Conversations with Designers

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT :: A Conversation with Minor Edition

If you’re a creative individual, there’s a temptation to imagine other creatives relaxing on Eames chairs in spacious studios  — while you work late into the night at your kitchen table.  Of course, this perception is far from reality. In this week’s installment of Conversations with Designers, Ipshita Chatterjee of Minor Edition keeps it real with talk of chaos, balance, and how she turns roadblocks into inspiration.

Sneak Peek of Minor Edition Spring 2013 - and Conversation with the Designer about the Creative ProcessImage Credit: Minor Edition SS12

Walk me through your creative process — I guess you could call this the “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” question. Do you have a finished product in mind from the start, and then execute a series of steps to achieve this? Or do the ideas evolve and take life as you go through the creative process?
The entire design process evolves very slowly. I have a sketchpad (and lots of papers everywhere) where I sketch designs, as and when I’m inspired. They are usually quite messy with a thousand tiny ideas scribbled alongside. When I sit down to actually create a collection, it starts with a theme. I re-visit those sketches with the eye of a critique, and source the fabric samples in various colours. I sew a dummy of the dresses and try them on my (now five year old) daughter. Her feedback is very important to me. The final designs come to life in due course.

At one time or another, all creatives experience that “hitting a brick wall” feeling, where the ideas just stop. How do you deal with creative slumps and roadblocks?
I love creative slumps and roadblocks as long as there is no next minute deadline. They are a very good opportunity to take a break, whether it is just a long walk or a day off, it allows me to think things over and return recharged. Last week, I spent one day crocheting a scarf, tidying up and meeting a friend for coffee. This cleared my head and helped me with a few decisions the next day.

Let’s talk trends. How do trends impact your design experience?
Trends did not impact much in the current collection. They were inspired from my own childhood and the dresses my mum made for me. Minor Edition was born out of the need to provide something unique and different in terms of colour and design.

Minor Edition’s headquarters are your kitchen table and your studio/your daughter’s playroom. How do you maintain a sense of balance?
Life is a bit chaotic and I wonder if there is a sense of balance. In theory I am very organised and compartmentalised. In reality, I am in one hand, answering the phone while shoving the toys in one corner with my other hand, completely for health and safety reasons. I do make sure that I clean the kitchen the night before and put away breakfast bowls before the school drop off. My studio doubles up as a playroom and it works quite well. Luckily, I have managed to convince my daughter not to touch them. She has her own little stash of pink and dotty fabrics to play with, if I work when she’s around. Working late at night is a regular thing for me. Glad I love what I do.

What does collaboration look like for Minor Edition? What path does the fabric take on its journey to become a finished garment, and how many people are involved?
Minor Edition collaborates with two other ladies who are based overseas. They are mums of little girls themselves and share my passion of pretty dresses for little girls. These two lovely ladies run their own companies employing a few people and in their own workshop. They are the people behind the scene who translate my design into pretty little dresses.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to fellow creatives?
Enjoy what you do and work really hard.

Minor Edition | on Twitter | on Facebook

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Guest Blog

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Designer [Elise Ostermann of ‘Hey, Sweet Pea’ Branding + Design]

I’m thrilled to have Elise of Hey, Sweet Pea on the blog today. She is truly has a gift for design, and her zest for life is contagious. Take it away, Elise!

Hey, Sweet Pea [Branding + Design]

Thank you to the beautiful Gina for asking me to share about my life! There’s nothing I love more then guest blogging for my amazing (and talented) friends. Gina is truly a rare gem and I’m so thankful we stumbled across each other via Twitter several months ago.

My name is Elise Ostermann and I am currently the Art Director at “Hey, Sweet Pea.” I specialize in branding + design and my boyfriend, Scott, specializes in video + animation. Needless to say, we are quite the creative duo!

But we didn’t always own a small business. Up until one month ago I was a designer for SONY’s digital media marketing department in Los Angeles. I was commuting 2 hours a day and away from home 11-12 hours a day. Although I loved being a part of the Hollywood and LA scene I craved the flexibility of my own schedule, I yearned for more creative projects, and I wanted one-on-one relationships with clients. So after 5 months of planning, dreaming, researching, and networking, I made the leap! I quit my day job, left my LA apartment, and took my first big road trip. Landing in Texas wide eyed, nervous, and excited, I officially launched HEY, SWEET PEA.

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Designer - Elise Ostermann of Hey, Sweet Pea

Oftentimes, people ask what my new life looks like. First of all, my day consists of lots and lots of…sitting. I stare at my large computer monitor all day, sometimes for 10-12 hours straight. I respond to emails, send invoices, design, run our social marketing platforms, have client meetings, and play my music really loudly!

One lesson I learned right away was how important it is to stick to a schedule. When you work from home, it’s easy to lose track of time, spend too many hours on a minuscule task, or work way too hard. That’s why Scott (the man who always looks out for me,) made me a little schedule to which I stick.

MORNING: My mornings start off with some bed making, cleaning, and a hearty breakfast. Scott and I are P90X fanatics, so we love to eat big healthy breakfasts. I pick out a dress for the day (my favorite outfit). Then I walk six steps, plop down at my desk, and spend the rest of the morning responding to emails, sending out our price sheet, corresponding with potential/current clients, and chatting online with my favorite inspirational colleagues. I also look for some daily inspiration on: http://www.thefwa.com/ OR http://dribbble.com/

LUNCH: It’s always important you take a lunch break! I’ve always struggled with taking a break in the middle of the day, but I’m working hard at taking some time off to let my brain/body rest. I usually heat up some healthy leftovers (from the night before) or make a fresh salad. Oftentimes, I’ll lay out by the pool or watch a TV show (yes, I love http://abcfamily.go.com/).

AFTERNOON: I spend the afternoon focusing on design. I have a weekly/monthly schedule to which I try to stick. I love focusing on one project at a time, but oftentimes I am juggling so many clients I have to touch multiple projects in a day. Sometimes I’m designing for a huge corporation, sometimes I’m designing a logo for a small business, sometimes I’m designing a website for a photographer, other times I’m creating artwork for TV shows, computer software, or nonprofits. It all depends on the day and the current clients I have. Some of my work can be found here: http://eliseostermann.tumblr.com/

LATE AFTERNOON: This is when I take a break from the business/design side and focus on HEY, SWEET PEA’s online presence. I’m a huge Twitter/Facebook fan and love interacting with my followers or posting sneak peaks of our current work. Most of my clients come from Twitter and Facebook, so it’s important I set aside time specifically for those platforms. If you ever want to write my company during this time I’m on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/HeySweetPea & Twitter here: @EliseOstermann

EVENING: I always try and take the evening off. It’s hard to leave your work behind when the work is sitting in the next room. The concept “don’t take your work home with you,” isn’t the same for a small business owner. So, I like to make sure and stop working at a decent hour, cook up something delicious (we’re currently loving the recipes over at: http://www.skinnytaste.com/), watch some TV, go on a date with Scott, or work out. If I have to work, I always try to work after I’ve taken a good long break. I also try and go to bed at a decent hour. As a small business owner, and a creative, it’s easy to get burnt out. So I always try to let myself rest, take a break, and recuperate before the next day.

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Designer - Elise Ostermann of Hey, Sweet Pea

Although the life of a small business owner or a graphic designer may sound o-so-glamorous, it has its mundane and normal tendencies, just like any other profession or schedule. But, the most amazing part is, I get to work from home and I get to design my heart out. As any new business owner would tell you, it’s a work in progress. I’m learning new things every day. I’m making mistakes, but I’m also making huge leaps forward. I’m thankful for this time in my life. I’m thankful for this opportunity. And I’m thankful to Gina for asking me to share my life with you.

PHOTO CREDIT [First Image]:
Margaret Jacobsen Photography
http://www.margaretjacobsen.com/

You might also enjoy: A Day in the Life of Cedar Taylor of TheVintageWife.com