The Process Of A New Product (and an introduction to Gladys!)
Happy weekend everyone! I'm super excited to introduce you all to Gladys, the newest addition to the SewSew doorstops! She is very cheeky, and I'll be honest, Gordon wasn't too keen at first (he's a stickler for manners!). But he soon warmed to her and I hope you will too!
When I was designing Gladys I thought it might be fun to show you a bit of the process behind making a new product. Essential, as a designer/maker, I do just that, design stuff, make it and put it in my shop for sale. But there's a lot more to it than just that and some products take days, weeks, even months before they're ready to be put in the SewSew shoppe. So here's what went on with Gladys.....
All the SewSew goodies start as a doodle. I knew I wanted to make a new doorstop and they have a specific shape so I could just sit and scribble out lots of little weird dome shaped creatures(this is just one page, I got a bit carried away!). The doorstops have been very male dominated for a while so I wanted to lean towards a girlier version. For a while I was thinking kissy lips would be fun but it just wasn't working. As soon as I doodled the pokey out tongue version I knew it had the personality I wanted so I drew up a quick, bigger sketch in colour.
Once you're design is in place you can start thinking about the pattern and materials. I go through my swatches from suppliers I like to use and mix and match colours. Gladys was pretty easy as she only has one main colour and an accent colour for the tongue. Picking colours and fabrics is one of my favourite things to do!
As I'm making another doorstop my pattern is already sorted, which is awesome because this can be a huge time consuming part of the design process. There's lots of going back and fourth, taking measurements, drafting out a pattern, cutting out and sewing up a first version. You never get it right first time so you see where you need to make adjustments and go back and tweak the pattern and try it out again, sometimes scrapping it and starting over because it's just not right! While this part can sometime be frustrating it's also really fun because it's exciting to see something new emerging!
Once you have your fabric and your pattern you can start making! With Gladys this means making sure you get her face right! The doorstops are all about the characters and personality so you need to get the features right. Like with the pattern it can take a few tries to get it exactly how you want it, as you can see! I wanted it to look like she was really sticking her tongue out at us and not just like I'd stitched a bit of felt on her face. I was really happy with the finished face!
Once I had that part right I just had to sew her up, stuff her and put in the weights!
Once Gladys was all ready and sewn up the next step is to take pictures! As I sell my work online I want my customers to get as much information about my products as they can through the photos. They need to be clear, bright and most importantly, a true representation of what they are buying. The last thing you want is for a customer receiving an order and it not being what they expected.
I take pics of every angle and close ups of specific details such as the stitching, label placements and any other details such as the zip closure. I like to photograph my work on a light grey backdrop. My products tend to be very colourful and this really helps them to stand out. I take lots and lots of pics to make sure I have some good options.
Now to edit the photos! I go through all the picture I took of Gladys and mark the ones I like. They then get opened in Photoshop where I clean them up and re size them ready for uploading. It's important not to over do it here. Photoshop is great for filters and adding effects, but like I said before, you want your images to represent your finished product as closely as possible. There's no comparison to being able to see a product in person, but good clear photos that show all the details can run a close second!
Now for the final step! I have all my pictures ready to go and now all I have to do is upload them to my stores! I sell online through my own site (which is where you are right now!), Not On The High Street and Etsy, which means I have to repeat the listing process three times. Actually that doesn't bother me at all, I quite enjoy this part of the process as you can do it while drinking a G & T, eating chocolate and watching Miss Fisher Murder Mystery repeats! But wait! Put that gin away! Because there are a couple of things that need my focus before Phryne Fisher tangos with that possible jewel thief while simultaneously over throwing yet another murder plot at her Aunt Prudences house! God that show is good, where was I?
Oh yea! Before you list anything you need to work out a few things:
1. Prices - I sit and do all my sums to make sure I'm selling the glamorous Gladys at the right price.
2. Shipping - Like with pricing I need to make sure I'm covering all my costs for postage and packaging while still being reasonable for my customers.
3. Product Description - This one I have always struggled with this one. Writing is not my strongest point, I've been writing this blog post for ages! You have to strike the right tone between interesting and informative, not the easiest.
Ok, now that's done I can get the gin! It's always exciting to get a new product up on your site. All the information is filled in, the final pictures are uploaded and you can finally hit publish!
Of course the work doesn't end there, you have to try and get your new work seen by posting on facebook, and tweeting, and instagram, and obviously the blog!
I hope you've enjoyed this little insight to my work process! Have a lovely rest of the weekend and may it be filled with sunshine and gin! xxx