852 Fabric was born by accident in 2018 when I was frustrated with the choice of fabric available in Hong Kong as a beginner sewist. The retail fabric available had a limited range of designs (especially if you are looking for knit fabric) and the alternative was to buy online. The online fabric shops were aimed mainly at the Western market, or focused on licensed characters. There was a lack of fabric designs that interested me and which reflected my background as someone born and bred in Hong Kong.
I had an interest in surface and fabric design and so found a printer to make up a few unique custom designs initially, however their lowest minimum quantity was 10m in each design.
This was more than I needed so I reached out to sell the extra fabric in the local Facebook sewing group. Feedback was positive, so I set up our Facebook group in late 2018 to take preorders and to enable members to showcase their makes from our fabric and support each other with sewing questions.
Fast forward to now and our Facebook group has over 3,400 members and we have run over 50 preorder rounds, with 100 plus fabric designs printed. Subscription boxes were launched in Sept 2021 and finally we have set up our website in Jan 2022, which now stocks cotton scarves / handkerchiefs, canvas tote bags, our Districts gift box and other Hong Kong gifts (no assembly / sewing required!).
It has been hard work and we’ve had to provide some education as fabric preorders as a business model was not common in Hong Kong and Asia.
I’ve had to learn everything as essentially one-woman fabric business (with some help from my family) – from packaging, branding, logistics and shipping, fabric graphic design, and the technical aspects of fabric printing. Before the pandemic I traveled to Suzhou, China and visited in person the digital printing operations for the various fabric bases we offer, and the massive weaving mills which weave the base cotton woven and cotton canvas. I have also visited the industrial knitting factories which produce our cotton lycra knit and cotton French Terry bases.
Customer service is very important to me, as well as building a robust community to support our fans and loyal customers. The thing that I am most proud of is how engaged and supportive everyone in our Facebook group has been – I definitely recommend joining if you want to see hundreds of amazing sewing projects made with our fabric.