10 Steps to a Killer Look Book on a Shoestring

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If you are a retailer in the competitive children’s apparel space, not having a look book is no longer an option. In the age where social media rules and visual branding is everything, a look book provides essential content for your overall marketing mix while strengthening your brand.

If you’re just starting out, however, it can be expensive to hire a professional team. Mikaela Clifford, owner of online retailer Ruth & Ragnar proves that you don’t need a ton of money, just a little planning and some creativity to pull it all together.

Here’s Mikaela’s 10-step action plan for a look book on a shoestring:

It’s really important to me that the kids have fun on a shoot. I make sure we have toys, that the shoot is super quick, and that we do something fun together once we are done. The key to pulling it off is lots of planning and organization.

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Step 1: If you live in a major city, chances are good a hip accessories brand in a local showroom would be more than happy to trade the exposure of being in your look book for a fresh supply of accessories.

Otherwise, set aside a full day to go thrift shopping. Thrift stores have all the accessories you’ll need—especially headbands, shoes, toys, and bags. I spent less than $70 on all my accessories combined (including shoes) because they were all second-hand.

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Step 2: Find a location with super funky architecture or a natural setting and take photos from all angles to bring home to match looks with scenery (see Step 5).

Step 3: Borrow a great camera. If you’re lucky like me, borrow a friend with a great camera and an eye for photography—to take photos for you. I couldn’t have done this without Stacie Malkus behind the camera.

Step 4: Phone your friends with kids and invite them to an early morning photo shoot followed by a fun and yummy lunch.

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Step 5: Print out the photos from the location and play around with your collections. Figure out fun combinations that work with each background.

Step 6: Create bags or packages for each child, with each outfit labeled chronologically (Look 1, Look 2, Look 3, etc) so that parents dress and re-dress kids fast. Kids are impatient and the photoshoot needs to be quick in order to run as smoothly as possible.

Step 7: Have a designated child wrangler. Even though all the parents are there, an extra set of eyes watching, entertaining, and feeding the kids is a must.

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Step 8: Have a friend be responsible for styling funky hair. My best friend was here visiting—she works for one of Sweden’s largest kidswear companies and could style kids in her sleep so I gave her complete freedom to do whatever she wanted. But if I didn’t have a pro, I would designate someone to be in charge of styling with clearly written or drawn out instructions for hair and make-up.

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Step 9: After the shoot, take the kids somewhere fun—last year we took them to a pool to cool off as it was in the middle of summer. This time we went for a fun lunch and ice cream.

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Step 10: If you don’t have photo editing skills, hire an editor on Fiverr! Usually they’ll charge around $5/photo and you’ll have three revisions without charge!

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Thank you Mikaela for sharing! You can view Ruth & Ragnar’s look books from this season and past seasons online.

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