Saturday, July 29, 2006

Behind the Scenes

Welcome to our blog! We thought it would may be interesting to give you a candid behind the scenes look at some of the ways we work to develop our product lines and business to better serve you (our clients). If you've toured our web site recently, you know we have been working very hard (night and day -- literally) to develop and polish it. From concept, to design, to actually building and publishing it, we did it all ourselves. We had very little prior knowledge of how to do this, but when we asked for quotes from several professional web design/development companies, we decided the do it yourself route is the way we must go. Frustrating in the extreme sometimes as we plodded along, the end result is very gratifying for us ... a well earned sense of accomplishment. And we learned much along the way that should serve us well both now and in the future.

You may also know that Hayley and I attended the annual TPPA school of photography at Texas A&M in College Station, back in April. While there we were introduced to custom image crystals. Choose one of your favorite images and have it permanently etched into the inside of a piece of crystal, using a sophisticated laser process. And, the resulting image has such clarity and resolution. They are just beautiful. They're awesome, and we were extremely impressed. We just had to make them available to our clients. So, when we returned home from our week at A&M, we set out to find the producer of this product that has the best quality at the best prices. We learned, that crystals with images laser etched in them have been around for about five or six years, but until recently only basic stock images were available. These are mass produced. Now, the ability to custom etch one crystal with your image has been developed and is available from a few companies. Ultimately, based on our product quality versus cost analysis, we decided to form a relationship with Crystal Images, LLC. They are based right here in Texas, and we are pleased with their level of service so far. We chose images and had our first samples made, and they look excellent. We have added pages to our website to showcase this new line of products.

We had been searching for quite some time for producer of high quality and stylish albums for us to base our "A Day in the Life" and "New Arrival" series albums around. We finally found the producer/supplier we were looking for. We were proud to form relationships with Art Leather and Seldex Artistic Albums. These companies offer exceptional lines of top quality albums. We chose several albums to build our album series around. Hayley has been busy designing and crafting portfolio albums that we can use to demonstrate our work. We plan to make our album series product line a major focus over the next year. We feel they are exquisite and a good value, especially for parents wanting something luxurious and different to capture the memories of their children.

Many portrait studios offer a line of frames as an add-on for their portraits. To enhance our distinctives as a portrait company, we decided to make professional framing a standard feature on all our canvas portraits. The next step for us was to find a top quality producer/supplier for frames. After many weeks of searching, inspecting frames for quality of workmanship, and considering cost and other issues, we ultimately decided to go with Bratton Framing (Kyle Bratton) in Dallas. They offer an exceptional line of high quality frames at a reasonable cost, and so far they have shown us great customer service. We chose about thirty quality mouldings for our initial offering, an had sample corners made up. We will also offer many matting options.

In addition to our local high end custom portrait business (Hayley Barnes Photography), we are planning as our next growth opportunity, to offer several lines of products that are photo related, less custom in nature, and appealing more to the mid to upper mid-class level consumer. We plan to build an online retail website offering high quality home decor, personal apparel and accessories, artistic stationary based on Hayley's original art designs, quality art prints, and a few other innovative product ideas we have. Customers will be able to browse an online catalogue, choose a product(s), place an order, and upload their digital photograph(s) and text for imprinting on their item(s). The first steps toward our dream have been taken already. We have registered a domain, and will market this concept under the brand name of "Izoomz!" Also, we are currently working thru the process of forming relationships with Isabelle Chase Studios, and Planet Jill custom photo jewelry and gifts. Within the next few days, you should see our first product offerings showing up on Hayley is also very busy doing her graphite drawings to use as the basis for our stationary collection.

Stay tuned ... Exciting things are just ahead!

Hayley Barnes Photography, Elegant portrait photography for children, families, and high school seniors. “Custom Designed, Uniquely You”