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Meet: Good Fabric

Polina, wearing a green and orange top smiling
  • Written byEleanor Harvey
  • Published date11 March 2022
Polina, wearing a green and orange top smiling
Polina, Founder of Good Fabric

Polina spent over a decade working in the Fashion industry after graduating from London College of Fashion, UAL at brands such as Burberry and Anya Hindmarch.

When she was made redundant during the first lockdown, it provided Polina a chance to reassess her priorities. This led to setting up Good Fabric, an online fabric store where you don’t have to make the choice between beautiful, colourful or sustainable fabric. All the fabrics stocked have at least one eco-credential.

She spoke to us about Good Fabric and her time at LCF.

Swatches of material laid on a table
Credit: Good Fabric

Since graduating you’ve worked for some of the biggest names in fashion in Production/Product Development. Can you tell us more about your career?

After graduation, I remember as it was yesterday, I had 11 interviews and I was struggling to get a job until Anya Hindmarch called me and offered me a job as an office manager. I loved the brand and really enjoyed my interview with them, and this was probably my best career decision ever. Two months later I was promoted and was offered a job as junior production manager and I’ve been in production and product development for 12 years.

I’ve been incredible lucky in my career, as I had amazing mentors or managers that taught me so much. I also had very bad managers, but I’m glad I had those in my career too. It taught me more about leadership, work dynamics as well as teaching me to stand up for myself in a work environment and in general, made me confident in my own skills.

A person stood behind a table, holding up some pink material
Credit: Good Fabric

In 2020 you started your own company, Good Fabric. What inspired the career change? What’s your experience of starting your own company been like?

I have been made redundant during first lockdown in 2020 which was a blessing in disguise. I was struggling to balance work and motherhood, so having been furloughed for couple of months gave me time to breathe, think, recharge, get excited about the next chapter of my life.

I wanted to use all my skills and knowledge in the industry and yet be present for all the important moments of my daughter life, so being my own boss was the obvious answer.

I love every moment of running my own business, even when I work till 11pm or weekends, but it doesn’t feel like work. The saying ‘do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life’ definitely resonates with me.

One thing I’ll note is that running your own business can be lonely, sometimes you just need another professional opinion or ability to talk through your ideas out loud. Your family and friends mean well, but I really needed a professional opinion rather than friendly one. This is the time where the little black book of contacts has been very helpful.

A person stood behind a table, holding patterned material in different shades of pink
Credit: Good Fabric

Can you tell us more about Good Fabric. What was the inspiration behind the company?

Just before the first lockdown I started few sewing classes. Sewing your own clothes, embracing slow fashion, being mindful of our consumption felt right and then I started looking for fabric shops online.

First, I really struggled to find good fabric online shops with quality websites, let alone good fabrics and there were zero online fabric stores focusing on sustainable fibre contents.

It all came crashing to me, I had the knowledge and the skills to source good fabrics and there was a huge gap in the home sewing market. So, I guess my light bulb moment was identifying that gap.

Different dark pink material laid out, with spools of cotton
Credit: Good Fabric

What tips would you give to someone at the beginning of their career?

This may sound obvious but do start your own little black book of contacts from day one. Build your own strong and positive relationships with your suppliers. I’ve had freelance consulting opportunities because of my contacts, so you never know where it may lead you.

My second piece of advice would be to know your worth and learn to negotiate your own salary. Always have an answer ready in the back of your mind why you’re the best person for this job, why the company should pay you the salary that you’re asking. If you have the right honest answer, then the company can’t argue with that.

Pieces of material neatly folded on a chair
Credit: Good Fabric

You finished your BA (Hons) Fashion Management at LCF in 2011. What was your time at LCF like? What were some of the highlights?

It was hectic, in a good kind of way.

Whilst studying I had a part-time job as well as internships all throughout my 3 years at LCF. It wasn’t a must by any means, but I was determined to get as much experience in the industry as possible before graduating, after all one of the amazing benefits of being an LCF student, is that it opens door to internships and placements.

So yes, I was very busy with studying, working and being 20-year-old and enjoying London life.

Different materials in shades of taupe and brown
Credit: Good Fabric

How did you find the course? What would you say to someone thinking of starting the same BA?

The course itself is not very time consuming, we only had 1-2 lectures a day max, which allowed to get those very important internships and industry experience first-hand.

If someone was thinking of starting BA Fashion Management degree, I would say that you need to have a lot of self-discipline to be on top of your own work and motivation to embrace all the opportunities that LCF offers.

You get out of it what you put in. After graduating it’s extremely competitive to get jobs, so what sets you apart is your experience. Having LCF on your CV will get your foot in the door, which is a hard obstacle overcome if you want to work in the industry, but don’t have the right higher education.

So, embrace the opportunities that LCF has to offer from jobs to talks and events you never know where it may lead you.

What are your hopes for the future? 

I have so many ideas and plan for the business, I want to do it all but there aren’t enough hours in the day.

As much as I want to plan it gets very overwhelming, so I try to focus on short term strategies for now. This year I am focusing on PR and Marketing, two fields that are not my expertise but I’m really enjoying learning and experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t.

I am also working more and more with start-ups and small brands by helping them source fabrics for their collections. It’s really nice to be able to share my knowledge and help where I can.

See more on Good Fabric's website

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