The Family Business

Stitched by the Bay

Hard Work

My mom and I thought it would be easy to start our own embroidery company. We were wrong. But creating a brand of our own taught me about the grit often required to bring your ideas to life.

Complications

Our main challenge was that submitting an order for something to be embroidered is complicated. We had to figure out how to collect all the required information in a quick and effective way.

Stylizing

My original prototype for the order form looked like the world’s longest CVS receipt. It was extensive and boring. That’s when I realized that I had to inject a little style into it.

Starting off

Research & discovery

In designing this order form I first had to compile a list of all the information we would need to actually process an order. I began by creating a paper form that my mom could fill out quickly and easily to see exactly what boxes she was always filling out and which ones she often left blank. From that, I was able to create a hierarchy of information that would later create the foundation for this order form.

 

Every order that came through was filtered into one of two categories based on which material was requested (thread or vinyl). The material selection set the parameters for which fonts, colors, and sizes could be selected. For example, monograms made of vinyl can use finer more decorative fonts at smaller sizes as opposed to monograms that are embroidered, which require cleaner lines.

 

The real challenge was going to be educating customers on the details involved in getting the order right. I knew I would need to heavily guide users through the process, only presenting options that pertained to their item and offering small descriptions to help them understand their choices. For example, a customer may not even know what embroidery or vinyl are so I included brief descriptions to help them make the choice between the two without overtly explaining each.

Customer journey

Challenge #1

Personalization

For the sake of keeping the order form simple we decided to limit the types of personalization a customer could choose from to two. Both the embroidery machine and vinyl cutter have limitless design possibilities, but considering almost all orders are either a monogram or plain text, we decided to stick with just those two. The personalization selection then triggers a field to input the corresponding text.

Challenge #2

The fonts

We also limited the number of fonts customers could choose from in an effort to simplify an otherwise overwhelming process. We chose five monogram fonts that were clearly the most popular and decided to include four more to differentiate our selection from the competitor’s. It’s also important to note that this page displays the initials that were submitted on the previous page to allow the user to see how the initials look in their selected font before the final design approval.

Challenge #3

Displaying colors

This design originally began with solid color swatches to represent the various thread colors to choose from. After seeing a few embroidered products come through I realized the solid swatches didn’t give a true representation of the sheen and dimension of an embroidered design. Our solution was to photograph the actual spools of thread to give the customer the best visual representation of what their final design would look like.

Challenge #4

The final design

One of my biggest objectives in designing this form was to create a final approval step that showed the customer what their completed design would look like. Monograms can be unfamiliar to people and as a result many of the customers we worked with were surprised to see how their initials looked in certain fonts and colors. We included the final design preview feature in order to mitigate the surprises and create a good customer experience.

THE FAMILY BUSINESS

Stitched by the Bay

HARD WORK

My mom and I thought it would be easy to start our own embroidery company. We were wrong. But creating a brand of our own taught me about the grit often required to bring your ideas to life.

COMPLICATIONS

Our main challenge was that submitting an order for something to be embroidered is complicated. We had to figure out how to collect all the required information in a quick and effective way.

STYLIZING

My original prototype for the order form looked like the world’s longest CVS receipt. It was extensive and boring. That’s when I realized that I had to inject a little style into it.

STARTING OFF

Research & discovery

In designing this order form I first had to compile a list of all the information we would need to actually process an order. I began by creating a paper form that my mom could fill out quickly and easily to see exactly what boxes she was always filling out and which ones she often left blank. From that, I was able to create a hierarchy of information that would later create the foundation for this order form.

 

Every order that came through was filtered into one of two categories based on which material was requested (thread or vinyl). The material selection set the parameters for which fonts, colors, and sizes could be selected. For example, monograms made of vinyl can use finer more decorative fonts at smaller sizes as opposed to monograms that are embroidered, which require cleaner lines.

 

The real challenge was going to be educating customers on the details involved in getting the order right. I knew I would need to heavily guide users through the process, only presenting options that pertained to their item and offering small descriptions to help them understand their choices. For example, a customer may not even know what embroidery or vinyl are so I included brief descriptions to help them make the choice between the two without overtly explaining each.

Customer journey

CHALLENGE #1

Personalization

For the sake of keeping the order form simple we decided to limit the types of personalization a customer could choose from to two. Both the embroidery machine and vinyl cutter have limitless design possibilities, but considering almost all orders are either a monogram or plain text, we decided to stick with just those two. The personalization selection then triggers a field to input the corresponding text.

CHALLENGE #2

The fonts

We also limited the number of fonts customers could choose from in an effort to simplify an otherwise overwhelming process. We chose five monogram fonts that were clearly the most popular and decided to include four more to differentiate our selection from the competitor’s. It’s also important to note that this page displays the initials that were submitted on the previous page to allow the user to see how the initials look in their selected font before the final design approval.

CHALLENGE #3

Displaying colors

This design originally began with solid color swatches to represent the various thread colors to choose from. After seeing a few embroidered products come through I realized the solid swatches didn’t give a true representation of the sheen and dimension of an embroidered design. Our solution was to photograph the actual spools of thread to give the customer the best visual representation of what their final design would look like.

CHALLENGE #4

The final design

One of my biggest objectives in designing this form was to create a final approval step that showed the customer what their completed design would look like. Monograms can be unfamiliar to people and as a result many of the customers we worked with were surprised to see how their initials looked in certain fonts and colors. We included the final design preview feature in order to mitigate the surprises and create a good customer experience.