Not only were we able to release our Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter patterns as planned (albeit, one a little later than expected), we also fulfilled our dream of publishing Dressed to both an English and French audience—this time in ebook format. The logistical hurdles of printing and shipping physical copies would have been challenging in an otherwise normal year, but lockdown forced us to make the decision to adapt our product. We’ll admit to having felt a little nervous about how customers would react, but thankfully the ebook was received with open arms and performed even better than we’d hoped. The shift to a digital format meant that we could save administrative time dealing with publishing logistics, and instead focus on our Fall/Winter collection release as usual.
The pandemic also forced us to prioritize another ongoing project: converting all of our patterns to PDF format. While we are proud to offer paper patterns (and have no intention of stopping), PDF files allow us to offer our patterns to a wider audience where costs, shipping, and preferences are otherwise a constraint. In 2020 we managed to convert 7 of our older patterns, finally completing our PDF catalogue.
We also spent time reflecting and implementing operational changes at Deer&Doe, not only to ensure that we can keep growing in the years ahead, but also to better align with our moral vision for the company. This included updating our testing and review process, so that our fit testers, who work with us in the early stages of pattern development and receive a rough version of the pattern, will be paid for their work going forward (please note that as much as we’d love to include English-speaking sewists in our testing process, this process happens entirely in French!). We also began providing fabric allowances to those who review our finished patterns at launch, since their work helps us market the design and showcase the patterns on a variety of bodies.
Finally, in the spirit of creating a more sustainable work/life balance, we also began delegating more work to contractors, including: Miranda, who is helping us with our blog and social media; Laura, who translates our pattern instructions and translated the Dressed ebook; Maud, who assisted us with technical writing for our patterns; and Alex, who worked on the formatting for both versions of the Dressed ebook. We feel extremely fortunate to work with so many talented people, and their help has allowed us to continue focusing on what we do best—which is developing patterns!
Of course, we still have our network of photographers, models, testers and reviewers who we are ever grateful for. One of our personal highlights for the year was the Acajou and Neige photoshoot, in which the lovely Imène helped us finish our photography for the Passiflore dress and shirt. On the customer service side, Sylvie is still doing a great job managing our inbox and answering all of your questions and comments. We could not do it without her!
We closed out 2020 with our annual charitable donation, this year deciding to donate 1% of our total revenue, divided equally between la Ligue des Droits de l’Homme and la Fondation des Femmes. The former organization focuses on human rights and fighting discrimination, while the latter defends women’s rights (with a particular focus on violence against women). With so many causes worth supporting it is always difficult choosing where to allocate funds, but ultimately we selected these two for their breadth of advocacy and transparency as organizations.
As usual, you can look forward to our next collection release sometime in Spring of 2021. We are deep in the development stages, and while we don’t want to give too much away, you can expect a classic and romantic Deer&Doe vibe that we hope you’ll love.
We’re also excited to officially announce our collaboration agreement with Pfaff France. You may have noticed our new studio machines in recent months: we’ve got a Quilt Expression 720 at the Deer&Doe Studio, while Camille is now sewing on an Ambition 620 in her home. We happened to both be longtime Pfaff converts, so it was an easy “yes!” when we were approached about a partnership agreement. We’re already planning some machine-focused tutorials and collaborations for you to enjoy in the coming months.
Last, but certainly not least, we will be expanding our size range in 2021! We’ve been researching and planning this project for many months, and we’re happy to finally share with you that this will be our main priority for the coming year. In order to give this announcement the justice it deserves (and hopefully address all of your questions), you can read more details on our post here.