Category Archives: Start-Up Planning and Promotion

Evaluating Start Up Planning and Promotion….

Tomorrow is the hand in date for my Start Up Planning and Promotion module. I have everything ready to submit in the morning, a couple of things that I need to print out on A4 but that’s it. I spent a couple of hours this afternoon reading through my journal posts and referencing my research folder; I was amazed at just how much research I’ve carried out and how much I’ve achieved.

I’m particularly proud of my business plan, Lindsay (my tutor for this module) had read through it last week and I had been worrying about what she was going to say. The amount of work that I have put into it is immense! I think if anything, my business plan is more in depth than was expected but as I have always thought about setting up my own business I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to work on this with the guidance of someone who has been there and done it so to speak. I had a one to one tutorial with Lindsay last Monday and was thrilled when she said how detailed my business plan was. I was missing a couple of things: a risk assessment, tax information and although my business plan financials detailed where I planned on getting funding she thought I should add a paragraph on this within the plan. My risk assessment didn’t take long to put together, as the business plan is for a web shop I simply had to assess the risk of manufacturing from home; considering risks such as tripping on wires etc!!! Dave gave me a template that he had used from Staffordshire University which was really useful, it was one that he has to use on his Motorsport course and so maybe it was set up for risks higher than “don’t run with scissors”!!!! But it was a really good template, better than ones I used last year and I would definitely use it again if I need it. I had researched tax already and so just needed to add this as a sub-heading in the plan.

I feel that I have really learnt a lot from this module and have really enjoyed putting together the more visual side, such as ad campaigns. I wish that we had had the opportunity to take this module last year as I’ve really enjoyed it and think it’s the most I’ve actually learnt from a lecturer on this course!

As I said I think I’m ready to submit everything in the morning, I feel quite nervous though! I’ve written so many check lists over the past few days; I’ve been so concerned I would miss something, but I have read through the module handbook and as far as I can tell I’ve covered everything. I’m planning on getting to uni super early in the morning, printing the last few things and then submitting……..eeeeeeek!!!!! I’m quite excited in a way! I just want to get it submitted so that I can focus my attention on finishing work on my FMP, so it will be straight home for me to work on the last few bits of that.


Ad Campaigns, Packaging, Exhibition Planning and a Few Other Things….

A few things that I haven’t talked about….

I developed several possible ad campaigns for this module, I was pleased to get the children’s photoshoots done early as I was able to put the real images into place instead of images of other companies websites:

I can’t really decide which one is my favourite, but I think it was good to have some different sized ones that could be used for different magazines or websites. I love the first one, I like having a long, thin one with a single image as it has a strong impact. However, I also think it works well to have a main image with thumbnails below to give more of an idea of the whole collection.

I’ve also loaded the images onto my exhibition invitation:

In this instance, I think it definitely works better to have a main image and thumbnails as I want to give people a sneak preview of what will be in my exhibition. The dates and venue etc. are all correct so if anybody reading this would like to attend feel free!! The dresses will however be taken off the exhibition early as it clashes with the fashion show, so contact me if you are thinking of visiting.

I hadn’t been too sure of how I wanted my invite to look, I found these examples really useful:

I found loads of examples just by putting Exhibition Invite Ideas into Google, but these ones were my favourites as I liked the simplicity of them. I think this gives them more of an impact than ones that have too much going on!

One of the extra things to design and research for this module was packaging. As my business plan outlines a webshop, I decided that researching packaging would be a useful element to include, as the business is to be a high end luxury brand I wanted the packaging to reflect this. Companies such as Net-a-Porter use their packaging to reinforce their luxury image:

I have tried to achieve a similar effect:

If I was actually doing this for real, I would obviously have to think more carefully about the cost of this. However just to create a prototype, I have used a box from Print House Group, personalised ribbon from Partyrama costing £0.95 per metre and tissue paper from WH Smiths. It has the luxury feel I was aiming for, I think most little girls would be excited to receive a pretty new dress in this lovely packaging!

I designed numerous swing tags several weeks ago but was only able to print them onto card yesterday:

Just printing them onto different colours and qualities of card makes such a difference, I have chosen the bottom right one. I’ve put a ribbon in it so that it could be attached to a garment. However I’ve also used some of my business cards (they arrived on Friday…yay!) as they have a really lovely finish, if I were actually placing an order for swing tags I would like them to have the same satin finish: I think it gives them a more luxurious feel.

Last week I also put together a plan of my exhibition space:

There is a limited number of plinths and mannequins available on campus, I’m hoping I will be able to use these. However, if not I will have to borrow mannequins from my mum’s and ask my uncle (who is a carpenter) to build me a plinth. I’m planning on building the clothes rail myself (well attempting to anyway!!!) but at least I know I can ask Dave for a bit of help if I’m struggling! Let’s face it I’m not very handy with a saw or a hammer!! I have also found several websites where I can buy artificial wild flowers: Just Artificial and Withycombe Fair. I’m really looking to actually putting this together and having my work on display, I think it will feel a huge relief!!


Womenswear Photoshoots….

We did the womenswear photoshoots yesterday, I couldn’t be happier with how it went:

A couple of the models were only available in the morning and as I was at work I had to make sure the photographer (Dave from TimeToShoot) and the models knew exactly what shots I was looking for. I’m really happy to have used professional models, I really want it to look like a student collection. I had already created a photoshoot inspiration board to submit as part of this module and so emailed it to them all:

I also sent them this photo I had found, I thought this would be perfect to recreate in the shoot and as you can see from the contact sheet I was right!

I asked them all to keep hair and make up very simple and natural as I wanted the main focus to be on the dresses and the lighting. Thankfully we were extremely lucky with the weather once again, we finished up at 4pm and just as we were loading everything into the car it started to rain!

It was a good experience, I enjoyed being there to direct the models in the afternoon. It was also useful to not be at the shoots in the morning though, it meant I had to create a really clear brief for the models and the photographer to ensure the end result was exactly as I wanted.


So Close…..

Blog/learning journal posts have been rather sporadic lately, I’ve just been working flat out to get everything finished. I’m almost there now though, particularly with my Start Up Planning and Promotions module. All I have left to do is to write a commentary and get the photoshoots done so that I can load all my images into place before printing. I’m still waiting for my business cards to arrive though which is something that’s concerning me, I ordered them on the 5th of May and they should have arrived by now, think I’m going to have to chase them up today.

I’ve really enjoyed this module, particulary as we’ve go into the promotional side, this week I’ve been putting finishing touches to my Look Book and have designed my invitation for my exhibition. So close now, I just can’t wait to get the photoshoots done. We’re doing one of the children’s dresses today, this one had me rather stressed out last night as it was supposed to be a friend’s niece modelling for me and she has cancelled twice now. I really started to panic as I want to get the children’s dresses all shot by Friday so that I can put all the images onto my website etc. to print on Saturday. I’ve have another model now but she’s the daughter of a friend in Shrewsbury and so have quite a lot of driving to do today to go into uni and then off to Shrewsbury.

I think I’ve finished my Look Book though, I wanted to use my illustration in it and some product shots as the backgrounds are pastel colours I wanted to keep it quite simple:

Just realised this is the first picture I’ve uploaded of the finished dresses, I will write a more detailed post about them later but I’m so happy with what I’ve achieved. They look better than I could have hoped for, fingers crossed the photoshoots all go well!


Pastel Pop….

Dress: Vintage

Shoes: Irregular Choice

Nails: Numerous shades of Barry M

The past week I think I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked before. Hence the lack of blog posts. I’m pretty much surviving on coffee at the moment but I finally feel like it’s paying off, things are really starting to come together. As I haven’t done a post for a whole week I have a huge amount to write about, so make yourself a coffee and settle in for a while…..

Firstly here’s a picture of the pintucked and pleated women’s dress that I recently blogged about, I’ve made the bias-cut slip to go underneath it and it really finishes it off. I used a silk twill for the lining, it’s a bit thicker than the ponge I was going to use and so I don’t feel concerned that the dress would still be too sheer. It was quite strange putting it together, as it is a 1920s pattern the seam allowance on it was 1/2″. I’m used to sewing 1cm seam allowances and to sew such a wide one seemed more difficult!! It also didn’t look as neat once I’d pressed it open to have such a wide seam so I have overlocked the extra off to make it look neater on the inside.

This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I am really pleased with it. The only thing left to do is to sew in the press studs and finish the hem. I’ve decided that the best way to do this is to just use fray stop on the edge, I think that anything else I do to the pleated edge will spoil the line of it and look to bulky.

This is the pintucked bodice for the second ladies dress:

Again, I am immensely proud of the construction of this. The silk chiffon I have used for both these dresses has been very challenging to work with as it is so slippy and stretchy. I’ve french seamed the armholes, neckline and all side seams. It looks perfect and I feel that it is made to professional standard. I’ve tried to take a photograph of one of the french seams but I’m not sure if you can really tell what it is:

This bodice is ready to be sewn onto the ruffle skirt, I have been fray stopping the raw edges every evening for the past week! I’m almost there, if I were to make this again I would probably have used something that wouldn’t fray so badly so that I wouldn’t have had this extra labourious task. But then on the other hand I don’t think anything else would have the same effect, it falls so beautifully and feels so light and delicate. Here’s a little close up to give you an idea:

This week I’ve also been working on the final ladies dress, I thought this one was going to be really straight forward but as per usual it was harder and took longer than I expected!!! It was the pintucked panels that caused me the problems…again! I had thought that as the silk linen is much crisper they would be easier to keep even, but I stitched the first three and they just didn’t look quite right. They weren’t perfectly straight or the perfect distance apart even though I had notched and pressed the tucks first. The only way I could overcome this was to unpick them and draw on the lines with a vanishing pen. This kept them the right distance apart and lovely and straight:

I’ve also hand painted the wing design onto the other panels:

This technique has been really effective, the wing is obviously very stylized. If I had done it exactly it would have taken me even longer, each little section would also have been much larger and I just don’t think that it would have had the same impact. I think that it has as much of an impact as printing the image would have done and the lines still look beautifully crisp. On the bottom panel I did have to extend the wing a little further across than I had originally planned, just as I was putting everything away I got a spot of the fabric paint about 8cm away from where I had finished the wing. I wanted to cry, but I have managed to extend it so that it doesn’t just look like I’ve stuck a bit extra on. On my original drawing I had planned to put a small painted section on the bottom left hand corner of the skirt too, but after I had done all the right hand side I have decided that any more on it would be a bit overwhelming and take away from the impact that it has. So this dress is all ready to be joined together too. That means the womenswear designs are almost complete.

Today I’ve also fitted the last two of the childrenswear toiles to the models.  I need to shorten the sleeve length on the dandelion pintucked dress by about 7cm as I want it to be just below the elbow but other than that it fits her perfectly. The child’s dragonfly dress also fitted well although the little girl is small for her age and I have had to shorten the dress length by approximately 5cm. I’ve got these cut out and overlocked now and so am planning on get the hand painting done on them tomorrow and then fully constructed on Sunday. I’m hoping to photograph the dragonfly dress on Monday afternoon and the Dandelion one next Friday. I’ve found a location just down the road from uni so I’m hoping it won’t be too much hassle for the children’s parents to get them there:

I have also completely finished the pleated wing sleeved child’s dress so this is ready to be photographed too. However, I need to speak to my lecturer Lindsay (it’s her daughter modelling this dress) to see whether she might be available for a photoshoot next Friday too. I haven’t taken a photo of it but it looks really beautiful, simple yet striking. The pleated fabric did actually make it rather more difficult to put together than I had expected though!! As with the ladies dress with the pleated panels, I had cut the wings out whilst still between its special layers of paper and then stitched across the top edge to hold the pleats in place before carefully tearing the paper out. I don’t know if it was because they were much larger pieces and not just a straight edge but the paper was much, much more difficult to remove from inside the pleats. In fact it was a total nightmare and although I was ridiculously careful when removing the little remnant of paper it did pull the pleats out of line ever so slightly. Even with the line of stitching holding them in place, it was really difficult to keep them perfect when putting them into the side seams of the dress. I was worried about this, particularly because the pleated fabric is silk georgette that frays even more so than the chiffon of the ladies dresses and so I really didn’t want to risk having to unpick it. The only way I could eliminate this risk was to tack them in by hand and notch where the sleeve should end on the side seam, ensuring they were level. Another time consuming task! I will write more about this dress tomorrow once I’ve taken some photos of it, the light in here is too bad to get decent pictures of it.


Start Up Planning and Promotion…..

This module is almost complete, it’s obviously a much smaller module than my FMP (final major project) but I’ve still put a lot of work into it and am pleased with what I’ve achieved. I’ve pulled a lot of loose threads together today; putting things like my logo development into photoshop ready for submission:

It’s been a really good day, I feel a lot calmer as I’ve got so many things checked of my To Do List!! I had begun to set up my own website but found out that I just need to create a mock up of how I want it to look. Putting all this together over the past few months has given me so much more confidence in my Photoshop skills and I was therefore able to create a mock up fairly easily. Especially after I had done some research into other websites that I liked:

After my research, this was the website that I created:

I’ve used some of my research images for now, just to give an idea of how it will look. Once I’ve done my photoshoot I will be able to replace them with my own images.


3 Weeks to Go….

3 weeks tomorrow is my deadline….EEEEEEEK!!!

I’ve actually had a really productive and successful few days. I’ve all but finished the pintuck and pleated dress, just need to finish the armholes and neckline. I still need to make the bias cut lining for this too, I was speaking to the costume lecturer at uni today though and she is going to bring me a 1920s bias cut slip pattern in tomorrow for me to have a look at. I’ve also started the mammoth task of putting fray stop on the raw edges of the ruffle dress, I decided it was best to do a bit at a time rather than leaving it all till the end. It’s quite nice to have something to do in the evening that doesn’t require too much brain function anyway!!  I’ll take some pictures tomorrow so you can actually see what I’m talking about.

I’ve also got the children’s designs graded and toiled to the correct size so as soon as I’ve done a fitting with the models, I can get cut out and making in the real fabrics.

Stopped on the way home to take an outfit photograph, I love how much colour there is in spring. I instantly regretted wearing this skirt as soon as I walked out the door this morning. I say walk, what I mean is shuffled. I do really like this skirt but the tube shape of it means that you can only take tiny little steps, I have to remember not to try and cross the road in a hurry!!!

Maxi Tube Skirt: Topshop

Vest: Topshop

Cardigan: Topshop

Boots: Topshop

Oh and I’m also making good progress for my Start Up Planning and Promotion Module: I’ve just ordered my business cards and have started building my website. I’ve bought the domain and email address, which meant I could put these details on my business cards and actually use them for my exhibition. I’ll post a link once there’s a bit more to look at, I’ve been writing the “About” page this evening; it’s surprising how hard it is to write a few paragraphs to sum up exactly how you want your business to be perceived. First impressions really do count for a lot, it may only be hypothetical but it’s really important to me for it to look professional.