For each of the trade shows that we attend as a company, our Sales, Shipping, Product Development, Trend, and Design teams all collaborate to make our show a success. As a Product Development Team, we constructed what product would be showcased at each specific show as well as the display and accessibility of each product to our customers. While in the product line display and design process, we create a tool called a plannogram. This plannogram is basically a blueprint for our display set. It is created in adobe illustrator to ensure that we have exact proportions to scale in order to avoid any unexpected placement issues when designing our sets. Once our Plannogram is up to date and made, we continue on by ordering all of the product we need for the tradeshow. Once it is in our position we will do a “soft set” of our plannogram. This is where we roughly set up a mock set to double check for any sizing mistakes or packaging damages. Once we have conquered our soft set and fixed any problems we may have we go to our final “Hard reset” which is like a dress rehearsal for our trade show displays. This is where we make sure we have all of our hanging materials, packaging materials and even installation materials. This is where we will set up exactly what we will have in our tradeshow but at our home office. After all is set and perfect, we will package the display and send our display to the tradeshow while our company will fly to meet it, set up, and begin networking.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, my company Darice sells art supplies. Therefore commonly we need to test our product by creating new crafts. This process will happen in one of two ways. The first option will be that we get in new product and we need Packaging photos. If we need packaging photos we will first take a picture of the individual product, then we will find a way to use our product in a craft. Crafts like this can range anywhere from Popsicle stick houses to 4ft canvases full of acrylic paint. This method spirited a lot of crafts but I was lucky enough to work on this summer. My favorite being a large canvas that was 78 inches by 60 inches with a new technique called pouring that we are researching for our Trend Department. We are working on a new line called studio71 which provides classic artist materials instead of crafting. I have attached photos of this canvas to the bottom of my post. The second option to Spirit our crafts this summer was our renovation and new design implements in our showroom at the Strongsville and Atlanta headquarters. In order to make our showroom and products more appealing to our large buyers, we decided to redesign our entire showroom. A showroom in our company is a mock version of what you will see when you put our products in your store. Our redesign featured Spring Garden and several other holiday featured product. In order to keep our store fresh and Innovative we crafted more than half of our display for the new showroom look. From this we created multiple crafts such as new signage banners from our product, new pallet signs from our product, and even built brand new shelving units and stained them with our product. As mentioned in the past our company likes to create a very comfortable and family-oriented work environment. This being said another way of crafting at our Corporation is stemmed from Health Wellness days. During this time, our project managers who do the majority of crafting, will lead the entire department in a group crafting day. That day will consist of an openoffice forum in their crafting room for anyone in the creative Department to come by and relieve stress or to find therapy in making crafts with our product.
Much like our David Tutera partnership, we also have a large partnership with with Martha Stewart. Currently we have been developing new products and branding with Martha Stewart’ s team for her new paper crafting line coming out in 2018. For this, we are doing a large scale venue photo shoot much like the one with David Tutera. Our photo shoot will feature both her new party and paper lines. We’ve also been building this entire set. Our process with the Martha team is a bit different however due to her large scale of designer recognition. Every step that we take constantly needs approval and recognition from her team. One of our products that needs to be featured is a cupcake paper shell. Meaning we need to find either real cupcakes or make fake ones for our photo shoot. We spent about 2 weeks building our own artificial cupcakes as well as ordering a dozen of differently decorated cupcakes from a total of nine bakeries in the Cleveland area until we finally found a cupcake that was approved by our partnering Martha Team. We also are building 3 new kinds of walls for this photo shoot. These also needed to be approved by the Martha Team before being allowed to move forward with our projects. We had originally scheduled this photo shoot for July 17, but due to the delay in communications on Marthas side and our chaotic schedule due to our David Tutera photo shoot going on at the same time.
Our Team not only covers normal crafting trends but we also cover wedding, party, home decor and many more crafting trends. A large part of our jobs while developing products is also developing new brands and packaging. This being said we work with our in house product commercial photographers on a regular bases to acquire product shots as well as hold photo shoots. We work with our in house designers in addition to large r outside designers for all of our product production and photo shoots. Currently our company has a partnership with the large wedding designer David Tutera. This past spring, my colleague Rachel who has all creative direction on photo shoots held a large scale wedding photo shoot and David Tutera came to Cleveland to be in it with the rest of our models. This coming week we will be doing another large scale photo shoot focusing on three new wedding trends in David’s line for 2018. Instead of going to a venue for our photo shoot this time, we built one in our storage building called Q2. We layed flooring, built walls (that are also being used for a Martha Stewart photo shoot), installation pieces, built faux windows, and ordered furniture, and other venue specific items. Ive been asked to model for our Old Hollywood themed wedding trend for our packaging photos and will get to have that experience while working with my team as well! As a smaller business we commonly use our own staff as models and for packaging materials.
While at darice, the range of work i have done has been very wide but a main responsibility of my department are trend reports. Over the course of my time here this summer, I have contributed to a total of over 27 Trend Reports; Day of the dead, Day of the dead kids, Friendsgiving, Hocus pocus, Happy harvest, Hypnotic horror, Kids harvest, Simply cozy, Urban luxe, Snail Mail, Felt, Bubble July_Trend_FeltJuly_Trend_SoapsJULY_Trend_SNAILMAIL Bars, Holiday Cabin Christmas, Holiday Metallic Christmas, Holiday Brights Christmas, Summer Barefoot Backyard, Summer Letters from Camp, Summer Poolside Cool, 3 new Spring trends, 3 new Harvest/Halloween themes, and the 3 mentioned previously in my 1st post (some attached to post). Each Trend report has a multitude of steps to it. first is coming up with a trend or theme that is rising into popularity for the next years quarters – all the trends Ive done are for 2018. Second we find blogs, Pinterest reference, Instagrammers, and more that the leaders of this trend to research and have visual designs of the styles or trends we are looking at advertising. After this we create a reference board (usually on pinterest) similar to a mood board that is taught in Graphic Design by Madison Creech. Once his is done – we create pdfs in adobe illustrator for our buyers to then understand our trend and begin working with our Product Development and Sales Team to accomplish everything that needs to be done to get these into our stores. We also create “make and take” sheets for our common crafters. We take specific crafts within our trend reports and find the product that we sell that are necessary for this craft. We put it all together so it is easy for our customers to see what to buy together for their target audience to easily create these crafts. We also create inspiration boards for our project craft managers for them to make tangible examples of the things our materials can make that go along with each trend. I have been luck enough to be a part of every step in this process at some point in my working here this summer. Because of this, I was allowed to go to a large meeting with the Vice President of Trend from Michaels Craft Stores (since we are undergoing transitions into their corporation) where she introduced our direction and lead for the next two years in crafting retail. After this I was offered a position throughout the school year of being a “Trend Lookout” for the Michaels headquarters located in Irving, Texas. This means I will constantly be doing research for them remotely and sending them new ideas and trend reference for fresh ideas.
This summer I am working at Darice Incorporated in their Product Development department in the Trends area. Darice is a local art supplies company in Cleveland who started by becoming a wholesaler to stores like Joann Fabrics and Pat Catans Craft. As I have been here I have been able to witness them grow and make deals with large buyers like Dollar General, Ross, TJ Maxx, and Target. I have been fortunate enough to be included in the preparation for these meetings by designing trend reports, putting together presentation boards, accumulating information and creating info graphics, being involved in Photo Studio Tech, designing show room exhibitions, doing work in the comp room to show examples of the work our products are capable of and much more.
Since our growth as a company, we have been recently bought by Michaels craft stores and are in a transitional state. Since our new Chief Executive of Creative and Vice President of Creative have started, the environment has changed and become much more welcoming and supportive. Every month we have a “Three Cheers” meeting where the entire creative team meets and thanks or commends each other for the work the team has done (attached are a few 3 cheers notes). Everyday our CEC pops popcorn and brings it to everyone at 3 o clock because he “understands how the end of the day drags”. I work directly under the Director of Visual Marketing & Consumer Research alongside specifically typography designers, photo studio designers, and logo & graphic designers.