Here I am, pretending to enjoy a cup of tea, while gazing out of a pretty window, dreaming up more Storklings characters.
This isn’t really how it works...
Yes, tea is involved, and a lot of gazing...
But on a day to day level, it’s nose to the grindstone, doing quite boring behind the scenes stuff.
Here I am going to try and give an insight into how this little business started, what I do on a daily basis, how the products are photographed and how they are actually made.
People have been telling me for a while I need to let my customers know more about Storklings, where the idea came from, how I design them and how they are made.
So here goes...
For more in depth details about how the Storklings are made, have a look at this page link.
I designed the original Storklings Spaceman soft toy a few years ago, I couldn’t find any soft toys that were space themed, as my two boys were space mad when they were really little.
The original prototype was not so good. It needed lots of tweaking, but with the help of Maggie, my amazing helper in China, I was able to produce a lovely sample I was really proud of.
We then had to find a manufacturer.
Working closely with Maggie and her team, we were able to find a small factory in China who were prepared to make larger quantities for us.
The factory had to meet very strict criteria from us.
- We wanted to be confident the quality of the products was outstanding, check.
- We wanted to be able to source the very highest quality plush fabric for our soft toys, check.
- We wanted to be assured the staff working within the factory were happy employees, check.
We wanted the factory to be able to fully support my little business, I run it on my own, so manufacturers support is so important.
Our chosen factory then had to hand cut and sew and embroider from our material patterns, to produce our first order.
The first batch of Storklings Spacemen was launched!
Nowadays, we still use the same factory, they still hand cut the fabric, using our patterns. A lot of the sewing is done by an actual person, as is the assembly of each soft toy. We like the personal touch!
With each new character I introduce to the range goes through a design to manufacturer process.
It goes a bit like this...
I start doodling.
I send my doodles to my proper graphic designer, who laughs, then proceeds to tidy up said doodles.
It’s quite a process, with lots of backward and forwarding between me and my designer, tweaking the designs until they are perfect.
Then the finished design in made into a pattern, which the staff at our factory use to cut fabric and assemble each soft toy.
Once the pattern is done, the next step is choosing colour schemes. This is a fun bit!
I use lots of colour swatches like these.
When I have chosen the colour scheme, I like to get opinions from my customers, so I will ask a handful what they think. I like to bring our customers ideas in to the creative process!
I always welcome new character ideas and colour suggestions, so if you have any, let me know!
Colour scheme selected, we then have to source the very best quality plush fabric, in the chosen colours. This is Maggie and her team’s job! This is their area of expertise and are very good at it!
I just wanted to show you, our lovely customer just how much thought, love, attention to detail and hard work goes in to creating each of the Storklings characters.
I hope you love them as much as I love producing them.