Behind the Scenes of Handmade
Every time I flip through this notebook on my desk, I come across pages where I sketched out ideas for different products and in this case, it's the Springtime/Easter base I released several months ago. The final product came a long way from this rough sketch, so I thought it might be fun to share with you exactly what goes into the launch of a new SayAnything design.
The planning stage starts long before the launch of a product- researching trends, jotting down ideas in a notebook while making dinner, adding random thoughts to my phone while playing with kids, scrolling through Pinterest, sketching, sourcing supplies to see if my idea is even possible and then starting over when it's not.
Finally, when I’ve got an idea of what it should look in my head and on paper, then it’s onto the product development stage. This is where I get to go shopping. I love just getting into my thoughts and handling the different materials and imagining how they’ll work together. It’s so much fun- until I have to bring the kids along. Trying to plan different design elements and coordinate supplies while also trying to corral kids is tough. At that point, I’ve only got one option in my parenting toolbox- bribery. Then with all my supplies in hand (and the candy bribe), I retreat to my office for some uninterrupted peace and quiet in which to create a masterpiece. HA! Did any other parents of young children also laugh along with me? That literally never happens.
It’s a known fact that no matter how many supplies I purchase initially, I will only use a quarter of it and I’ll still have to return to at least one store for something else. Going from a sketch on paper to a tangible product is a process of trial and error- learning a new technique, realizing I suck at it and then trying something different. Opening a brand new bag of specially ordered supplies and then abandoning it. Overdoing it and then scaling it back. Looking at it for hours because something’s just not right and then make a small tweak that completely changes it. At some point, I’ll also decide the whole thing is terrible and wonder if I should just start over. Instead, I walk away for a while. I’ll dream about it that night and wake up with a fresh set of eyes and see it’s really not as bad as it looked yesterday. In fact, it’s pretty awesome. I take a picture and send to some close friends for their approval.
At that point, the creative part is over and it’s onto business side- recording the cost for materials, staging products, taking photos and editing them, writing descriptions, adding listings to websites, creating graphics, writing email campaigns and a special promotion for email subscribers, researching SEO keywords, not to mention all the things involved for social media. Most of this is done before kids wake up, during naps and in 30 minute increments when they’re entertaining themselves and I can sneak off to get some work done. And let's be honest, there's some screen time involved too. Progress usually stops once the arguing in the background increases to a volume I can no longer easily ignore. A week later (or more), everything is finally in order and it’s ready to be released in my shops.
So there you go. Rinse and repeat these steps for every product I create. If you think this is a lot, you’re right. It’s so much more time intensive than I ever dreamed it would be. I’ve still got a lot to learn and am dropping more balls than I should be. And you know what else? This is the same process (or similar) for every handmade artisan/maker out there. So when you buy a handmade product, you truly are helping build someone’s dream and we are so appreciative to all our customers. As makers, we go through this entire process, repeatedly, because we’ve made something we are proud of and want to share it with the world. Without you, none of this would mean anything. Thank you for supporting handmade.