Peer Review 1: Laura Wilson
Project: Sainted Souls
Laura’s project is something that I felt extremely connected to as I have my own embroidery machine and have experienced the process of starting my own embroidery business. I feel proud being a peer reviewer for her project. In saying that, I do know a lot about the behind the scenes work and have my own experience starting an embroidery business from scratch.
As inspiring as this is, immediately I recognised that it does not align with the F.I.S.T method. This is a HUGE project and I want to share as many tips as I can so that it is as inexpensive and simple as possible. Because in all honestly, I spent around $5000 to get started. Laura has not yet purchased an embroidery machine, and these machines range from $1500 to 13,000 for a decent one. I recommend the Brother nv800e embroidery machine as it is one of the most affordable but so easy to use: Echidna Sewing Also, if she purchases it in a bundle she will be able to save money on stabiliser, embroidery hoops and embroidery thread. If this is out of budget, hand embroidery is also an option but it is not as ‘clean’ and takes a bit more time but is a much cheaper option.
I would not recommend opening a Shopify website straight away as based on my own experience. Shopify is roughly $40 a month to keep open, and on months where sales are not strong you may find yourself at a loss. Instead, I would definitely start with something as an Etsy account, which is a website perfect to promote personalised gifts. It’s super easy to promote on there and your engagement, sales and reviews on the site mean it’s easier for other buyers to find you when they are looking for personalised gifts. It also takes a small commission when you make a sale, but it is much less compared to Spotify’s monthly fee.
A lot of time is also going to have to go into finding a wholesale company that aligns with her values. I absolutely appreciate how she wants to take sustainability into consideration as that is essentially what my DA artefact is about! I will be talking about my fashion sustainability journey with my own business (and will talk about my embroidery) which you can find here; Bad Days The Podcast I also found a website that lists a number of amazing sustainable manufacturers for wholesale if which you can check out here; Sustainable wholesalers and manufacturers I would also we weary of the packaging materials to use and determine if it is in your budget to find sustainable packaging. I personally use Hero Packaging, which you can access here; Hero Packaging.
As for drawing the designs, I would recommend hiring someone from Fiverr. It will cut down production time and they will be able to convert your JPEG to a PES file (or a stitch file) rather then you doing it yourself and purchasing PES software which not only is expensive but takes so long to create. Not to share all my small business owner secrets but I trust this digitizer with my life; Fiverr Digitizer.
I think her methodology suggests a focus on social media for engagement, and in turn utilising this to create a successful brand. TikTok definitely is the place to promote a small business as I also found I got the most feedback from both TikTok and Instagram Reels. It is important to post regularly and update your followers so having the embroidery machine really helps with creating interesting content that explores your design to finish process. In all honestly, if you were to cut down your DA to align with the F.I.S.T method, I would focus all your energy into small business promotion rather than the business as a whole. Either way it will be a fascinating topic!
I love the research Laura has put into this niche trend of personalised gifts and I can tell she is extremely passionate about this. I can tell with her research she already understands that her methodology has a lot of components to it. Her pitch was well articulated, passionate and easy to read/understand. I hope that my advice helps minimise the costs and allows Laura to align herself with the F.I.S.T methods better! I’m so excited to see where she takes this.
Peer Review 2: Chelsea-Lee Bastable & Emma Jenkins
Project: Chàe Media
I wish I had Chàe media when I was creating my own brand design for my own business! Their pitch was aesthetically pleasing and their goals for the project were very well articulated. I specifically resonated with their point about young entrepreneurs straying from the old paradigm as I have personally found that I have taken design for my own business into my own hands, uninterested in collaborating with larger-named businesses. Without any guidance I managed to create my own brand design but would have had a quicker turnaround if I knew about Chàe Media and their work. There was clearly an identified problem that was addressed, and combined with their relevant interests, the solution is an amazing tool that students can use for directed brand and editorial design.
The slogan “for students, by students” is the first thing I see when I pop on their social media page, and it brought me an immediate feeling of comfort and community as a digital media student. I think that the digital magazine is an amazing piece of curated content that isn’t regularly done with DA projects, so it would be interesting to see how they can engage their audience and persuade them into ready their magazine. I know I am particularly excited for it! I wish that there was a timeline to observe how they are planning to feed out their content to the public and how they will utilise their time efficiently, just so that I could understand their process a little bit better and know WHO was creating WHAT.
I think that boosting their social media presence through video media could be a vital next step into engaging their young audience (students) through Instagram reels and Tiktok. Having followed them on Instagram for a while, I believe they already utilise their Instagram stories efficiently and the content is always so aesthetically please, kind and informative. Another one of my recommendations would be to find ways to monetise their work. Because they put so much into this as a team it would be a shame if they didn’t take this opportunity. I believe if they utilised sponsors and found brands that aligned with their values and created collaborations – I think that this might be a fun opportunity.
I also think that content that can take students minds away from the Covid situation and onto focusing on their creative works could be a valuable experience for their audience as I think for these times we need a distraction more than anything. Their projects utility is two-fold, benefiting the girls and their careers as well as guiding their audiences in their visual content and branding journeys. Can’t wait to see all the content they create and to apply their tips into my own DA and small business!