I am frequently asked, "How did you start Pomegranate?", and my mind races back to life nearly 23 years ago. I become a bit emotional as I think about life before five children, newly married and living on a farm two hours outside of Cape Town, South Africa. My husband was busy as ever, working on his family's horse farm, and I was, well, should we say, less than acclimated.
I would head into the small town where we lived, and be bombarded with stares from locals who wanted to catch a glimpse of the blonde American who moved nearby. They peered around checkout counters, eager to be the one who checked me out, so they could hear me speak. To say that I was caught off-guard by these reactions is the understatement of the century. I would race home, and before cell phones and internet, call my sisters, best friend, and mother, trying to recant the days events, through laughter and tears.
I filled my days canning peaches, drying flowers, baking bread and painting murals on every bare wall throughout the house. Once I had gained 20 lbs. and had no more bare walls to adorn, I began to paint needlepoint canvases. I taught the local women how to cross-stitch, thinking perhaps I could sell their work, and explored setting up a cottage industry on the farm. The price of wool was far too high and availability too scarce in South Africa at the time, so the idea fizzled. Strike one.
A dear friend of my husband's had a business in Cape Town importing Indian hand-blocked textiles and distributing them throughout the country. I was enamored by the beautiful prints and bright colors of the designs. I did not know know anything about textile design, India, or the historic traditions of hand-block printing, but asked if I could take a stab at designing a print to sell.
I was hooked! When the samples came in, and I saw my idea come to life as marketable home textiles, I knew I had found a practical outlet for my creativity. By the time the product hit the stores in South Africa, our first child had been born; I named the print "Emma" after our beautiful daughter. Today is Emma's 21st birthday.