canopy studio by kat webster

by Grace Bonney

Amy and I are working on a special upholstery project for the new D*S office, so I’ve had indie fabrics on my mind. Because our sofa budget limited us to a more affordable box-store sofa, I wanted to use the rest of our seating budget to work with an independent designer in some way. We both love the look of two-tone or partially reupholstered sofas (this one is a fave), so we want to have slipcovers made for just the seats. I’ve been scouring Etsy for some new fabrics to work with, and I loved these options from Kat Webster at Canopy Studio. Kat sells her original designs by the yard right here and also designed this sweet modern cat bed. Cute cat designs and nice textiles? I’m sold. xo, grace

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  • Love the concept of a partially reupholstered sofa. We’re inheriting one from some friends this week, and I like this concept better than another boring slipcover from BB&B. Please post pics of the sofa when you’re done!

  • Interesting. She prints her fabric at Spoonflower (I recognize the markings in the selvage), where she can buy the linen-cotton canvas at $24.30/yard with her designer discount ($27/yard for anyone else), then sells it at etsy for $42/yard.

  • Sure, she can charge whatever she wants.

    But those of us who can’t afford $42/yard for fabric can buy directly from the hundreds of designers who offer their designs for sale at Spoonflower. Their $27/yard designs are printed using the same process and on the same fabric as Canopy Studio’s. Just FYI.

    Here are some examples I just ran searches for (no, I don’t know these people):
    – a black and white abstract brush stroke: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/562456
    – irregular gray stripes: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/553697
    – kelly green and white chevrons: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/332854
    – kelly green and linen lozenges: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/661991
    – a navy and white herringbone: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/740113

    • sarah

      i understand wanting a more affordable price, but i also understand the very fair needs of the independent designer to charge enough to actually profit from their work, not just break even.


  • I just looked at that amazing Eames inspired cat bed. OH MY GOSH. I’m sure that any cat would love it, but….I want one too, only human sized! If you haven’t clicked on the cat bed, please don’t miss it. It’s simply exquisite.

  • You’re still supporting the designers when you buy from them @ Spoonflower. SF pays designers a percentage for all sales.

    Don’t forget, not every designer can afford to (or wants to) pay the up-front cost of stocking yards of fabric in order to resell it thru another site like etsy. There are thousands of beautiful fabrics for sale at directly at SF.

    • Sarah

      Yes, but is that percentage a livable wage for their time? I don’t know what it is, but it’s a valid question and may explain them wanting to resell at a higher cost to cover their design costs.


  • How would I (or you, or any of us) know what any designer considers a “livable wage?”

    If a designer is selling their fabrics @ SF, then they are presumably ok with the cut they get from SF — designers don’t have to offer their designs for sale (or even make them public).

    • Sarah

      A livable wage is actually fairly easy to figure out if the designer considers their cost to design (an hourly wage typically), the cost of production, the cost of distribution, taxes and other factors like their studio, hardware and software. I feel strongly that supporting indie design means supporting the costs designers need to charge to run a profitable business. And I dont think the price she’s charging seems that out of range.


  • What I meant was how on earth would you or I know what a particular designer’s financial situation is? And how much they need to charge to make a profit?

    It sounds like you wouldn’t support designers selling on Spoonflower at all, because you think the commission that they pay designers who sell there is insufficient. FYI, it costs a designer nothing to offer their fabric for sale at SF.

    And, if you do the math, it looks like Canopy Studio IS losing money. etsy charges to list every item, and takes a 3.5% cut of all sales. Plus, if an etsy seller uses PayPal (which most do, including Canopy Studio), that’s another transaction fee, and a 2.9% cut. Some quick math will tell you that if Canopy Studio is buying a yard of fabric from SF (at her designer discount) for $24.50/yard, and then selling it for $42/yard, she’s paying $27.38 in fees to etsy and PayPal. That looks like a loss of $9.68 to me. Who knows, maybe the fabric is a loss-leader for the cat beds?

    Obviously, you have the money (and the noblesse oblige, obviously) to pay extra to support “indie” designers (and etsy and PayPal,while you’re at it). That’s great for you. Not all of us are as lucky.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with supporting both SF and the community of talented designers who have decided to sell their work there. I’d rather support great design no matter where it’s for sale.

    • Sarah

      I’m certainly not saying that designers shouldn’t sell their work on Spoonflower, or that Spoonflower is in any way hurting designers. What I am saying is that all designers need to pay themselves a living wage. Whether or not we know what their financial situation is, we can assume they need to cover their cost for design work, production, expenses, etc.

      So, if a designer is marking up their work to cover that, I’m in support of that. Does it mean not everyone can afford their work? Possibly. But should a designer be forced to not pay themselves fairly because other people can’t afford their work? I don’t think so. For me, supporting indie work means sometimes understanding that handmade work may be something out of your range or something that requires saving up for.

      You’ve incorrectly assumed that I have the money to buy something because I’ve written about it. I write about independent design that I think is well made and worth its price, regardless of it being within my own personal budget. I also write about things regardless of where they are for sale. I’ve written about many Spoonflower artists and I love the service Spoonflower offers- this has nothing to do with their site. My basic point is that if an artist feels the need to resell something at a higher cost to make enough of a profit to support their business, I don’t have a problem with that.

      Also, I think it’s worth noting that while Etsy may take a cut of an artist’s sales, they often (but not always) can make up for that by offering exposure, promotion, a very large amount of traffic that can result in a larger number of sales.


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