Francesca is the fun, fashion-forward jewellery label by young Australian designers and sisters, Hannah and Rachel Vasicek. A melding of two minds and two styles, Francesca is the perfect blend of classic and edgy. Using only the finest quality materials, each Francesca creation is designed and made with the utmost love and care.
As fellow Tasmanian gals, I decided to bite the bullet and reach out to Hannah and Rachel to ask about a feature and I was ever so lucky enough to spend some time chatting with the lovely Rachel – which I’ve shared below.
Rachel says: “The beauty of operating a small business means our days are definitely not planned out and we don’t follow any kind of scheduled tasks. It is very much in the moment what needs to be done – do it! Hannah and myself are constantly involved in all aspects of the business, whether it be in store serving customers, integrating and evolving our online store and sending packages, or doing what we are truly passionate about in the business. For myself that means the creative design and marketing aspect of the business and for Hannah it is business development. I’ve shared a typical day for both Hannah and myself below!”.
RACHEL: So a typical day for me is working on the creative aspects of the business, with coffee in hand after I’ve gone through emails. I am very sporadic with how I go about ticking things off my list, because I get inspired and way too excited at times and drop one job and pick up the next… the girls in the office are constantly laughing at me for this.
Jewellery design: The highlight of our year for myself and Hannah is definitely when we travel to the World Jewellery fairs in Thailand and Hong Kong to design the majority of our jewellery range. We work with a number of amazing ethical companies over there who specialise in particular jewellery making techniques to bring our customers the highest quality pieces possible – from the chains we choose for our designs to our hand selected stone choices for our stacking bracelet collections.
Once the collections have been established we set quarterly dates for their release then we will discuss marketing methods for those collections; including campaign shoots, look books and visual merchandising. All of those elements of a collections release come into my day to day planning.
The annual visits to the jewellery fairs are definitely not enough for my urge to create. A week doesn’t go by where I don’t head into our storeroom and rummage through our bead findings and supplies to create a new piece for our jewellery range. At the moment there has been so much hype over chokers and neckties, so I have been really pushing to create a new design at least once a week for those. Once I have created a prototype and I’m satisfied with the design, I’ll show the team, get their ‘tick of approval’ and then teach our makers how to replicate the design for stock. This maintains the balance between creating and making designs in house as well as having certain items cast.
Content Creation: Creating content for marketing purposes is definitely one of my biggest jobs! We have a large social media following and feeding them consistent and inspiring content is definitely a huge factor. Content ranges from flatlays in our studio using multiple props, to campaign photoshoots. Photoshoots are definitely something I love doing. Usually I will create a mood board of the look I’ll be going for, I will then style the outfits and lastly go on a location hunt. Once everything is organised myself and our graphic designer Rocky, will shoot, edit and release the content.
Marketing: Social media is our main advertising platform we use to promote the brand. Once a week I will select a theme for our Instagram account, usually correlating with the photoshoot I have done. When I know the theme, I’ll lay out a grid on my computer of what the week of content will look like, then I will schedule the content for Instagram and Facebook for sponsored posts, targeting the right clientele for that particular image.
Other methods of marketing that I use to promote the brand is reaching out to high profilers and social media influencers to collaborate. This entails finding ‘on brand’ advocates and sending them pieces to promote on their social platforms. This is a very rewarding part of my role, nothing excites me more than having someone influential to the fashion industry responding with love for the brand, then seeing them wearing the pieces. Recently I reached out to some of the Bachelor girls, Rebecca Madden from the Footy show and model Stephanie Claire Smith, who all loved the brand and were keen to support us.
At the end of the day I’ve usually used up my creative quota and I’ll start responding to emails.
HANNAH: I begin the day with a good coffee and tackling emails first – usually about 100 emails make their way into my inbox so I try to clear those or write a note to get back to an email which may take more time to action.
Next up is usually a team meeting with our full time office team – we strategise for the week ahead, brainstorm email marketing campaign and social media topics.
After this I usually look over our bookkeeping – this is all done by me so doing a little each day helps keep on top of cash flow and our position daily. Any employee changes or updates are done by me through our accounting system. A huge job is cash flow forecasting and making sure all production and material bills are planned and paid in the right order so capital is used in the most efficient way. I work on a daily cash flow forecast to ensure we are in good stead financially for the month ahead.
From here I will go over our production schedules for the next 6 months and make sure I have all running smoothly and there is accurate products and materials for the upcoming collections. New products such as our new watch collection are checked in with progress wise and touching base with suppliers to make sure they are sticking to schedules is frequently required. Every component needs to be thought of from whether we have enough clasps, to beads, stock, packaging and bags.
After lunch I check in with sales in both stores – making sure we are tracking well and looking at the product mix which has been selling for the week so we know which items are popular and in need of restocking.
If I have time in the afternoon I usually make time to read some digital marketing articles and try and brainstorm our business development areas which we can work on implementing. Usually I find a good program or app which we may be able to implement into the website straight away and delegate this to our graphic designer.
Lastly I check over the orders and repairs in the office and see if I am needed to do repairs or special customer enquiries.
After this I turn back to my emails and the starred emails which need actioning. I check in with all staff ensuring they know which projects need prioritising. Managing a team is quite important so that everyone knows what each member is working on so we work in the right flow together.
At the end of the day before finishing I look over our sales for the day and ensure we are set for the next day of trading!