Friday, October 24, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Boutique Designer...

Guest Writer Post

This month in our eBay group, we had the privilege of chatting with Nat of SmallSomething. Let me tell you that this girl is beyond talented, and just as lovely as can be! Thanks so much Nat, for accepting our request to do the Guest Writer position. It has been so much fun getting to know you better! Here is Nat's post:

You know...Custom Boutique Designers really have to LOVE what they do. They MUST love it, or they wouldn't do it...because it takes a lot of work! An eye for design...and an ability to design, sew and construct fabulous clothing is only the first step...there are SO many more tasks involved in getting a new design presented to the wonderful boutique buyers out there. In fact, if "Custom Boutique Designer" was advertising a job opening, experience in ALL the following would be listed as MUST have skills to apply:

Photo stylist, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Hairstylist, Photo Editor, Model Stylist, Web Page Designer, Customer Service Manager, Company Sales Representative, Shipping and Receiving, Marketing and Promotions, Customer Communications...and the list goes on....

Let's talk about just one of these area's for a minute shall we? The taking of photos...oh my goodness, so much work and time can go in to taking a great photo of an outfit! I sometimes literally think it takes just as long to dress up my model...find a great spot, take the pictures, edit the pictures, and list it--as it does to make the outfit in the first place! And let us just hope that we have a happy, willing, cooperative model on the day that we need to DO the photo shoot...ahem...


I want you all to think of a time when you maybe were trying to take family photos, especially photos of your children--everyone is dressed up, people are getting cranky, kids are tired or hungry...the lighting is going...panic is setting in that you won't get at least ONE decent shot, oh dear, it looks like it might rain...sound familiar? Try taking family photos every week or twice a week and see how much fun it is.....he he...

Photo-taking actually CAN be very fun...and luckily I have a daughter who thinks the whole photo thing is one big dress-up game and is more than happy to cooperate. That is not to say that I haven't resorted to bribery (smarties or the promise of an ice-cream cone afterward are acceptable bribes to me...) coaxing, and all sorts of creative methods for getting her to look happy (for some reason, my daughter laughs hysterically whenever anyone falls over or looks like they might trip over something...I use this to my advantage as I pretend to trip over any rock or vine in sight---I imagine it's quite entertaining for anybody passing by as well...looking like a deranged idiot is a small price to pay to get a great photo--I think I actually AM tripping over a blackberry root in the pic below...see how worth it it is??)



The other thing to consider is that your little model is dressed up in some fabulous outfit...sometimes something that is one-of-a-kind, and the last thing you would want is for THEM to trip and get the outfit dirty or rip it! And I hate to say it...it makes me sound like an awful mom, but the first thing out of my mouth if it looks like Reagan is going to trip is not "Honey, don't hurt yourself"...but "Sweetie, DONT get the dress dirty"...


Speaking of tripping (literally) probably the most memorable photo shoot Reagi and I have had would be the time we took pictures of a Marie Antoinette costume. First of all, you are bound to attract some strange stares if you are out walking around with a little Marie Antoinette in full dress with a huge wig on--it's just not something people see every day! We've had people take pictures of US taking pictures...people ask all sorts of questions...and even people wanting to pose with Reagan and have someone take their picture...(here is a lovely bunch of people from Brazil...I couldn't really understand what they were saying, but they were VERY interested in what we were doing...lol!)



For the Marie Antoinette photo-shoot, I took Reagi over to a fabulous old city building in a neighboring town. It had exactly the right "look" for a castle...but I had forgotten that there were usually a group of very interesting people (most looking like remnants from the 60's) that like to picket in front of the building on any given day, protesting all sorts of things. You should have seen their faces as I'm leading around little Marie Antoinette...most of them probably thought they were hallucinating...not to mention, at one point Reagi backed up and tripped over a root, and DID fall down and the towering wig fell off and went rolling away down the sidewalk, adding a whole new dimension to the "off with their heads/French Revolution" thing we had happening...those poor old hippies, we had them quite bewildered that day!



One thing about it, being a custom boutique designer allows you the chance to do all sorts of things you maybe wouldn't normally do...go to places for photo shoots maybe you wouldn't visit otherwise...and meet all sorts of fabulous people--both in person and online. I have literally 15,000 pictures of my daughter dressed in all sorts of fun oufits and costumes--documenting both how she's changed over the years and how my designs have changed and all the different places we've been--and how precious all of those pictures are to me. Those photos help me remember each design, and each lovely customer that purchased that outfit.

Yes...designing...and taking photos...and editing...and all of it IS hard work--but it is SO fun and such a privilege to have the opportunity to do it...and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

7 comments:

Gumdrop*Shop said...

Nat- I love your job description and agree that it is the whole package to be a designer. We do it because we love it! The rewards of being a designer are numerous!!!

Clara said...

Very amusing, Natalee!!! I especially got a giggle seeing the photo of your sweet little Marie Antoinette and the tourists!

I think many of us relate to all that you described,LOL!!!

Thanks for being our guest writer!

wendy said...

oh my g-d LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love the shots especially when strangers are wondering what is going on and wanting to be a part of it by being in the photo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elizabeth said...

Your site's great! Thanks for sharing! :)

Elizabeth

Sue said...

Loved it! I am always amazed that you keep coming up with so many unique, special designs. So many steps to posting a listing. A lot of work but your enthusiasm shows in the end product. My favorite part is the model.

Natalee said...

Oh thank you sweet ladies...and thank you to the FAB Boutique Blog ladies for letting me hang out with them...it's been so fun!
I KNOW so many of you designers out there can relate to the photoshoot STRESS!!LOL!

Nat

Debbie said...

Wonderful Nat!!! Your dd is just simply adorable and your designs are FABULOUS!!!!