|Black & White Silk Kaftan Dress by MayBrady|
It all starts with fabric selection. I visit my supplier every week or two in the hopes there will be new additions to their clearance of designer ends. Some of the pieces on offer are almost too-good-to-be-true: luxurious printed, pleated, embroidered, sequined, beaded and otherwise embellished silks, cashmere, lambswool and more. Working in this way, the fabric forms the inspiration for my designs.
I found this piece of white silk chiffon with black trees and foliage print on Friday and knew it would be perfect for a kaftan.
Then I cart the fabric home (on foot, a truly low-carbon footprint) and lay it out ready to cut. Often, using designer ends means working with what you've got as they're often short lengths, although this means a lot of my items are "one offs", a real value-add.
I spend the next little while rotating from cutting table to plain sewer, to overlocker, to iron and back again. One final press and... it's a dress.
But it doesn't end there. Now, to market and sell the dress. Enter Emmy, my trusty model:
Then it's time for lights, camera, action. I have a new wall in my workroom where I'm creating a proper studio, but until that's finished I'll settle for whatever I can get my hands on (see photo above, to the right - yikes).
After the photo session, I download and edit. There's a knack to creating 'cover shots' for Etsy, as their listing photo generally decapitates the model unless you leave enough head-room.
Once I've narrowed down my final photos, off to my Etsy shop to start a new listing. Title, description, tags, photos... et voila! For sale.
Right, to let the masses know. I mainly use twitter and facebook to keep in touch and also Handmade Spark. I'm an active member of a number of Etsy 'street teams', which means a number of hours online making and supporting treasuries and forum threads. In return, other members might feature my items.
Then there's stats. Thank goodness I was an analyst in a previous life! They're key to building a business and I'm all over it. I'll be monitoring the response to my newly listed dress through Etsy, Google Analytics, Craftopolis and even the comments in treasuries if/when it is featured.
Finally, when the dress does sell, I communicate with the buyer and complete the administration side online. It will be wrapped in tissue with a note, then packaged up and it's off to the Post Office.
So you see... it's not just a dress. mb