Another holiday season is upon us and our new designs & beloved oldies are up on our website. Because we wholesale most of the products you see to other lovely shops in Canada, the United States and abroad, our design deadline is absurdly early and almost always interrupts the sunny summertime, when we would much rather be riding our bikes & camping on small islands. Over the years we have learned when to squeeze in a last summer trip, and when to put our thinking caps on and listen to holiday music in August.
As artists, and human beings, our inclination is to procrastinate. And although we set our own deadline, it usually coincides with figuring out what the last possible date is we can launch our wholesale site, before getting nudged by eager shopkeepers. It is not so much the design process we dread, but the deadline itself, which always approaches at break-neck speed, regardless of how prepared we initially feel.
After deciding our launch date, we work backwards, diligently inserting every other time sensitive deadline into the calendar. If one of these countless, sometimes seemingly insignificant deadlines isn’t met, the whole precarious thing falls apart like a poorly built house of cards. Our list of tasks and deadlines includes, but is not limited to: deciphering poorly kept inventories from the previous year, extracting products from awkward storage areas, brainstorming new design ideas, taking inventory of all our products (both holiday and not), ordering paper (this step involves math, so it takes extra time), ordering envelopes & packaging supplies, actually finding a moment to sit down and design, creating product images & descriptions for our sites, getting files & paper ready for our printer, receiving a text from our printer saying he’s run out of paper, ordering more paper, texting our printer to tell him what a great job he’s doing, posting everything to our wholesale and retail sites, and finally, making sure we have left ourselves a sufficient amount of time to actually make & assemble all the things we’ve designed.
The most important (and enjoyable) task on the long ‘holiday to do list’, is our brainstorming & design meeting. This usually happens in August or early September at the very latest. We first decide what to discontinue from the previous year, and then we focus on how many new products we’d like to add to our catalog. We keep this list fairly ambitious, but not totally unachievable and then we get tipsy & try to come up with brilliant ideas. It is a fact that we are just a little bit funnier & freer with our silly ideas when we’ve had a couple of libations. Once our ideas, and the look & feel of each item has been talked about, edited, scrapped, talked about again, and finally decided upon, we create a master design list and divvy up the tasks based on our skills and individual aesthetics.It is usually quite clear who will do what, and if not, we try to convince the other that they would do a better job, thus shortening our own list. During the design process itself, we check in with each other periodically to make sure no one has fallen off the deep end, and occasionally, but probably more than we’d like to admit, we have to edit out a tipsy & slightly ill conceived idea part way through… but most of the time we are quite happy with the final outcomes.
Cheers, and happy holidays!