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Meet Hopie Stockman of Block Shop Textiles in Atwater Village

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hopie Stockman.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Hopie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Lily and I are sisters, and have been making art together since we were little kids growing up on a family in New Jersey. We always dreamed of running a creative business together.

Our idea to start Block Shop stemmed from our relationship to a community of wood block printers outside of Jaipur, India, who Lily and I got to know while she was living in Jaipur studying Indian miniature painting in 2010. So Block Shop really began as a passion project, with the goal of honoring and celebrating the tradition of Indian hand block printing while creating products in our own geometric design vernacular.

We established our business in 2013 out of our Cambridge, MA apartments while I was in business school and Lily was teaching painting. Now we’re in LA with a team of six women and have a full collection of home textiles and framed woodblock prints on paper. Fast forward 20 years from those childhood art projects, and we ended up where we started: making art together, squabbling over color decisions, and running most decisions by our mom. We’re a family business through and through.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been a journey full of growth, profound joy, intense challenges, and lots of daily administrative drudgery just like any desk job. When it’s your brainchild, the emotional stakes are heightened for better or worse. In general, I find the softer decisions around people and leadership to be the most nuanced – and therefore challenging – aspect of running my own business.

We work with five organizations of printers and weavers in India whose practices and workshops meet our ethical and quality standards; and we go to India twice a year to prototype new designs and run community health initiatives for our textile artists and their families. Imperfections and frequent delays are inherent to our process and have made scaling our business difficult. But mass market has never been our goal, so we try to embrace the literal / figurative “wobbles” as part of the beauty of handmade production.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Block Shop Textiles story. Tell us more about the business.
We aim to bring extraordinary design into the contemporary home with our home textiles. We make scarves, pillows, rugs, quilts, robes, paper prints and (are starting to do) upholstery fabric. The hand block printing process is beautiful, meditative, labor intensive, and requires great skill. Seven sets of hands are required to make one scarf, pillow or quilt. We love that you can see the human hand in every one of our imperfect textiles. It makes each piece unique.

Our designs are inspired by the landscapes and architecture where we spend our time: Los Angeles, the Mojave desert, and Jaipur. We also look to our favorite artists for inspiration (Josef and Anni Albers, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin), which contribute to a design language that is distinctly Block Shop.

We started our business with a commitment to the infrastructure of our partner communities in India, which continues to be a guiding force 6 years into running Block Shop. We donate 5% of our profits towards community health initiatives, which we currently execute in the form of health camps. We partner with a local NGO to bring eye doctors, dentists and general practitioners from nearby Jaipur to run check-ups for our artist communities every six months.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see our industry moving further towards fragmentation; niche brands with unique narratives, superior customer service and personalization. Genuine, in-person experiences are how brands will differentiate themselves in the future.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Laura Dart for portraits, Studio photo with yellow couch by Maggie Shannon, All others are Lily and Hopie Stockman

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