Reflecting upon the last 5 weeks of MYOB I have enjoyed it thoroughly. I am both relieved and disappointed it has come to an end. Whilst I enjoyed the project throughout, the last few days has been stressful trying to put together the business plan. As a group we left it until the last week which meant that we were panicking we might not get it done in time. Although we allocated each member different area’s to write about and it came together well. This was the part which we were all least excited for, yet we managed to get it done in plenty of time and proud that we completed it to our best ability. Along with the business plan we also made a photo book to go alongside. We had so many photo’s but we didn’t want to include any in the business plan so thought it would work well in a separate document. Due to the nature of our brand capturing the journey of the brand and product, this communicated our brand identity well.
Working with creative’s from other discipline’s has opened my eyes to the possibilities which can be achieved in trans-disciplinary projects. I enjoyed that we were still able to use our strongest skills to best use, but we could still experiment with unfamiliar design techniques. I was put in a group with Lizzie, Annie, Lydia and Sherlock; we all worked extremely well together. The dynamics of the group is definitely reflected in the brand and helped with the development in the project. The divided team effort from each member helped to develop ideas and the process of producing work without any arguments. To overcome any decision making we put it down to a majority vote, this was the easiest way to settle any disagreements and made the decision making quicker. Communication within the group was very successful due to group chats and regular group meetings. By doing this, we were able to retain consistency throughout the brand.
Not only has this project taught me a lot about design but also entrepreneurship. Setting up your own business is a lot more than it may seem. But with the right group which work well together this can be achieved in an enjoyable way. Although as a group I think that we could benefit from a team member that specialises in finance. This is because none of us specialise in this field so found it very hard to excel in this area. As we all worked so well together we have discussed about possibly carrying on the company. We think that we have achieved so much in such a short amount of time, it would be a shame to leave it. I think that we have learnt so much from each other and also from what we have created so far. Therefore, we could improve and develop on different elements which have been identified. Our products could be developed to a larger range, mugs, tea pot etc. this shows the endless possibilities to brew.
Our Sales event was a success and a very enjoyable experience. I was rewarding to see how our project has come together to create a successful brand and products. We had positive feedback from our audience about the promotional material around the university and online. Due to the branding which was used in the advertisements, social media and website etc we had already made back our seed fund prior to the sales event due. This was because of these forms of promotion and communication which allowed the audience to request the product without seeing the coasters due to them not being ready until the day before. This shows a huge success to all the work that we put in before the sales event. This meant that all sales made on the day were all profit so this was a bonus!
Our sales stand was inspired by the seasonal advert as it creates a christmasy and homely feel. We had lots of feedback on the sales stand, this is because it stood out against the rest of the stands as it was so different. I bought in old patio doors and a table which I had in my house. By using these unwanted objects, transformed and gave them a purpose again. This extends the products use which creates a more sustainable sales stand. I made a stencil of our brand logo and sprayed the windows with frosting spray, this subtly combines our brand logo and shows the link between the advert. All the other materials on the stand were also sourced as they were borrowed or unwanted items.
To create an aroma at the sales stand I bought in a coffee percolator to reinforce the brew brand identity. Although Lumino one of the other groups positioned themselves next to us. They made scented candles, their scent combined with our coffee did not work too well in either of our cases as the combination didn’t work together. If we were not next to each other I think both of our groups would have been more successful by using specific aroma’s.
On the sales day we had good feedback about the pricing for the product. We were selling 1 coaster for £3 and 4 coasters for £10. Whilst the pricing was working well, most people felt that 4 coasters were too much, I think this is because the majority of customers on the day were students. Therefore later in the day we added another offer in which is 2 coasters for £5 and these were selling well. Therefore we should have started this offer earlier in the day.
When sales started to slow down we decided to take the initiative and two of us set up a sales table in the Business Management block. We did this to be around a wider audience as not many people who weren’t from CSAD knew about the sales event. Whilst we didn’t have the creative sales stand we still managed to make some sales. Even though this wasn’t planned I do think that this was a successful idea which we decided on the day.
After talking to one customer as we were explaining the background behind our product and brand, they loved our brand values and how we focused throughout the project on sustainability. Although they pointed out that knowing nothing about this and looking at the sales stand, this was not communicated very well. This could have been a focal point which could have highlighted one of our USP’s. After discussing this as a group we have decided that to improve this we could have included some of the photography of the design process. This would have highlighted the craftsmanship within the brand. Another point which we though of is developing some product tags including a brief description of the company’s efforts towards being sustainable. This would have communicated some of our core value’s stronger.
Annie the team leader was behind the production of the coaster. I was surprised at how time consuming ceramics is and the length of the process. Because of this it is a shame that we weren’t all inducted in ceramics as it would have sped up the making process. If were to do this project again, or if we develop our company further then we would all be inducted in ceramics.
Throughout the making of the coasters, Sherlock took photographs to capture the journey of brew. I think that these photo’s are fab and really encapsulate the brand identity. We used 100% re-claimed clay, this reinforces our core value of sustainability. This also worked well being a university start-up micro business as this was then free from uni so we didn’t use any of our seed funding.
Annie individually personalised each coaster with the word brew on. I loved this aspect as I thought it was subtle but really emphasised the strong brand identity. Unfortunately when this was then fired the word brew was then un-legiable and cannot be read on some of the coaster. This is out of our hands and due to the limited time Annie was not able to test this before hand. If we were to do it again we think that it would work better on the bottom of the coasters as this may work better.
When the coasters first came out I had no idea what to expect as they look so different when the go into the kiln. Although the first batch that came out looked great although most had not come out as bright as we hoped. Also the area where ‘brew’ was stamped did not glaze, therefore the coaster would easily get dirty. Because of this Annie decided that she could try and reglaze them all again. This is something that she hasn’t done before and they would come out of the kiln the day before the sales event. This was a huge risk but we decided to go for it and see how they turned out.
By taking this risk we could have been left with no products the day before our sales event to sell. Although we are glad that we have done this has it turned out very successful. All coasters were glazed and their was a good range of marks on the coasters and intensity of colour. Personally I think they are visually very strong when grouped together in sets, this is because of the contrasting visuals which shows that every coaster is unique. We ordered ‘coaster feet’ to stick on the bottom which worked really well, they stoped any sliding, marking on a table and added a sturdy finish. I think that the combination of coasters and packaging highlights an organic and contemporary style that reinforces our brand identity well.
As well as our textile packaging we also decided to order paper bags, this is so it is easier for the customer to carry the product after purchasing. At first we wanted to screen print our logo onto the bags, although as Annie was the only team member inducted in screen printing and know-how to do it. Therefore, it would be too time consuming to show all members how to set the screens up, she was also the member making the coasters so she would have no time available to do this. Therefore myself, Annie and Sherlock all printed onto the brown paper bags. We did this using the same technique as I create the logo. By using marks from the bottom of a mug. This reinforces our brand ethos and shows the hand made skills, I also like how every bag is individual. This unique style is something which is consistent through the coasters and textile packaging. We also letter pressed the words brew onto the bags to personalise them. I enjoyed how quick this technique was. I think these packaging work well although even though they were cheap, we did over order. Even though the bags are 100% recyclable this is not sustainable as their is more waste. Therefore, if we were to do this again we would focus more of the quantity of materials that we would by in.
For the posters, we wanted to design two different styles. One creating visual links between our sales stand and one design including product placement and information on the sales event. This was so the audience knew when the event was to increase our sales. Therefore, we felt that it would be a good idea to include product placement, this is to provide the posters which more context. On the posters I prefer the variations without ‘come and find us on’ as I don’t think it is needed. I think that just having the date and location visually works better although the rest of my group preferred it with the ‘come and find us on’ as they thought it sounded more intriguing. Because of this we decided to go with the majority favourite, this is a way that we made lots of our decisions and I think that it worked well. By doing this we came across no arguments or disagreements.
As well as having the poster with the product placement and information about the sales day we also decided to put up our previous advert which we made. We decided to do this as not only does this show a christmasy theme which suggests how our product would be a good gift for Christmas. It will also provide context for our sales stand as this advert we designed is going to be inspiration for our sales stand.
The second on screen advert we decided to do a print based ad, this is because we felt like the animation last time was successful and gave more of an insight into our brand. Where as this time we wanted it to provide more information into the sales event. I have used the context from our posters which are printed around uni and have changed the layout. This is because the on screen advert in the heart space work better as a landscape. I think that by having a still advert the audience will be able to digest more information as it isn’t on screen for long.
At first when we were told that each year most groups digitally stick their logo onto the uniform, as a group we instantly didn’t want to do this. This is because we didn’t think that it would work very well with the shape of our logo. We thought that screen printing may be a more effective technique. Although when me and Lizzie tried digitally printing our logo as an experiment myself and the rest of the group were very surprised at how much we liked it. I have never digitally stitched before so when seeing the process and how easy it to do I thought that this technique would work well against time. Therefore we have decided that on the packaging we will digitally stitch the word brew on. This is because we thought that if it included our branded the customer may be more likely to keep it rather than throwing it away. We also will digitally stitch onto our uniform for the sales event so we look like part of a team. For our uniform we will have aprons, this is because it will highlight the barista theme of the coffee/tea element.
As a promotional technique we have decided to create some badges with our logo on. We then placed these in and around Cardiff Met Llandaff campus to start to introduce our brand to the target audience. The reason for this is most of our sales will probably be to students and teachers at CSAD as this is where the event will be held. By just included the Brew logo it is quite implicit as people who do not know about the brand may start to become intrigued to who what these badges are for. Therefore it may be a good idea that when we get closer to the time to create posters and more badges. The posters will be able to include more information about the brand, product and sales event. This way it will provide more context and people will then understand what the badges are for.
Sherlock decided that it would be a good idea to design paper coaster ephemera that will be placed on tables around the University. Not only does this provide more information for the audience. By using information on the paper coaster suggests what the product is, not only is it a piece of ephemera but it is also interactive. The QR code highlights the contemporary style in our brand through the use of technology which directs the audience straight to our website to find out more about the brand.