Today the way craftspeople present their work is as important as the work itself. Because a client expects the same attention to detail in the packaging and photography and the way you answer their queries as in the quality of the materials and design used in a piece of high quality craft work.
Anna Champeney Textile Studio, in Galicia, is an example of a small craft studio specialising in hand-woven textiles, situated in a small village in the mountains of Ourense province in the north of Spain, which is presenting its work just as attractively as businesses three times its size. Great quality packaging and labels are just part of it. Their new website is also part of their winning formula. Here are four questions we put to Anna Champeney, the founder of the studio.
Your new webshop is due to be published very soon. Tell us how it came about.
We approached WeAreAdaptable, an award-winning digital design company in Birmingham, UK, to work with us on the project to develop a bespoke website for us. As a small studio we don´t have the resources to employ a marketing specialist to do our marketing and web management so we asked Adaptable to design a site we could manage ourselves. They´re based in the UK and we´re based in a small mountain village in Galicia, north Spain. But using Basecamp and Skype has been very useful and it´s been a very positive experience. We´re very pleased with how it´s going and looking forward to seeing the results up on the internet.
What´s the importance of the internet for you as makers.
Fundamentally important. Because our clients don´t necessarily live near us – but in Spanish cities such as Madrid or Barcelona – and in other countries too; we sell work to clients in the UK, Germany and America. As we product exclusive collections of scarves and cushions that are very different to what you find in the shops the internet is an important way to stay in contact and show our clients our work as it evolves.
What are you most pleased with?
I think the website tells our story very well and gives a sense of context. We´re a small and specialist weave studio based in a very small village in the mountains, but we´re very much influenced by the British model of contemporary craft and design. It´s example of how small rural businesses in Spain can feel much more connected to an international market place and sector.
When is the shop going live?
www.annachampeney.com should be up and running by mid May 2015.
What advice would you give to other makers and crafspeople who want to set up and manage their own webshop?
- To set aside about 200 hours of work to work on the site yourself and be prepared to learn a lot in that time. Because setting up a bespoke online shop from scratch – albeit with the help of professionals – isn´t something you can just do in a week.
- Set aside a budget for professional photography if you can.
- Choose a design agency whose work you really like. Don´t give the work to any designers unless you have seen examples of their work. Find out whether or not they are able to to reall work with you and – effectively – show you how to run the site – as opposed to designers who do the work for you but aren´t receptive.
- Avoid flashy gismos if you make a high quality product. A cleanly designed, simple site gives a better impression.
- Give your designers a clear brief and research other sites beforehand so you can show them to your designers for reference.
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