Christmas in July: Love it or loathe it?

Business owners can be split into two groups: those who jump right into Christmas in July, and those who resist it!

Okay, it's probably not as polarised as that, but I know there will be plenty who have immediately skipped this blog based on the subject...!

There isn't really a month of the year when we don't talk about Christmas at least a little bit. And by the end of May, we've usually done one or two Christmas shoots. Thankfully, we have a great selection of very realistic Christmas trees, lights and set-ups that make it easy.

Why bother with Christmas in July?


The concept of Christmas in July really comes from the press. This is the time of year when long-lead magazines (and now digital publishers) plan their gift guides and Christmas content, so of course retailers started putting together events to show off their best stuff.

It's also around the middle of buying season for small to medium retailers, so if you're wholesaling, you'll want to grab their attention, too.

What about you?

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You don't have to put on a big exhibition, but getting a few product images shot in a festive style can help you gather attention from press, influencers and retailers.

Book a festive photoshoot now >>>

How to use your Christmas in July content

Once you've got an idea of your product range for Christmas, and maybe a photo or two, it's time to start using them effectively.

Start by sending them to marketplaces you sell on - notonthehighstreet and Etsy being great examples of creative spaces that thrive on knowing what they can work into their own marketing.

Then the brave bit: research some press contacts and influencers who might be interested in your products. Send them a lovely email with your lovely images - you might even offer to send them a sample in the post.

Be patient and resilient with this bit. You probably won't get responses from every person you email, but know that it's worth doing anyway.

And then there's the smug bit: you can start preparing and scheduling your own marketing because you already have the content available! Plan an early bird special for October, or put together emails, blogs and social media posts in plenty of time. Dreamy!

2020 Trends: How to use trends in your product design

Using trends to your advantage can really help to boost your brand awareness and customer appeal. But, like us, you might be reluctant to jump on a bandwagon simply because it's "what everyone else is doing".

It can also be a bit of a pain in the bum to even know what's going on and what customers are looking for! Are there any trends out there that you even like?!

This summer, we've teamed up with Joanne Griffin at Arnold and Bird to give you a discount on her product trends guides.

Joanne and I go way back to Notonthehighstreet, where we worked together on all sorts of things - not least their own trends guide. With many years of experience and buckets of passion for small business, Joanne is the best person I know to ask about what's going on!

Get 20% off trend guides

From just £35 normally (that's just £28 for you), these trends guide are divided into product and industry categories, so you can read the most relevant to you.

Use code JENNY for 20% off >>>

*We receive a commission when you use this code

6 Ways to Get Your Shop Ready for Valentine's Day

With over 10 years working with small businesses, I thought I’d share some of my top tips to help you get your shop ready for Valentine’s Day.

Coming straight out of Christmas, into January, and finding you’re suddenly a couple of weeks from Valentine’s Day, is enough to knock any small business owner off their feet!

So make a cuppa, and check these simple steps off your list.

1. Use relevant wording

Add 'Valentine's Day', 'romantic gift', 'for her', and 'for him' to relevant listings in the titles and/or key terms and tags. This makes it easier for customers looking for inspiration to find you. A simple step, easily missed.

2. Add seasonal imagery

We're visual creatures, and photos are powerful. Having a romantic setting or strongly suggesting the intended recipient through styling can help customers to make the connection between your product and what they're looking for.

No time for new photos? Grab a mock up for cards and prints.

3. Make a statement on your homepage and shopfronts 

Feature your key seasonal pieces on your website's homepage with a lovely banner or collection. Don't forget to update your Etsy shopfront and Facebook banner, too.

4. Set your tone

Not everyone celebrates Valentine's Day in the same way, so have a think about what it means to you - and your customers. Are you soppy, sarcastic or subtle? Build your tone into products, listings and marketing content. 

5. Share stories

Keep an eye out for romantic stories in the news, from your customers, or even on sites like Humans of New York. Pick a few that speak to you (and fit with your tone), and share them on social media or in a blog post or newsletter. 

6. Don't forget mates

In recent years, Galentines and Palentines have become just as much a part of February as romantic partners. Help your customers celebrate friends in their own unique way with tailored product options or gift ideas.

From all of us at Copper Boom Studio, we wish you a positive and prosperous start to the year!

5 Things to Stock Up on Ahead of the Christmas Rush (and Stay Healthy)

There are now, officially, less than 80 days left until Christmas Day.

For our clients and many, many small business retailers, this is the busiest time of the year by far. Chances are there are long days ahead, lots of help needed, and (even) less sleep and down time than normal.

Between the three of us (that's Jenny, Holly and Millie), we've worked in and with small businesses for 15 years, and we know the stresses and strains it can have.

Here's our shopping list for getting through peak sales!

1. Hand soap and sanitiser

Colds are coming, if they haven't already hit. Get everyone in your team (and family!) their own hand sanitiser, and make sure you're stocked up with plenty of hand soap in bathrooms and the kitchen. Colds may come, but let's stop them from spreading!

2. Decent tea and coffee

What's your favourite cuppa? We know for a fact that starting off your day with something really delicious can make early mornings more bearable. Not to mention late nights!

Whether it's delicious Perkulatte coffee, or elegant PostTea or Teapigs, we know that Future You will be grateful for that perfect pick-me-up.

3. Healthy snacks

Fill the studio kitchen (not to mention your home, handbag and car!) with healthy, delicious snacks. Cereal bars, nuts, popcorn, dried fruit, whatever takes your fancy!

You might also try making lunches ahead of time, or using a service like Gousto to get you some healthy dinners. Research local options for team lunches or dinners when you're working late.

4. Dry shampoo!

Look, we're not judging. Dry shampoo is a staple around here, and even more so when it's busy. We love this organic option.

5. Great music

Line up some Spotify playlists, get your Christmas faves together, or challenge your team to DJ for a day each! What we know for sure is that music can add energy to a day that's dragging. 

Did we miss anything? What are your Christmas survival essentials?

5 Gilmore Girls Episodes for Creative Entrepreneurs

We love Gilmore Girls and not just for the ridiculously fast dialogue or the references to all kinds of music, books and films but we love it because it’s about two women trying to make their ambitions happen.

 

As a creative business owner, you’ll be familiar with feeling uninspired, overwhelmed, anxious, scared or in need of a break. That’s why we’ve put together our favourite 5 episodes for small business owners for when they need a boost.

Read More

Spotlight on: Little Homebird Jewellery

The lovely Jessica at Little Homebird Jewellery recently booked her jewellery collection for a fresh look with us. We'd just started planning her lifestyle shoot when she added a full day of modelled shots too, which meant we got to spend two full days with her lovely products!

Today, we're sharing the results in full of her two days, as well as Jessica's take on what it was like to work with us. You can see every shot she received in the gallery below!

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Why did you decide to work with us?

Up until our big relaunch I had always taken my own photographs, it was relatively easy and I was all about quick snaps, and this saved a pretty penny too…but after three years in business I wanted to up my game. I started to think about applying for new marketplaces, places I knew would want a very specific and professional look to not just our photos, but the brand in general. 
After careful research (and some light insta-stalking!) I found a couple of photography companies that I felt could deliver on what I need for my brand. I remember Copper Boom being the very first company I heard back from… and after a little back and forth emailing to Holly, I knew this was the photography studio for me.

Tell us a bit about your brief and working with us to hone it.

I was looking for much more then just product photographs, I really needed help to translate my brand into beautiful imagery. When I initially contacted Copper Boom, I was pretty clueless on how to do this, so overwhelmed with the styling, the props and colour palettes, I could barely put into words the look and feel of the collection, and my brand. Holly was so helpful in breaking this process down, working together to find out the things I did and didn’t like about my current photos/branding and how we could improve this. It really felt like she understood my business and what I wanted, and that I could trust the team with such an important task for my business. 
Before I knew it we had a detailed shot list, amazing and inspirational mood board and a brief ready to send to the photographer!
Everything was just so easy, nothing was too much trouble and everything I said was taken on board - a true collaborative process. The team at Copper Boom were so accommodating with my products, and after being let down by a local photographer for a modelled shoot, they were quick to help me out and fit me in quickly for another shoot. 

Holly our business manager and briefer extraordinaire says:

Jessica's products are lovely and she'd already put lots of thought into the colours for her brand and the ideas for styling the shots. So that was great! I wanted to bring her products to life, so the main aim for the shoot was to improve the lighting and get the focus really sharp on the product, while providing hints of a soft, feminine style.

 

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The best bit for Jessica?

But the greatest thing, the photographs themselves! Wow. I had no idea what I envisioned the collection to look like, but once I saw the shots, I knew that this was it! Everything was so cohesive and the styling was perfect for the pieces - the team really understood the brief and brought the pieces to life. The modelled shoot especially helped bring the jewellery to life, and in turn, has encouraged a lot more sales!

I’ve already had such an amazing reaction to the photographs already after two weeks of opening. I cannot put into words how much time and energy Copper Boom have saved me, its been the best investment for my business. I received the photos back so quickly, edited and ready to go they were on my site within minutes!

Need a boost to get going for Christmas? Here's a sneak peek of our inspiration guides

Next week, we'll be sending out our Christmas photography trends guide to all our newsletter subscribers, as well as launching our brand new Christmas mock-ups and stock photography.

Update: It's live! Subscribe via the button below and receive the download within 24 hours.

In the meantime, we thought you might like to see some sneak peeks of the Pinterest boards we've been creating to get in the flow of Christmas 2017!

Nomad Christmas Trend

A Nomadic Christmas

Pattern, natural materials, and travel-inspired textures

Winter Garden Trend 2017

Winter Garden Trend

Deep jewel tones, full of luxury

Indulgent Christmas Trend 2017

Indulgent inspiration

Bright, full images that catch the eye!

Night Sky Trend

Night Sky

Dark indigo and black, with a sprinkling of stars

Scandinavian Christmas Trend 2017

Scandinavian Ice

The new way to incorporate Scandi into your Christmas look

Don't forget to sign up to get the full trend report next week!

And if you need anything in the meantime, or you'd like to book a photoshoot, please get in touch. We're here to help!

What do you get with a full day, full package? Pomme D'Or Gifts spills this beans...

Want to know a secret? Here at Copper Boom HQ, we get to see the benefits of professional photography and copywriting every day. We see the results of careful planning, creative efforts and hard work each time we send back a series of photos. And we hear from our clients: the great feedback, the sales results, the delight.

But given that our signature package is a full day of photography, plus product descriptions and upload, what does £1200 give you?

Well, we asked Anne-Marie Fowler of Pomme D'Or Gifts if we could share her recent full day photoshoot and copywriting, and her thoughts on what it gave her business.

Chill Pill soaps? Yes please!

Chill Pill soaps? Yes please!

Here's why Anne-Marie came to us:

You were a recommendation by NOTHS. I'd like to think they could see the potential with my products but I needed to step up with a more professional image. 

Last year, I had 5 approaches from different top ranking magazines and I wasn't ready with an immediate turnaround of photos. I wanted to go down this route only when I have a better corporate image.

I'd had some photographs taken before by a local photographer.  Very nice chap but I was very much involved in setting up and was in great danger of being a one-trick pony with product arrangement.

I needed someone to interpret the 3 platefuls of spaghetti thoughts going on in my brain and turn them into something beautiful presentation-wise.

Crisp white cut-out images are essential for press coverage and printed catalogues

Crisp white cut-out images are essential for press coverage and printed catalogues

Whenever we book photography into our schedule, we go through a detailed briefing process. Holly usually creates a brief and shot list for the majority of clients, and she works on finding the right story, colour palette and styling approach for each client and product.

Holly says:

Working with Anne-Marie on the brief and shot list was really simple because she sent me through an example of what she liked but also what she really didn't like. The main purpose of the images was to make sure the products, which have the same design across soaps and bath bombs, were easily distinguishable for users on mobile. Understanding the overarching purpose of the images and why new ones were needed made this brief really easy to get right. 

We also worked with Anne-Marie on her product descriptions to make sure her products can be found in search and reach the right customers, as well as being totally irresistible when they get to the product page!

Anne-Marie said:

The reason I'd booked the whole package is that uploading images and changing product wording bores me to tears.  I'd much rather be in my studio creating and know where my talent lies.  Total respect to you guys as I understand how long it takes as well as thinking through the descriptive wording to use.

Well, that's music to our ears! Read Anne-Marie's product descriptions over on her notonthehighstreet.com storefront.

The results:

  • 45 fully styled lifestyle photographs
  • 4 modelled lifestyle shots
  • 23 cut out shots for press and print
  • 5 shots of packaging
  • 18 products uploaded to notonthehighstreet.com with descriptions and key terms
  • Additional social media content ideas and drafts

And we got to spend the day with Anne-Marie's lovely products!

Get back to creating, making and running your business, just like Anne-Marie

Whether you need photos, words, or both, we can do the detailed, time-consuming work of creating professional content so that you can get back to the stuff that only you can do.

A final word from Anne-Marie about working with us:

It's very easy to press the 'buy' button for a professional photography service and then feel daunted about what happens next.  The guidance/check list you gave me were the cues I needed - it got me thinking about my likes and dislikes before we got started.  Working your way through a checklist is so much easier than thinking where to start.

The turnaround time was impressive.  The bath bomb shot were well interpreted.  The white cut-out shots of all the products were excellent.  

We're here for makers and creatives. You can easily press the 'buy' button here (if you're ready!) or get in touch to talk through your requirements (or even just how you're feeling about your business).

In the meantime, enjoy Pomme D'Or Gift Ideas's new look!