august - round up

it's that time of the, erm, month again... it's MONTHLY REVIEW time ;)

so what has been achieved in the month of augustus? well...

* the first weekend was a no-go as i had to attend the beautiful wedding of Mark and Lucy. i know, i know...such a chore.  ;) 

* my kickstarter project was more than successful, going far beyond it's target. a total of 39 backers and £509 pledged. i would like to thank EVERYBODY who donated towards this - it means so much that you have supported me and i can't wait to send you your notebooks! some quite interesting statistics - of the 39 backers 10 were close friends, 10 were design buddies from uni or the courses i have taken part in, and 20 were complete strangers! the average pledge was £13.05 with the biggest being a whopping £61...crikey!!

* i have submitted to the new Print & Pattern Geometrics book. fingers crossed my designs are accepted - it would be great to be published in one of Bowie's book again!

* i had my first product photo shoot. i can't give away the shots just yet but here are some close up shots as a bit of a sneak peak...

* i hit the magic 200 likes on facebook!

* the last product i have budgeted for the show are some tea towels. i have finalised my designs and sent them to the printer. should take about 4-6 weeks so early october i hope. then i can get selling for xmas! yes, i said it. C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S. 

* and on that note i have started researching places to sell my items, both online and offline. might even do a couple more markets this winter...

* i signed up to Monica Lee's Smart Creative Style e-course which starts 6 days after my return. i will be learning more about suitable branding and marketing techniques for my launch.

not the most satisfying month in terms of getting things done but there was a lot to prepare and i wanted to fit in a weekend at home with the 'rents.

so with that i bid you farewell for 3 weeks. 3 whole weeks on holiday. can. not. wait!!! very excited to a certain miss ruth canty who has now been travelling for, oooh, 10 months it must be, and join in her adventures. 

lights, camera . . . action!

so you may have read that last weekend i had my first ever product photo shoot. and here's a little behind the scenes of how it all went...

i guess it all starts with a few weeks before the shoot actually. i had been thinking about ideas for the shoot and whilst discussing with Monica during one of the Clarity Coaching sessions we cam up with and outside theme, cushions lined up on chairs with lampshades hanging above from a tree branch...fantastic!

first thing was to source a location. Emily (my old housemate) has a ground floor flat with garden. with a fence and grass and tree. now that may sound like obvious garden material but in London it's not all that easy. trust me. and to add to that Emily also had a tree branch going spare. as you do.

so next i needed chairs. onto good old ebay. i bagged 6 for £15. now they had to be collected. that's where best pal Alice and my lovely Mum came into play to collect them for a various locations in Kent (parents location). so now i had a lovely selection of mismatched chairs. but they were a bit dark so Dad painted them for me in white, blue and purple to match the colours of my palette. now i just needed to get them to London. Caroline (HI CAROLINE!!) collected them to drop off on the day of the shoot. her fiance, Mr Sam Nesbitt, is the photographer who will be shooting my products on the saturday so they will bring them up with them then.

so a week before the shoot i started looking at the weather. hmmm. not great. mild panic but the english weather can change at the drop of a hat so no need to panic just yet. let's wait until 3 days before.

3 days before came along and...still rain. crap.

back up plans needed, and quick! now this is something i hadn't thought about which is very much unlike me. i am very organised and like to plan for every outcome when taking on a project like this. so why hadn't i this time? goodness knows, but i won't let it happen again that's for sure!

so options were moving the shoot inside Emily's flat. but there was no wall big enough to take the set up. OUT.

do the whole shoot in the studio. now it wouldn't have anywhere near the texture that i wanted but it would be clean and fresh and have the lighting that would be important. POSSIBLE.

or i could postpone, but due to restrictions on time by both me (3 week holiday) and the photographer (wedding) this would mean it would not take place until at the earliest the first week of october. not an option because at this point i'll be starting my Smart Creative Style e-course and doing my new website portfolios, marketing and brochures for Top Drawer. OUT.

my flat. last minute panic where i was laying out all the accessories i could use i realised i have a nice long wall, but manky walls. could they pass? i was very hopeful (just desperate at that point i think is more likely!) that there could be some amazing camera that could make wood chip walls appear nice and smooth. no such luck. OUT.

so i contacted a good fried, Eric, husband of Kim who i work with. they have just moved house but were very accommodating and offered their place. it was perfect! they had a garden (in case the weather did perk up) and they had 3 rooms to pick from. SOLD!

right. panic aside. i could sleep again! a last minute shop for some frames, accessories, and wrapping paper.  who knew it could be so hard to find some plain colour wrapping paper these days? goodness me what a task. Kim had a watering can, and Mark helped me collect a palette from work as a bit of a quirky option to go in the shots. didn't have a clue how i might use it but better to have too much than not enough, right?

anyhoo, saturday morning came and cars were loaded with products and props. first stop was Touchwood Studios in Kingston. Oscar met us and helped set up the studio for my white background shots. in and out within 3 hours. success!

onto the house of Eric! where he and Tennison greeted us in excitement. we took a look around and selection the room of choice - the garage. great brick work there would make a great backdrop. and hello there mr sunshine. well, kind of. it wasn't exactly sunny but it wasn't raining either. we decided to chance it and take some outside shots so we set up the chairs along the fence and took cushion shots. it was a bit windy and so the lampshades-hanging-from-a-branch set up wasn't going to work. oh well. you win some you lose some.

lunch. much needed.

back to work. and into the garage. lampshades were strung up and some group shots taken. the wind was messing with us so we had to wait until the lampshades were still but we got the shots we were after. before you knew it the day was over. doesn't time fly!

i realised at the end of the day i hadn't used the watering can, the palette, any of the house-y accessories or the plants i'd brought along. doh! but to be fair the set ups we had were enough by themselves so no biggie. Sam took some great shots and i'm so pleased the weather held out for us to get a few outside snaps. shame the tree branch idea didn't come to life but what with the wind and risk of rain i think it wouldn't have been possible. about 15 minutes after we packed up outside it started to rain!

home time. well, Sam & Caroline travelled home and i went to Emily's where she cooked me a lovely dinner and we chatted about the day and started to organise her hen-do. for next May. yes, that's right, the hen do is booked for 9 months time. told you i was organised ;)

now i bet you want to see some of the photos don't you? after reading all that you wouldn't want to get this far and be disappointed with no shots from the day now would you? well, i'm afraid i might just have to disappoint. i know, i know, i'm mean, i'm sorry! but it'll be worth the wait. i want to get them as i want them before showing them off so you'll have to be patient just a tad longer.

oh alright then, here's a little teaser of some chair shots (pre-edit) ...

and i'd like to thank all the people involved in this project...aren't they a smiley bunch :)

Alice & Mum (chair collectors), Dad (chair painter)

Mark & Emily (prop movers, tree branch supplier), Caroline (assistant)

Oscar (Touchwood Studios), Sam (photographer), Eric (location supplier)

Liz, Rachel & Sarah (bouncing ideas around)

and Tenny (just 'cos he's cute)

the big plan . . . 6! (plus a little panic)

i'm in a bit of a reflective mood tonight. i think it's because i am going on holiday for 3 weeks next wednesday and that is a long time without my macbook and photoshop!! i know, i know...i'm lame, let it go, have a break...blah blah blah.

but i can't! i love it too much!

but i have my doodle pad to take with me and of course my camera to get snap happy. there'll be LOTS of FB pics whilst i'm away, that i can assure you!

so anyway...back to deep thinking...hmmmm...

i've had a lot of deadlines in past two weeks (2 of which i haven't reached yet so probably shouldn't be sat here writing a blog post but hey-ho)...and i am working towards getting loose ends tied up before i leave. so it's made me look back at how the past few months have been. i've thought about the designs i have chosen for my first trade show, the products i selected, how they all work together. and having the photo shoot was the first time i've had them all out together. they looked pretty good! (am i allowed to say that?!) i just hope that other people like them. that's the scary part!

my wall is looking rather full and wholesome. things are tying together nicely. but i'm now getting that nervous feeling. the one where you worry that actually everything isn't quite right - 'that blue is the wrong tone', and 'the yellow is too bright'. 'i should've gone for that palette on that cushion'. and it's all because it's all too real now.

the contract is signed. it's happening.

don't get me wrong - excited as hell! - but it now means judgement day is that much more a reality and it's blimmin' scary!!

of course, it'll all be alright on the night...but...

you can't help but have moments of sheer panic, questioning what you have done and what you are doing. the support i have is incredible. thank you to everyone that contacts me, gives me boosts, 'likes' my posts, shares my work - it means a hell of a lot, especially at a time like this.

so there's basically no turning back. dun-dun-duuuun.

a little mellow dramatic there, sorry. but yes, it's a done deal. next things to do are get the website done, get the shop up and running, market to blogs and mags, get some items in some local shops, update portfolios, and (last but not least) get advertising for the show! let's drum up some excitement (i'll probably call on you lot for a bit of help with that if you don't mind).

but i think i need to stop thinking about it all otherwise i'll never get to sleep...night all.