Cuttalossa is an heirloom textiles and dry goods purveyor based in Philadelphia, PA. Working with local farms to source her goods, owner Shannon Retseck is the home goods version of the farm–to–table movement — the link between city buyers and surrounding farms. All of Cuttalossa's products are made of 100% natural fibers and natural dyes and Retseck holds the same standards with her imported line of handwoven, completely organic cotton Turkish textiles. When Shannon's busy developing a new product line at the alpaca farm, or planting seedlings for her upcoming tea line, we happily fill in the gaps of her business.
Curious what a typical year working with Small Wonder looks like? Follow our journey below.
New Product Line
Heading into the new year, Cuttalossa decided to diversify her product line with a new crop of home decor items made from reclaimed wood. To market this new line over the next few months, we scheduled a photo shoot at the artist's studio where we styled and photographed the collection.
Winter Shop Update
With the new year upon us, we set to work photographing Cuttalossa's latest products for a winter shop update. After a busy holiday season, many products on the site had to be updated after selling out, swapped with new photos, or reconfigured. We first set to work photographing the new stock of products in our usual format: a mix of lifestyle and product photography. The lifestyle images were shot on location in a beautiful house in the Pennsylvanian countryside to reinforce Cuttalossa's beautiful aesthetic and offer styling inspiration to consumers. Lifestyle images were balanced with product photos of each product shot in a studio to highlight product details.
Holiday Email & Social Media Marketing
With the holiday shopping in full swing, we focused our December hours on a series of email campaigns driven by the holiday season. Three email campaigns ran this month, each with a theme (stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, cyber Monday) to promote a certain group of products. Email campaigns featured a mix of product and lifestyle photography with direct links to where they could be purchased in the online store.
Email campaigns were reinforced with coinciding social media posts.
Fall Blog & Marketing Content
Gearing up for the holiday season, we wanted to drive traffic to the Cuttalossa online shop to supplement her market sales. To boost her online traffic and promote her products, we created a blog post for Salted Wildflower Honey Pie using Cuttalossa's local, organic honey. The pie theme was set to coincide with Thanksgiving, driving home the idea of real applications for Cuttalossa products. With pinable content meant to drive traffic to the site, we then submitted blog post to various food websites to further increase traffic. Content was also pushed on social media and sent in targeted email campaigns.
Thanksgiving Driven Email Campaigns
During this period, we also sent several Thanksgiving driven email campaigns to make Cuttalossa products relevant to our target demographic. An email campaign entitled "Set The Table" focused on tabletop pieces from the Cuttalossa line.
FW '14 Products
In preparation for the upcoming cold snap, we penciled in a date in early October to shoot Cuttalossa's fall/winter collection of locally-made products. In shooting the collection, we wanted to show the products in an styled environment driven by Cuttalossa's beautifully simplistic style. Post-shoot, images were retouched and used in social media and marketing campaigns.
With upcoming fall markets and the holiday season on the horizon, we wanted to make sure the Cuttalossa website was putting its best face forward in anticipation for the traffic it would be getting in the months ahead. After giving the site a major design facelift, we set off to do some of the often overlooked, yet important backbones of building a site website: writing compelling copy, updating new products, and creating a universal format for product descriptions.
Eternal Summer Promotion
Towards the end of summer, we ran a promotional give-a-way to build Cuttalossa's customer email list, pad her social media following, and promote her turkish towels before transitioning into her fall collection. Small Wonder set up the promotion on the Cuttalossa blog and promoted the give-a-way through social media, email campaigns, and blogs. To drive traffic to the Cuttalossa website and build awareness for her store, participants were asked to visit Cuttalossa's online shop and comment on her blog with their favorite item from her collection as their form of entree.
Exclusive Discount Email Campaign
After a contest winner was chosen and notified, we sent out a targeted email campaign solely to contest participants with an exclusive discount code for turkish textiles. The result? A highly-engaged, targeted email list.
The targeted email campaign had an astounding open rate of 85% -- the average for retail is 15%.
With an increased focus on generating online sales (versus selling at local markets), we decided that a good way to get more eyes on the Cuttalossa website would be to start a blog. With a blog, we figured that we could submit content to various websites to garner easy pageviews, plus we had a greater chance of our posts being featured in roundups by other websites. To start, we set up a photoshoot at the namesake creek where Cuttalossa was incepted and wrote a post explaining the orgins of the brand. Next, we created a content schedule and came up with post ideas that could incorporate Cuttalossa products (such as Cuttalossa Wildflower Honey or upcoming tea line). From these posts, we then submitted them to other websites to garner page views for the website and increase Cuttalossa's brand awareness.
Summer Shop Update
Come summer, Cuttalossa had amassed more inventory to diversify the product line and it was once again time for another photoshoot. This time, there was a focus on summer items that would be promoted via social media and weekly email campaigns that Small Wonder put together. It was during this shoot that we also took photos for the Cuttalossa "About Page" and the photos for the first Cuttalossa blog post.
When we began working with Cuttalossa they had a logo but no plan for how to use it in the multitude of environments branding needs to cater for. The logo included an intricate, monolithic ‘C’ for Cuttalossa. At larger sizes it appeared awkward and in icon formmat, in say, a Twitter icon, it was illegible. We needed to find a better way to leave a unique, iconic mark on the Cuttalossa audience.
The Friendship Knot
Cuttalossa is a trader, sourcing quality goods from artisans and selling them to a discerning marketplace. We used the tactile essence of trade to define the shape we were looking for; something strong, flexible and textured, a rope. Once we found this direction we quickly reasoned that Cuttalossa is the knot between the maker and the buyer. Knots are surprisingly hard to make iconic — their nature is to tighten in on themselves in a confusing, unrecognizable way. We needed a knot which was not only beautiful, simple and iconic but one which underlined the importance of Cuttalossa's ethical, personable way of doing business. The friendship knot is the perfect symbol:
Cuttalossa had no formal sense of brand color before this point. It was very important to us to form a palette which was, like their products, organic and elemental. These are honest colors Shannon would find in the earth when she's tending to her tea plants.
New Home Collection Launch
After our first round of product photography, we were tasked with getting the word out about the launch of her collection at her pop-up shop and online. To start, we designed marketing collateral to promote the event both on social media and in an email campaign.
The open rate on this campaign was 62% higher than the industry average for retail.
When we first set out working with Cuttalossa, owner Shannon was developing her website and needed product photography to showcase her vast inventory of textiles and dry goods. Before the shoot, it was decided that the product photography should be heavily lifestyle influenced as to appeal to our target demographic. The venue for the photoshoot was an 18th century canal house in Yardley, PA with historic charm and beautiful natural light.