The Story That Made This A Reality
In 2016 I attended a night market with a friend. This market was full of local businesses owners showcasing with pride the beautiful work that they had poured their heart and souls into. It was fun, walking around seeing how creative people really can be while drinking a glass of wine and talking with my friend.
As we were walking down one line of booths, I came across a photographer who was showcasing beautiful scarves. Me being the scarf lover that I am, stopped and asked her about them because they were like nothing I had ever seen before. Little did I know that this one conversation would change my life forever! She told me that what made each scarf unique was that each one was printed with a different photograph that she herself had taken. The concept blew my mind!! I knew in that moment that I needed to buy this lady a coffee and learn more about this. So, I got her business card and, naturally, bought one of her scarves and later called her to meet for coffee.
That coffee meeting opened my eyes to a world of new opportunities and possibilities and right after I got home started doing more research into the concept of custom printed clothing. And although my research was interesting, I decided at the time not to follow through with opening a store because I was busy looking at higher ticket items to sell online, but this concept stayed with me through all of my other endeavors.
Then one day during the Covid-19 pandemic I decided that now was the time! No more sitting on this idea, I needed to bring my version of custom printed clothing and accessories to the world. There are a lot of people out there that use stock images as their designs, but not me. I loved the idea of using only unique photos to create designs, so that’s what I do.
The store hit a couple of roadblocks in the first few months after it’s inception, but things have since been worked out. And I’m here today to give you a sneak peek of how I go from an idea in my head to a final product that is ready for purchase and enjoyment. So, get ready, because here we go!
The inspiration for my designs comes from the world around me. Our planet is full of so much beauty and wonder that often goes unnoticed in the busyness and hustle of the daily grind. People don’t often stop to smell the roses or observe the world from a different perspective. Well, I have started to train my brain to see and notice the little things in life that often times go unnoticed. Take for example the view out of your window right now. Have a look…what do you see, what do you really notice. Go look, I’ll wait.
What did you see? Did you notice the horizon and what colour it is right now? Did you notice the flowers growing on the plants? Did you look up into a tree and notice the pattern that the branches are growing in and leaves growing off of those branches? Did you notice the insects going about their business, just trying to survive? I could go on and on, but my point is, there is so much more to the view outside your window than you, original saw a minute ago. If you’d like, go look again and see if you notice anything different this time. Please let me know in the comments below how your perspective changed during this exercise and what you noticed the second time that you hadn’t before.
This is where my inspiration comes from. From the little things that we are so used to “seeing” that we simply don’t see them anymore because our conscious brains don’t consider them relevant to our immediate thought process so they get processed by the subconscious mind almost immediately. It’s amazing what you come across when you take the time to stop thinking about a million things at once, when stop allowing your body to move on autopilot and you are truly present in the moment.
The first thing I would like to say about the photos that I use in my designing is that they are 100% original and taken by myself or a select number of friends. None of the pictures I currently use on the store are filtered, nor are they photoshopped in any way that changes their look. Maybe one day I will expand into using photo shop to change up certain pictures, but for now I pride myself on the use of original, unique photos. I want to make this clear because I have had several people ask me why I don’t use stock images for my designs like other people do and I tell them the same thing every single time…anybody can use a stock image to design a product, but no one will have the designs that I do because no one has the pictures that I do. That’s what makes me unique!
The photos I choose to take for the store are the ones that truly capture the beauty and uniqueness of the world around me. I work hard to capture photos from different and unique angles so that you can see the world in a new way. But sometimes I simply take a photo straight on because what I’m looking at is gorgeous and unique enough already. It’s fun choosing what to capture and how to capture it.
To capturing images, I will either use my cellphone or I’ll take my canon out for a walk with me and see what I can find. My canon takes different resolution photos than a phone does, so sometimes they work better for different design pieces. I love trying them both out to see which photo turns out the best. After a bunch of photos have been taken, I choose my absolute favourite photos to design with, because you deserve the best of the best. After a photo is selected it’s time to get designing!
The Design Process
Once I have chosen an image that I want to design with I take that image and upload it onto my manufacturer’s website. They have a built-in design studio that allows me to design on whatever product I want from within their collection. Sometimes I will need to adjust the DPI of the image before uploading it because certain products require a larger photo size than others.
Once the image is uploaded, I chose what product I want to design first, be it leggings, tank tops, bags, etc. It really doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter because I try to use the same picture on as many products as possible in order create numerous options for you to choose from.
But there’s more to designing then simply placing an image on a product outline. Once the products are designed, I have to go and upload each product onto my website. When the upload is complete, I then go in and change every single product description, as well as some other small things, in order to add as much detail about each product as possible. There’s nothing worse than going to a website and trying to read about a product you’re interested in and finding out that there’s no helpful information anywhere.
So, I add as much information to my product descriptions as possible to make life as easy for you as possible. I have also chosen to add a story about each picture at the top of every product description. I do this because I am proud of the pictures that I have chosen to design with and I want to share their back story with the world.
I will note too, that I have intentionally chosen a manufacturer that is Canadian based. They source their materials locally and their manufacturing process is more eco-friendly than you will find in the fast fashion industry. I chose a manufacturer that cares about the environment and produces clothing that is sustainable and designed to last so that you don’t have to replace it within 6 months. You can find more information on their production processes here.
My goal with this store is very simple… I want to bring unique fashion to the world. I want to help people step out of their cookie cutter, fashion trendy lives and step into their most authentic self. The self that isn’t afraid to wear clothing that is fun and different and unique.
They say that our outer expression is a mirror of our inner impression. The clothing we choose to wear, the way we wear our hair, whether or not we choose to wear make-up or work out, each of these things is an outward expression of the person that we are on the inside, or a mask of the person we’re pretending to be while we try to hide who we really are. And I want to provide people with the opportunity to have the courage to express who they truly are on the inside by wearing what they want to wear and being different and unique.
I challenge you to do yourself a favour, stop dressing like everyone else because you want to fit into the latest “fashion trend”. Be your own person and don’t be afraid to colour outside the lines when it comes choosing the wardrobe that speaks to who you are.
I take great pride in the design work that I do and it brings me immense joy to be able to bring a new style to the world. I hope you enjoyed this little backstage tour and if you have questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.
And don’t be afraid to be your most authentic self, whoever that person may be!