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.

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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.

 

Estella Bartlett Christmas campaign, showcase stock and potential collaboration

This week we have received a multitude of exciting files, parcels and news. After receiving the amazing images from our lookbook shoot, we have been creating and editing the lookbook itself. This includes a beautiful hero image of both of the sample pouches, detailed shots of the luxury pieces and mock ups of the other six designs. This lookbook is now complete and we have begun to contact stockists with regards to our luxury leather pouches.

This week we were also sent images from the Estella Bartlett’s Christmas campaign shoot. We were informed that the shoot went very smoothly and this is clear in the beautiful imagery we have been sent. The gift guides are now live on the their website and we are proud to show you our Green Plant Leaves phone case featured in the Plant Lover guide. We feature in a lifestyle image alongside the uniquely stunning Estella Bartlett Fern earrings and award winning, non toxic, breathable nail polish company Nailberry with their fantastic Minty Fresh Nail Polish. The gift guides include many more lovely luxury brands who we are keen to collaborate with further in the future. We also feature in the New Girlfriend Gift guide with our Peach Marble phone case, however we are not allowed to release this via social media as of yet.

Furthermore this week we have begun discussing with photographer Ferran Verges about a potential collaboration, which we are very excited about. He has fantastic ideas for Harper & Blake’s Instagram, as well as desires to work creatively with us on our ever-improving website. Born in Barcelona, the London based photographer has an amazing conceptual take, producing exceptionally aesthetic, clean images, which we feel is perfect for Harper & Blake.

Following the exciting arrival of our phone case packaging from Precious Packaging, our sample phone case and MacBook case order to showcase to a big potential stockist has arrived! Cases include some of our most popular prints such as: White, Black and Peach Marble, Peach Dalmatian, Agate Marble Chevron and Polka Dots in green and pink. All cases have a rubberised finish and have Harper & Blake logo printed in gold on the black underside of the case.

In addition, initial planning is complete and work has begun on Harper & Blake’s November and December marketing campaigns. November’s will predominantly use video as its main medium and will actively involve viewers, encourage the public to take part and thus aims to build our community. December’s Christmas campaign will incorporate various companies from our base Shed studios, and will offer the chance for our followers to win Harper & Blake produce.  

This week has also involved the continuation of interviews, in our search for the perfect interns to join our team. We have met many more talented students this week and with further interviews scheduled for next week we realise the decision process is going to be incredibly difficult!

 

Our new packaging, interviewing interns and PR planning

We are excited to share our new packaging boxes for our phone cases created by Precious packaging. Precious Packaging is a bespoke retail packaging printer, who produce packaging for some of the most luxurious brands in the UK. The packaging boxes features our logo in gold foil, one of our popular prints and has a matte finish. We are really happy with the outcome and hope our customers will be too.

Last week’s Harper & Blake Halloween campaign was received warmly and positively, so this week we looked to creating other creative, current and eye-catching campaigns to decorate our website and social media platforms. We continued to develop our Black Friday and Cyber Monday gifting banner artworks , and our new trend focused campaign looks at our new, growing monochrome collection. We look at the magic around the up and coming festive season, and have implemented that in our creative description of Harper & Blake at present.

We have also begun the interviews for the internship roles that we are offering and are loving meeting the inspiring candidates. Advertisements for photography, print design, PR and editorial positions are posted on Fashion Workie and Fashion Jobs among other res fashion related jobs boards. We are very excited to introduce fresh talent into the industry and expand our fabulous growing team. The candidates we have met with so far have all been lovely and made us excited for fashion’s future.

In relation to this, we have begun looking at developing our PR strategy for Harper & Blake’s luxury collection launch. Focus has been on how to describe as much about the brand to our followers as possible and get them involved. We also intend to produce and attend events as a brand in order to develop our community. More in depth research on competitors and fitting magazines and bloggers to work with to promote our luxury collection is something else we will put into practice.

In addition we have been investigating more designer boutiques in the UK suitable to stock our collection. We have looked and assessed stores in every city across the nation, and Harper & Blake are looking forward to developing professional relationships with independent boutiques, as well as larger stockists that fit with our brand and its values. 

After  rescheduling, our lookbook shoot occurred within this past working week. We went for a clean white backdrop and it worked perfectly in highlighting the luxury quality of the pouches and promoting their creative prints. The incredibly fun day produced fabulous visuals to take forward to our lookbook. We have already chose our main hero shot of the two sampled pouches, and we are waiting on the edits of the close ups, print focused images and basic product shots.

With the success of our own shoot we are very excited to see the outcome of the Estella Bartlett’s Christmas Campaign shoot that we are featuring in this coming week.

Also this week, a coffee morning was held in Shed Studios. We all had a well deserved break, cup of coffee and some amazing brownie bites from the in-house cafe. These are perfect occasions to meet the new residents of our studios and hear about some of the incredibly exciting work our neighbours are undertaking at present.

Instagram, Marketing Campaigns and Preparing for Cyber Monday

Like Twitter, this week Harper & Blake have faced challenges: with various technical difficulties including Photoshop refusing to comply with our requests and eventually refusing to open at all.  But after various frustrating attempts to rescue files and the program itself, we are finally back producing creative, visual, digital content.

Despite the modern malfunctions we have still managed to have an incredibly positive and productive week. Planning and creating our Halloween campaign and banner was a rather exciting element to the week as we love gifting our consumers. The photographs of the seasonal pumpkins were taken at the Townings Farm Shop Halloween Festival. These beautiful products of nature also inspired our colour-way for the campaign. Harper & Blake customers were entitled to 15% off when using the code stated on the banner. In addition to Halloween, we have also begun creating banners advertising the offers we are rewarding to our customers for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Fun, quirky and modern designs have been hand drafted and digital development will begin on them in the coming week.

Similarly, the week has also consisted of research for alternative methods of marketing campaigns and techniques. Various inspirational approaches have been analysed and many ideas are beginning to resonate within the team. With a growing number of employees Harper & Blake look forward to being able to create a more varied and higher quantity of content. Plans are to incorporate video, animation and customisation opportunities among other multimedia methods.

We had planned to shoot our pouches on Saturday, however unfortunately there were issues with the studio and so we have found an alternative way to shoot this coming week and we will provide an update of this in our following post.

Last week also saw our return to posting on the brand’s InstagramOur Instagram return after focusing on our new luxury expanding range, was greatly received and resulted in Harper & Blake being contacted with regards to an exciting Christmas collaboration with Estella BartlettEstella Bartlett is beautiful British jewellery brand created by sibling duo Nick and Louise Bartlett. Known for their playful chic style, the brand’s dreamy, delicate products take inspiration from positivity, the essence of the season, trips, travel and childhood. With a personal element to their jewellery and Estella Bartlett’s thoughtful approach to their packaging, the products are perfect for gifts. We will release more information on the exhilarating concept to our viewers in the coming weeks.