Welcome back to YANA™: The Blog.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our journey so far! In our second instalment we told you how we developed each aspect of the business. In the final instalment of our three-part blog, we take you through some of our successes, painful setbacks but finally, our launch!
Part 3. YANA™: The Launch.
Once we had our branding complete, our designs under development and fabrics on order, we had some final touches to add. Earlier in the year, we visited Make It British in London, a trade event with hundreds of suppliers and manufacturers who all make their products in the UK. There we found a few suppliers, one of which manufactures a variety of labels to use on garments and packaging and another who could digitally print our YANA™ pattern onto fabric.
We held two main photoshoots for YANA™, the first to gain content images and the second to shoot all of our products. From the beginning, we’ve been really conscious to work with other local businesses when developing and launching YANA™; we see the importance of helping the local economy and supporting local jobs.
We found two beautiful models, Ella and Sarah from Savalas Models who you see appear all across our website and social media. We contacted a local photographer, Alex Robson, who’d previously worked with a friend of ours. We also used a local Make-up Artist and good friend of ours, Samantha Waring to make up the models for both shoots. We also hired out a local photography studio for the first photo shoot in Gateshead, Hidden Heights, who were super accommodating and have a fantastic space for shooting creative photos (would recommend checking it out if you need somewhere!).
We set ourselves a deadline at the start of 2019 to launch no later than November 2019, in order to gain some Christmas sales and then the January ‘get fit’ hype that would surely follow. We were confident we’d meet this date, but by September 2019, things started to go off plan and our launch date felt like it was slipping away...
Firstly, the label supplier we’d been working with was becoming difficult to gain responses from, let alone receive our order on time. Our woven logo patches were required to sew on to our garments ahead of our final photoshoot, but the supplier was adamant they couldn’t get them to us any sooner than the end of November!
Secondly, the fabric we had ordered with the specialist anti-cellulite technology was out of stock, therefore a new roll had to be manufactured and dyed; a costly and time-consuming process. As it was the run-up to Christmas, the dye-houses in the UK were extremely busy and a small business like ours, certainly wasn’t a priority for them…
Thirdly, our manufacturer was experiencing issues with meeting our initial order quantities. Their capacity didn’t match our order and was becoming a real threat to us missing the Christmas shopping season…
The unavailability of the fabric was still a huge concern, we requested updates from the fabric mill daily and asked them to push for our roll to be reprioritised; finally, it worked, and our fabric was dyed and posted to us within a matter of days. Unfortunately, we had already missed the deadline to get any stretch wear products manufactured in time for Christmas. Furthermore, our manufacturer still hadn’t resolved their capacity issues and advised us at the end of November 2019 we wouldn’t receive any garments before Christmas.
We pressed on and managed to get our labels in time to add to our garments for the photoshoot. We picked our final garment samples up from our manufacturer on the morning of our second photoshoot and saw them for the first time on our models. The garments looked spectacular on Sarah and Ella and the shoot provided us with our all-important e-com shots required for the website.
The photoshoots have been two of our favourite days working on YANA™ so far; they’ve been a total family affair! Our Dad, Neil, made us three bespoke boxes (as seen in our images) and spent hours building and painting them so our models could pose on and against them in our shoots. Mum (Susan) was deemed ‘Floor Manager’, for she spent the two days organising everyone, making sure they had a cuppa in their hand at all times (even Ella and Sarah in between poses!) and made a selection of sandwiches, cakes and just about anything else she could bring. We made her a Floor Manager badge ahead of the second shoot, just in case anyone forgot she was in charge… Samantha’s Mum, Ali, also came along to help out and supplied some baking goods and our Auntie Sue came to watch the show. We had two successful shoots and produced some great content for our social media and most importantly, our website.
We’re certainly not experts in web-development and didn’t have the time to build our own with us both working full-time, so instead we asked Altogether Creative to help us with our website. We purchased a theme online and contracted Altogether to make it unique to YANA™. The outcome was as we had envisioned; fabulous – we’ve learned when working with Altogether, their results always exceed our expectations and they deliver the highest quality of work on time (every time!!)
The website was complete and ready to go, and we finally had all of our labels and packaging. Our garments still weren’t available, but we had our two wholesales garments and our accessories ready, so decided to launch.
At 7pm, on the 15th December 2019 we went live and saw over 250 hits within minutes and some sales straight away; we’d finally done it. Despite the setbacks, we’d launched only two weeks after we initially planned and had a great response at such an early stage!
Love, YANA x