Blossoming Blog | Photoshoot Fun
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Photoshoot Fun

I cannot believe I’m less than a month away from my one year anniversary with my Wildflowers family! A year ago today I was back in Indiana with no idea what 2018 would have in store for me. On a whim, I moved to Austin in January for an amazing opportunity to work with Sam and the Wildflowers team. I knew that I would be learning to create over-the-top cuteness EVERY DAY, and honestly…that’s about all I knew. 

I had no prior “professional” design experience, nor did I think myself capable of actually being able to create these darling clothes! But Sam believed in me. She watched me from afar, as a customer and friend, through my old job as the marketing manager of a local Fort Wayne boutique. She saw my potential, even when I couldn’t. And she still does. This year has been full of learning curves for me, but Sam lets me blossom along the way, with patience and grace, and I’m so lucky to be a part of the ever-growing team of Wildflowers! I still can’t believe I get to be a part of the process that puts a smile on so many little girls’ faces. 

We started this year with our Spring 2018 collection, Best Day Ever. And it was just that – full of unicorns, rainbows, and bold beautiful colors! Seeing this collection Sam designed immediately made me fall in love with the brand even more. I knew I made the right choice when my first day at work began by building giant rainbows out of balloons and making huge donut walls for our Spring conference! 

We finished out the year with our Fall 2018 collection, Pocketful of Wonder. I started designing with Sam during the third release of this season, so it instantly became near and dear to me. From scouting for photoshoots in the most magical of places, to seeing these little sketches we designed actually come to life, this collection was nothing short of extraordinary! 

 

But of course, our photographer Kate captures each collection way better than my words ever could! Just watch that adorable year in review video to see all the magic we created in 2018!

Last but never least, I speak for everyone from the Wildflowers home office when I say we are so, so, so grateful for each and every one of our Consultants, hostesses, and customers. Thank you for accepting me into this beautiful world of girls boutique clothing! It’s been a wonderful ride so far and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of us! 

Cheers to the new year,
Ashley

Nice to meet you, Lovelies – I’m Kate and I have the amazing job of capturing Sam’s designs with my cameras. I’m in charge of all things photo and video related to Wildflowers (as well a the sister brands Eleanor Rose and Kelly’s Kids) and I tend to take my job pretty seriously. I’m responsible for bringing Sam’s clothes to life for y’all, and trying to convey the feeling and excitement behind each release is equal parts hard work and a whole lotta fun. My goal is to make you feel like you’re a part of this crazy Wildflowers magic that goes on inside Sam’s head and that when you look at the photos or watch the videos we create, you actually feel like you’re there with us, getting a little peek at the inspiration behind the designs. So today I’d like to share a little look at how we do that…

The photoshoots are a BIG highlight of each release for our team. Before every shoot there is a lot of heavy lifting and planning and daydreaming and scheming that goes on. We usually start with a pow-wow on the floor of my office where we wax poetic about the inspiration behind the upcoming release – and how we can best showcase and communicate that to y’all (I’m born and raised Texan guys, so sorry but you’re gonna get some ‘y’all’s’ here and there).

For R1 it was obviously based on a back to school vibe with a twist of fun. The gym location was a spontaneous find and one of my most fun memories of that day! R2 (one of my favs) was a whimsical adventure that we loosely based on the book The Borrowers. (Although, while I was shooting, I kept drawing ideas from my favorite childhood adventure movies like The Goonies or Hook.) R3 was allllllll about Theater and The Greatest Showman. Sam played that soundtrack on repeat every day at the office at the highest possible volume so we could all share her enthusiasm together – LUCKY US (just kidding, we all loved it). And of course, last but certainly not least, R4 was based on filling an empty building with holiday cheer using our imaginations and some real good light. So, naturally, we threw a dance party and decorated trees and drank hot cocoa and made a giant Christmas magic mess…literally out of thin air.

After we all get on the same page about how it’s supposed FEEL, the real work begins. We search high and low for a perfect location – if we can’t find one, we find something close and then plot how we can turn into what we want (do we need to build something or paint or source special props?). We figure out what models would best help tell the story – and let me tell you, we work with AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING kids and we love them all as our own. Caroline puts her incredible producing skills to work and gets all the ducks in a row, Sam and Ashley start putting together outfits to showcase and pulling/making props, Andrea plans out hair and makeup, Erin and Lauren steam and prep the clothes, Mano makes sure everything is a perfect fit, I prep the gear and try to plan for worst case lighting scenarios – then we all come together, pack our cars to the brim with gear and props and clothes and OFF WE GO.

(Why yes, that is a denim onesie as well as a pink metallic fanny pack AKA my shooting uniform. NO SHAME IN THE FANNY PACK GAME.)

I’m not sure what people think our shoots are really like but I’m here to tell you it is FAR FROM GLAMOUROUS. We are running and gunning all day long – a lot of the time I’m carrying two big cameras and a kid on my back, Sam’s got armfuls of props and probably two kids hanging off her as well. It is all hands on deck for 8 hours with everyone doing a little bit of everything to help. We play chase, crawl on the ground, climb trees – whatever it takes to get the shot. We set up scenes, tear them down, get filthy and maybe a few splinters or bruises in the process – we really do give it our all plus some blood sweat and tears and WE LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT. We all go home feeling like we’ve run a marathon and then the next day I load in the 7000+ photos and videos I shot (this is an actual number – not an exaggeration) and start the hunt for the best images to tell the story of the release.

Next comes the editing process, where I polish and shine the photos and color correct the clothes so the final tale we tell you is an honest one. (Oh, and editing the video is my favorite part, but maybe more on that process at a later date 😉 )

(from R2: left image is straight out of camera, right image is final)

Sam has said it before and I’m just here to ring the bell twice, but our team is THE BEST. I don’t know how we could do this without each other – I know I couldn’t do my job without the help of every single person standing next to me. They’re also my best buds, so that’s a mega bonus. We all add a little something special and I’m so proud to be a part of it. On top of the A+ team, there are so many thoughtful details and hidden ingredients of love that go into every single piece of Sam and Ashley’s designs – each release is a gold mine of creativity. I feel so lucky that my job is coming up with ways to reveal those details and show how special the clothes are…and hopefully help you picture your own littles in them skipping, playing, having their own adventures or telling their own stories!

**Everybody is a photographer nowadays 😉 **

Rainbows and Unicorns,

Kate

Are you ready to see all of the endless possibilities our newest collection, Pocketful of Wonder, has to offer?! Are you ready to cozy up to all the soft knit pieces and take a spin in all of the full twirly skirts?! Okay, I guess these questions should be directed towards your daughter, but I know we all feel the same way about darling dresses here, am I right!? Sorry for all the questions, I sound like a pop quiz…I guess I’m really in the back-to-school mindset!

Looking through these photos all I can think about is the photo shoot. I love traveling down memory lane, and this shoot was one that I’ll never forget! It was the first time I really wanted to have a back-to-school vibe, complete with a real life school for a setting. But not just any school, Caitlin, our sales director extraordinaire, worked with the headmaster of her children’s’ school (John Paul the Great Academy) so that we could do the entire shoot on their campus in Lafayette, Louisiana! It was a hot day in June, and we had the whole place to ourselves…from classrooms to libraries to a brand new gym! And of course the beautiful lush green grounds covered in the most magical live oaks! Seriously this place was PERFECT for the first release of Pocketful of Wonder.

Caitlin even found the most adorable local girls to model in the shoot – including one of her daughters. Jessica Guillot, one of our Consultants, brought her two girls, and a few other customers/friends brought theirs too! Teshania, our customer service gal in Natchez, MS met us there and brought her spunky daughter. Teresa, our design manager for Eleanor Rose, came from Natchez too with her sweet granddaughter. It was like a big ol’ family reunion and I loved every sweaty minute of it.  Chasing the girls around, singing The Greatest Showman at the top of my lungs to get a laugh, and spinning the girls around in between photos are definitely a few of my favorite memories…but the best part was seeing how happy these little ladies were to be AT the shoot with us, taking pictures and feeling like a million bucks in our designs! I hope the feeling of pride, gratitude, and all-around amazement that gives me never, ever wears off. 


I loved getting to see a little part of Caitlin’s life down in Louisiana. She was the queen of all hostesses. Her snack drawer was even stocked just for us (I hear that’s NOT always the case from the locals: aka Frederick, Kat, and MG)! When we weren’t at the shoot we ate delicious brunch, lounged by her glorious pool, and ate crawfish for the first time. At least the first time for me (and I’m sure won’t be the last!)! 


Ahhh…and now y’all are walking into Pop-Up Parties and seeing all of these designs and photos come to life. I always say you gotta SEE this stuff to believe it, so I hope you LOVE what you lay your eyes on today!!

XO,
SAM

Photo shoots are always some of the best times. See, we are a group of creative chicks, but we’re also a group of energizer bunnies who love to get their hands dirty!! At photo shoots we get to run around, play with the kiddos, review fits of different styles, make new outfit combinations, and just see all our hard work -from concept to fabrics, and now photos – come to life! It’s such a treat being able to design the clothes AND work the shoot. In a past life, I wasn’t allowed to help orchestrate photo shoots, even though we were shooting my designs. I always felt such a great disconnect between the designs and the photography, but that’s just not how Wildflowers works. We are a team here, from start to finish, and I LOVE THAT.

So when we began chatting about what sort of SPECIAL photo shoot we wanted to do for our Sunshine Search winner Callye, we couldn’t get THE BEACH out of our minds. The 4th release of Best Day Ever screams boardwalk fun, groovy Beach Boys tunes, and just pure SUMMER, SUMMER, SUMMER. From 6 different dresses, to 6 different swim suits, we’ve got so much cuteness coming your way!

We decided that sunny Seaside, Florida was the perfect location for our spunky Spring release! I was over the moon when Jen, Callye’s mama, was on board to fly to the beach rather than to Austin! It was funny because Jen was just down for whatever!! She’s totally my kind of girl. All she wanted was to meet the crew and see Callye ROCK a photo shoot (AND THAT SHE DID!).

I can still feel the excitement when I first met these ladies. Jen and Callye came downstairs and Jen and I couldn’t help but run full throttle at each other, ending in a huge dancing, laughing, kinda-crying, bear hug! It felt like I hadn’t seen this good friend of mine in SO long, even though it was actually the first time we were ever meeting! I couldn’t believe we got so lucky with this wonderful person and her darling, doll baby of a daughter! PLUS!!! We got a surprise guest, too! Jen’s mama Velma showed up for the fun, too, which made the whole experience extra special, if you ask me!

I want to tell you about all the fun from the shoot RIGHT NOW, but I gotta save some of my stories for later, don’t you think?! We’ve got almost 2 weeks until Spring 4 preview days start!! So if you haven’t planned a pop-up yet, you’re not going to want to miss this release!! It feels like the fireworks after a week long festival to me, basically the part everyone has been waiting for! Don’t miss out by not showing up! <3

XO,

Sam

I am SO pumped up today! I’ve got sand, surf, and our little miss SUNSHINE on my mind! Y’all didn’t forget about our contest winner, Callye, did ya?! I mean, how could you with those dimples and sparkling eyes?! We are so excited that this weekend we finally get to meet her and her lovely mama, Jennifer, in sunny Florida! Yes, you heard that right… Our original contest stated we’d be flying 2 lucky ladies down to Austin to hang out on our turf, buuuut…we got a crazy hair of an idea that our 4th and final release of the season needed a beach! Not just any beach, but the white, beautiful sand of Seacrest, Florida. I reached out to Jen ASAP because I definitely wanted to give her the Austin experience, if she’d prefer that! But this mama was totally on board, especially when I said WHY we wanted a beach…to shoot SWIM, of course!

Yes, you heard that right! I finally got to design swimwear. I can’t believe it. You have NO idea how long Denise and I wanted to design swim, but we never felt confident in getting the fit/function of it all right. Well, I decided to dive in, with the help from Mano, my tech design partner! After months of samples and samples and more samples, I think we’ve created something really fun and unique for your girls. MUCH more on that later, back to BUSINESS (because I’m all about business).

So Kate (photographer), Caroline (creative director), Andrea (creative strategist), Erin (graphic designer, photo assistant), and I are flying out on Sunday to meet, greet, and have a lovely time with these two! I just can’t wait to meet them and hug their cute necks! I have so many things I’m excited about, but I think I mostly can’t wait to just go to dinner and hang with these sweet people. Wildflowers has brought so much beauty into my life, but the people…the people are everything. I just know Jen is going to be another soul sister of mine! And Callye, well, I’m going to put her in my pocket and keep her forever! Or at least I’m certain I’ll want to!

Okay before I go, there’s one more thing I just gotta tell ya about. You guessed it…BEST DAY EVER RELEASE NO. 3! I know, you’re probably thinking “Sam, slow down!”  – but I can’t! Preview Pop-Up Parties start March 20th! Which just so happens to be the first day of Spring AND Margo’s 1st birthday! So I know it’s going to be the best day ever! Until then, take a look at these little sneaky sneaks and tell me what you think! This is the release where I really FELT I was coming into my own…so I hope you love it and feel that as much as I do!

XO,

SAM

Photo shoots are always pretty wonderful days. Our kick butt, girl power super squad (aka our team), a group of little gals that feel like family, new never-been-worn styles, and a beautiful location…how could you go wrong? 

Our Second release photo shoot was pure magic…or maybe a better description would be pure homegrown GOODNESS. Either way, all the stars aligned and after an 8-hour shoot on a local farm, the collection came to life in a way I never imagined. If there was one release this Spring that made me nervous, it was this one. I was worried I was going too bright in terms of colors, or too broad in terms of fabrications, or there were way too many silhouettes?! I don’t know… First I design, then I worry – ha, like clock work. But photo shoots give me a little reset, heck, SOMETIMES photo shoots even give me a little bit of an ego! That’s bad, right? I shouldn’t admit it, but seriously, seeing all the girls surrounded in my designs…well it feels good. Don’t worry, I don’t stay full of myself too long! Like today, I’m back to being the good ol’ worry wart you know and love! (oh gosh, there I go being full of myself again!)

This rainbow of a collection is filled with all the things that remind you of this beautiful, transitional season…like blooming tossed florals, garden inspired prints, and a handful of fruity fabrics! And the color palette? It’s almost JUICY. Haha, okay that’s a little strange, but it’s so vibrant and saturated, like a fresh picked strawberry. I took the colors from the first release and played them up…so the shades you only saw sprinkles of in the first release – you’ll really see take center stage here! I’m talking Paprika red, Ultramarine navy, Kelly Green, and new hints of Sky Blue, too! 

Back in May 2017, I came to the review table with about 100 different styles to pick from. Out of those 100 styles, I had my eye on one dress that COULD NOT BUDGE. I mean, this dress HAD to be in the line or I didn’t know what I was going to do. This layered up beauty, the Summertime Sandy Dress, is a parfait of florals, lace, rainbows, lemons, and lots…and lots of twirl! This dress encompasses the entire release and is one of my favorite little masterpieces…ever. The dainty tie strap shoulders, feminine slight V neck, and smocked back (for a comfy fit!) are just the icing on the cake! 

And now, I blinked and Release 2 Pop-Up Parties are here! This is our largest release of the season with over THIRTY styles to choose from — all designed with over 25 mixed and matched fabrics that look so fresh they could have been plucked from the tree this morning! There’s literally just gotta be something for everyone! Or at least I hope there is!

XO,

SAM

P.S. To thank those who took the time to read my rambling words today…let’s have a blog contest, shall we?! Last year, I mentioned one of my go-to moves for guaranteed giggles during a photo shoot was the BLANK. Post what you think BLANK is and I’ll send the first winner one of my top fave looks from this release! 

I want to tell you all about how our October photo shoot was my favorite yet. I want to tell you how thankful I am for all the amazing feedback I’ve heard on this release so far. And I want to tell you that ya’ll make my heart sing, because ya truly do. 

But first, I gotta say…despite release day, despite all the love sent our way, yesterday I was heartbroken. Heartbroken because of how senseless the horrific acts in Las Vegas were, heartbroken because of the mamas out there that lost their babies, and heartbroken because of the babies out there that lost their mamas. It took everything in me to get out of bed and go into the office. I couldn’t bear to leave Margo, so I packed up that sleepy baby and brought her with me. I couldn’t let her go! I’ve always been an empathetic girl, sensitive to a fault perhaps. Feeling ALL the feelings was just part of my core…but being a mama now myself, something in me could not shake this…CANNOT shake this. How do we heal after something like this? What can I say? Nothing more powerful, or thoughtful, than what has already been said, right? I just don’t know. I’m not trying to strike a movement here, I just know that we are all shaking our heads and asking the same questions…

The only thing I know how to do is to continue being a light in all this darkness. Sounds a little cheesy or maybe even ‘too simple’ of a response, but this is all I know. And this is something I promise to do. I won’t let myself drown in the worry, the broken heartedness (that we’re all feeling), or the fear. Or evil has won. And we have too many Wildflowers in this world to let that happen. I know might be small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but I also know that these frocks put smiles on so many faces…so that’s gotta count for something! 

Okay, now I want to take a deep breath and change focus, for now… Time to spread some of that light I’ve been talking about! 

And boy OH BOY, did October bring smiles. More than I can count (I’m a designer, not a math teacher, guys)! The love affair started in March when our team got their first look at what I had up my sleeve, but it didn’t end there! From first samples to receiving styles in correct fabrics the day that our Consultant Conference began, to photo shoots with my tiny but mighty team to bawling our eyes out and watching the final October video (over and over and over and over), we’ve had a crush on this pink and blue release for what feels like forever now.

I mean, there are a million things that make October special. The colors…I have never used such a tight, jewel-y toned palette before. The styles?! The reversible jumper was and IS my favorite style I’ve designed so far (of course this is subject to change, hehe). NEW fabrics…PLAID. Need I say more?! Sweater rib?!!! I would do anything to have those leggings in my size. And kitty appliqués, are you serious!? So glad Lynn suggested adding those cuties instead of regular ol’ patches! 

But the PHOTO SHOOT. That is my favorite part—of this release especially. All of our little models arrive and always run straight for the rack of pretties! Grabbing their favorites and squealing over the prints (they LOVE those ‘toto dog’s) and twirly styles (that french terry Parfait dress for the win!). It’s the first time ANYONE other than me and the team see the clothing and it always takes my breath away watching their reactions. They tell me what feels the comfiest and what makes them want to dance about. It’s like having the cutest, most candid focus group. I love it!

ANYWAY. Take a look at some of the fun behind the scenes shots Andrea took so you can see a little of the crazy magic I’m talking about! Ya’ll have heard the expression ’it takes a village’? Well my village is THE BEST. When you’re a team of 6 and you have 10 little ladies running wild through a GORGEOUS wide open event space, you need MORE than cute clothes to pull it all off. You need MAGIC, and that’s what my girls bring. Every. Single. Time. You’re probably tired of hearing me brag about them, but I would be lost without my little team (not all picture below–Mano and Caitlin are missing!). And I’d like to think they’d be lost without me…but that’s all speculation 😉.

XOXO,

Sam

P.S. After feeling down all day long, my good friend David sent me this video. I don’t know how he knew I needed it, but he did. I cried so hard, but for the first time all day, it was from happiness! This tiny girl is INSANELY talented and her parents are SO proud. This is the kind of light we need to spread, ya’ll!! Also, random, but if anyone knows her or how to send her a Wildflowers dress, let me know! I’d be so excited to surprise her with a smile! <3