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Brooklyn Crafted Textiles by BAYITH

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Catherine Schiff is the founder and designer behind BAYITH, a collection of home textiles that focuses on elevating your dinner party. After becoming disenchanted with the production process of mass market retailers, and armed with her textile knowledge, Catherine launched BAYITH. She promotes thoughtful design techniques while fostering the growth of the creative community in Brooklyn. In fact, she recently partnered with one of our fellow designers, Allison Samuels Two Tree Studios and the talented photographer Casey Feehan for a Brooklyn maker photo shoot. Every BAYITH piece is designed in-house, sewn in small batches, and embroidered by hand in Brooklyn, New York. We had the opportunity to chat with Catherine about her background and process. Read below to get a peek into Catherine's world, and be sure to check out her beautiful collection of textiles here.

What's your background? Tell us a little about yourself.

My background has always been in the fine arts, but always with a "more reasonable" career focus taking center stage. After much debate, I opted for a career in fashion design at FIT. Seemed like a reasonable move, but after just a few years in the industry, it was evident that sustainability, craftsmanship, and respect of materials were not something that the industry at large cared about. I ventured out on my own, found great mentors, and vowed to always maintain integrity in my own business. To me, that means sustainability is always the driving force in every choice that I make, including using wildflower seed paper in my hangtags. I chose to focus on table textiles because I love the sense of community and celebrations that come with dinner parties. 

How does your environment affect your work?

My studio is in my home located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The fact that the studio takes up what is technically half the kitchen/dining room means that I've always got dinner parties in the back of my mind. I'm constantly thinking about how guests will interact with the cocktail napkins or whatever textile and how the textile gains more significance with each use.

In a few words, how would you describe your work?

Refreshing goods for warm gatherings

What inspires you to create? 

I love seeing my creations out in the world and seeing people interact with them and use them in their everyday life. This drives me to continue creating.

What does your day to day look like?

Everyday is different. I could be swatching fabric in the Garment District, meeting with a wedding client about rentals, planning a marketing strategy with my PR rep, or running an idea for a new product by my event planner friends. Like most small business owners, I wear a lot of hats.

What's your favorite part about your job?

Seeing the textiles used in everyday interactions as well as major life celebrations.

What's the best thing about running a small business?

The community! I'm part of a small business group called Rising Tide and I love the sense of support and wealth of knowledge the community has to offer.

What's the first thing you ever remember making?

It was definitely a stick drawing, probably of a elephant.

What are you reading/watching right now?

I'm watching The Handmaid's Tale and it's terrifying. I just finished reading a sci-fi book called "The Three-Body Problem." It's reality bending goodness.

Favorite artist(s) in any field, living or dead?

I really admire actors that use their fame to support worthy causes. Emma Watson is amazing because she carries herself with such grace and dedicates a lot of her energy to women related causes. It doesn't hurt that her performance as Hermione was solid too.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Seek out advice, support, know your margins, and above all maintain integrity.