Whether you make handmade jewelry, clothing, accessories, or all of the above, your brand should consider doing seasonal collections. They are a great way to build excitement for your new product line, which can lead to increased sales and social media coverage. There are a few steps to take when developing a collection- from determining a thematic focus to product design to promotion. Use the following tips to get started!
1. Begin a Few Months Early
Planning your collection a few months to a year in advance is essential. This will give you enough time to develop and produce your items while leaving room to take wholesale orders and to promote the line. It’s pretty traditional in the fashion business to “show” (publicly display) an Autumn/Winter collection in the spring and Spring/Summer in the fall. You don’t necessarily have to stick to this kind of schedule, but I do suggest beginning your seasonal collection at least two or three months in advance.
2. Focus on a Theme and Color Palette
This is my favorite part- developing a cohesive mood, color palette, inspiration, and stylistic theme. The whole look of your collection will take shape in this step, so think carefully about what direction you want to take. Brainstorming is a great way to narrow down a theme. Make a list of all the things that inspire you and your art. From there, decide what really represents your brand and what will appeal to your target market. For example, a few years ago I made a Spring/Summer accessories collection revolving around childhood memories of summertime. Felt flowers, wood grain print fabric, and watercolor art were all prominent features. When you find the perfect theme for your collection it will just click and you’ll know it’s right, but you usually will sort through many ideas before you get there.
3. Design the Collection
The next step is to brainstorm, design, sketch, and select materials for your collection. Since you’ve already picked a theme and the colors you’re using you can extend this into the accessories and/or clothing you’re making. Spring/Summer collections tend to be made from more lightweight fabrics and colors, while Autumn/Winter utilizes heavier and cozier materials. But you don’t have to stick to traditional seasonal expectations- it’s okay to think outside the box.
4. Create the Products
Now that you know what you want to make, it’s time to create the items! Use your technical design drawings, fabric selections, and theme and you’ll be able to make a cohesive collection. If there are pieces that don’t fit in perfectly it’s okay to remove them during this part of the process. It’s better to not make an item that isn’t working than to make it and wish you’d spent the time and materials on a bigger seller. The amount of each product that you should produce depends on the demand you expect from your existing and potential customers. This will be individual to each brand and artist, so start off small and then you can make more if they sell out. Limited edition and quantity items are also a great way to encourage sales!
5. Promote the Collection
You’ll also need to let your fans and potential customers know about your new seasonal collection. Share photos and links of the products to your social media accounts, send out an email to your electronic mailing list, write a blog post, etc. Teasing your collection’s release date through social media can also create interest and a buzz about your handmade products. A countdown with previews each day or even a contest will have your fans really excited to see (and purchase) the new items!