On Set with the UK's leading variety goods retailer
Founded in the late 1970's by Malcolm Billington, the then named Billington & Mayman opened it's first store in Cleveleys on the Fylde coast of Lancashire just north of Blackpool.
Fast forward 26 years and the dynamic brothers Simon and Bobby Arora acquired the 21 store chain that was to become the phenomenon that is now B&M.
Under the new ownership B&M saw significant growth and over the next 16 years those 21 stores became over 700, with a target of 950 stores planned for the UK.
Employing nearly 33,000 people, and operating on a direct sourcing, agile low cost business model, B&M are a retail force to be reckoned with.
As the B&M chain grew, so did their need for PR imagery to support their marketing profile. Since 2016 we have had the pleasure of partnering with their team to create twice yearly image collections for use in their seasonal lookbooks.
B&M's design team work directly with manufacturers, creating unique products for their brand.
The botanical and tropical trends from their spring and summer ranges soften in autumn and winter, becoming calm and natural trends in neutral colour schemes with hints of woodland.
Winter does of course also mean Christmas, and with 20% of their retail floor space given to seasonal ranges, B&M do Christmas LARGE!
On receipt of the design pack from B&M our first challenge is to find the best way to achieve over 35 looks from 7 set builds.
Each set has to work extra hard, so living rooms become bedrooms and then bathrooms to give a full range of looks in the available space.
Set designs allow for adaptions at every stage so that each look has its own identity.
For this season each set also has an Autumn look and a Christmas look to plan in, so space for Christmas trees and piles of wrapped presents have to be taken into account.
"With so many sets and so many changes, just planning a B&M shoot is a production in itself. Planning which sets will be in use on which days, so we give set build time to make adaptions without causing delays to the shoot schedule. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, with a countdown clock ticking away in the background!"
Oliver Townend, Production Manager
The Front Cover Dream
The Christmas lookbook cover was to be a snowy log cabin scene with cosy blankets and steaming mugs of hot chocolate. In Yorkshire. In July.
Not a problem for our set build team who have created more log cabins than we've had hot chocolates... well maybe not quite that many, but check out our other case studies for evidence of their experience.
The Studio Reality
Behind the camera the log cabin is looking a little less snug & cosy!
Autumn shots need to be set up and completed before the snow is applied, both in the studio.... and even more later on in post production.
Behind The Scenes
With so much to achieve in a relatively short space of time, it really is all hands on 'dec's'.
Experienced interiors stylist Kirsty Saxon teamed up with B&M Head of Design and their PR team to work across multiple sets at the same time, with support from set build always on hand too.
"We love a challenge, so working on the B&M shoot is always a great time in the studio. Swapping from interiors to exteriors, daytime and night-time shots, with flat lays and product cameos all in the mix, it really keeps us on our toes as a team!"
Paul Lambert, Photography Manager and Lead Photographer
6 Days 7 Sets 18 Adaptions 2 Photographer whirlwinds 2 Post Production wizards 42 Lunches 512* Cups of coffee 291 Finished images 1 very tired, but very happy team!
* Slight exaggeration
The End Result
Two beautiful B&M Home lookbooks ready to take the UK press by storm. One for Autumn Home, and one just for Christmas!
We are now well into the swing of Christmas 2022, and so these ranges are out in stores and flying off the shelves. The images created on this shoot are giving inspiration to B&M customers as they pop up on social media feeds and in store.
Autumn 2022 Home Lookbook
Christmas 2022 Lookbook
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