Anyone that works in product development, retail or press will tell you that Christmas preparation starts in July! Similarly, our Creative Director, Erica Siegel, has been working with a women's cooperative in Peru to create adorable hand knitted Christmas decorations as apart of The So Just Shop Collection. And so we wanted to share the development process behind them:
"For these Christmas decorations, I wanted to design a few classic Christmas ornaments, as well as one quirky ornament more unique to the area they were being made. After thinking about the general direction and design I wanted the products to go in, with a bit of research, I finalised down to three major ideas: mini mittens, cable knit Christmas baubles and mini Alpacas. The Christmas ornaments were all hand knit and sourced from an ethical knitting co-op Peru."
"Once the general idea of products are finalised, I discussed the colours, technical specs and pricing with the co-op. We went over a few sketches and photos I've bookmarked so the co-op can get a feel and understanding for the direction I was interested in. We then chose yarn skeins and specific colours from their availability. Generally, one product sample of each style will be made to ensure they are right in size, colour, yarn and price. (Most prices are dictated by the quality of yarn and the weight of the yarn used for the product.) Once the first sample is approved, production is started. Depending on the amount ordered and the complexity of the design, production can usually take 2-6 weeks.
While the product development process may seem easy enough, it is not uncommon to experience a few "road bumps" along the way. When I first handed over the technical packs to the co-op (information with product specs, sketches, measurements, margin goals, etc.) it was only July, which means I started working on this project at the end of May! Working with artisans ethically is always a longer process with a longer lead time, it has to be by proxy due to the fact that these women are working 9-5pm, instead of round the clock, like many big fashion brands that churn product out in a matter of weeks. But considering the beautiful products we receive at the end and knowing our artisans are happy and healthy, is a Christmas gift unto itself"