I don’t know. I still have love for fabrics and especially all the people that love my designs but I need to open myself to new possible opportunities…

A few years ago I was excited to wake up in the mornings and start planning something new. I want to feel that excitement again! I am hopeful that autumn 2017 will be a time for change – no matter what direction I will take.

This post is not about begging for sympathy… it is about sorting my own thoughts and giving you a little glimpse of the changes that might come…

If you were persistent enough to read this entire post, please leave a comment and your e-mail address by August 15th 2017. One of you will be drawn and rewarded with a fabric surprise :).

Best wishes,



17 thoughts on “…deSHAster… life of SHALMIAK…

  1. Minä todella tykkään sinun printeistä ja odotan innolla koska niitä tulee myyntiin. Paljon myös sellaisia kankaita olen nähnyt ulkoimaisissa blogeissa, joita en ole nähnyt myynnissä kotimaisissa kaupoissa.

    1. Jos jokin tietty kuosi on hakusessa niin saa ilman muuta olla yhteyksissä! Selvittelen sitten mikä on kankaan saatavuustilanne :). Kiitos ihanasta kommentista!

  2. Thank you for sharing! I have been so happy to be able to share your fabrics, and I truly understand where you are coming from. I hope you can continue with including fabrics with whatever you choose, and that I am in a position to support that!

  3. Kangasvalmistajia on paljon mutta Shalmiak on uniikki! Eli ei ole lupaa edes harkita lopettamista, mistä sitten löytyy yhtä ihania sateenkaaren värisiä hippikankaita?


    Mutta valaiseva kirjoitus, olenkin ihmetellyt että miksi ihmeessä mm. lillestoffilla on sinun suunnittelemaasi kuosia.

  4. I come from Germany and i Love your Stoff fabrics for my Organisation Mützen gegen Blutkrebs. I help Kids with my Handmade clothes. Dear Sandy

  5. My love for you fabrics starten with an used T-Shirt Made of Lillestoff Hippie Bus. I was very sad, this fabric was allready sold out and I was’nt able to sew a 2nd Shirt for the 2nd twin. But now it’s back with wonderful brother and sister! This is by far my favorite Design, but I like most of your fabrics. I will really miss you, if you leave fabrics world

  6. I think you are amazingly talented and I think whatever you do will be fantastic. Good luck in whatever you choose. I loved reading about your journey

  7. I’m and my kids are big big fans for all your designs❤️❤️❤️ I hope you find a good way for you❤️

  8. Shalmiakin kankaat on ihania ja erottuvat todellakin edukseen. <3 Toivottavasti jatkossakin niitä saa.

    1. Onnea! Congratulations! Noora is the winner of this draw. Thank you all for your lovely comments!

  9. Well done Sari,
    Your persistance has paid off as the quality of your fabric base plus printing is awesome. I love your fabrics, just wish I could buy them all.

  10. Hi Sari!
    Whatever your choice will be I am thankfull for those beautiful fabrics you have designed. The hippie van was one of my first fabrics I bought when starting my own little company. I love the colours, the diversity of your designs which lifts you up above the big common fabric producers. It’s funny how one can fall into a branch you’ve never thought you would be doing. It’s kind of my story too. I learned for graphic designer, what I still work as, but when we emigrated from Holland to Spain my interests were suddenly attracted to other creative things and so I became the creative spill in the village where we live. Nowadays I design and sew clothes and I sell them on some fairs. But still the graphic designer part of me is screaming for attention and guess what my biggest dream is now? Designing fabrics…that way I would be able to combine two of my biggest loves. Anyway…whatever your decision will be, I wish you all the best!
    Love, Anita

  11. Your desings are fantastic. I love them. I hope you don`t give up your amazingly talent to create lovely fabrics. I wish you all the best for your future.

  12. I thought I had already made a decision… but you all make it so difficult to change course :). We will see what the future brings… stay tuned 🙂

  13. Dear Sari, some years ago I discovered your designs on Dawanda (that was before you started your own production). At the time I browsed like hundreds of patterned fabrics but could instantly recognise which designs were yours, so colourful and playful and clean and well thought out at the same time 🙂
    I have 2 T-shirts I made, one from Pony Bloom, and one from Simple Hearts. I have some fabric left and sometime will find the time to make more of them, I hope 😉
    These patterns are an inspiration for me and I’ve regarded you as a role model ever since 🙂
    I wish you to find your own way to go on creating beautiful things, and finding joy doing it ;*

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