Look! Lovely Laptop Sleeves

This week we have been busy preparing for the launch of our new product, the printed laptop sleeve. We have made sure these soft covers are available in two different sizes: 12-13” and 14-15”, so as to be suitable for MacBook, HP, Sony, Acer, Lenovo and Dell models. The sizing also means the case can be used to store notebooks in.

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As with all of our products, the laptop sleeves feature beautiful prints including some of our most popular designs. We also offer personalisation of the items. This option is available on the Harper & Blake website and includes adding the desired initials.The front of the laptop sleeves are covered with the print whereas the backs are black. The cover is comprised of neoprene with cloth and the zip fastening features two pull tabs, this means that the product is flexible and ideal for transporting.

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Introducing our Venomous Silk Scarves

This week has seen the launch of our new collection of silk scarves on the Harper & Blake website. Titled Venomous, this collection looks at some of the most poisonous creatures of both the physical and mythical world. Our talented designer has produced a collection of eight beautiful scarves: four artworks for the Harper minimalist, and four for the Blake maximalist.

Each of the four stories of the minimalist relates to that of the maximalist and vice versa. We have made snakes key in this collection, with them featuring in three of the four stories. Animal print is a particular style favourite of ours, so we have carefully selected suitable colour pallets for classic and bold looks and created an abstract take on the timeless snakeskin scale print. In addition, we have looked at the deadly reptiles in more detail and created a more direct depiction of them in our second story. The long, flexible creatures were perfect to create stylish, elegant patterns from and worked perfectly when paired with the gorgeous yet harmful plants of the wild. The depiction of mythical Gorgon Medusa: a jealous female in a monster form with venomous snakes for hair, features in one of the collection’s scarves. The creative description of the sculpture-like bust is supported by a background consisting of snake shadows, making the mythic design even more endearing. In contrast, mushrooms have been the prime article of inspiration for the pairing Blake print. White follicles outlined in yellow and on a red background provide the ideal colour pallet for the bold maximalist that wishes to dress up a plain outfit. Finally, our last story looks in more detail at delicate yet deadly plantlife. The stripes flower silk scarves combine the timeless but on-trend stripe pattern with a floral foreground. Slightly more subtle for the classic minimalist: the Harper design features a pastel colour pallet. Both designs depict the vegetation in an almost scientific dictionary-esque style.

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The Venomous collection of luxury and stylish Silk Scarves are all made to order in our London Studio from silk modal. We have worked hard to source the best manufacturers to produce our large (136cm square) neckties. The complex and sophisticated designs are printed with the best quality finish and carefully machine hem finished.

Each with their own specific story, these irresistible designs are a perfect chic staple for your accessory wardrobe to be used any time of the year. Their large style ensures that they can be styled in multiple ways depending on the wearer and occasion. Roll and secure in place with a brooch for a more elegant look, or simply fold in half and wrap around the neck for a more casual-everyday style.

After also creating creative banners for our platforms to promote the launch and beautiful artwork of the Venomous silk scarf collection we are excited to see what you, the public think of the classic, creative collection.

The Creation of our Nightfalls Instagram Campaign

This week we welcome our new print design intern Caitlin, a fashion illustration student from London College of Fashion, and with her arrival we have introduced a new creative campaign concept for Instagram. Monday consisted of a creative thinking and mind-mapping meeting with both our new talented illustrator and our fantastic photography intern, Rakshita, to share ideas about how we can communicate our new collection to the public. We took influence from top designer’s, classic painters and surrealism to establish the visual style that we intend to adapt to be in keeping with Harper & Blake’s own handwriting. The new collection is collectively titled: Nightfalls, and takes inspiration from many earthly and unearthly subject matters – hence the surrealism references.

Caitlin took no time at all to get stuck into further research for the social media artworks, compiling a suitable colour pallet to portray the main inspirations and mood behind Nightfalls. Pencil and paint then began covering pages in the most exciting manner… and this was just for the drafting of ideas! From this we selected the subjects for each of the posts. Harper & Blake will post images consisting of both handcrafted and digitalised media, with the first eight hinting at the collection through inspirational themes. The final four of our twelve Instagram campaign artworks will release to the public some of the products in the new collection through illustration. With the Nightfalls range consisting of four types of products: phone cases, MacBook cases, luxury silk scarves and leather pouches, we intend to showcase each of these separately.

Our first post will have a universal feel to it. Caitlin has used a loose abstract style to produce an interesting, mesmerising and colourful background in watercolour paints. This background has then been combined with paper craft and the use of digital media for the more detailed foreground. Multiple large blobs of white acrylic was used in the process, as it always seems to be with any form of an artistic painting process! With just the last little bits of digital refinement to make to the first piece, we intend to work hard in order to share our collection with the public very soon. We are very excited to finally show our beautiful work to the Harper & Blake community and cannot wait for the feedback. Impressed and intrigued by Caitlin’s illustrations so far we are interested to see her future creations and how she portrays Nightfalls throughout the campaign.

Christmas Party, Learning Basic SEO and New iPad Cases

This week Shed London hosted a Christmas party for all its residents located there. We attended the event and had a great time catching up with the other companies in the co-working space, along with their friends and family. It was great to learn how everyone got on in 2017,  particularly Adam Goodison who showed some of his prints featured in Satoori magazine and answering questions about his work and the prints. Adam Goodison is an art and still file photographer based in London. Apart from Satoori magazine, Adam’s work has been published in Wonderland, Volt Hunger and Tank and has worked with renowned brands such as House of Holland, Burberry and Givenchy.

There was a great selection of delicious wines available. All wines were made by skilled artisan winemakers who take pride in doing things the proper way, which somehow added to the taste and enjoyment.

In the office this week, we have been focusing on brushing up on our Search Engine Optimisation(SEO) knowledge. SEO is a key part of any digital brand’s development and we’re keen to have a firm grasp of the core concept and practices in order to improve our search traffic. We have found Moz’s beginner guide to SEO extremely helpful  SEO guides and plan to put our learning into practice in the New Year.

Another area we have looked at this week is blogger relations. We have planning our blogger relations program. We have also been sifting through the masses of fashion and lifestyle bloggers in order to discover the ideal ones to work with. There is an extreme amount of bloggers worldwide, and so the research process is expansive. However, we are remaining true to our creative ethos and values and are beginning to compile a list of prospective bloggers to build relations with and potentially collaborate with. With further ideas for PR and marketing campaigns, we are very much looking forward to what can be achieved in this area in 2018.

We’re also looking forward to expanding our product range in 2018 and ended this year by introducing a new range of iPad cases to our e-shop. The cases are available for iPad 2, 3 iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 2 and feature our most popular designs including White Marble, Peach Marble, Black Marble and Dalmatian. We’re excited to add the latest additions to our e-shop and about our plans for the New Year.

Besides the Christmas party and development in the office our co-resident Unfold Stories, a creative content agency which specialises in virtual reality, immersive, educational experiences, are particularly busy before their Christmas break. Predominantly working with charities and in educational services, the company has just released the film Ayan’s Journey which focuses on the hunger crisis in Somalia. Untold Stories are currently showing their work at festivals and increasing exposure of the amazing, insightful and hard-hitting film and we wish them all the very best for the New Year.

New Team Members and Charity Workshop

This week we are happy to introduce another fabulous addition to our, Desmond Huthwaite, an English and German Literature Graduate who is aiding us with our magazine editorials. Desmond is especially interested in products that speak loudly and clearly the style and the attitude of their owners. This passion can clearly be identified in his work and we are really impressed with his contribution to the brand so far. Desmond’s first piece in our Harper & Blake magazine is on Blake’s Top Party Season Essentials and is a great reference guide on how to dress to impress this festive season. You can read the full article in the Harper & Blake Magazine.

After last week’s meetings, we are very pleased to confirm that we now have an amazingly talented new print designer. The artist specialises in highly detailed hand drawn and painted imagery. He has already started working with us on our dream project campaigns. Harper & Blake’s dream project is a self-initiated project where we will create products which we would like to see in our dream stores. The first print by our new designer will be hand rendered, Harper focused and will look at trends that take inspiration from precious metals.

Further creativity has occurred this week making the banners for after Christmas and the New Year, as 2018 moves rapidly closer. Our team has been getting into the festive spirit whilst creating; advent calendar up, festive songs on (occasionally) and discussions of seasonal shopping has encouraged the festive fun to become infused in our campaigns.

We also attended a workshop held by the charity You Make It last Friday. You Make It is our neighbouring company in the shared workspace here at the Shed. The charity works with young women towards gaining the skills required for employment. At the workshop, we spoke about our own story and experiences on running a business and shared any advice we had for the women who might want to create their own startups. The budding the young women were supported by us and other fellow volunteers to create effective pitches. We were moved and empowered by the women’s stories and their determination to make an impact in the world.

Collaboration in full swing, new slogan cases and potential print designer

Our first collaborative photo shoot with Ferran Verges took place this week. With a multitude of brilliant creative ideas from us both we finally managed to refine and combine our parallel creative visions and come up with a beautiful, artistic, yet minimalist concept. Props included nothing other than children’s wooden building bricks spray painted in classic brand colours: black, peach and white, whilst backgrounds stuck to pastel tones and geometric shapes. The shoot was incredibly enjoyable yet productive. We worked with the shadows to produce amazing images that describe our creative cases in the best light, quite literally!  We are excited to see the finished product images from Ferran later this week. Enthused by the collaboration so far we look forward to working with Ferran again in the coming week on our Christmas campaign.

The Christmas shopping extravaganzas that are Black Friday and Cyber Monday were a great success for Harper & Blake. Geometric shapes featured on our Black Friday 20% discount banner, whilst robots walked upon our Cyber Monday marketing campaign. With many loyal customers excited by, and appreciative of the seasonal discounts on our website and the creative imagery that accompanied them, we can’t wait to hear of them enjoying their desired products or how they were received as Christmas gifts!

This week has also included a meeting with our new editorial contributor, Ana Xavier about the prospect of using podcasts to expand our online presence and contact with our followers. We are looking into including interviews with influential people, talks on interesting topics and various “how to” pieces. Ana has had experience working on and with radio, however, we all are podcast novices so we intend to carefully plan and experiment with this media.

Experimentation continued this week with the creation of our new collection of statement slogan phone cases. Inspired by the fall font trend, which designers have used to offer words of encouragement to the female race, we have decided to adopt the idea to inspire the Harper & Blake community. Initially, we have chosen to begin with our minimalist popular prints as backgrounds: peach, white and black marble, as well as bright gradient so that the bold,  creative and luxurious font is highlighted. The first slogan we have started with is “luxury loves me” as we felt this represented our brand and its transition into the luxury market. With many more quotes in mind, we hope to expand the collection soon.

Further exciting developments have been made on the design front this week by interviewing and discussing with our potential new, experienced print designer, Nils. We are unable to disclose much more at present but will be sure to update you as soon as we can.

Arrival of our silk scarves and filming our video campaign

This week we received yet more exciting deliveries including our printed silk scarves that we have been eagerly awaiting. We are so pleased with how our creative designs have printed on the fabric; a luxurious Habotai silk. Habotai is a soft, natural fabric, yet it has a lustrous sheen giving it a luxurious quality. We specifically chose the fabric due to its lightweight quality that allows the print to penetrate perfectly through the fabric. Furthermore, it means that the scarves are suitable for all weathers and seasons. Our scarves were printed and hemmed by Silk Bureau, a British, digital textile fabric printing specialist of designer artwork. The company prides itself on using the highest quality of fabrics such as luxury silks. The company also offer a fabric coating and hem service and we are definitely impressed with the quality of pin hem finish their skilled machinists have sewn for our silk scarves. Working from a shared space we have been able to get initial feedback from our co-working space neighbours and their initial reaction was very positive and we can’t wait to show our readers.

On Wednesday, we also took delivery of our second packing boxes made for our MacBook case, luxury leather pouch and silk scarves. The rigid boxes comprise a base and removable lid. They are made from recycled Kraft paper and feature a printed border representative of Harper & Blake’s style and display a luxurious gold foil blocked logo in the centre. Produced by Precious Packaging, the boxes look great and were sent to a potential stockist to review with our products.

Also last this week, we started filming our first ever video campaign. We had fun filming this. A company trip to South Bank where the shooting took place allowed us to get a great mix of footage in a variety of styles for us to combine into one interesting short story clip. Luckily we managed to finish just before the rain came and escape to the tube to warm up. We now face the task of our first ever editing process, but here at Harper & Blake we love a challenge! We look forward to releasing the final piece on social media in the very near future!

Similarly plans for our potential collaboration with Ferran Verges has developed this week. We decided on the initial products we wish to focus on for our first shoot together and plan to shoot in a couple of weeks. Furthermore we are going to collaborate with Ferran for our Christmas marketing campaign so a Harper & Blake Christmas themed shopping trip is in order.

In addition, our work placement interviews have continued this week and our first successful PR Intern candidate began with us. Dhamini, who is a third year student at London College of Fashion studying Fashion Marketing, is originally from South Africa and is looking to gain further experience and continue to progress in the public relations field after graduation. We are very pleased with her first week and we feel she will be a great asset to our team for the internship duration.