Karen, who's helping me with the brand identity, collaterals & website came over to my place today for our first discussion. (Strangely enough, it struck me that I was only familiar with these terms because of my stint in PSB where I worked on building a new franchise brand.) I had her take a look at my design sketches and fabrics to get a better idea of the brand. The main exercise, though was to attempt to pinpoint the essence and personality of the brand, as the initial step to developing the identity.
I found it quite tough...I can't quite seem to pinpoint a particular brand that I aspire towards.. it was more a mix - certain aspects of one mixed in with aspects of another. I wanted the professional finish and look of big name brands balanced with the personal touch of one-man-show sellers. So it was an interesting experience trying to articulate and convey my ideas..but definitely a good exercise.
We worked out a rough timeline - which will see me drafting like crazy so I can get all my samples out by mid June which is when the product styling and photography needs to start. This is really a stretch because this leaves me 1 week to get all my drafting done!!! The seamstress needs at least 2 weeks to sew the stuff.
The other decision we made: the brand name will be finalised on Monday. We picked one as a backup, and if there are no better names by Monday - it's going to be Plan B.
I honestly was not expecting things to move so fast! When I first started looking around for webdesigners, I was just looking for recommendations so I could check out their portfolios, etc. My plan was to take time to look for someone who had a suitable design philosophy and aesthetic that would be in line with the brand - and I thought this might take a while, so I decided to start looking now.
Finding Karen was really a stroke of luck...she happens to be one of the Singaporean members of a craft forum that I visit regularly. She's quite an admired member on the forum, I must say as her crafts are always very pretty and professionally done. She's also somewhat famous amongst the local internet community (esp. females who like shopping) for her blog, snogblog, which has a very popular singapore online shopping thread.
I drop by her blog occasionally, and it has lots of design related stuff...so I knew she probably did some design related work but I never really read thoroughly enough to find out what exactly. Randomly, I decided that I might drop her a note to ask her if she knew of anyone to recommend for the job - it wasn't even email. It was PM via the craftster forum. Almost immediately, a reply came back offering to help me with my stuff. I was so surprised, but also very relieved because the great thing about Karen is that she is genuinely interested in the business that I'm trying to start, and she has loads of ideas and suggestions. And best of all, I know I can trust her style.
To end of this post, here's a fun site to visit for all cupcake fans: www.c-cup.biz