Textile Tuesday! Mili Suleman started the Texas-based design studio Kufri Life as a way to reconnect with her mother. The duo aimed to strengthen their relationship by exploring things that they were both passionate about- creative pursuits, design, travel, and above all, living an authentic, globally oriented life. And given Mili’s interest in history and heritage, the obvious answer was to start a textile design studio. Because very few things tie historical, socio-cultural and design influences from around the world like fabrics and textiles. Mili was born in Bombay, India and grew up in the Persian Gulf country of Oman, where her family still lives. Mili moved to the United States 15 years ago and now lives in Dallas, Texas. All those diverse experiences have informed Mili’s aesthetic sense and have shaped her creative ventures. In addition to her professional graphic design business, Mili runs Kufri Life that offers handmade fabrics. They specialize in hand-woven and dyed ikat textiles as well as hand screen-printed fabrics in fresh and modern prints. Kufri Life offers that sought-after fusion of traditional methods and contemporary designs and effortlessly straddles a host of global and local influences. We asked Mili to share her creative journey with us.
MS: Always! Through school, I explored the arts thoroughly! From classical dance to creative writing, oil painting, charcoal sketches, and needlework. I explored it all, but I feel like it wasn’t enough. There’s so much more that I want to explore. Along the way, I have met other creatives who have inspired me to push further and this has guided me for sure. But my own curiosity has also been crucial in my journey. (Otherwise I’d be sitting in front of the TV, eating chips and watching old Poirot episodes.)
What is the favorite part of your work day?
MS: When I get there early in the morning and it’s quiet and I can catch up with emails and design work before the phone starts ringing.
Any advice for other creative entrepreneurs?
MS: Get up and go somewhere! To a bookstore, to a new town or to a dinner with friends. Practice what you are not good at, but need for your own success. Dream up a big, full, rich life and then make it happen! And for your own sanity, limit your time on Instagram!
If you could change one thing about your work or work-related circumstances, what would it be?
MS: I currently live in McKinney, a suburb of North Dallas with my husband and mini pinscher and my design studio is in Richardson/Dallas. I wish the Dallas area had more creatives who appreciate the “authentic global aesthetic”-there isn’t enough of that here. If you are out there in Dallas shaking your head, send me an email! I wish there was more genuine camaraderie around here like you find in some of the larger cities like New York or LA. That would be wonderful!
The fastest way to get rid of creative block?
MS: Browse at a bookstore or walk the shops of your city!
One thing every entrepreneur should invest in?
MS: Custom Thank You cards or a custom gift and of course, a good laptop.
Goal for 2015?
MS: To form new relationships and land new accounts. Small steps lead to big things.
Best trick to instantly increase confidence?
MS: The oldest trick in the book! Look the part and you’ll feel better instantly. Do your hair, a dash of makeup, wear comfortably stylish clothes and good shoes.
What’s on top of your bucket list?
MS: Travel to Africa.
You can find Kufri Life fabrics here.
Image credits/ copyright: Kufri Life Fabrics. 1) Mili Suleman of Kufri Life/ Photography by Shanna Anderson; 2) Kufri Life/ Photography by Mili Suleman and styling by Paige Morse.