Sunday, 31 January 2016

Quick brand concept development

We will be having a meeting tomorrow, I've been writing a code of condtuct with some key points, but I don't know if it's necessary to write the whole thing. I will talk to the group tomorrow. I think the point of a code of conduct would be essential to us, since we have such strong opinions on ethics and sustainability, but then again, we are trying to colate all our work into the zine tomorrow, and I don't know if we'll need a code of conduct in there? 

So for now, I'm just doing an overview of everything. Since I am not as much involved in the logo making and the design of the website as I would like to be (some of our group member was very excited to do that, so they jumped on it), so I will be doing SWOT's and PEST's of our main competitors, looking up brands, magazines for future collaborations.

Confronting competitive market

The cambridge raincoat company

Main competitors:
Stutterheim, Rains and Hunter.

Young professional, traveller, healthy and sustainable living, bike rides, urban, city living, scandinavian influenced.

- Key success factor
Contemporary rainwear that can be personalized, such as different pockets and coloured panels. Offering seasonal limited edition colours every season.

- Why would a customers prefer your product to your competitors?
Personalizeble, price point - Not as luxurious as stutterheim, but above elka. Involving consumer via social media and design process. Sustainable and ethically made.

- Identity?
Creating a contemporary unisex raincoat which are made out of recycled material and are sustainable and ethically made. We believe in making long lasting products that will keep you dry on your adventures. Sustainability, healthy living, travel and adventure. Strongly influenced by scandinavian lifestyle.

- Product
Raincoats, for the future we will be branching out to kidswear.

-Future coollaborations:
Magazines -
Another escape

Future objectives
To reduce waste and discharge of hazardous chemicals during production. Branch into kidswear and acessories. Make and app for easy access to design.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Formal presentation + group meetings

Today we had our formal presentation for our tutors. We've had several group meetings to discuss what each of us need to do. I would like to admit that I haven't done as much work this week, as I would like to do. However, I looked into more future collaborative work with magazine, since we wanted to have more options, and get a bigger audience. So, I went to London yesterday, and got another magazine called Another Escape, Kinfolk (an obvious one) and also The Travel Almanac. The reason why I think these magazines would be great, or all the magazines that I've chosen to look at is, that it's not targeted for just females or male, but quite unisex. I actually purchased Cereal and Another Escape as a reference for our Zine. These magazines have a simple minimalistic look that we aim to have in our zine.

I also went to the V&A and saw that they had a little section on british rainwear from 1910 - 2015.
(photos coming up soon)

We also decided to SWOTs and PESTs for our main competitiors such as Stutterheim and Hunter. I've done some keyword points for the business plan, but plan to do some more work on that part this weekend.

After our presentation, we all agreed on the feedback we got, that we should maybe make a website where you can design your raincoat instead of an app. The reason for that is because of the costs of making an app, and also as one of our tutors mentioned, which is very true, that none of us thought about, but kind of clicked when it was mentioned. She mentioned space on the Iphone, since people have downloaded 'basic' social media apps, not many people might have space for different apps that are not necessary in their every day life. Personally, I relate to that, and I know some of my friends do as well. So we decided to make a website instead, which is mobile friendly as well. And maybe develop the app later, but if we had time, just do a mock up of what it would look like.

I also brought up an idea (not a very good one), but hey. So I brought up and idea of maybe having a little character to guide you through the website. Kind of Monki esc, but maybe a more simpler figure. Well, In my head I just had a stick figure with an umbrella, but that sounds silly when I put it in writing. But yeah, we decided that it wasn't very appropriate since our main consumer were young professionals, and that it might be too cute.

And we all decided to do our own separate work for now, and present all the work we've done on monday, so we can collate it all into our zine. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Meeting #3

In our meeting on monday, each of us told everyone about our individual tasks. I told the group about the recycled plastic and consequences with using it, but the group all agreed that it wouldn't be a problem for our product, since the whole point of our product (raincoat), is that it is water resistant, and doesn't need to go in the washing machine. So we're still going with our initial idea of recycled plastic.

And I also discussed with them about being a Bluesign System partner. Bluesign system is basically someone a brand can partner up with to secure that their production is as sustainable as possible. Bluesign partner with a lot of brands such as Adidas, G Star-Raw, Helly Hansen etc. They also partner up with manufacturers and chemical suppliers. We all agreed that this would be a good idea and would be a good long term partnership.

Other things I brought up was that the muse of my consumer profile. Which was Jack Harries from I told him that I thought of his as an endorsement for our brand, because he is someone I think of when I think of "a young professional", he's also passionate about storytelling, travel, environment and sustainability; which I thought went with our brand very well.

We also talked about third party promotion, such as editorials in magazine. And we all agreed on that we wanted to go for a more lifestyle and travel magazine feel, something more clean, humble and rustic. The brands we were thinking were Cereal Magazine and Brygg magazine.

After doing some research, I thought magazines such as Hayo magazine and Sidetracked magazine would be good to collaborate with.

In our group meeting we all had different thoughts on how we wanted our logo to look, so our individual task for some of the people were to make a couple of logo ideas to discuss for our meeting on thursday 21.january 2016.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Consumer profile + individual task

Individual task:
Magazine editorials - Magazines we want to be featured in, third party promotion.

This is the consumer profile I've made based on what we discussed as a group, how we wanted our brand to be and who it was for. I thought it might be helpful to do a consumer profile, before researching into what kind of magazines that we would like to be featured in, and that represents us.

Our main target, both genders from the age of 21-35, young working professionals. With that in mind, I quickly thought of Jack Harries from Jacksgap. Young working professional, traveller, strongly believes in a sustainability and environment. He also makes videos on youtube, which we mention could be a gateway fo communication to our customers. 

One of the magazines I've looked into is called Cereal. Cereal is a bi-annual travel and lifestyle magazine. It has a certain aesthetic and minimalism, that I think our group is looking for. They also do city guides and journals, which I feel goes with the whole theme of travelling, raincoats and our whole brand.

"The magazine, published twice a year, is divided into city-specific chapters. Each chapter comprises stories on places, people and products, paired with striking photography. An interlude section, included in every volume, features a selection of style and culture articles."

Screenshorts form their website

I have not looked into other magazines yet, but I will do more research after group our meeting tomorrow, to see and confirm if this is the sort of aesthetic we're going for.

Individual tasks - Branding

On monday our group met and gave eachother individual tasks to research and then have a group meeting and discuss our next plans. Lois and I are brand manager/strategist, and we were given these tasks:

Fabric development Research alternatives Research factories and suppliers - uk magazine editorials - magazines we wanted to be featured in third party promotion

The first idea of using plastic for a raincoat was initial an idea for environment and sustainability, but after discussing, we decided we needed to do more research on how the plastic is recycled and turned into fabric - basically the whole development from plastic to fabric. Is that process sustainable?

Photo by Bo Eide - Northern Norway

So doing some research on G-star Raws ethics and responsabilities the answer was pretty clear that using recycled plastic in our product would be a good idea. However, after doing more research and reading articles online, I might have to discuss this subject with my group on monday.

I found this article here. Which basically says 'Hey, recycled plastic in fashion is not as good as it sounds, and here is why' In short the artcile mentions when you put a synthetic garment in the washing machine, example: a t shirt made out of recycled plastic - it sheds microplastic fibers. Most washing machines does not have filters to trap these miniscule microfibers, so when the water drains from the machine, plastic filaments are swept through the sewers and eventually end up in the sea, but now as miniscule particles. (even harder to see and more dangerous for marine life)
- But then again - Would you put your raincoat in a washing machine?

So now, trying to find a solution to this problem. There are a few ways to resort this problem. Using the same technique as Conserve India, which is an unique way of upcycling plastic bags. The reason why this is a solution, is because the plastic is kept in it's original form and colors, so much less energy is used and there are no need for dyes.
- The only downsides to this technique is that the plastic remains it's original colour, which means we might have to change our whole idea of being able to personalize your own coat with your choice of colour.

Other solutions might be using a breathable eco fabric, but coated with some sort of wax, which I'm now trying to research more. Or... A way to recycle plastic into fabric without shredding it to such extent to reduce shedding.

Well, for now I'll bring this up as a subject for the group, and see where we go from there.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Business model canvas

On monday we met up again as a group and had a lecture about business plans and looked throught the zines of past students. We looked at what was good, and what could've been improved. We talked about what we need in our business plan and thinking about small details within our brand; such as, should we have a manifesto? Packaging, costs, swing tag,business cards, shoots, do we want someone to represent our brand.

And later on we went more into how to write a business plan. Asking questions such as, 'does the product... Do a job? Solve a problem or a need?

Cost structures, revenue, what value models is the costumer paying for? Key resources, activities, value propositions, costumer relationship, channels and customer segments.

We filled out a business model canvas:

Niche oppurtunity area + talk with Una Burke

So on the same day as we met up before christmas, after lunch we had Una Burke as our guest speaker. She talked about her work, and her journey to where she is now and having her own brand. (I will take a photo of my notes and add it to this post). She talked about costumers and pricing and building your reputation and brand.

After her talk, we filled out our Niche oppurtunity sheet. We developed our brand and product more, what's our weaknesses and strengths, what separates us from other brands and so on.

One of our weaknesses were actually, what we spoke about was: How are we going to source our fabric? We wanted to use recycled plastic for our raincoat, because we thought it kind of went hand in hand together, with plastic being water resistant. We have a strong ethics about sustainability and environment. So the first thing we thought was: How is the process of recycling plastic into fabric? Is it eco-friendy? How much energy is required?

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Global sourcing / research and branding

Our group met together again for the first time after christmas today. We quickly started to discuss our ideas and what we wanted to do, as we wanted to get our idea clear quickly, so we could start developing, and kind of getting the ball rolling. We all brought up the subject of ethical and sustainability, and we all agreed we didn't want this to be the main focus of our brands. We all agreed on sustainability shouldn't define our brand because we want to make it something that's normal, that it's not a 'big deal' that it is sustainable, and that is how it should be.

Our initial idea was doing accessories, kind of something for graduates and something that could be personalized on an app.

Later I brought up an idea I had this christmas (which I didn't really think was an great idea, but I brought it up anyways). I thought about why there aren't 'nice' raincoats. Because it seems all raincoats kind of look the same, and it's not the kind of (personally) what I would go for, so I don't own one. And so living in England, I get soaked most of the time. So I got the idea of maybe making raincoats out of recycled plastic, G star Raw esc and making it more contemporary and sleek.

To my surprise,the group was really keen on the idea and we had a really good discussion as a group and developed the initial idea more as a group. So we wanted to combine the recycled raincoats with being able to using an app to personalize your own raincoat. Giving the consumer a different shopping experience through apps and maybe being able to personalize in store on tablets (similiar to NikeID)

When it came to our group name/brand name we wanted it to be something that reflects us and the brand. So having 5 different languages in the group, we came up with the name YR, which in norwegian means drizzle or fine rain. And we wanted to incorporate the rune of the word into our logo as well. The word YR is quite a tongue twister for non norwegian speakers as well, so it would be a good talking subjects as well, we thought.

So all in all, I think our brand has a strong scandinavian vibe.

Global sourcing / christmas

We got into our global sourcing groups just before christmas and was given a christmas project to do research on a niche brand that is max 5 years old. I personally struggled a bit to understand the definition 'niche' for a while. I associated the word with kind of independent botiques, and when I asked people if that was correct, the answer I got was 'sort of''.

Spending a lot of time looking for niche brands, I looked up a lot of different brand sin the book 'contemporary menswear'. I found brands such as Naked & Famous Denim and Publish Brand. During christmas our group spoke together in our group chat on facebook, and we agreed that most of the brands we were interested in were ethical and sustainable and decided that it was natural for our group to go in that direction as well.