PROBLEMS PROBLEMS PROBLEMS!

After much frustration with my Moonfruit website, I decided it was time to find a new website building host! I kept having problems with image upload limits and distorted thumbnails and the website just didn’t at all look professional. I emailed Moonfruit several times to advise me on why this was happening, to which they replies ‘we have an image upload limit of 20MB’… which is pants.

I created a new website with Squarespace a week ago and have already finished it! It was much easier to use and the website looks a LOT more professional.

Home Page:

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Blog:

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Patterns:

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About:

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Contact:

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The only problem I have with squarespace is the domain. Currently the website is not viewable to anybody, only I can access my site while i’m logged in. If I begin a subscription with them I can create my own custom domain, but the domain i’ve been advertising and stated on my business cards is http://www.ameliamakes.com – which is already taken. That domain is tied to my Moonfruit account and i’m still waiting to hear back from them to see if they’re able to release my domain so that it’s free to use for my squarespace website. I desperately need this domain to be linked to my new website by the time New Designers is here so that my business cards and entire years worth of branding don’t go to waste!

Another issue is that squarespace only allow you to purchase a custom domain if you subscribe to an annual membership – monthly memberships will not get you the custom domain. So to solve this I think I’m able to buy http://www.ameliamakes.com (if moon fruit release it) through a 3rd part company such as GoDaddy, and then map my URL to my squarespace website. I’ve had to learn so much about domains and website building!

These are squarespace’s terms on domain mapping, which i’m still trying to understand:

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BUSINESS CARDS ORDERED

I managed to create, choose and order 250 business cards tonight. I used vista print because of how cheap they were compared to the others (after spending £250 on digital printing, I thought it’d be best to keep other costs low!). I went with this design, most people I asked had chosen it:

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The logo I used on the card is also the one I used for my website, keeping my ‘brand image’ the same:

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I also used the toile pattern used in my final collection so that people at new designers will immediately recognise that the business cards belong to my collection. I’m really happy with these, I thought they’d be a lot harder to create! I kept a minimalistic approach on the front because the pattern on the reverse side is pretty busy, I think it works.

BUSINESS CARDS

I’ve been working on more self-promotion today by trying to create business cards that I can have to give out at New Designers. I want the final business card to match my fabric collection, but also to match the theme of my website to keep consistent branding. I ended up making way too many variations and now I can’t decide which one to pick!

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It’s currently between these 4 with help from Facebook on narrowing the designs down:

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IN-SITUS

These were pretty simple to create, thanks to high quality images from google. I’m really happy with how realistic they look and how well my patterns work on a variety of products.

 

Spaceman tote bag:

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Spaceman clock:

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Spaceman bedding with matching pillow cases:

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Spaceman bedding without matching pillowcases:

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Toile 1 clock:

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Toile 2 chair (backrest only):

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Toile 2 chair (full):

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Toile 3 wallpaper:

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Toile 4 bedding with matching pillowcases:

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Toile 4 bedding without matching pillowcases:

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Toile 5 tote bag:

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Lantern wallpaper:

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I spent a while mounting all of these onto decent card, along with my favourite patterns:

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(and with help from Oscar)

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FINAL COLLECTION

With less than 2 weeks until the final deadline my final collection is finally starting to piece together. So far I have 5 designs, each in 3 different colours. I aim to get 2 more designs made before I send my designs to India to be digitally printed onto 100% linen.

I decided to base my final collection around my ‘toile de jouy’ themed pattern. This one received the most positive feedback across all of my social media accounts and as I stated in my project proposal; I would pick the pattern that became the most commercially popular. 

It was really difficult and time consuming producing the coordinating patterns, but also so rewarding to see them finished. They all involve a mixture of different techniques including pencil drawings, pen illustrations and photoshopping/photo editing all collaged and layered to create different scenes. 

It’s been a lot of fun keeping a pattern blog, with my blog being available to everyone world-wide I felt more motivated to work on and post new patterns, and it almost kept the pressure to create alive. I feel that if perhaps I hadn’t been posting my work online then I would have felt more comfortable creating something a little more half-heartedly and maybe not paying too much attention to detail.  It’s also taught me a lot about networking and effectively using my social media sites. There are a lot of unspoken rules that you pick up along the way such as knowing keywords to use to engage your audience, knowing where to find your audience and knowing what times of the day will catch more eyes. I’ve learned about self-promotion through trial and error and can now use this knowledge to help promote the next stage of ‘ameliamakes’ – my website. By the end of this project I hope to have my website up and running, and to use it as a space where a blog, a shop and galleries of patterns can all be in one space and under one domain. This should help create a brand image too!

Here are the single tiles of each of the 5 patterns I have so far. All of them repeat.

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DIGITAL PRINTS FROM INDIA

The guy from India who has been printing my design onto linen has finally finished and sent my package off. He sent me a few pictures of how they look and i’m super impressed! The cost of the printing/labour/fabric AND delivery was still half the cost of the Silk Bureaus services for the same fabric.

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SOURCING DIGITAL PRINT COMPANIES

It’s been quite challenging trying to find digital print companies who print on a suitable soft-furnishing fabric (such as linen, viscose etc) and who can also print fine detail. I recently received a sample from ‘bags of love’ and was really disappointed with the quality. I had spoken to an employee through the live chat feature on their website and had asked for her recommendation for a fabric that could be used for cushions and curtains. I went with her recommendation and what I received was some kind of unusual suede material that made the ink bleed and therefore smudged my design. None of the fabrics advertised on their website describe which type of fabrics they are, and instead have silly abstract names that don’t define them well.

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I was also recently contacted by a printing company from India after an employee came across my blog. He contacted me through Facebook and asked if i’d be interested in using his company. He explained that fabric and resources are much cheaper in India and so the total cost of my bulk order would be much cheaper when bought from them, even with the shipping, than it would buying from a UK company. My order came to just £15 for a metre (150cm wide) of linen plus the printed design, and an additional £10 for shipping. The only problem with this company is that because they’re so busy and cater for so many people, my printing was delayed by 3 weeks and i’m still waiting for it to be steamed and finalised.

I then contacted the silk bureau, who annoyingly don’t provide service details and charges on their website, but were very willing to help via email. They offer a wide range of fabrics (at quite a high price!) which is very appealing considering my experience with other UK based companies. An employee is currently analysing my design to determine whether or not it can be printed, so i’m waiting to hear back before I can go ahead and print.

Student Pricelist March 2014 (4)

With the deadlines approaching fast i’m getting worried that I won’t have time to get my designs printed and sent to me in time to create a collection of soft furnishing products.