5 Across is a Lexington based business pitch competition for entrepreneurs. A few times each year, Awesome Inc teams up with BBDP to encourage entrepreneurs to share their business ideas and to take action toward achieving their goals. During the 5 across event local entrepreneurs pitch their idea to a panel of local judges, kind of like Shark Tank. This year, 5 Across was held on Wednesday, Feb. 24th. As a designer, it is interesting to learn about the business side of things. This is one reason I like interning at Awesome Inc, the knowledge I gain in different areas other than graphic design can help out in future endeavors. Especially if one day I own my own business. I can always call up Awesome Inc for help!
This week I sat in on a meeting with Clare, Hugh, and a marketing consultant. This was a meeting about brainstorming ideas on how to make MON well known to the Lexington public. Last week we focused on taking consistent photographs of our product in order to enhance our image and presence on social media. This week we focused on expanding the website and actually showing product, similar to how a tradition retail shop would look online. It wasn’t a very exciting week because I spent most of my time going on the manufacturer’s websites and downloading the product images. A simple but time consuming task.
Other assignments I focused on were creating documents and flyers. I created a “Fabric Swatch Takeout” sheet. This is important for us to have because many clients take out fabric swatches to test in their homes and we having a paper trail helps us know where our items are.
Also, we decided to participate in a charity event and the winner will have a private party with 6-10 of their closest friends and a gift card as their prize. First, it’s important to participate in a philanthropy because it’s a way for us to give back to the community. I am currently working on the flyer for that event.
Thursday afternoon, Lindsey stopped by the store to say hello and to see what we were up to! I showed her around the store, explained my work, and we chit-chatted with Clare for a bit!
Always ready for a photo-op!
This week I had the opportunity to help a client search for a certain wallpaper along side my peer Alissa. On two separate occasions this happened and it occurred with two different clients. The first client was looking for a Tiffany Blue colored wallpaper for a bedroom. So we started pulling books that we knew had all different types of blues with all different types of patterns. It can be difficult knowing exactly what the client may be looking for so you have to constantly ask questions on whether or not they like a certain pattern, color, etc. and from there you can start to figure out more of what they are looking for. After a while we had all found a few patterns and styles that the client was interested in, and proceeded to check out books for her to sample. The second client was a designer and had a more specific idea of what she wanted. She was looking for a paper for a pool house that looked similar to a previous paper that had been used. Our task was to find something “colorful and whimsical”. So again we repeated the process of what we did earlier with the other client. In this case, she didn’t necessarily find anything that she liked, and ended up taking a different route.
You never know what the client may be asking for or wanting until you ask questions. That is why it is very important to ask questions and find things that may be what they are looking for and just try to find the right match. In some cases, you may find exactly what they are looking for, and others may decide to change their minds completely. That is simply the nature of working with clients personally. The best thing you can do is ask questions and help them find what they want and give it to them.
This week I was able to help a client select some wallpaper options for a bedroom. The client came in describing that they were searching for a “Tiffany blue in a contemporary pattern.” This opens up a broad range of options and questions. Even though everyone thinks they know what Tiffany blue is, everyone still has their different opinions. It turned out that the shade of blue she was looking for wasn’t exactly Tiffany blue. Looking for a contemporary pattern also opened up a broad range since there are so many different contemporary patterns. It honestly takes looking through a few books before you can gain a true understanding of what the client wants. After searching through several books, we were able to select a few that the client could take home and decide on what was best for the space. This interaction gave me more experience in interacting with clients and deciphering what they want for the design. Clients do not always know the best way to describe what they are wanting. It takes working with them and sorting through options to make sure the client is getting what they asked and are satisfied with their choices. Through this process, I also gained more experience with the current wallpaper books. Overall, it was a good learning experience and brings about a sense of satisfaction when you are able to help that client find the design for which they have been searching.
This week was even more inventory work. While this task may be tedious and boring, it is necessary to help with business operations. By working on inventory, I am enabling the designers to put their full focus in their projects, and bring them peace of mind knowing that this task is being handle. This week the focus was the larger vendors that have multiple books from which we work. It was important with these to really check the current book listings and make sure we were up to date. After finishing those vendors, the next task was the dreaded old drapery stock room. Perspectives used to carry items such as drapery rods and finials and has a good amount of inventory left over. The goal of this was to get an accurate count of what was left and what could be used for future projects. While this week may have been a little boring, I understand the importance of these tasks and how it can contribute to the overall function and success of the company.
This week at Market on National, my main task was to photograph merchandise with the DSLR. Since MON is still quite new, not enough people in the Lexington community know about MON. Also, traditional advertising (television commercials and paper ads) aren’t as effective anymore because many people have the ability to skip ads. One type of advertisement MON has been using is social media. It’s effective because it’s easy to use and it’s free of cost.
Clare did some research on how to have a good Instagram feed and how to attract more followers so we decided we will take all of our Instagram photos weeks beforehand and edit them all together so they have the same look.
I opened up a wall space in the store and took photos of accessories like pillows and vases against a grey wall and then I set up some scenes with chairs and tables.
Clare and I spent most of Saturday designing table settings with merchandise and I took photos of them. My next task is to place them on Photoshop and edit them.
Part of my work included looking up different companies and seeing how they used Instagram as advertisement. I was inspired by Arhaus, Anthropologie, and Lynne Parker Designs. KJP, SarahKJP, and LaurenConrad were all good examples of Instagram accounts with consistent designs and styles in their photos.
Within the next couple of weeks, the public will see that MON’s branding online will be more in line with our identity.
This is the current state of our media account.
Remember when I posted about working on a logo for Hogg Therapy Associates? Well, I sent them the first round of logos and got some feedback. I made some new ones and edited some old ones. I think they have finally decided on one! I have to make a couple small changes but it is almost complete. Before this task, I had never designed a logo for a real client before. I learned a lot from this process. Communication is one key factor to designing a product that your client will love. Also, there were times I was frustrated because I could not think of more ideas. Sometimes you need to sketch anything that comes to your mind; the good and the bad. This project was a tricky first one, but now I can take what I have learned and put my skills into upcoming projects.