Thursday, 15 June 2017

I'm new to footwear Part Two - Researching. How can I help you, the designer to research for a new shoe project?

If you are new to footwear product development and you haven't employed any design help before, it can be tricky to know what information a designer might need.

So I thought I'd share the research stage, what it involves and how to help your designer.
If you can present me with some of your own research, it gives me a basis for my own research. Perhaps start a secret pinterest folder? What to put in there? If the product category exists, when you begin, you could put in photos of rival companies product. This helps me in two ways. I can see not only the aesthetics of the product, I can also look at the price and see where a product is made. This can help us formulate our own brief and also help us when we speak to manufacturers. We can critique it thoroughly. Below, a screenshot from my own pinterest account which can be found here:

The board below is a development ideas board developed with help from a client.  When you collect ideas for your pinterest board, look at the materials you want to use, logos you like, brands that you identify with,  colours you love and don't forget to talk about the NOPES, what you don't want to see, that's important too. We can then meet either in person or online and discuss our shared research. 
This discussion about the direction we wish to take will form the basis for the ideation sketches stage of the project. 
And don't forget to include any inspiration at all you think might help me to help you. Especially for creative design, if I'm creating a brand for you, then I want to inject your personality and your taste into it. For instance, a client told me how much they loved the architect Frank Gehry. I researched both his architecture then his jewellery.  From this I developed the mood board for the collection and the resulting research inspired me to create the theme for the collection. Here is the board.

And don't be ashamed to send me your own design scribbles. it's my job to work your ideas into something that can be made, this is my skill, please don't discount your own ideas because you aren't a fantastic artist. I still want to see your ideas.  I have worked with professional designers who aren't fantastic artists either, but they still managed to create shoes that sold millions of pairs. I am interested in your ideas and how we can make them into shoes that people want to buy. That is all! 

Monday, 2 January 2017

I'm new to footwear. How do I help you, the shoe designer to help me, the newbie? (Part one - USP)

I'm blogging on this subject as it's 02 January 2017 and for us freelance consultants, this is always a peak week for enquiries from potential new footwear businesses.

We all make new years resolutions and mine happens to be to do more sketching and transform the list of blog post ideas into actual posts. So here is the first one!

Many of the enquiries we receive from newbies are quite vague and throw up more questions than answers. But the most common one is when we don't know what your USP (unique selling point) is and perhaps you aren't sure either. Well, we can sometimes help you to find it!
We work with a lot of existing fashion companies to develop product for them (as the photo above) , they are generally clear of what they want and will come to us with lots of ideas.

What we like to see is a clear vision of what your brand or collection should be.
Do you have a unique selling point for your brand? What is different about it that we cannot get from somebody else? The photo above is from a brochure for Saira, a brand which we helped to launch. The USP of Saira is their use of exclusive, limited edition fabrics that you will not see anywhere else.
Why is this important for a new business? If your brand has its own USP, then it will mean that buyers are more likely to select yours rather than someone elses existing brand.
Your USP does not  necessarily have to be a crazy invention, for instance Homeys who we worked with (pictured above) has the ethos, 'finally cool slippers!' Your USP could be selling a shoe at a different price point, making it in a certain way or making it out of unusual materials.