Skip to main content

Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 13 of 32

What is a Concept?


Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 13 of 32

What is a Concept?


Lesson Info

What is a Concept?

So we are talking you notice we have in addition to the table here, this is my concept board for suzy scarves, so the concept board we're gonna be talking about concept an inspiration for this next segment? Ah, confident inspiration. What is a concept? So a concept is a design aesthetic for a collection it's a simple as that or maybe not a simple that we're going to try and make it simple. Okay? A design concept or a design aesthetic really encapsulate the color, the shape, the mood and also the fabric or the material of your collection. I put something together here we're going to go through slide by slide so you can fully understand how I got to this position and how I kind of draw the ideas out in order to kind of build my collection. So here it is, it's slightly different, I was kind of mixing it because the creative process ebbs and flows. We were talking about this just now. This is one of the scars that I have, and I'm using for inspiration. I felt it important not to cut up my ...

scarf and stick it on my concert board, which is why you don't see a picture of it, but this is a kind of a very nice kind of silk twelve it's a beautiful a piece that I've been looking at so really a kind of a concept in a design aesthetic, it helps to kind of form a dialogue for your product that's what you're wanting to do so the past two segments we're dealing a lot with kind of what your product what's your target market thinking about pricing, thinking about collections. Now we're going to focus on the fun bit, which is kind of like dragging these ideas and he's kind of like notions, putting it down on paper and learning how to build those into a natural collection. He had that cohesiveness word again, I mentioned a few times already this is kind of like the red thread, which really kind of flows through the next two sessions, it's bringing a cohesive enough that it makes your customer I understand your line that's what we need to get up, every image brings something different, and you probably know this when you're when you're a cz a creative person and you're building a line, you look at things and different aspects will kind of jump out some some images you look at for color and they'll inspire you for color. Some of getting inspired by a font on on some are works, some khun b, a shape it can be a fabric and and the way it drapes can influence how you think about your product. But really it's now it's time to get kind of creative on guy wanted tio to show you how I've used this concept borden and how I've drawn his images out um and then we could talk a little bit about the images and the inspiration that you find and how you use them so really I broken his board down into several images you'll see this one, we're going to focus on each of these we're going to focus on individually I'm going to talk about why I selected these images in reference to my scarf line and what they mean to me. Okay, so this is the wall of a hotel down in palm springs. Um it's thie ace hotel in palm springs I've stayed in a couple of times and it has it's a crazy big mural on the side of a wall. Um and I think that jump out at me for this particular thing is a big fan of monochrome I like black and white. I like the angles of this, but then I really like the pops of color, which it is kind of like randomly placed so from from this particular element I look at that and I see shape I kind of see the curve and I see the straight I see color and I also see proportion this is what jumps out of me for this this is a picture that we were actually there that there's a big uh it's not really a galleries the legion of honor in san francisco beautiful building on a sunny day is completely white great shadows were up in the legion of honor and there was someone taking engagement photographs um and a huge big kind of bunch of balloons and I managed to can capture when she was just behind a pillar but the balloons were still visible. Um and what I like about that is it's if we think about the vision statement in the mission statement we created at the beginning of the session it's about words it's sometimes we were talked about vision statement can be is not that serious sentence it could be about words. And so this to me is a kind of like a playfulness it's a kind of a hidden detail it's the kind of eichel a story that you want to find out more about. So this I wanted to pick this picture and select this picture because one of the things that I want to focus on from my line is hidden details it's that kind of hidden little kind of key detail that the people don't notice until they really look at it and that's something that I want to have in my product so this this particular image it was kind of fun, playful but hidden details color is a huge thing so this was there was an exhibition of alcatraz um by on artist ai wei wei and I was you need to go into this room e the color just is intoxicating it's an amazing color colorful experience on the contrasts on the hughes which kind of sit together this for me was perfect it sits right in the center of the concept board I can pick so many different elements of that on a lot of these colors you see on retro scarves on vintage scarves. Already some of these could be highlight colors like the no small little details or they could be a big part of the the design element but already from the three photos that we have all three images I have I have a shape and I have color pops. I have kind of a hidden detail aspect which is important to my vision of the brand and I also have extremely colorful element right in the center from which I can really pic so many different colors of rights of tonal colors so that for me was extremely striking image that I wanted to kind of focus on for my for my particular collection this one is completely different. You cannot get more contrasting images here what was interesting for me on this was the fragility profit is something very kind of fragile, very simplistic, something very elegant about this particular image. This this was an internal feature off a waiting room in an office in new york. I kind of saw and as I waiting for me to and I'm like, huh? Ok, just like try to sneak a picture before someone threw me out. Um but I like that because again my scarves it's about elegance, it's about fragility on dh so that was important for me to kind of have that to remind me of this is what again bringing it back to a vision um what my line was about and then finally it's this image which is on the side of a building in san francisco downtown somebody actually is in the mission district, san francisco and of what passed it many times and it's really high up, so you have to kind of, like, stretch up and look and I saw and I just loved the fun. I love the typeface of this it's retro it's, it's, it's simple but it's complex in a way, because you have to you really have to kind of think well, the kind of the r and the and kind of look the same is it is it you need is a girl, you know, you have to kind of figure out what it is, but I loved the simplicity off there's no kind of crazy colors as a lot of shadows, so this again was something that really inspired me but in a different way from how the other images have inspired me, so I wanted to kind of really get across the images really kind of tell a story and evoke an emotion and that is a very personal aspect on you can really kind of display that and in your collection so in a way talking me talking here about kind of concept and inspiration it's I can only kind of re give you examples of the tools that I use and show how I pull certain images out, but it's an extremely personal thing when you're talking about concept and inspiration to have the understanding of what it can be I think can help you a lot when you're building something, but it is it's intensely personal, so I'm going to approach in in a few different ways a cz to how I've interpreted things and how I have looked a product already out there and just thought, huh? I wonder what their concept wass on to kind of ask questions because building a concept can be overwhelming because I think a lot of people just build maybe scrapbooks or you know pinterest boards and things like that of a lot of different images but trying to kind of hone them in and make it cohesive can be overwhelming so I think it's it's it's interesting to approach it from that perspective of understanding how you can build on inspiration board what elements you can take out maybe kind of categorize um images but it's sze going to be an interesting process. Andi is great to get some feedback a cz we go through this particular section on how people build inspiration boards because it is a very, very personal thing. So one of the tips are you always say about kind of concept boards is really and again you can use these, you know, in a vision and your vision statement is he should make you feel inspired. Um, it should make you feel engaged in your product and really focused it. Should you be should be able to look at an image and go that just looks great. That color is amazing or that font look at the curve of that or like, I wonder what is going through that girl's mind as she was like hopping between the columns is trying to invent a story that to me is what a concept or an inspiration board. It should make you real really kind of interested and engaged with the image so here's something that I hear quite a lot. I have too many images it's too overwhelming who have studio audience, anyone, yeah you're nodding your head dash I heard that allot yeah I feel that way too sometimes it's overwhelming yeah I mean it's um catherine you're nodding your head too are you um I haven't really used interests a lot so right, yeah, it can be a mean using pinterest in particular is extremely overwhelming you could just go for days scrolling and scrolling and scrolling it some I think the important thing is if you do feel overwhelmed is to kind of start just categorizing pulling things into ideas of color or shape or material um and start narrowing down the search and focusing in on a certain element pulling out the images you like and I'm going to the next one I think if you're trying to kind of look at something and trying to think oh it has to capture these four elements then it's just like well I don't really know where to start so always kind of starting with one thing in mind what inspires me about color straight away on here I have two things these two images immediately inspired me on color this I could see color is involved but it doesn't really that's not why I'm selecting it okay so um to kind of go back t my vision my vision specifically for the scarves is really simplicity and I have a simplicity here in here and I have color aspect I have the hidden detail I have the retro aspect and I have a whole natural elements something very kind of simple, very natural there. So these air this is how I kind of pulled my concept board together um and I found it I found it um actually quite hard to do because I had hundreds of images, but I see where the images I've collected so far I can easily is kind of further down the line. This is my starting concept on something we talk about in the next session is how to continually evaluating your collection and your product and nice to kind of keep looking keep revisiting the collection board, making sure that that it's still relevant to where you want to pay. Ok, so you get the first question here. So thinking about your new product that's going to go back to kind of like thinking about the product that you're working on? How would you explain in words what your design direction is or your concept is so crazy that's going to throw this out to the people out there let's think about how many, what kind of words are going to be used to explain a design direction? Ok and that's kind of go to the audience fatima yes, I would you know what I put you on the hop a little bit how would you explain your design direction I've been trying to think about this actually over last couple minutes and so many different things come to mind I'm not actually sure which one to start with, um over the years as faras designing jewelry and general I was really inspired by, um the untold stories of the past and namely the gold rush and everything surrounded around that and I was smashing all these different characters and all the things that didn't make it into history books and, um just the different lives that people lead, especially first coming to san francisco and experiencing that brags riches kind of story nice and how do you so you take the inspiration from kind of from a time in history? Do you have any kind of images or any? Um yeah, I'm thinking kind of books, yeah, I definitely have watched quite a few like documentaries and movies and stuff like that based around that time and one sort of scene that sticks out in my mind is when before there were a lot of women in san francisco prominently men and when a woman would visit it it's you know, like all the men would just line up toe watch her because she was just like this rare thing that you'd almost just heard of you don't you didn't get to experience it won't even get to like interact with her and youjust yeah, quietly would stop everything you're doing and watch and should be like in full regalia is like visiting, and you'd have to pay to talk to her even yeah, so I was like, kind of imagine, like maybe what she was wearing or maybe what? I don't know somebody who had just made it rich, what, what he would design to wear for himself for the rest of his life. Yeah, you know, it's almost like being a woman now in silicon valley wearing t shirt hoodie and actually, what if you go and any any kind of would spring to mind when it comes to kind of like, inspiration or dark design direction? I'm thinking about this, too, because I do a lot of what what you're describing and I always I every time I have ah magazine, I after I finished reading and I go through night tear out all of the images that inspire me, and they're generally very bright colors yeah, a lot of florals um, very clean and crisp um, like interiors, but always with some color and some nature involved now and also travel. Yeah, so, you know, ocean mountain, um, that's kind of what I'm drawn to, and so I think that that goes into when I pick out fabrics for my and how do you know me just kind of keep a file for it or do you kind of put it on a display board it's all very, very rudimentary I just throw him in a little folder and then every once in a while I'll put them together yeah, I'll be like it's time to make a board so that kind of cut and yeah lay them out on the page I'm glad you deter sheets actually, I thought I was the only person left in the world who actually kind of took toll sheets out magazines and I mean, what else are you going to do with those magazines? I know it's insane. I've been doing it since I was about fifteen years old and you know, I get like two sheets of a magazine and everything else is like loose pages is like, well, I'm just telling them out of them magazine I can build another magazine now but it's it's definitely something tangible that you can have in your hand you know, definitely chris, what do we have from the chat room? You have a lot of people who get inspiration in different ways a good common here from a shelby who says that she likes to listen to ideas that clients have or she watches movies like disney or fantasy movies that provide a great inspiration for their photo shoots and some people have never done inspiration boards before, so they're really new to that. Michelle also says that she loves to make inspiration boards, she buys the white post poster boards, finds pictures, glues them and she continues to refer back to it until the idea is developed. Nice, nice, so constantly evolving and using it movies is a great way of itt's a great aspect to use any somebody use. Yeah, I tried to stay away from a lot of the stuff online because I feel like subconsciously I could end up repeating what someone else has already done, maybe with my own spin, but I don't want to it's almost like, I don't want that to get into my own head, right? S o I tried to go completely opposite of stationery, and I'll look at fashion or I'll look at nature or a watch, movies or even just music in general? Yeah, so that I know that whatever is inspiring, my train of thought is completely separate from the stationery world. Yeah, that's a that's, a that's, a really valid point because sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone and looking something outside of your normal kind of working medium khun give you a whole fresh perspective on design and creativity. On that's important to dio, I think just a kind of almost challenge your initial ideas, or even validate challenge. Invalidate, I think, it's ah it's, good. Anything else from you, chris, off me, teo, shoot on a couple other inspiration, quote. Sandra glover clark says she's inspired by nature, and then she says, you also very drawn to alice in wonderland, specifically, when she's looking for inspiration. Yeah, you can get a lot from alison sutherland, a lot of kind of, like, really kind of feminine, cute stuff, but a lot of kind of crazy off the wall stuff. Yeah, now I like that.

Class Description

Once you’ve established your business with a single, successful product, imagining what else to sell can be daunting. You don’t want to end up with a disjointed collection of products, but you do want it to be fresh and exciting for existing customers. In Diversifying Your Product Line, you’ll learn the art and science of expanding your offerings and growing your business.

Susie Breuer is the author of Blue is the New Black: The 10 Step Guide to Developing and Producing a Fashion Collection and in this class she’ll help you generate ideas and make smart decisions about expanding your apparel and/or accessories business. You’ll learn how to:

  • Research the market to understand both price and your customers.
  • Build a concept and action plan for starting out
  • Manage multiple product lines
  • Source raw materials and manufacturers

You’ll learn how to accurately assess a product's viability before you waste time and money developing it. Susie will also teach you how to develop a consistent, logical pricing strategy you can use again and again.

Susie makes the complex process of developing a financially solvent product and production plan easy. You’ll get expert-level insights into all aspects of developing a new product and walk away confident that you know everything you need to know to expand your business.



Thank you for an excellent class on a key pivot point no matter what industry you are in. One stellar quality of this course is how collaborative, friend focused peer culture and (rather than hostile competition or dysfunction competition environment and psychological atmosphere). The structure suggestions enable creativity and acknowledges different mindsets required in different phases. Susie honors the joy that comes from making and creating. She celebrates the interdependence between all stakeholders and the fun and flow as well as learnings and choices from being a 'business'. She is pragmatic but high on the inclusiveness of fun and satisfaction. She is interested and interesting: safe, enjoys being a customer as much as teacher and expressions of creative generation for herself. You can be caught up in the delight of her view of the world if you have become jaded or burnout. This brings perspective and empowerment to your desire and goals.


Susie has this most amazing experience in business - she is fashion royalty - but has an amazing ability to put all her knowledge across in a way that you can learn so easily. I was so pleased that she could show you how to learn from her experience and it would make sense for your business. Pretty much whatever you are doing. I came away from these sessions with so many ideas. But of course ideas are cheap. She has made me understand how once you have an idea, how to make it real. So many great learnings about avoiding pitfalls, practical check lists and honest to goodness 'know how'. I am already putting her advice into practice and can see I am going to transform my business just because of these classes. I am going to come back to those videos again and again. Thank you so much for making this great resource available.


I LOVED THIS COURSE. After being a small business owner for 10 years it is easy to focus on what's right on your desk at that very moment instead of evaluating the bigger picture, to forget how to look at what is working as well as what isn't and how to improve upon your process. Courses like this make me want to jump up out of my seat and get back to work. Susie kept me engaged and focused. It can be a long day but time seemed to fly by. I am really glad I got the opportunity to take the course, not only would I take it again but would highly recommend future Creative Live courses and Susie's latest book. Thank you again for the opportunity and now I gotta get back to work!