Behind the scenes: the process of releasing a new collection

This is the workbench in the middle of sample making. I am not a messy person, but at this stage, chaos is part of the process!
This is the workbench in the middle of sample making. I am not a messy person, but at this stage, chaos is part of the process!

Ever wondered what goes into a new collection after it’s designed but before it’s released?

The FW16 Collection will be arriving in just a couple of short weeks. The arrival marks when you are able to purchase the jewelry from ManicTrout.com. The reality is that the jewelry in this collection was designed months ago, the samples have been made and there has already been a preview party at West Elm here in Austin!

Today I wanted to share with you some of the in progress shots of what happens before a collection makes its official online debut.

An in progress shot of one of the new designs. I spy Tigers Eye! 
An in progress shot of one of the new designs. I spy Tigers Eye!

I typically begin designing a collection about a year to nine months before the official release date (when it’s available to the public online). I start with drawings, doodles, notes and lots of research on what colors, animals, gemstones and price points I’ll be working with. Once I have the designs down, I make samples (enough to have in the studio and send off to press), photograph each piece multiple ways and create line sheets. The line sheets are submitted to the press and to stores months ahead of time so I try to be quick to get those done after the samples and photos are finished. I also schedule to have a lifestyle photo shoot done if I want that style campaign for that season.

Stunning sodalite.
Stunning sodalite.

Sometimes things don’t always go as planned and there are always delays for random reasons. Or for designer gush moments like when the gemstones I’m considering for a new collection start to arrive, it sometimes changes the direction I was headed when I see them in person. An excellent example of this happened with these Sodalite stones. They are so incredible in person and more beautiful than I thought they would be that I decided they needed a different animal than I had planned. This threw everything off and I found myself redesigning part of the collection late in the game. It made everything a bit hectic but it was a great decision and the necklace with these stones is so lovely!

Outfit post teasers with pieces from the new collection!
Outfit post teasers with pieces from the new collection!

During this time, after the samples are made and before the collection debuts I take photos, I most importantly…wear the jewelry. This is a key step as I need to make sure each piece is comfortable, looks good and wears well. It also gives me a chance to get feedback from people. There are some pieces in this collection that I’m already obsessed with after wearing them!

FW16_BTS_04
Our table for the Preview Party at West Elm in Austin.

For this collection I tried something new that went so well, I hope to continue the tradition. I had a Preview Party here in Austin! Saturday afternoon, I set up at the West Elm on 5th St and brought the FW16 Collection to preview along with a few favorite pieces for those instant gratification shoppers. I asked my friend Kelly to join me as she is launching a handbag company this fall, Festival Bag Co. and our products go great together. It was a fun way to meet new people and get feedback on what pieces caught the eyes of shoppers.

With Kelly Weeks, designer and owner of Festival Bag Co.
With Kelly Weeks, designer and owner of Festival Bag Co.

The last part of the process will be to create the copy for the website and do all of the coding. I release a collection first on ManicTrout.com and then on sites that I also sell on, Modalyst, Etsy Wholesale, Etsy, Amazon Handmade, Aftcra and a few others. I will also be sharing images on social media throughout this time. After the release, I will continue to pitch to the press, stores and influencers for a few weeks before my focus moves onto the next collection. I release quarterly collections, so I am always working on three to four collections at a time at different stages.

I am so pleased that I put myself out there and tried something new with this release! The Preview Party was so much fun and the FW16 Collection was so well received that it made me super excited to share the new collection with you in its full glory in a few weeks. I can’t wait!!

Thank you for learning about the process of releasing a collection with me!

{As I’m making you wait, it’s only fair that I spoil you a bit: so please enjoy 25% off site wide through August 26th with code backtoschool at checkout.}

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