Have you ever wondered what it takes to design a funky new Oishi-m collection? Come with us as we share some insights into what our team does to create a new range of unique baby, toddler and children's clothing, from inception to your doorstep. Welcome to the life cycle of an Oishi-m range.
Before we start designing a new collection we have a team meeting (as above pic) and do a round up and review of last year’s range (in this case, Autumn '16). Our product development and range themes are independent of trends so it’s more about analysing our business and campaigns, and the feedback we received. We consider what the strongest and weakest sellers were, fave colours, best fits, what we need more of or less of, and share ideas for new pieces, yardages and innovation. All of this happens at our Torquay HQ, right next door to our beautiful store.
We get feedback from colleagues in every part of the business, gaining insights from 'back of house' colleagues in inventory management, marketing, production and design, to 'front of house' retail staff and customer service who most importantly hear from customers directly everyday. Together, we bring decades of experience to the table from other industries and infuse it into this wonderful local boutique brand. Our greatest qualificaton, however, is that the business is run (largely) by parents, and we live and breathe kids clothing everyday when dressing our own children. We want our clothes to fit well and be functional (especially when we're dressing them in a hurry every morning!)
Designs start with the needs of little people and we mash up different fabrics to create interesting pieces that are comfortable and look great. Little people vary in size, shape and growth rates so Oishi-m accommodates these variances catering for both Skinny Mini's and Chubba Bubba’s across our premium ranges. We produce the opposite of fast throwaway fashion. Garments are designed for functionality and comfort, designed to endure hand-me-downs, giving each wearer a lasting, positive experience catering for 3 months to 8 years old. We know how much our customers love procuring unique, limited pieces of goodness, so that's why we produce premium limited edition ranges so the pieces can be treasured and admired.
Developing the yardages is one of the design team's favourite steps, as it means getting the paints out, tuning into some great tunes and getting creative. Here's a video of Tans painting the beautiful 'Feathering' yardage...
And here's the result of the finished art file on screen (note: we actually updated the colours in the feathering yardage to become the current version after we saw the strike off's (test samples) of fabric), with application onto our final products: Violetta L/S T Shirt and Mosaic Legging. This bespoke artwork was also used for match back garments, the Feathering Legging and Crazy Paving L/S T Shirt. We love naming our pieces (it's like naming your babies!), and get our inspo from the season, the colour palette, what we're listening to on Spotify, and how each garment 'speaks to us (yes, that happens all the time)!
We designed in colour themes and outfits more strongly in this AU17 collection, and these themes are the Shop The Look image groups on our website. Each garment has a story to tell, and we try to reflect that in each photo, web description or social media post. The beauty of Oishi-m is how many ways it can be worn - there's a plethora of outfits possible, with new or older pieces in your collection, so just have fun with it and mix n' match to your hearts content.
We love developing new innovative products, and this season we launched the Pullover and Super Skinny Jean. We spend ages fit testing on our various sized mannequins, plus utilise the tribe of kids that belong to staff members. It's not uncommon to be sent home with a batch of samples to 'wear test' on our munchkins, with instructions to "wear them hard" and "go bananas at the park in these" to test the durability and function. We were fit testing and developing the new 6-7 and 7-8 size styles that we launched for the first time in Hi Summer 16, at the same time as we were fit testing the Asher Pullover. You will note that the front pockets have changed for production.
Our goal is to kit out children with comfortable stylish clothing that we’re proud of, and our brand of purpose-designed stylish clothing allows children to be children. We celebrate local Australian Production, which differentiates us in the marketplace and makes us agile in product development We love customer feedback and enjoy the intimacy of customer interactions and working within a small business in a community, where we cherish work life balance and celebrate the beauty in young families. Hooray to that! Here's some of our munchkins in the AU17 photoshoot, another essential step in the life cycle of each range.
We hope you've loved this back story of what goes on behind the scenes at our office, and we look forward to bringing you more Design Insights in future. Head on over to oishi-m.com now to see the Autumn 17 range come to life, or pop into our Torquay store in the arcade to get your hands on these new goodies.