Business

Durham digital textile company expands during pandemic

Posted May 25, 2020 6:04 p.m. EDT
Updated May 26, 2020 11:47 a.m. EDT

— A Durham digital printing company manufacturer is thriving with high demand because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The company has expanded and is hiring more employees. Spoonflower is shifting gears to keep up.

“It’s pretty crazy to be completely honest. Our business has tripled in less than 30 days," said Michael Jones, the CEO of Spoonflower.

He said did not expect business to pick-up so quickly.

“It caught us by surprise and so we’ve been moving as fast as we humanly possibly can to keep up," he added.

With more than 1.8 million designs from artists all over the world, customers are gravitating toward Spoonflower for print-on-demand wallpaper, home decor and fabric needs.

“We’ve expanded 25,000 square feet here in Durham. That actually means taking over office space for our office employees," said Jones.

Along with expansion, the company had its highest pay-out in April for independent artists who design for them. “I can watch the sales come rolling in. That’s benefited me financially. I feel badly that it is because of a pandemic," said Virginia Odien, an independent designer.

She lives in Southern California and has made designs for Spoonflower for 11 years. During the pandemic, she made designs for masks. She feels grateful that her work now brings a sense of safety, during a time of uncertainty.

“Emotionally, I know that somewhere out there somebody bought one of my designs and is using it to protect themselves or their loved ones at home," said Odien.

The Spoonflower community donated fabric for masks early on and then partnered with the Masks Now Coalition to provide even more PPE to health care workers.

The company now has an immediate need for 50 new employees in all departments including factory operations and customer service.

"They’re hiring more people. Their employing people in a time when most people aren’t able to work," she added.

A big reason why those office spaces were knocked down was to create an open space so employees can continue working while following CDC guidelines.

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