When we looked at the results from our survey a few weeks ago, one thing we heard over and over again was that you guys wanted a peek inside how our prints our designed, how the business runs, and just the overall process of it all. It's funny, I really intend to share a peek into our business over on instagram - but I also don't see it as anything profound or special, so the thought has never occurred that I should blog about it. But! Let's do this thing. Whether you're a business gal or an artist or just a curious reader, I hope this does a good job explaining how we do what we do!
Back at the beginning of the year, we started by having a long meeting to set our rhythms and plans for the entire year. When did we want to have major sales? When did we want to release new prints? We found that it worked well for us to fall into an every other month rhythm - release a new product or line one month, rest and settle into business the next - then so on and so forth. This meant releasing a small winter line of prints in January plus designing the Lent journal, so in February we recouped and shipped Lent journals, then in March - a Spring Line! I also told Nick and Jacey at the beginning of the year that it was REALLY important to me that we redo the websites. So, why not do both at once?!
Here are the steps we took to get these massive projects worked out:
1. About 4 months ago, I started really stalking websites. In my spare time, I started playing around with test sites on both squarespace and blogger. I also kept a list of elements I really, really wanted in a blog. If you haven't seen, this site as it stands now has way more than just a blog - and I knew that's what I wanted. A comprehensive website with lots of fun and inspiring pages to peruse.
2. When we were around one month out, I started building the initial site on squarespace and making mockups of what I wanted the pages to look like. I also started this pinterest board of inspiration pieces for prints and for the look of the site. Typically, I might make this a private board - but I knew I wanted to share with y'all what I'd been working on!
3. From there I made a really specific Spring moodboard - which I blogged about! For me, when I'm creating prints, I find it way more helpful to be inspired by things that AREN'T graphic design. If there's one thing I could encourage other designers about - don't be inspired directly by people who make similar art! Be inspired by their stories, sure! But if you're designing prints, be inspired by clothing or music. If you're designing clothes, maybe look to graphic design or movies. Seek inspiration outside your field to dig deep and avoid accidental copying.
4. Lastly, I took to social media to ask for scripture suggestions! I knew there were about 4 verses I really wanted to do because they'd been particularly encouraging to me as of late, but I was hoping to make about 15 new prints and wanted to have a list of 20 or so scriptures to choose from.
When it was all said and done, everything happened in about a week. During the day, I'd work on normal Naptime Diaries/Influence Network stuff and at night - I really tucked in and designed new prints. Even though all my prints aren't mixed media (meaning they include my painting), I typically start designing all prints with some form of painting to get inspired. I'd paint maybe 7-10 different things each night and while they dried, I'd work on prints that I knew wouldn't include mixed media. Sometimes I'd imagine a specific home or person while I worked, and sometimes I just went with the flow.
On the Friday before the launch, we had a photoshoot scheduled with our amazing friend and photographer - Caroline Ro. The morning of the shoot I run to Whole Foods to buy muffins for the group and lots of fresh flowers. I showed Caroline my pinterest board before we got started plus a list of about 15 shots I knew I really wanted to get. We started at my home, photographing some new prints, some action shots of my hands writing and working, then we moved on to new products - our notecards and coffee mugs. Jacey and Caroline kept working while I got prettied up for the rest of the shoot (Jacey came ready of course), and then we took a few office shots. After that we headed to a coffeeshop nearby that Nick and I frequently work in, to get an authentic feel of what our team looks like working. We finished off with some fun shots of our canvases in downtown Charleston! Two of my favorite loves!
Caroline worked super hard to get us images quickly and I spent most of Friday and Saturday night working and building the sites. Sunday, my mama blessed me by taking my kids for most of the day so Nick could help me as we cranked out the last few pages and bits of the website updates. Jacey worked remotely from her home to upload the new prints and products, and there you have it! Our Spring Line and website refresh! It was hours, weeks, really months of work - but I am genuinely so happy with what we were able to get done.
If you want an even further peek inside, here are a few of the things that were CRAZY inspiring to me as we worked on these massive projects:
Borderland by John Mark McMillan (maybe my favorite cd I've ever heard?)
the movie About Time with Rachel McAdams (a must watch)
Hampton Park in downtown Charleston
And because I'm worried y'all won't take me seriously about Borderland (I want everyone I know to buy this amazing album!), I'm embedding a live acoustic version of one of the songs below. Check it out and be inspired!