When new collections drop on our site, all you really get to see is the finished product. The sneak peeks (if you're not in our VIP Facebook Group, you're really missing out!), the social media posts, and the product photos. But there is SO. MUCH. MORE. that goes into getting these drops ready for you! Come with me and take a peek behind the scenes of getting a drop ready from beginning to end!
Step 1: Sourcing Fabric & Choosing a Theme
The very first step of creating any collection is fabric shopping. Sometimes I start with an idea for a theme, and other times I let the theme reveal itself to me while shopping. I source my fabric from a variety of different places: brick and mortar shops, online stores, and Etsy. I usually try to stick to 4-5 prints or colors per collection.
Step 2: Making Sample Items
Once I’ve got the fabric in hand, it’s time to start making sample items. I don’t use any mock-ups in my product photography; everything you see is a real-life handmade product. I make one of each product type in each print or color. This is not only for product photography purposes, but also so that I can test each fabric and make sure everything is up to my standards. I’ve had fabrics in the past that didn’t work for one product or another, so I’ve only offered in in the items I know will be of good quality for my customers.
Step 3: Product Photography
After all the samples are made and are up to my standards of quality, I set up my photography studio equipment and get ready to take what feels like a million photos! In reality, I usually end up taking somewhere around 125 photos for a drop with 4 different fabric choices (that's 16 individual products). I have a list of shots that I need for each drop and I go through and make sure I get all the photos I need to create all the different marketing materials I will use for the drop. I will also take a few video clips of the products as well for TikTok. Then I spend a couple hours editing the photos to make sure the photo's color matches the real-life product's color.
Step 4: Creating Marketing Materials
Once I have all my photos and video ready, I can start making all the marketing materials I will use online to promote the drop. This includes product photos and banners for the website, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Stories, and TikTok. I am lucky that I have a background in graphic design (that's what I do for my day job!), so using Photoshop to create these images is like a second nature to me. These images are what you see when I promote each drop; every post that includes any Northern Lights products were shot, edited, and composed by me.
Step 5: Updating the Website
After all the images I need for the website have been created, I go in and add the new products to my inventory, and upload the product images to go with them. I also make sure that I have added a new banner image for the home page and set up the banner button to make sure it takes you to the correct page for the new collection instead of the last one!
Step 6: LAUNCH!
Now that all the prep work is finally done, it's time to launch the new collection! This is the easiest, and most exciting part of getting ready for the new drop. At 7pm central, I log into my website and set all the new products to "visible" so that you all can shop til you drop! I also schedule Facebook Posts announcing the drop to publish at that time.
If this all sounds like a lot... well, to be honest, it is! But it's what I love to do and I will continue to do this all myself until the shop has grown to the point where I just can't do it on my own any longer!
Thanks for joining me on this journey into my process. I hope this gives you all some insight on what goes on behind the scenes of a small, mama-owned business!