Its been a while since i updated this blog with a journal type entry, so here goes..
Summer 18, what a season it has been so far! We are not even into the warmer Summer months yet and we have sold out of so many sizes and styles from the collection! You guys are absolutely loving it, which brings pure joy to my heart. When creating each season, you never know if it will be hit or miss, but i think this season has honestly been your fave so far!
I have wanted to do a longer, more in depth blog series on our design process for so long now, but i never seem to have time to sit down and write it out. Ill get there one day i promise! But in the meantime, here is the short version on how we create a new season collection.THE DESIGN PROCESS:
When you think of the process of creating a new collection, it may not seem like much. The truth is, the process is actually quite a lengthy one and usually takes around 7 – 13 months for each season. Each piece of Artwork is designed by myself and completely hand illustrated, which in itself is a very timely procedure. But take into consideration that i have 2 children, I hand pack and post all of our orders, run our social media, handle customer emails and inquiries and everything else to do with Aster & Oak – well, lets just say i am one VERY busy Mumma!!
Here is a little breakdown of the process we go through to create a new collection:
- Artwork & Design (2-4 months) – Firstly we need to come up with a theme for our new collection. This all begins around 12 – 18 months before the collection will even be released and I usually have ideas floating around in my head of what i want the season to be. I start by sketching up my ideas and testing out some colour palettes. This usually takes around 2 – 4 months, depending on how busy i am with life and other aspects of the business. After that i need to finalize which designs and colours make the cut, turn the illustrations into printable vector files and repeat patterns and then plan them out on the clothing. If i have decided to create any new clothing styles for the season, i need to drawn these up in my design program too. I then send all the printable files, pattern files, measurements and pantone colours to our Manufacturer in India to start the sampling process.
- Sampling (6 months) – After about 4 weeks we receive our first fabric and print samples, these come as little coloured swatches of fabric, which sometimes makes it very hard to picture how they will look on a full piece of clothing. From here, i decide if to go ahead with the colours and patterns or change them slightly. Once all that has been decided and finalized we move onto clothing samples. I decide what sizes are to be sampled and the amount of each size we need – These samples will be used for photography and showing to stores for wholesale purchases. It takes about 2 months for our samples to be ready and once they arrive, i am always so excited!! Seeing your artwork on clothing for the first time each season is the best feeling!! I take a few weeks to go through all the samples and make sure everything is 100% perfect. I look at zipper placement and design, stitching, button placement, sizing and overall functionality. If any changes are to be made to the samples, now is the time, but this can also cause delays in the whole process as we have learnt the hard way from previous seasons.
- Photography & Agencies (1 month) – Once the samples have been looked over thoroughly and perfected, its time to send them off to our photographer to shoot our seasons photography and our agents to show stores. We then have to organize models, locations, props and accessories for the shoot which can take a few weeks. As our photographer is in Melbourne, over the 2 days of the shoot we are back and forwards on video calls, phone calls ect to make sure everything goes according to plan. Once the shoot is done and photos have been edited and sent to us, we move onto making our Look Book. This is a catalog that contains all of the clothing for the new season, pricing, sizing and of course, our gorgeous photos! We send this along with the samples to our Agents to show stores how the new season will look.
- Ordering (3-4 months) – After all of the above, its time to FINALLY order the season from our manufacturer. We put together our order and submit it with any other requirements or changes to be made. It usually takes around 3 months for our order to be ready and another few weeks to have all of our testing and certifications processed. Then another month on top to ship to us. Once it arrives, we check everything over, count stock and start packing store orders. A few weeks later, the remaining stock goes into our website and that’s that – You can now order and the process starts all over again!!
If you would like to know more about the design process or have any questions, just comment below :-)
We have amazing plans ahead for our blog including a BTS Mama Made series of interviews with fellow biz mums. I cant wait! Make sure to follow us over on Instagram @aster_and_oak for beautiful customer photos, Giveaways and the latest news on new collections.
Until next time,