How might we restore the splendor of a fashion studio?

semi-structured interviews and participant screening  ·  data-driven personas  · 
customer journey maps  ·  branding  ·  prototyping  ·  hi-fi mockups


Atelier Eljare is a small fashion studio based in Cracow. They design and sew for individual orders. The company was established in the nineties, by two twin sisters. They wished to become a part of the haute couture tradition and to respond to a demand of the newly established free market in Poland. The sisters achieved their goal and soon the studio ran stores in Cracow, Warsaw and Vienna and organized its own fashion shows.


Nowadays, the studio has narrowed its activities and kept a group of regular customers. They commissioned me to redefine their identity and redesign the website. Through a more up-to-date visual language and better online presence they aim to reach new customers. 


My discovery process started with a stakeholder interview. I met with the founders in the studio to outline our cooperation framework and determine the clients’ needs. While conducting short interviews, I mapped the company’s structure.

During the meeting I also had a chance to observe a customer experience, to familiarize myself with the atelier and to talk to one of the seamstresses. 

“First of all, we want to build an individual connection with every customer.”


Research questions and goals 
After the stakeholder interview I knew I wanted to get to know two groups of users better - the studio’s existing customers and its potential future clients. Why? Because, on the one hand, I wanted to find out what the existing customers value the atelier for, and on the other hand I wished to identify the needs of potential clients and learn how the studio could fulfill them. I formulated two sets of questions for my research:

  • Who are the customers of Atelier Eljare?

  • What motivated them to become a customer?

  • What do they currently value the most in the atelier’s service?

  • Do they have some needs that are not sufficiently met?

  • How could the studio change that? 

  • Who are the potential customers of the service of individual tailoring?

  • How do they look for such services?

  • How do they decide for one of them?

  • What are the most common difficulties they encounter?

  • How could one help them overcome those difficulties?

Participant Screening

Selecting the right participants for user research

I planned to research two groups of users: existing customers of a studio and studio’s potential clients. To reach the proper people I needed to conduct participants screening. I wanted to exclude people working in the same industry and select these, who might be interested in individual tailoring service.

Semi-Structured User Interviews
In order to answer these questions, I conducted several interviews with two groups of participants. The group of potential customers was selected through a survey among women aged 18-65. The screening questions excluded people working in the same industry and selected for basic interest in the services of fashion studios. Every interview session lasted around 40 minutes and consisted of an interview and task performance – sketching a customer journey.

“Tailor-made clothes can highlight your assets, the way mass-products will never do.”

Interview Findings
My findings from the interviews concerned information deficiencies in several touchpoints with clients, dysfunctions of communication channels (such as the lack of a mobile version of the website) as well as discrepancy between the visual language of the studio and the quality of their services. At the same time, I also discovered many advantages the studio offers, which are highly valued among its regular customers.

Personas and Customer Journey Maps
Most of my findings I built into personas and customer journey maps, which allowed me to convincingly share my findings with clients and served me in the phase of branding and prototyping.

Affinity Diagramming
I transcripted audio-recordings of interviews and highlighted the most relevant fragments. Then I cut them out and I used an affinity diagramming method to sort these findings. Out of this process emerged these personas. 

Personas 1 - 5

One part of a user interview was a task of sketching a customer journey map with a participant. From the insights I formulated schemas of customer experience for the previously created personas.

Customer Journey Maps 1-5


Naming and Logotype

From my research I knew that, on the one hand, the owners are wedded to the old logotype, on the other hand, customers expect the company to show a more modern face. When designing, I aimed to combine these two needs.

Another difficulty lay in the naming. There were two names: “Miasto Kobiet” (City of Women), which stems from the title of Fellini's movie, and “Eljare”, being the combination of the founders’ names. These two names were used interchangeably, without any special rules to guide their use.

I proposed that "Miasto Kobiet" should become the leading name and that "Eljare" could serve as the name of an atelier. I created a sign consisting of an improved hand-written logotype and a sans-serif signature.

Dualism – Women and City
Subsequently, I based the studio’s identity on the dualism of Women and City. It responded to the polarity of the brand values, identified during the stakeholder interview. The leitmotif of dualism I adapted in additional elements of the visual language. 

Color palette: two contrasting primary colors, navy and ocher, and two related colors, gray and light beige

Typeface selection: a combination of sans-serif Raleway and serif Spectral

Brand values depiction: two-word combinations, functioning in multiple constellations

Photography style
My research suggested that the quality of the images used in a customer communication are one of the crucial factors in convincing them. For this reason, I proposed a new style of photography - wide shots of women in urban scenery, set in casual poses and natural light.

Brand Applications
Having gathered from the interviews what are the most necessary brand applications, I designed business cards, product bags, clothing tags, leaflets and studio banners.


The interviews had also indicated what content users need the most. I developed an information architecture for the new website accordingly. 

Low-Fidelity and High-Fidelity Wireframes
In the next step, after some paper sketches, I developed wireframes for the mobile and desktop versions of the company’s one-page site.


The project is currently being programmed and will then be implemented.


Most importantly, I took away a new insight into just how powerful tools such as personas and customer journeys can be when communicating to the client a need for change.

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