Thursday, May 30, 2013

Local Spotlight: The Vintage Honey Shop

Adorable Photo of a Handmade Necklace
Thank you so much to TheVintageHoneyShop for taking the time to answer some questions and allowing us to showcase some of their amazing photos and products. This local business endeavor is the collaboration of 2 Nashville area women who make vintage style products for stylish moms and babies. Please take some time to browse their photo links and online shop. The photography and products are truly amazing!

1) Please tell us a bit about who is behind The Vintage Honey Shop and how you started your business.

We are Jennifer & Melissa Gilkes, owners and designers at The Vintage Honey Shop.  Not only are we business partners, but we are best friends and sister-in-laws.  We are both pretty crafty & would make cute lil things as gifts.  We both really just started sewing & making paper items only a year or so prior to opening our shop, so we were a little nervous about opening a shop, but decided to take the plunge after hearing friends & family member say, 'you could sell this stuff'! .  We opened up our shop as a fun lil hobby in 2011, but it has turned into a business! 

2) You have excellent product photo, can you give us some of your best tips and tricks for great photos? (lighting, type of camera, editing software, etc.)

Thank you!  We take all of our product photos ourselves.  We do have a few photos with models wearing our necklaces, but hose are done by professional photographers.  99% of all the photos in our shop are taken by us though.  We use a DSLR camera (Canon t1i with a 50mm lens) to take our photographs.  We only us natural light, no flash.  We take our photographs in the mornings by the window.  We set up a white lace fabric on the kitchen table & put up an old white shutter to be in the background.  The shutter gives the background a cool vintagey look & it helps reflect light back onto our product.  For most of our photographs, you don't even see the shutter!  We edit our photos using a free downloadable program by google, Picasa.  The most common editing we do using Picasa is cropping, adding or brightening lights & adding contrast to the photos.

3) Can you please link one of your photos of mamas and babies taken by a professional photographer and tell us about how you found a photographer for your products. 

We have used a professional photographer on 3 occasions for our shop.  Twice with a local family photographer, Christina Campbell of Eternal Treasures Photography, and once with a photographer in Fort Wayne, IN who swapped necklaces for photographs!  We hired the local photographer to take photos of our us & our shop after Jennifer's family did a family photo session with her.  We loved the style of her photography & wanted the same look and feel for our photos.  We contacted Christina to see if she did product/business photography.  She did and suggested doing our shoot on the back of an old truck located at Miller's Grocery in Christiana, TN.  

We set up 'shop' on the back of the truck and our photographer took photographs of us making necklaces & of our products.  We used these photos for our blog & business cards.  We recently did another shoot with her, but this time we hired some mothers & babies to model our necklaces.  We wanted some professional photos taken of our products in use.  We can write the best description of our necklaces in our shop listing, but a photograph is worth a thousand words!  Some people want to see a necklace in use.  It can help them better to see themselves using our necklaces!  The other photographer we have recently used had actually contacted us.  She was a customer who loved our necklaces & wanted more for herself and to give as gifts.  So we traded necklaces for a photo shoot!  She had a beautiful editorial style to her photography that we loved.  She had a big ol' play date with her friends & they all wore our necklaces!  It was a great trade that we loved & appreciated!  

The "Queen Bees" Of The Vintage Honey Shop

Before you hire your own photographer or decide to use one, you will want to find a photographer that will give you full rights to your photos and one that will give you print rights as well.  You will also need to have your models to sign releases, giving you full rights to using them.

4) What special things do you do for branding your shop? Are the necklaces packaged a certain way? What do you include with your orders?

Before we opened our shop, we contacted a graphic designer to create a logo for us.  We traded products for a logo & etsy shop banner.  If you don't personally know a graphic designer like we did, you can just search 'logo' on etsy.  You will find a ton of talented graphic designers that can create a great logo for your business!  Once we got our 'bee', we were branded!  We have our logo on our social media sites, blog, business cards & etsy shop.  We even had a stamp made of out logo that add to a tag on our packaging.  We felt that if we are going to start a shop, we might as well do it right!  Getting a logo professionally made for us was one of the best decisions we ever made!  Even though you are a handmade shop doesn't mean you shouldn't look professional!  

Every order we send out is hand wrapped in tissue paper, wrapped up in bakers twine and a beautiful paper doily and tag are added to the outside of the package.  Inside the order, we place two business cards.  A mini one & one that has a coupon code for free shipping towards their next order with us.  We want opening our necklaces to be an experience!  We want our customers to smile while they are opening their order from us!  Making sure our packaging is super cuter is very important to us!  We get lots of compliments & feed back on our packaging.  Yes, it takes a lot of time to hand wrap every order, especially when you have 20+ going out at a time, but it is worth it when get photos back from customers of not only our product, but the way it came wrapped to them!

5) Are your products ready to ship or do you make them custom? If you make them to order, how do you work production into your time management schedule?

The majority of all of our products are ready to ship.  Our rosette cuffs are made to order, but we make sure that we allow enough time to complete them without feeling rushed, so we say to allow up to 7 days for their item to be handmade.  We do get a lot of custom requests for necklaces & those turn around times are a week as well.  Our first year of business, we made most everything made to order, but that ended up causing a lot of stress on us, especially around Christmas. We decided that we would make all of our necklaces ready to ship.  It was one of the best things we ever did!!  Now all we have to do is ship...sometime on same day a purchase!

We will also give a coupon code for 10% off using code: midtenn

Here are some links for you of our past photo shoots:

Here is the link to our photoshoot we did last year in Christiana:

And here is a link to our most recent photoshoot:

Here are our shop & social medial links:

INSTAGRAM: or look for us @thevintagehoneyshop

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