After working in the corporate world, Hopie Stockman changed course and followed her passion for art. Together with her sister Lily, she launched the Los Angeles–based textile company Block Shop in 2013. To make its creations, it collaborates with a community of master printers, dyers, and weavers in Rajasthan, India, to create pieces that blend traditional Indian hand-block printing with modern California flair.
Block Shop’s striking prints and its dedication to supporting its artists have helped the brand thrive. Its limited-edition goods, including linens, pillows, quilts, hand-woven dhurries and wool rugs are sold in boutiques around the world.
Stockman will take the GRAY Stage at Interior Design Show Vancouver on Friday, September 27, at 12:30 p.m. to deliver a keynote on Block Shop’s cult following and its transparent design practices. Ahead of her talk, GRAY caught up with Stockman to learn more about her family-run business and her longtime desire to become an artist—despite a childhood pipe dream of appearing in the traveling figure skating show Ice Capades.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An artist. I spent kindergarten recesses in the classroom painting pictures of horses. I was also obsessed with [figure skater] Peggy Fleming and desperately wanted to be in the Ice Capades.
Why is it important that your business has transparent design processes?
At the end of the day, we are a family business on every level. Our products are the result of years of collaboration, not outsourced overseas manufacturing. Relationships are at the heart of everything we do. Block Shop supports the small family business ecosystem and textile-making traditions of our partner communities by paying artists 30 to 100 percent above local market piece rates. We also invest five percent of our profits each year into our community health and empowerment programs in Jaipur, India.
What are you hoping attendees take away from your IDS keynote?
The merits of putting humanity at the center of your design and business practices. I hope I can be a champion of a thoughtfully run small business—what I see as capitalism at its best.
What has been the most rewarding thing about running Block Shop?
My sister and I share a lifelong passion for bringing beauty into the world. But for years, our paths diverged into alternate universes of newsrooms (for her) and corporate conference rooms (for me). So the most rewarding feeling is when a physical object, space, or artwork we designed comes to life, and taking stock that we did it together.
What is the best, and worst, advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice was from my sixth-grade piano teacher. When my “boyfriend” broke up with me and I showed up to my piano lesson in tears, she looked me right in the eye and made me promise her I would never settle. Not in relationships, or in life.
The best advice when starting a business is to say “yes” to everything—but at a certain point, that becomes the worst advice and can run a brand into the ground. The challenge is to know when that shift is happening and mastering the art of saying “no.”
Don’t miss out on any of the IDS action. Visit vancouver.interiordesignshow.com for the full schedule of installations, talks, and exhibitors, or check out GRAY’s picks for what to do during the 15th-annual event.