How It's Made Hero

How It’s Made

Sometimes the thing that makes a product shine is how it’s produced. The love, time and craftsmanship that goes into each piece can make it entirely unique. What better way to let people know how it’s made than an email highlighting the ins-and-outs of the process. These emails contain photos of the products being made and the people that make them. They highlight stories about where they come from, the history behind the products, and what makes them special. You can even learn how buying them can help a cause.

From: Crate and Barrel
Date: 8/21/15
Subject Line: 15% off + 5 reasons you’ll love a Crate and Barrel sofa.

I love how digestible this content is. It’s broken down into 5 sections, each with a short and to-the-point title. The pictures selected for numbers 1, 3 and 4 show the behind-the-scenes process well, which are a fantastic addition. I’m not sure that I like how much real estate the sale message takes up at the top, but at least they do a nice job tying the two messages together with the title “5 Reasons Your Next Sofa Should Be a Crate and Barrel Sofa.”

Crate and Barrel

From: UncommonGoods
Date: 8/24/15
Subject Line: These Goods Have Roots

This email has nice flow with the left-to-right image placement and overlapping pictures. I also appreciate the variety of image types which include both square-cuts and cut-outs, as well as products and process shots. However, the copy in this example isn’t very scannable. Some bolded headlines or keywords could help with that.

Uncommon Goods

From: west elm & Rejuvenation
Date: 8/26/15
Subject Line: Meet Rejuvenation + take 20% off!

This email’s focus isn’t the craftsmanship, but it’s included as a supporting selling point. I like the way they integrated the information with the color block + arrow and the behind-the-scenes image of the product being assembled. It’s just the small touches like this that make a product stand out as being more special.


From: west elm
Date: 9/08/15
Subject Line: We’re changing the world, one handcrafted piece at a time.

As opposed to the last email from West Elm, this one is solely focused on the craftsmanship behind the products. It takes a much different approach than the other examples with an entire lack of story. Instead they use a giant hero image that makes the message clear, along with a title and a link to learn more. This email is great for those with short attention spans that don’t want to do a lot of reading, and the call-to-action to learn more can help to drive click-throughs. My only gripe is the opening title is a bit wordy – I might swap the sub-header with the headline.

West Elm

To sum it up, sending an email like this is a great way to show your product has more to offer than the average cookie-cutter product straight off the assembly line. Highlighting the custom work, small details and the thought put into each design can really set your products apart from the competitors. As we’ve learned from these examples, it’s a good idea to include images of the products being made and remember to make text scannable by using bold headlines or keywords.

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Partners Hero

A Message From Our Partner

Sending an email about a partner can be tricky. If your message is too off-brand, you might scare your subscriber away thinking it’s spam. If you’re unable to create a connection between the companies properly, you’ll leave them confused. Here are a few examples of partner emails I’ve received recently; some done right and some a bit off target.

From: west elm
Date: 8/11/15
Subject Line: Reminder – You’re invited! Top Dog Photo Contest‏
West Elm
Here we have a home store (west elm) partnered with a company that mails doggy treats (BarkBox). I would imagine finding a similarity between these brands would be difficult, but this email did a great job bringing them together. It’s clearly west elm branded with header and prominent logo so there’s no confusion who the email came from. They perk interest and tie the brands together by creating a contest held in west elm stores: Snap a photo of your dog in our stores, Instagram it, and you’ll be entered to win a BarkBox. Nicely done.


From: LOFT
Date: 8/06/15
Subject Line: Amy, new at LOFT: Horoscopes
Next we have a clothing retailer (LOFT) partnered with a company that provides horoscopes (Saturn Sisters). On the upside, I was able to tell who the email came from, but the tie-in between the companies left me puzzled. Rather than using the copy to explain the connection, it mentions coffee, twice. I thought maybe the landing page would bring it together somehow, but it didn’t. Furthermore, the landing page didn’t work for mobile and the email was missing the legal footer (not to mention a link to unsubscribe to partner emails). My suggestion for a quick solution would be to revise the wording both on the email and landing page. For the landing page, if the fortune was to take time to yourself, suggest or show a picture of some LOFT lounging pants; if it’s to embrace your wild side, link to some brightly patterned tights. I did enjoy the animation in the email and they did get a click from me, but there was so much missed opportunity and a bit of disconnect.


From: Evite
Date: 7/28/15
Subject Line: Prep for your party in no time with Sally Hansen and Evite‏
The final example comes from a company that sends digital invitations (Evite), partnered with a self-tanning lotion brand (Sally Hansen). Now that’s a reach to find common ground. On the up side, the email has the evite logo, a title that clearly states “from our partner,” and copy that (miraculously) was able to draw a connection between the brands: have great tanned legs at your next party. But, despite all of that, at first glance I thought this email was spam. My suggestion would be to include a bit more imagery from the evite side of the partnership — maybe more of the header from the evite website. Perhaps they could also work an invitation into the design — a “Best Legs Bash” invitation?

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