Finding a good designer is like finding a favourite brand of jeans – you like how they make you feel, the way you (or your home) look and you realize you’ll go to great lengths to continue following their evolution as an artist. This is how I feel like South African designer Skinny laMinx, whose real name is Heather Moore.
Ever since I spent an afternoon in Stellenbosch in 2008 and bought a few of her pieces at a stylish boutique (the name escapes me: because, wine touring). Since then, I sometimes find Skinny laMinx stationary in places like Chapters or purchase some of her textiles online. Her designs are often simple and bright lighting up any room they inhabit. My favourite Skinny laMinx design of all time are her pin cushion protea fabric.
When I started following Moore on Instagram and heard about the classes she runs in India teaching people about textile printing and patterns, I added the trip to my bucket list. A hang out in India learning about design with like minded folks and a super inspiring artist, no problem. This past month, I finally mustered up the moxy to ask her for an interview, she obliged, therefore confirming yet another aspect of Heather Moore/Skinny laMinx that I adore: she’s a nice person, who also has a potty mouth.
Here’s an interview with Cape Town-based, Heather Moore of Skinny laMinx about what makes her job as an illustrator and textile artist so f*#king awesome.
So how did you get that f*#king awesome job? Can you describe what your job is and what it is that you do?
I design patterns for printing onto fabric, paper, and anything else for my little company, called Skinny laMinx. There are aspects of it that feel like a “job”, but most of the time, my work is very enjoyable, as it encompasses all the things I really enjoy working on: branding, marketing, strategising and, of course, design. Having a team to help with all the bits I find difficult, or which I no longer have to capacity to do myself, has made my working days very, very enjoyable!
Did you have to give anything up to get here?
I’ve always been self-employed, so I didn’t have to quit anything that provided a salary and/or status. In fact, it is only due to some gains that I was able to start Skinny laMinx at all! My previous work had been in educational materials illustration and develoment, and when one of those projects started bringing in royalties, it allowed me the freedom to start exploring the opportunities that my experiments with screenprinting and online sales began to bring in.
As things became busier and the business grew, the inevitable long hours, no weekends and neglected friendships grew, but I’m lucky enough to have a great team helping me out these days, so there’s much more time to enjoy life (and work) these days. You’re trying to make work out as best you can.
In three words or less, what’s the best part of your job?
Alone studio time.
In three words or less, what’s the worst part of your job?
I swear more.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I fancied being a forensic pathologist for quite some time, but I don’t think I was totally clear on the fact that dead bodies and scalpels were involved.
What is your drink of choice?
Tea in bed with my bloke first thing, followed by a sociable coffee on the way to work, and the day rounded off with a G+T (preferably one of our fabulous local brands).
Where was the last place you travelled?
I’m travelling right now! This interview is being conducted under a parrot-filled tree in Jaipur, India, where I’m teaching pattern design on an experiential travel course.
Earlier this year, my husband and I spent three weeks in Los Angeles, where I attended the launch of the Skinny laMinx pop up at the Heath Ceramics store on Beverley Boulevard.
What’s on your playlist right now?
I recently discovered the sweet harmonies of a Brooklyn-based Aussie pair called Luluc.
What are your top three reads vis a vis your career (books, magazines, manuals, podcasts)?
Jonathan Adler’s “Prescription for Antidepressant Living” is very inspiring to me for the light touch and sheer enjoyment he brings to his brand.
Tokuhiko Kise and Hiromi Karatsus’ book NEST – Under the Tree, tells the story of the development of this Osaka-based couples’ furniture brand TRUCK. It is a delightful tale, and really is a blueprint for how to integrate work and life and family and friends and food and pets and all kinds of enthusiasm.
I find the Skillshare.com site a valuable resource for brushing up Photoshop skills, and for great tutorials on all manner of things, both business- and design-related
Any advice for someone who’s looking to lock down their f*#king awesome job?
Get a great website, answer emails, deliver on your promises, be generous, find likeminded people to work with, and try to remember that friends and family are more important than work.
To check out Skinny laMinx’s goodies in Canada you can go to Buk & Nola
To see Skinny laMinx goodies in the USA try these stores.
Lastly, do you want to know more about Moore’s home town of Cape Town? Visit my Cape Town mini-guide.