Female ‘first-time’ entrepreneurs are leading the charge out of lockdown
At Print-Print we pride ourselves on the range of companies we work with and the information our work provides on the UK business market in general. However, even we were surprised to be the first in the world to identify a growing trend in the GLOBAL market - an increase in the percentage of women […]

At Print-Print we pride ourselves on the range of companies we work with and the information our work provides on the UK business market in general. However, even we were surprised to be the first in the world to identify a growing trend in the GLOBAL market - an increase in the percentage of women starting their own business for the first time.

Drawing on original research from print-print.co.uk, the CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals has seen a similar increase in young women-led businesses in North America.
In our recent opinion piece on Battery, we pointed out something very interesting about the orders we have received from start-ups in recent months.

Normally, we get a lot of work from people looking to create stationery to support a new business. These clients usually come to us with some sort of visual branding already in place. Some of the time we have to clean it up a bit to make it work as a printed design.
However, over the past few months the number of people approaching us without even a basic design in place has increased tenfold.
But why?

Take the plunge

Millions of British workers have been made redundant and thousands more made redundant. Thousands more are expected to lose their jobs in the coming months. Faced with impending unemployment, many people have used their free time to take steps towards starting their own businesses, including many who previously would not have considered self-employment as an option.

But that's not all we noticed about these start-up orders.

When we delved into the numbers a little further, we discovered something even more significant.

Based on the analysis of hundreds of print orders received from start-ups between April 1 and September 1, 2020, we found that an astounding 78% were from customers.

78% - that's more than 3 out of 4 orders! Additionally, almost 90% of those orders required design support, suggesting that many women are creating and launching a brand for the first time.

So what exactly is fueling this surge of entrepreneurial dynamism among women? And why do women seem more optimistic about the future than their male counterparts right now?


The fierce and the fearless

Before the lockdown, the split between male and female start-up orders was much closer to 50-50, so there is a big shift underway. It's hard to say what exactly is behind this trend - perhaps, for example, that more women have been put on leave or made redundant than their male counterparts.

Alternatively, many women may be less likely to procrastinate, "wait and see what happens next," than men, at this time. Seeing the writing on the wall with their current employment situation, a greater proportion of women are taking the initiative to start their own business and face the uncertain future.

Or maybe, as we've seen with the rapid adoption of working from home and video conferencing, foreclosure simply accelerated a trend that was on the cards anyway. Despite decades of campaigning and even legislation to tackle the problems, many women still face inequalities in terms of wages and opportunities at work. It looks like the foreclosure may have provided many with the last push they needed to take direct control of their working lives and start their own businesses.


Substance over style

The higher-than-usual proportion of female customer orders isn't the only trend we've noticed regarding start-up orders in recent months.

Usually, a large portion of new start-ups order letterhead. It's a statement of intent - if you have letterhead, it makes things 'official'. After COVID, it looks like physical letter delivery is being replaced by emails and video chats and that budget is being diverted to other things.

When we analyzed the numbers, we found that price lists were the most popular item ordered (in 32% of orders), followed by Indoor. Posters and, despite the current emphasis on social distancing, Business cards (ten%). Traditional Letterhead, however, was only in 1% of orders.

This may suggest that this new generation of start-ups and brand builders are less ego driven and are going out with a clear focus on the need to generate income from day one. We suspect that some of these new women-led businesses will become rising stars and be critical to the UK's economic recovery in the months and years to come.

Your brand is unique and so is the audience you are targeting. For fashion and apparel, interior design, beauty, and other similar industries, a lookbook should be created as a high-end representation of what your business is offering. Lookbooks are a great visualization tool for showing off your brand, building a crowd of loyal ambassadors, and generating excitement for your upcoming spring or fall product line.

What is a Lookbook ? Firstly, it’s important we define what a lookbook actually is. According to Wikipedia : A lookbook is a gamme of photographs compiled to show off a model, photographer, style, stylist, or clothing line. Usually, bloggers or vloggers will ' model ' fashionable looks for that month or season. This gives viewers ideas on how to style outfits, or to show what the latest fashions are.

While this definition mainly focuses on the and apparel industry, it can be applied to all other industries creating seasonal product lines. No matter the industry, lookbooks generally have a consistent ' look ' to them. Unlike a catalog that displays pricing and generally contains a more complete display of all available products, lookbooks are more artistic and selective. They contain large, high-quality photographs with minimal text that reinforce the brand and vibe of the product line. Refer to the chart below for the main differences between lookbook and catalog printing.

Professional photography is a must for lookbooks. Each product photo should be modeled in a way that shows its functionality or appeal to the potential customer. For example, an apparel lookbook should be able to reveal the fit, texture, and benefits of the piece of clothing easily in one image. tera make the desired effet, the lighting and photography equipment used by professional photographers will be necessary. Cell phone photos will likely not cut it for a lookbook.

You should also note the word “model” in the Wikipedia definition above as lookbooks should go beyond standard boring product imagery and really expel excitement in the product. This is where photography will play a fondamental role in producing a quality lookbook. Think grande photos with empowering subjects. Think of your lookbook as someone’s actual daily life and create those lifestyle shots that make a connection. For this reason, it’s important to find a model that mirrors the same qualities of the collection.

The photographer should acknowledge the season of the fashion lookbook as well. As lookbooks go, they are usually focused on either winter, spring, summer or fall gammes. Engaging with the seasonality of the clothing will make it easier for the end-user to relate to the product, which leads to more sales. If you’re a small brand or limited on budget, spending dollars for a talented photographer will be worth it !

It’s important that your brand is well represented in the lookbook as well. Your logo should be seen in several of the images on the clothing or product. It should be subtle and not overwhelming when using the logo within the pages. However, at the beginning or end of the lookbook it is recommended that the brand be prominent. Adding your logo or mission statement in the front of the book can help set the stage as the abîmer flips through the pages. Your brand should be positively reinforced through the professionalism of the photographs, layout style, and products themselves.

Most lookbooks are a standard 8. 5x11 which makes it easy to portray standing or active models. The photos should take up most of the page with the text out of the way. Don’t be afraid to keep it SIMPLE. The product you are selling is the most important element on the page and should attract the whole attention of the reader. Placing a model photo on the left side page complemented by close-ups of the clothing is a great way to display the collection.

With our free photo book maker, designing your lookbook is extremely easy ! Once you have your images, all you have to do is upload them and drag and drop them into premade photo layout templates ! Or, to knock out two birds with one stone, you can : 1. Upload your lookbook images into a Facebook photo album for some easy social media advertising. 2. Start a Lookbook design on the Photo Book Maker, select a theme, connect to your Facebook, and fermé the lookbook photos ! These will be placed into the theme’s layout, and your Lookbook will be done in minutes !

Once your lookbook is designed and it’s time to order, there are more things to consider before placing your order. Below we have listed our recommended product specifications for lookbooks : Binding : Perfect BoundPerfect binding is the ideal option for lookbooks because they are our most professional binding option. Not only do they appear crisp and professional, you can print on the spine ! This means that you can add the product line name, season, and year to the spine for easy book shelf navigation. We also offer saddle stitch, spiral, and wire-o bound books if perfect binding doesn’t seem like the right fit for you.

Lookbooks should have a cohesive look. The selection of models and their styles should be aligned with what the brand wants to communicate their target group. When choosing the theme for the lookbook, design it around the emotions and vibe that the client wants to convey.

With clothing line photos, focus on how the person wearing the clothes will appear and the quality and details on the clothing. Full body shots will let potential customers visualize how they’ll look wearing the clothes. And to emphasize the details and quality of the products, you can take images that are up-close using tight focal lengths like 50mm, 85mm, or even 100mm.


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