I never make new year’s resolutions. If something is worth doing it’s worth doing now, not just because the year moved on.
But as a business it’s vital to have a game plan and keep moving forward. My fear is remaining static and there are aspects of this year that whilst being temporarily good for me, have not been great for the overall progression of my business. And so new year is a good place to start to redress the balance.
It’s primarily because on 6th January I move my business into its new studio in central Manchester from the cramped quarters of my house share in Lincoln. Hopefully my own accommodation will follow in just a couple of weeks, but for the business at least things are looking awesome. I am already taking photoshoot bookings into April and space means I can at last begin to create again and I am phenomenally excited about this prospect.
So here are a few things I want to add to my business direction in 2015.
I want to increase my paid shoot ratio. It’s already looking good, but this is a lifeline for me and it allows me the space to be creative for myself which is generally unpaid hours. All my bookings so far for next year are paid and this is really very good news. I am building up ongoing working relationships which is also great for creativity and means I can to a certain extent predict a certain amount of paid work.
Anyone who takes their photography seriously understands the difference between paid and unpaid teams and the value of hiring one person to take care of each aspect of the shoot. Team work often creates better shoots and if there is a dedicated person for each aspect it takes the pressure off others and improves the quality of the final outcome. A stylist is often the last thing considered when building paid teams but it’s remarkable how many people come back for future shoots once they have used me. The realisation that not only can someone do this, but that it opens up a whole new aspect of the success of a shoot is often revelationary. And I’m always glad to be a part of that new learning curve.
I want the time to produce more crazy one off concept pieces that feature in equally creative photoshoots.These may not always be paid since I am calling the shots on the style but they are essential to my advertising and marketing.
I also want to do more edgy street fashion shoots. It’ll be easy to find locations once I’ve moved and finding photographers also isn’t going to be difficult. Finding the right models is the more tricky part but I already have some ideas.
Most of 2014 has been spent altering bridal, party and prom dresses. This is great money but bad for my label and it takes up a lot of time meaning very little space for me as a designer. Once I move that financial lifeline will be for the most part gone, meaning I have incentive to make more saleable items and more time and space in which to create them. Having work thrown at you gives you no incentive to go out and find it yourself, so my motivations in 2015 will be changing as I was very lazy by design standards this year.
This has been something desperately missing from my 2014 work routine, mostly because Lincoln doesn’t offer anything to the fashion designer. Manchester has a better handle on fashion, new designers and the creative industry in general. And of course it is better populated. It has its own fashion week, catwalk shows and creative hubs for new industry people so finding collaborators and outlets isn’t going to be hard work.
Catwalk and other fashion shows are going to be really important in 2015 especially if I am going to be expanding my collections and working on new lines. This is how sales are made and outlets found and without it no designer can move into regular income from their design work. Whilst I still don’t have the capacity for significant production, I can produce a limited number of off the rail garments and I am in discussion with a stockist about this. It’s something I’ve been trying to sort since the summer but work schedules and a severe lack of space have really hampered my abilities this year. This is again why having my new studio is so important. Without it I cannot possibly create items in bulk.
2015 looks set for success. I have no excuses. So here’s to 2014, a good stepping stone into 2015 which already looks like being something far more significant.