Allison East has been in the linen industry for over ten years. She has become a fundamental part of our BBJ team because of her knowledge, creativity, and background. Her inspiring journey and involvement in the linen industry have made her our latest Linenfluencer. We sat down with Allison to get to know her better and learn more about her experiences.
Q: How did you get started in the industry?
A: “I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and majored in Fashion Merchandising and Design. In 2008 I started a specialty linen company in Tampa, Florida. I jumped in with both feet knowing very little about the industry. My passion for design, paired with my love of textiles, made the journey so worth-while. Two short years later, I sold my company, and two years later, I started my chapter with BBJ Linen.”
Q: Can you describe what you do for BBJ?
A: “I regularly curate fabric collections launched throughout the year. I travel the world for inspiration, looking for the next best thing. I try to find fabrics and textiles that inspire our clients to think outside the box, find their creativity, and bring the designs to life”
“The majority of our fabrics, I customize.”
Q: How do you create your collections?
A: “When I’m coming up with new collections, I find one new element that defines the collection. I base collections on seasons, patterns, and colors. From there, I build on it to discover the story behind the foundational element. For example, pink or orange are warm summer fabrics, and blues and greens are cool and calming. After I have the first fabric, and the story behind it, I select supporting products to complete the collection.”
Design: Anna Lucia Event + Allison East, Photography: Hunter Ryan Photo, Floral: 50Fifty Creative Services, Rentals: Event Effects + Party Time Rentals + Events on the Loose
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: “I get a lot of inspiration from traveling, looking through magazines, searching on Pinterest, watching HGTV, and shopping. As I go about my day, my brain is constantly searching for inspiration. When I find it, it will stop me in my tracks. It’s a feeling I get inside when I see something and KNOW it has potential.”
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: “Besides curating the collections of fabric, I love starting with swatches and then creating a collection with a cohesive story. I enjoy creating concepts, coming up with a mood board, and then seeing the collection come together. Seeing my designs come to life through other event professional’s pictures on social media is very rewarding”
Designer: Madcap Cottage + Allison East, Photography: Theo Milo Photography, Floral: Out Of The Garden
Q: What is it like working with designers?
A: “The designers that I work with truly inspire me. They take a different approach and have a different viewpoint. Every designer is completely different, and they open my eyes to new creative options. Working together to create a cohesive story that reflects their style is the most important. When you have two masterminds working together to create a story, there is a lot of dialogue. We ask questions like who will use this fabric? What’s important to you? What’s your style? How can we translate your style into a collection of fabrics that everyone is going to love?”
“I’ve built a lot of great relationships with designers that I have worked with so far, and I’m excited about future designers.”
Designer: Stephanie Bradshaw + Allison East Photography: Michael + Carina Photography Floral: Amaryllis Floral + Event Design Venue: Baltimore Museum of Art
Q: Looking toward the future, what are you most excited about?
A: “I am looking forward to continuing to add new fabric collections. The momentum that we have had over the past few years is not going to slow down. I’m excited about fresh new colors, bold exciting prints, and the taste of elegance that’s undeniable.”
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
A: “As a mother of four daughters, I have a difficult time sitting still. Even when I’m not working, I am passionate about being creative. I’ve redecorated my home three times in the last four years. I love building and restoring furniture. I love to do acrylic pour painting and marbling”
“I am working toward creating art, and then translate it to a fabric collection.”