The idea to execute my first editorial for MOLLY came to me spontaneously during the course of a weekend getaway at a cabin. I was yet to receive my footwear shipment in Canada and was more focused on figuring out how my products would be transported from the warehouse to my workspace, but as I’ve learned with all things concerning my business, I have to remain optimistic and plan ahead of future obstacles. Since I made plans to leave the country for some much needed rest & recuperation shortly after returning from the cabin, I worked on a 3-week timeline to find a photographer, secure a creative space, find models & finally, execute the photoshoot in the nick of time.
Since I was yet to narrow down a location for the photoshoot, I kept my options open to indoor & outdoor spaces in both Montréal & Toronto. I spent days on Google and Instagram conducting searches, and even looked at luxury AirBnBs to bookmark ideal spots that I could envision the shoot taking place. After doing this, I came to a sudden realization that I needed to find my models & a suitable photographer first before locking down a space. If I had done it the other way around, I would be footing the transportation & accommodation bill for my models and photographer if they were to come in from a different city.
Originally, I agreed to a friend’s offer to provide the models and shoot the editorial since he is a photographer and also belongs to a network of models & photographers, but that didn’t go as planned. Since I was working on a time crunch, my editorial didn’t seem as much of a priority to him and I could not afford to deal with the possibility of my photographer cancelling at last minute. From dealing with 2-day response delays over text to his skepticism on being able to deliver the content at my requested time, I could already see the signs that I needed to take matters into my own hands.
I searched a while for photographers in Montréal & Toronto, going over their work, wondering how they would operate on set, and more so, how they would execute my vision, then it dawned on me… I had previously worked with a photographer in Toronto whose vibe was just right. Funny thing is that it was 2 years prior to me creating The Gemini Rebirth collection, but because we got along SO great, I told her then and there that I would love for her to do a shoot for my brand in the future. I reached out to her to gauge her interest, and luckily for me, she was up for it!
I needed to make sure that I was providing as much clarity as possible, and being respectful of each individual’s time so I drafted up a moodboard detailing the direction I was going for- simple, but edgy; nothing too crazy, and proceeded to share it with her. Over the next 2 weeks, we had a number of calls discussing the execution in depth, and of course, sharing ideas to make it better.
For about a week and a half, I was so engulfed in trying to find models who looked closely similar that I completely forgot about a friend of mine & her sister who are gorgeous Style Bloggers & Influencers in Toronto. Immediately, I sent her a message asking if they would be down to shoot for the editorial and her response was so pleasant. Since The GR1 was created in 3 colour tones, I immediately knew who my 3rd model selection would be without having to ask. I knew she would definitely provide the edge I was looking for, so this put my mind at ease on the model end.
Majority of these days were spent getting things in order and making sure I had everything I needed. Since I wanted more editorial & less product shots, I needed fun & fierce looks with most of the focus set on the footwear and my brand. The weekend prior to the shoot, I began creating some accessories with MOLLY emblems so that my brand logo would be visible in different ways. This itself took a bit of my time, but nothing incredibly strenuous because I was creating mostly leather collars, harnesses & garters. I planned for 3 outfit changes of each model, created a look book using the style and body types of the models, which was then shared with everyone including the makeup artist & photographers in order to facilitate each outfit change and overall shot.
Since we had to shoot in a pandemic, another priority was to ensure that the safety of each person was put first. As a result, I sent out a COVID Screening form to each individual that was required to be on set and made sure they were all sent back at least 48 hours before the day of the photoshoot. This was a major obligation because everyone was coming together on my request, so it was important that I ensured the security of our health. Having dealt with the COVID screening procedures, I was back to visualizing the overall execution of my soon-to-be editorial.
The day before the shoot I set out for a 6-hour road trip leaving from Montréal to Toronto, picking up one of my models on the way. It was about 10/11pm when we arrived in Toronto, so we decided to grab dinner and relax for a bit before I had to do the honours of braiding her hair. If you know anything about single braids, you’d know that they take FOREVER to make, so at this point, I was starting to second-guess my decision on her look. Nonetheless, it was the last task I needed to complete for the big day, so I got started on her hair around 1am and we were done by 4am.
Waking up 3 hours after being up all night was literally torture on its own, but I had no choice but to pull through since I offered to pick up the rest of my models so that we all arrived to the set on time.
When we got to the studio, my 3-outfit-change dream was quickly converted into a scattered reality of organized chaos. As a result of my grave underestimation of time, we were only able to get through 2 of these 3 looks since I had the set reserved for 4 hours. The makeup of each model took at least an hour and a half to perfect, so I made the decision along with the photographers to shoot each model individually while waiting for the others to get their makeup done. By the time each individual shot was completed, another model would be done with her makeup, so we’d pair them up to take more shots together. This swap-out continued until each model had both individual and partnered shots.
Unfortunately, because my 3rd look for the models had to be scrapped, I wasn’t able to get all three GR1 pairs in the same shot, which was a bummer, however, I was super pleased with the outcome of it all. Honestly… team work makes the dream work. That’s really all I can say, because if it wasn’t for everyone being so hands on, I don’t think we would have accomplished as much as we did that day.
All in all, I’m just super grateful to be at this point in my brand journey and look forward to many more incredible & elevated editorials over the years to come. Feel free to check out the final edited shots on my Instagram @brandedbymolly
Until next time,