October 28, 2013

How to Organize a Successful Photo Shoot

Once a year now, I call up my buddy and amazing photographer Sarah Beaty of Eyeris Photography, and she and I hash out a plan for a Freshie & Zero photo shoot. I used to photograph everything myself and use my friends as models, but as the business evolved I had to step up my game! Some of my photos I took of my friend Kelley in my mom's backyard are still some of my favorites, but my photography skills were just not as professional as I needed them to be:

She's adorable, but my photography left a lot to be desired (mostly my inability to focus on the model and the jewelry at the same time). This one is from 2008 - my friend Kelley was the face of Freshie & Zero! She had an exuberance that really came through in the photos, but my photos needed to portray a more polished image. Here are some tips I learned to have a successful photo shoot:

1. Define Your Goal 

My goal was to have really fabulous professional photos. Often in the past, the hair and makeup (and wardrobe) was an afterthought, so this time I needed to make that a priority.

2. Hire Talented People

I needed a pro for every aspect of the shoot. Fortunately for me, there are loads of talented people in Nashville I can turn to for help to! I used an agency to find the right model. Sarah's friend Sharla Pruitt Higgins just so happens to do hair and makeup for the stars and was available the day of our shoot. I now had a team of creative pros!

3. Make a Mood Board

Next I made a Pinterest mood board to develop the theme of the shoot - can I say that this is my new favorite use of Pinterest? I pinned the hair, makeup, outfits, and overall attitude that I wanted to portray - which evolved into casual and simple beauty. I sent this board to everyone involved with the shoot, and that was pretty much all I had to do! Everyone "got it".

4. Gather Props and Wardrobe

Making a mood board also helped me figure out what our model would wear. She brought some of her own clothes and looked to this board for inspiration. I used the board as inspiration to play stylist and get the wardrobe we needed on approval. Why I had never thought of that before? Since I knew the clothes were just on approval (pretty much what real stylists do), I had an unlimited budget, and I was free to pick exactly what I thought would look great!

I also liked the way some of my inspiration photos utilized props like drinks and hats to draw attention to bracelets and earrings, so I collected similar items as well.

5. Find the right location

We held the shoot at my house because it was free, there are a lot of blank walls since I just moved in, and I live in proximity to lots of green space and even some wheat fields which would be perfect for outdoor shots. It was also ideal because if it rained, we could stay inside and shoot there, which is exactly what happened!

The talented team!
You can see how I shoved my kid's play area to the side to make room for our set. Mommy needs to work, kids.

6. Be organized on the day of the shoot

I cleared a table near an outlet so there was plenty of room for Sharla to lay out her makeup and curling irons (she's no joke - she had three cases full of stuff!). I laid all of the jewelry out in sets, so at any given time I could make a decision about what pieces I wanted with which outfits. The wardrobe was hung up neatly in a nearby bathroom. My friend Krista came as an extra set of hands, because you never know! Staying organized and having a friend ready to assist me really helped the shoot be more successful.

Sharla did her hair and makeup beautifully.


7. Have Snacks

Seriously - you can never go wrong with offering people a little bit of food to keep the energy up. I laid out a little snack bar with cheese, crackers, trail mix, and grapes, which was much appreciated by all. I also had sparkling pink grapefruit juice. Yum.

8. Be Flexible

The day of the shoot, the weather sucked! It was overcast and drizzling and not what we were hoping for, but we made it work. Sarah (the photographer) brought fancy lights and backgrounds and the shoot took a direction that was more fashion-y than I had expected, but in a good way.

Act like there's coffee in that cup! Sell that bracelet!

By the end of the day the rain cleared up, so we hightailed it outside and got some beautiful shots in the afternoon sun. Instead of being bummed that we couldn't shoot outside, we focused on getting great shots inside and when the opportunity came to go out, we took it! We didn't go to the awesome nearby wheat field, but there's always a next time.

Catching that pretty afternoon sun!
Working the light in my driveway.
That pretty much sums it up! On a side note, our model Tiffany was fierce! Her (natural) red hair is GAWgeous and the jewelry looked fabulous on her. She was also pretty nice, too, and it turned out that she and the photographer sort of knew each other as did the stylist. Oh Nashville, I love how small of a town you can be! By the end of the shoot, they were all exchanging numbers and planning on working and hanging out together in the future.

Tiffany, me, Sharla, and Sarah

October 22, 2013

The Uncommon Goods Holiday Catalog has landed!

It's that time of year again when I excitedly check my mailbox, hoping to see the latest Uncommon Goods catalog waiting for me! I'm not only excited to see my name in print alongside my jewelry, but I also like to see what other wonderful items they have selected to be a part of their holiday gift guide and if any of my crafty friends make an appearance.

Well lo and behold, who is on the cover but our talented friend Dolan Geiman! He is not only an amazing artist, but he's a really nice guy, too.

Yay Dolan! Nice cover!
I was also thrilled to come across a page featuring my Georgia buddies from Rinse Bath & Body who make the most delicious-smelling soaps; here their Wine Soap Set makes its catalog debut: 

Rinse seriously makes the best soaps.
Not pictured in the catalog but available on the Uncommon Goods website are these educational and fabulous Presidential Glasses, designed by my friends at 1canoe2. They're full of tidbits about each president they feature - did you know that Teddy Roosevelt was the youngest president?

Sigh. I just love everything 1canoe2 illustrates.

And last but not least, is my Love Necklace in all its glory! This is the necklace I designed when I was pregnant with my daughter four years ago - it was my non-cheesy motherhood necklace representing, well, becoming a mother! I also have to share that mine is the original "Mother and Child" double circle necklace - don't be fooled by imitations! :) 


Uncommon Goods also sells my Love Bracelet and Earrings, both of which are exclusively available through their website. They're really a great company to work with - if this is your first introduction to their site, go take a few minutes to poke around. I know you'll find at least one thing to add to your own Christmas wish list!

September 25, 2013

Chelsea Handler

I just realized I forgot to blog about one of the most amazing things that has happened to me in the last year! Curse you, baby brain!! I posted this on facebook, but Lord knows those posts get buried in a pile of posts never to be seen again after about, oh, an hour. So here it is: Chelsea Handler wore my Antique Stone Necklace at least three times on her show Chelsea Lately. Cue the screams!!!

As in, I was screaming and jumping when I first saw it on tv. I was just hanging out on the couch (nine months pregnant), watching one of my favorite shows when I shot up - I knew that necklace and Chelsea Handler was wearing it! My husband and I attempted to photograph it on tv as the show aired, but that was kind of a foolish pursuit. I later searched YouTube to try and get a screen shot of it and I found her wearing it on two different episodes! Then a month later, I saw her wearing it on a third episode! Oh, Chelsea, you know how to make a girl smile. Can we be friends?

Want to grab her style? You can fetch one of these necklaces on our website here.

Antique Stone Necklace as seen on Chelsea Handler

September 20, 2013

Stockists page updated!

I have just updated the Stockists page on our website to include all of the lovely new retailers who have picked up our line over the summer! I try to keep it updated with people who have ordered within the past few months so that if you go to their store, you will find a good selection of Freshie & Zero jewelry! We shipped orders this week to: Carmel Flower Shop in Carmel, NY; O.Liv Body Bar in Nashville, TN; Whole Earth Provision stores in Texas, Yankee Ingenuity in Chatham, MA; and Sophie's in Chattanooga, TN just to name a few! Have I mentioned we ♥ our retailers?

Is your favorite store on the list? Did you know we are always happy when our customers suggest retailers they think would be a good fit for our jewelry, or better yet, suggest us to your favorite shop! If you want to recommend a shop to us, please email me at beth {at} freshieandzero {dot} com (sorry for the anti-spam format!). Have a great weekend!

Click to see the full list!

January 31, 2013

The First Show

It's 2013, which means its been 7 years since I registered Freshie & Zero as a business and started dragging my then boyfriend (now husband) to craft shows to sell my jewelry. I would like to share a little story about how it all began...

I remember my first craft show well. I was so excited! My glorious tent was so shiny & new. I had practiced setting up my clean, non-scratched display tables in my apartment, and I had crafted many unique display pieces out of dowels and plastic sushi grass. I was ready to sell my jewelry to the craft show hordes that would surely amass in my tent. I was a full blown rookie. 

Everything was so clean!!
I should have realized being set up right next to port-a-potties was a very bad sign.

The first day we were supposed to be open at 10 am but a storm in the area prevented us from setting up on time. It was the first of many irritating set up experiences, but I was unfazed. We were still set up by noon - the show wasn't over until 10 pm that night anyway, so I still had 10 glorious hours to sell my jewelry, plus all day on Saturday (literally - 10am to 10pm again - these are show hours I avoid like the plague these days).  I was READY.

On day one I sold a single pair of earrings.

I started to think I had made a very bad business decision. I don't remember what I sold on day 2, but it didn't get much better - maybe ten things? I realized that maybe selling my jewelry was not going to be the walk in the park I thought it would be!

I still laugh about that show. It was really more of a beer festival than a crafts festival - they should not have allowed crafters to participate but hey, they wanted to make money off our booth fees. Oh the memories - the constant complaining from the other crafters, the drunk festival-goers stumbling in and out of the port-a-potties (that whole 10 pm thing). If I had any real craft show experience, I would have seen the warning signs on the application (for example, listing our area as "arts & crafts" and allowing a first come, first served admission process). But I didn't know any better - I was such a freshman.

Today, I feel much more like an upper-classman, flush with years of real-world experience, and luckily I have come SUCH a long way from that day next to the port-a-potties! If I had let that awful show determine the course of my career, things could have turned out very differently for me.

The reason I am relaying all of this to you is because sometimes I still find myself at a show where the tumbleweeds are blowing and sales are not cha-chinging. It's annoying, but not the end of the world. Unfortunately, for some people, it is the end of the world. I have met crafters who change the entire course of their career based upon one miserable show. I think this is a grave way of thinking. We all have to start somewhere. We all have to pay our dues and learn the hard way.

We all have to be freshmen sometimes.  

Luckily, I had many things going for me at the time.  I had a supportive boyfriend who laughed that show off with me (and many more dreadful shows I attended that first year). I had supportive parents who believed in me. And I had gut feeling that I was doing the right thing; that making jewelry could realistically be my future. My success definitely didn't happen overnight. I did everything by myself for the first several years. Slowly, I made baby steps towards my current situation like hiring a photographer, an assistant, and moving my studio out of the house.  It's been seven years, people. It's been a long road, but a good one.

Are you feeling like a freshman? Or do you feel like you've earned your spot in the senior house?