Liz Lauter Designs began designing and producing textile products in 1989, hand painting and screen printing Liz's artwork onto aprons, tote bags and placemats. Today her designs are produced by select manufacturers worldwide.
Liz's colorful chalk drawings and paintings of fruit, veggies, flowers, ceramic tiles and patterns are reproduced in full color on a growing list of apparel, accessory and home accent products. We use the latest print on demand technology to fabricate each product as it is ordered. We oversee quality and consistency delivered to you.
Our apparel products include t-shirts, tops, leggings, and yoga pants.
Our accessory products include: sneakers, yoga mats, home accent cushions, wall art, mugs.
Liz's Design Story
'I've always made things that I needed and enjoyed. As a child I built forts to play in, sewed costumes, made pottery, and grew cherry tomatoes. Fabric paint was a revelation where anything white became a canvas. My hand painted textile business began when I hand painted and sewed canvas director chair covers, pillows, aprons, place mats, table cloths, floor mats. My designs were inspired from Islamic tiles, flowers, and gardens from our years living in Israel and back home in California.
. When stores wanted my work, the new challenge was to learn how to manufacture.
My first big retail customer was the fanciest store in San Francisco, Gumps. We had just returned home from Israel and my father-in-law bet me a nickel that I couldn't sell my hand painted products to them.
Here is a picture of the store window of my work at Gumps on display for 2 months on Post Street in downtown San Francisco. 1989
LIZ LAUTER DESIGNS TAKES OFF LIKE A ROCKET
Liz Lauter Designs grew into a 10 year business of designing, screen printing, sewing and marketing locally manufactured textile products. I worked closely with local screen printers and sewing shops in the San Francisco and Marin County area. We sold nationally and internationally from the garage of our house, then we moved to a warehouse when the llandlord threated to evict us for running a business out of the garage.
My Brand Took Form with The Flower Pot Apron
Gardening and Gourmet casual lifestyle themes defined my designs and products. The FLOWER POT APRON was my signature product which I created to hold a cell phone and tools while working in the garden. The cuffed pockets were shaped to llook like flower pots. It remained unique in the marketplace and sold in garden gift shops, departments and catalogs across the USA and internationally.
Denim fabric was my favorite surface and the fabric of my generation. It is the most practical textile because it doesn't show the dirt and wears well.
It was a challenge to print colors on the dark denim fabric, so I developed a printing method with my screen printer that we called "Glaze Printing". We were able to print vibrant prints on a dark ground so my artwork still looked hand painted.
APRONS exploded as a popular category and I expanded my collections to include "GOURMET APRONS"
My byline, "Liz Lauter brings the garden indoors with lush painterly prints" reflected designs and products expanding from the outside to inside the home.
My product mix included tote bags, t-shirts, kitchen and gardening aprons,folding sun hats, dish towels, place mats, decorative pillows and more.
Most of my 5000 customers were literally on "Main Street" across the USA.
Gardening Theme Popularity
As I flipped through seed catalogs during the winter, II noticed a connection between descriptions of veggies and associations with a person. It made me laugh to think that a person could be described as "ready early", "very reliable", "disease resistant". The Liz Lauter Seed & Plant Co. collection was born with chalk drawing designs on t-shirts and big white aprons.
I designed packing for the t-shirts to look like giant seed packets with an old fashioned looking label. The sales were huge and stock constantly ran out. The fastest seller was: "Big Jim. Hot and Spicey. Firm meaty, 7" fruit, fire engine red when fully mature."
Gardening became the #1 gift category for year 'round sales. That inpired me to create the seed packet inspired collection.
THE BIG SHIFT AND END
The recession of the late 1990's reduced my customer base of "mom and pop" gift stores who were replaced by "big box" retailers. Online sales didn't really exist yet, so I closed down my production business and focused on my own art making and got my high school teaching credential to teach art.
I felt sad turning away loyal customers who still wanted my products.
NEW PRINTING TECHNOLOGY ARRIVED!
I discovered online selling and "print on demand" as a way to bring back my designs onto products, although as at the moment, I still do not have an apron manufacturer who I like.
The first product I could really bring back are my gardening Seed and Plant Co. t-shirts. Look for them in my catalog. There is sure to be one that matches someone you know.
As I explore the new manufacturing world, I am discovering all of the new products that I can put my artwork onto--products unimaginable when I did my own manufacturing. To print on shoes is an absolute thrill.
So I've just begun again.
If you want to follow my new creative adventures, like my FaceBook page and follow me on Instagram.