INTERNSHIP BLOG - Spring 2016

Week 9

(05/30/16 - 06/05/16)

We finally finished the promotional video.

It was great working as a team with the video guys (Nathaniel and Victoria) to produce this video. They made our vision happen and we couldn't be more proud of the final results.

For me it was a great experience to help set it up, direct, style it and finding great spots to shoot and making sure we were covering all the areas of the different functionalities of the bags, finding people to be in the video...

We are now getting ready to get the video out there and we will probably advertise it in Facebook to reach out to as many people as possible.

We will probably wait until the next run of bags come from production. We are almost sold out of everything, which is great, but we think it will be more effective if we actually have more bags back in stock!

This week I also worked on miscellanious stuff, like emails, some promotional stuff for a bag that is not selling out very well, so we are thinking about ways to make it appealing and promote it on the website and social media.

Merin Your Own App Design

I also worked with an ITAD student to finish the app I designed a few quarters ago. This is not something that the company asked me to do but I am presenting it to them to see if this is something they would like for a future use. Maybe to run contests or to help customers share pictures on social media.

I presented this app on the Portfolio defenses last week and it turned out great! Nathan Connors helped me program it and make my vision happen. You can see the web version of the app here. To display it correctly, you'll have to use Safari, not Firefox. There are a few settings that need to be fixed, but you will get a pretty good idea of how the app works!

To login use: merin (lowercase) and click the Log In button.

Week 8

We met this week for some of the last B-Rolls for the promotional video! (yay!!)

This time we met with Kea and filmed her with her kids in a Park. This is a very important part of her story and how the company started so we put a lot of thought and time into it.

Since we were already there, we took some quality pictures of her and her daughter to use for the website. Her daughter's name is Merin, and that's where the company's name comes from.

We decided to add that caption and tell a little bit about the story of how she came up with the name. I added that in the About Page of the company.

I edited and retouched the photos to get them ready for web.

Before & After:

Week 7

This week we focused on the video, finalizing details and we met a few times to go over the b-rolls, interview and making some changes to it.

Here is what we have so far (it is a very rough rough draft):

We've actually made some more changes since one of the video guys (Nathaniel) uploaded the video, but this is just a sample of what we have going on and were you can see the interview we did with Kea last week. We still need to add more b-rolls that we recorded this week and polish the sound.

I love being the ''creative director'' of a project like this, because I can see that my vision is coming to life, and I enjoy working with a team, where everyone brings its touch and work to it. Everyone is so involved and excited to work on this project and I think the final result is going to look amazing.

Here are some pictures of the behind the scenes:

Week 6

This week we worked with the promotional video, we met a few times to get some footage done and we were able to interview Kea, the owner of Merin Designs to tell the story behind the company and product. This will be a very important part of the video as we want to be able to tell the story and we think it is really important to feel connected to the founder and the story.

I also worked a little bit with two products we want to design as an add-on for the bag. Read below for details and progress.

1. Promotional video for Merin Designs

We've been working hard with the promotional video this week. We met a few times to get some footage, and we were able to get the interview with Kea done, were she told the story of how Merin Designs got started and its journey. It was a little bit tricky with the sound, but the video guys did an amazing job. I was asking Kea questions and helping with the styling and finding the best light and best angles for the shooting, and coming up with ideas of the different scenes and how we wanted it to look like.

Behind the scenes of some closeups recordings of the functionalities of the bag.

Behind the scenes of some closeups recordings of the functionalities of the bag.

Trying out the audio for the interview

Trying out the audio for the interview

The second time we met, they recorded me walking around campus with the bag, to show that it's a very useful bag for students. Students is a target Merin Designs hasn't reach out as much, so it is our goal to introduce the idea for this video.

2. Product 1: Tassel

This week I kept working on the tassel we are trying to create for an add-on to the bag. Some of the materials that I ordered online weren't what I thought so I had to return them and now I'm trying to find something different. But I am working with the materials I have now to try out different options.

I am very interested in product development and marketing so this project is really exciting for me and will be a great experience!

Materials I will start with to create the first samples

Materials I will start with to create the first samples

This is some more inspiration that I found this week, I think it could be really fun to add fabrics and yarn to them and see if they can work for the Merin Bags.

This is the idea that we want to incorporate for the bags.

Product 2: Add-on strap

Aside from the tassel, I am also working on another add-on product for the bag. Kea and I met this week to brainstorm a little bit about this new idea. We want a sturdy strap (similar to a guitar strap) that could be added to the bag to make it more fun. We are looking for some patterns, different widths and the pictures below are the different styles we found that we would like for Merin.

From here I am in charge to look around and do some research to different artisans or companies that could help us create a product like this one. I found out this method is called Backstrap Weaving and I am now in exchanging emails with a company called Threads of Peru that work with different artisans in Perú to create beautiful weavings and they might be able to help us create the product that we are looking for.

Week 5

(05/02/16 - 05/08/16)

Tasks for this week:

  • Edit mini-video
  • Promotional video for Merin
  • Tassel
  • Social Media

1. Promotional Video

We are going to make a professional looking video for Merin Designs. This is something we've been wanting to do for a while now and now we found the right people to make it happen. I sent out an email to my Portfolio Defenses class asking to see if anyone from the video program would be interested in working with this video as their GAP project that we have to work for our final. Nathan and Victoria Rose stepped out and very excited to create a wonderful piece.

Last week Nathan, Victoria and I met in campus to talk about the goals of the video, to tell them about the product and my ideas for the video.

Our goals:

  • Show the functionality of the bag (multiple pockets to keep organized, key clip, cell phone slip, zipper, cross-body strap)
  • Machine Washable
  • Multiple uses (pool, beach, hiking, bike riding, school & art supplies, for men, not only for women, yoga...)
  • Waterproof bottom and inside pockets
  • Tell the story

This week we all met with Kea, the owner, to go over more specific details and we had the chance to start recording a few scenes. Next week we are meeting again to interview Kea and record her voice over and hear the story of how she started. I am going to prepare some questions to ask Kea.

Below is a screenshot of the editing pannel Nathan is working on. The meeting and recording session worked out really well and for the next following weeks we are going to meet in different days to get footage from different environments, to show that it's a very versatile bag for many uses and very functional.

Screenshot of the editing

Screenshot of the editing

2. Tassel

I got the materials and still sourcing a few others and I am now working on the actual product. Hopefully next week I will have some samples to show.

3. Video Merin

This is a short little video of one of the functionalities of the bag that I took in one of our meetings a few weeks ago. I put it together and added music in the background. We will use it for the website and social media.

I think having this kind of videos are very important for a product like Merin.

4. Social Media

I've been posting on their Instagram account. One of my duties in this internship is keeping social media active and interact with followers.

Week 4

These are the goals we've set up for this week:

  • Add product to the website
  • 2 Blog posts
  • Launch promotion/giveaway with Swoop + Merin (engage with social media, post Facebook, sent out email...)
  • Post in Instagram about the new product and engage with followers
  • Create short video

1. Montlake bag lifestyle shots

Last week I did the product shots of a new bag that will be added to the online store. This week I took a few pictures to post in Instagram when the product is up in the website.

Product on the website:

Captura de pantalla 2016-04-26 a las 21.26.04.png

2. Tassel update

There's not much improvement with the tassel project. I ordered the materials online so they will probably arrive next week and I will then be able to start working on it. I also made a trip to Joann Fabrics and Michael's Arts & Crafts to get some more ideas and got a few things that will help me on the assembling of the Tassel.

3. Social Media

This has been the social media week, I spent a lot of time engaging with followers, liking pictures, comenting and interacting with the goal of bringing people to the company's Instagram feed, which was really fun!

The goals of this promotion is to get new people to follow both Merin Designs and Swoop Bags on Instagram, so I've been tracking their website traffic, their email engagement and clicks and keeping track of the new followers and comments!

Day 1: Post was published at 9.30am and by 11am Merin Designs had gained 50 followers. By the end of the day they had 80 new followers

Day 2: I did a few posts as a reminder By day

Day 3:

Day 1 Post

Day 1 Post

Day 2 Posts

Day 3 video Post

Day 3 video Post

Our main goal was to gain followers and have new people discover Merin Designs and Swoop Bags. Below are some screenshots of the increase of following in the Instagram account. We started out with 1200 followers and now have 1400, 200 increase is not bad, knowing how hard it is to grow organically. The fact that followers had to tag their friends (with no limits of tags) was very effective.

Metrics from the traffic on the website the first day of the giveaway announcement!

4. Blog Post

One of the tasks I'm doing for this internship is keeping the company's blog up to date. This week I worked on two blog posts, one announcing the new (old) Merin Montlake bag that is up on the online shop and the other announcing the big Giveaway with Swoop + Merin

Blog post 1: Montlake Merin in the website

Blog post 2: Swoop + Merin Designs

For this blog post, I basically used the similar layout I created for the email marketing in order to be consistent.

5. Email Customers

This is the email I helped create for the Giveaway in MailChimp.

6. Learning and reflecting

I've been talking about the promotion/giveaway we are getting ready for with Swoop Bags + Merin Designs. We met this week to go through the strategy and how to be efficient and to run a successful giveaway. The goal is to create excitement, to encourage customers to engage and to increase the social media following.

We are asking customers to follow and tag and we tried to make it as easy as possible in order to do not loose interest along the way. The more action you ask in order to win the product, the more chances you have to loose potential customers along the way. So we tried to simplify it as much as possible and this are the steps to enter:

1. FOLLOW both Merin & Swoop on Instagram
2. LIKE this photo on both Merin & Swoop
3. TAG friends on this photo on both Merin & Swoop
(The more tags, the better your chance of winning!)

We are all learning this along the way since this is one of the first giveaway promotions I've been part of. We met this week again and we went through this article with some ideas and tips of how to make this giveaway as successful as possible.

Week 3

(04/18/16 - 04/24/16)

1. Meeting

Kea (the owner of Merin Designs) and I had a meeting on Monday where we touched base of the work we needed to get done for the next few weeks. It was really helpful to meet to make a list of the things we need to work on and it's been a very productive and busy week.

Here is a list of things I need to be working on the next few weeks:

  • Email marketing templet and content for Swoop + Merin promotion; create the layout and add the text and draft the instructions for the contest/giveaway so that we can finish polishing in the next meeting with the owner of Swoop.
  • Video for Swoop + Merin
  • Blog Post explaining the Giveaway/contest Merin + Swoop.
  • Tassel: We want to create a tassel to add-on the bags as a fun little accessory where the proceeds will help a local non-profit. I will be researching materials and how the tassel will look like. So for the next few weeks I will be working on this new product (I will be sharing the process here)
  • Social Media: like, comment and share in Instagram and engage with followers.
  • Product shot of a new Merin Bag that will be added in the website next week.
  • Add the new Merin bag into the website and write the product description.
  • Research the check-out page when customers buy a tote. She wants to redesign it, since the platform is through SquareSpace and they have a standard template. I will ask for help if necessary. Below is an example of something she would like, from Social Print Studio:

2. Swoop + Merin video

This is the short video I created for the promotion Swoop + Merin from the footage I too in the first meeting. (It still needs some work and to be polished.)

3. Meeting with Swoop + Merin

The owner of Swoop Bags (Sarah), the owner of Merin Designs (Kea) and I, met on tuesday to go over the details of the promotion, finish drafting the email that will be sent to the email subscribers and get on the same page of how the promotion should run and how long. I am enjoying this process and it is really fun to be a part of this promotion, where I am learning all the different steps of making a successful giveaway!

Sample of the email Draft I created for the meeting (this is only a small excerpt):

4. Tassel brainstorming

I've been doing some research of the different options of tassels out there and how they are all made. I also looked for the right materials to produce it. I will buy a few material samples to start working on the tassel. The materials I've been searching are Nylon twisted thread for the tassel and suede leather cord. Next week I will start experimenting with the materials to come up with a great product!

For inspiration, I created a private Pin Board in Pinterest to share with the owner:

Materials found:

5. Product Shots Orange + Lime bag

This is another bag I had to photograph this week to add to the website, so I followed the same process as here.

6. Social Media

The social media presence is really important for companies like Merin Design. I have access to all their social media platforms and I post here and there. I've been interacting, liking and commenting mainly in Instagram and Facebook.

From our Monday meeting and the post I did in Instagram

From our Monday meeting and the post I did in Instagram

Total hours worked: 22.5 hours

TIMESHEET

Week 2

(04/11/16-04/17/16)

1. Product Shots (Merin in the USA)

We've been busy over here getting ready for the new Merin in the USA bags launch. I received the samples and I was asked to do the product shots for the website on a white background.

I had never done product shots before and I thought I would need more equipment, but what I did was get a roll of white paper that I had in my house, waited for the day to be a little cloudy, and I took it outside. I taped the paper on the door and placed the bag in the middle. Because it was a cloudy day, the bag wasn't too bright and didn't have shadows, which worked great.

After I took the pictures I edited them in Photoshop and since the background was white it was very easy to select it and delete it. I was very happy with the result.

Making off product shots:

Final result:

2. Product Shots update to Website

When the product shots were ready and edited, I uploaded them to the website and added them to the store. I added the verbiage for each product and added the features in the e-commerce.

Screenshots from the backend of the website:

Final product uploaded in the website:

3. Main Page new content

I created an image with text below each bag with its name and description. This is used in the main page, the Merin in the USA page in the website and for a marketing email that went out this week.

4. PDF

I had to create a simple pdf for the owner to have for wholesalers and personal stuff.

You can see it here.

Total hours: 11.5hours

Week 1

(04/04/16 - 04/10/16)

1. Swoop Bags + Merin Designs Cross-promotion (meeting 1)

Swoop Bags is another company Seattle based company with a similar story as Merin Designs and we decided to to a cross-promotion/giveaway. We met in the morning to shoot some pictures and videos for the promotion. I edited and selected the content and got the files ready for the web.

These are the final pictures that we will use for the promotion:

2. Logo redesign for Merin in the USA

From now on, the Merin Designs bags will no longer be made overseas, they moved production to a factory located in Portland, OR. For the marketing of these new bags, we decided to redesign the logo for any promotional content.

I also got the files ready to send to printer because we decided to make stickers out of the redesigned logo to send along with the new bags.

Original Merin Designs Logo:

Logo redesigned for the Made in the USA bags:

Stickers:

 

 

3. Packaging Postcard

We are getting ready to launch the new Merin made in the USA and I made this two design layouts on 5"x7" cards.

 

Total hours this week: 13.5 hours

Internship Description and Goals

FIRST BLOG POST:

Hi there! I'm Elisenda Llauradó and I am in my last quarter of the Digital Design program. I am looking forward to learn a lot this quarter and for the opportunity to apply all my knowledge and passions into a company that I love.

Internship at Merin Designs

Merin Designs is a small retail company from Seattle that started in 2008 by a mother of three children. They created a multi-purpose tote bag made of soft, pliable canvas, with interior waterproof pockets to keep your stuff organized and with a waterproof bottom to keep the dry from getting wet.

I've worked for Merin Designs in the past building their website and with their social media platforms but being a full-time student and working part time, I was never able to spend the quality time I wanted to help Merin Designs grow.

Eventhough M D is a small company, there is so much potential and so many things to do. That's the beauty of a small company, where you get to work one on one with the owner, learn their vision and work on a variety of projects.

 

After meeting with the owner of the company we made a list of our goals for this internship:

-Create successful social media strategies: increase traffic in their social media platforms, interact with customers and engage with other accounts to bring traffic and increase MD's following. (Platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, twitter and update blog).
-Blog: The blog is a great tool for making the product more attractive, we can use it for promotions, give ideas, interviews customers...
-Website content: Take photos of the product, edit pictures,

-Website Management: update new information, include press articles, upload videos, product description, manage inventory.
-Email Marketing campaigns: create visual appealing emails to increase sales and enourage customers to share their merin love sending pictures and sharing them in social media. I don't have much experience doing email marketing campaigns but I've been seeing what other successful companies have done and will try to apply what I've learned.
-Track results: of marketing campaigns (mailChimp), promotions in Instagram (iconosquare (Enlaces a un sitio externo.)), social media.
-Videos: small videos are a great way to make the product appealing and show potential customers the functionality of the bag; Shoot videos, edit them and share them in social media, website and emails.

-Collaborations with other companies to create cross-promotions to reach out to new audiences and increase following: this is something I am really interested on working on, contact other companies or bloggers that have similar audience and related products to Merin Designs that would be interested in doing cross-promotions, giveaways to help reach out new customers and increase web traffic.

 

For this Internship I will be working on-site for a few days a week to meet with the owner and I will be working from home the rest of the time. Some weeks I will be working on-site more than two days since we are working on some promotions and we will be meeting with other individuals for cross-promotions and giveaways through social media.

 

Programs I will be using:

I will be working with Illustrator to create different Illustrations, icons, logos and flyers, Photoshop to retouch, add text and edit pictures for the website, social media, emails... InDesign to create stylesheets for whole sellers's reference, Adobe Premier or iMovie to edit videos, SquareSpace is the website's platform so I will be managing the back-end of the site to create nice designs and add new information to the site and other needs for the company.

I am really excited to work for Merin Designs this quarter for this Spring Internship and I feel prepared and capable to help the company with the goals I described above. This will be a great opportunity to use all my skills and learn new ones. Working on different projects for a small company has many benefits; problem solving, strategy, tracking results and working with a variety of projects at the same time. I think this will be great for my experience, since I am really interested in retail and marketing, and since I love the product and I believe it has great potential, I will be able to create exciting projects for them.