I recently took some photos to model new apron designs for my Etsy shop. New designs mean new potential customers, and so fresh photos are integral to making sales and showing off product. Since I don’t have many people nearby who appeal to my target customer base to model for me, I must be my own model.
I don’t mind however, as I have recently learned that knowing how to operate your business from start to finish, and having experience with the day to day operation is often referred to as “full stack”. What that means for me is that I design the apron, draft the pattern, construct and finish each apron, model photos, complete photography and editing and also sell and ship to buyers. I suppose one day I will need to delegate some of these duties to other people that I will need to hire; but, a huge asset will be for me to know how the task is done myself.
I have a basic mannequin to showcase my designs, but I think that a human model is a better at showcasing the “fit” of garments for many reasons. One particular reason is, unlike a mannequin the human body has more curves and is less perfect than a factory made representation. I think that it is important to capture this imperfection when it comes to sexy designs such as the ones in the LillyBoChic line. We have all seen Victoria Secret ads, so I think I can be different from that fake and unattainable ideal.
Also, the head and arms are missing from my mannequin, so the ability for a potential buyer to imagine themselves in the item is diminished. I love the pose where a woman puts her hands on her hips and accentuates the hourglass shape we all know and love. My mannequin can’t do that.
Taking photos of myself in my designs pose significant challenges. One of which is that I do not have a tripod capable of holding my only functioning camera (which is my smartphone currently). After hair and makeup, I undergo a tricky exercise of balancing my camera at an angle that captures a particular area (usually in front of a nice background in my house), and using the self-capture setting I take burst photos of myself that often turn out quite well. For the photos that do not turn out well, I use Photoshop to enhance and crop as needed- but never to augment particulars like size or shapes a la Kardashian fame.
It is not ideal, but so far I believe it has improved my online presence to have candid photos of a model (me) wearing my apron designs. I have posted these photos on Tumblr with links to my Etsy listings, and save the best shots for the Etsy listings themselves. Some of the best responses to my photos have also been from pinning on Pinterest (a program that I absolutely adore).
While visiting my supplier, I saw this vibrant 100 percent cotton material. The patterns were to die for, so I decided to make 2 centimeter wide double folded bias tape; or trim as it is also called.
I made lots of bias tape. How much did I make, you ask? 4000 centimeters or 40 meters.
Each package has 4 meters- a generous amount because double fold bias tape is normally sold in 2.75 meter packages.
Speaking of which, those packages usually have boring and plain colours. If your are a forward thinking designer, trim patterns with eye catching designs and colours can really take a project to the next level; and for some, that little extra pizzazz can be the difference between a customer that browses, and a customer that buys.
I worked on this piece a few weeks ago when I was inspired by something I had seen in a vintage shop. I sourced all of my own materials; but the design was not my own.
My favourite part of this piece would have to be the lace fringe that hangs down to provide a “1920’s lingere flapper girl” style”. I only wish I could have made this in a size large enough to wear for myself!
The creative process is one where sometimes you have to walk away from your work, do something else, and return later with fresh eyes. A friend recently told me this, and I agree with it- it’s just basic science. If you stare at the picture for too long your eyes will go crossed. Just like those 3D photos Scholastic used to sell at book fairs in elementary school. I never had one myself, but our teacher would usually buy one for our class.
I have been taking an opportunity to do that these last two days. I completed 3 aprons in one day during the weekend, and since then I have worked on painting my mural, taken photos of my products, and just found other things to do apart from sitting at my sewing machine. I know that I have a lot of things to work on, but I am trying not to immerse myself so deeply in my tasks that I resent them ad quit altogether- or take a long long break from it where time is wasted-which is sometimes just as bad. I can’t say enough how important it is to stay focused on what you want (if you are fortunate enough to know what that is). Knowing what you want takes a tonne of soul searching. But it feels like the same things that make us wake up the morning, like free-will and individuality, are the things that keep us constricted in fear and inevitable indecision.