For the past 8 years, I’ve poured my heart into Three Fifteen Design – creating brand identities for small businesses & creatives. It’s rewarding … so rewarding. I get to live vicariously through other people starting and growing amazing businesses. I get to watch their branding process unfold, and I’ve seen the results of a strong brand experience. I’ve watched my clients reach their ideal audience, and make advocates for their brand. Like I said, it’s so rewarding. What I’ve been craving lately is my own new brand to launch. I am sitting comfortably (working extremely hard, and always so thankful to be growing) in my business now, but I’ve been thinking about launching a brand of products that could enrich people’s lives.
This morning, it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. My thing. The thing that I would explore. I now know what I want my product to be.
It’s nothing new, but it is something that most people love. It’s something that makes a house feel more like a home, and even has the ability to bring peace and tranquility to the end of a long day.
While I’m not ready to share the product yet, I do think it could be really cool to share the process of dreaming, branding, making, and selling. It’s rare to see an intimate view into growing a business/brand, and I think sharing the joys and setbacks could truly help other small business owners. While it might make some feel a bit awkward, I think I could also share a breakdown of the real costs associated with starting a new business.
I’m a write-everything-in-a-notebook type person, and I haven’t written a single stroke to start this journey. There’s a big road ahead of me, but I’m excited for all it. Off the top of my head, there are several areas I need to explore before launching …
- Gathering inspiration
- Establishing my brand values & goals
- Coming up with a name
- Establishing the name with my city/state (setting up a DBA under my LLC)
- Market research
- Profit/loss projections of cost of the goods vs. projections of sales
- Any legal requirements surrounding this product
- Product development & testing
- Building my brand overview (statement, tone, ideal client, etc.)
- Brand identity – I know a girl! 😉
- Packaging options
- Establishing a relationship with a printer for stationery, packaging, and labels.
- Working with small focus groups to test the product
- Retooling any issues or concerns before the launch
- Fine tuning pricing structure & offerings
- Finding a platform to sell on (I plan to start online)
- Creating a workflow for client interaction, making, and delivering
- Preparing for the launch
- Sending free product to brand reps
- Connecting with local businesses to integrate my product, organically
- Social media presence
- Gaining an audience
- Working through the first sales
- Moving into small shops in Portland
- Working against a calendar, to have this product into people’s homes for the holidays. Launch would be on or around Black Friday.
I am certain there will be more than I’ve covered here. Like, after I figure out the cost to launch (testing, packaging, first round of free goodies to reps, etc.), I might decide I need a small business loan. This would be new territory for me, as I’ve never gone into debt with my business. Or, what if I do this research and discover this product isn’t a good idea?! (that would be a little soul crushing, but maybe now I know I’m interested in product development).
Okay, so that’s it. This is my big dream. Sorry to keep it vague. Until I’ve done more research and started moving forward with a name, I’d like to keep the dream to myself. For now, I’ll be diving deep into analysis of the market and potential costs & growth.
Here we go. As always, thank you for your support & readership! I so value you!
Photograph by me, for The Oregon Tale.
There are so many little places we have the chance to enhance our client experience. Of course, great customer service likely comes first. But, what about the little things we can do, to make a huge impact on our client’s hearts? I wanted to share three tips to enhance the tangible side of your brand.
SEND A NOTE // This is so simple, but often overlooked. When you book a client, or are sending their products to them, include a note! A handwritten note is an amazing way to make them smile, and remind them that investing with you was a great choice!! Even better, what if your card could be displayed as art? My client, Jen Rodriguez, had her note cards letterpressed on super-thick cotton. The back was blank (for writing), but the front housed a lovely saying she knew would speak to her client’s hearts. These cards are meant to display. What a wonderful reminder!
ASK FOR THE SHARE // Sometimes I hear from clients that they’re afraid to be “salesy” … they don’t want to push for referrals. There’s a super organic way to get referrals, and it’s simply asking your clients to share their positive experience. One way to do this is by giving them ways to follow you on social media, and share your work. My favorite way to do this is a social media sticker on your packaging, or an Instagram card. The social media cards are tucked inside tiny envelopes, and meant to be packaged with your products (like albums, prints, or shop goods). When your client receives their package, they’re prompted to share an image of their goods on social media (and tag your business). This is free advertising, and you’re certain to gain attention from new people (who share the same tastes as your favorite clients). My clients, The R2 Studio, recently sent out Instagram cards, complete with a cheeky little tagline!
UPGRADE YOUR PACKAGING // Thinking about packaging options is one of my favorite parts of a branding project. Don’t think you have to break the bank to get badass, quality packaging. Let’s say you love the look of slide-top wooden boxes. There are plenty of Etsy shops that sell boxes for $35 each. BUT, with a little internet searching, you’ll find small mom & pop shops that sell bulk boxes for $5. Seriously! ULINE is one of my favorite resources for packaging. Recently, a client wanted neon tags for her packaging. We found an Etsy shop with neon tags for $2 each … Uline had the same tags for $0.40 each. She had to buy in bulk, but it is so worth it! Uline is amazing for things like boxes (please always use a brand new cardboard box for shipping goods to your clients!!!), tags, tape, custom tissue paper, and wood filler. Currently, I’m using boxes from IKEA, ribbon from Studio Carta, and excelsior filling & tags from Uline. Rubber stamps are a fun addition to your packaging … and always be sure to include a little note. One of my favorite new additions to my packaging was custom packing tape. I ordered from Phoenix Tape, and love the quality & service they provided.
Adding a little extra “wow” to your tangible experience is so easy … even better, it’s very affordable. I think the hardest part is sitting down to map out exactly what you want to deliver. Think about how you’d like to receive your products. Are you asking for your clients to share what they’ve invested in?
From now until May 20th, I am offering my Instagram card sets for $175. Sets include 50 2.5 x 2.5 cards, 50 premium 2.5 x 2.5 envelopes, and a custom rubber stamp for you to imprint your social media message on the cards. Preprinted cards are available for a $25 upcharge. Shipping is included for orders within the continental United States. Message me for more info!
I am currently booking my calendar for June & July 2016 … If you’re my client, we’ll work through all of this during your project. Let’s connect, and dream big!
You know when you feel it … the perfect client sends you a message, and you know that this will be magic. Jenny was this person! She approached me with some amazing ideas … while she’s been creating her business & brand for some time, she was ready to see it grow – for it to truly represent her heart.
Folklife Photography is deep & meaningful. Jenny documents love stories in the shape of elopements and intimate weddings, and she also photographs women in an effort to empower all of us, collectively. There’s nothing more beautiful to me than someone who says, “This is what I want to show the world, and those it’s meant for will understand it!”
With the depth and mood of Jenny’s work, we wanted to highlight the experience as one with layers. It’s more than just the photographs. Her words are meant to inspire her clients to live fully, and embrace real life. Her tagline that acted as our compass is “Good Vibes Only”, and I loved that we let it drive the mood of our project. We mixed some vintage elements with modern layouts. We played with her tagline, and really made sure the words on her site were perfectly in-line with her overall client experience. I love that we went with letterpress stationery – again, the ink pressed into cotton is a nod to that Folklife feel … cozy, comfortable, and classic. Her envelopes are called “old lace”, and man, I can’t think of a better name that suits this suite.
I could talk about her project more, but for now, I cannot wait to share what we created together.
See the Folklife Photography WEBSITE // visit
Connect with Jenny on FACEBOOK // connect
Follow Jenny on INSTAGRAM // follow
To work with me, to bring your branding dreams to life, CONTACT ME // message
A huge thanks to Jenny for being such a bright beam of light. Be sure you connect with her … you won’t regret it!
Hi lovelies! Happy Thursday … it’s especially happy, because Thursdays are actually like my Fridays! I get to hang out with my little love all day tomorrow, which is a very good reason to be happy. But, when looking for happiness on this day, I definitely have something to be happy about … I am thrilled to be announcing the launch of the new brand identity & site for Rachel Zee Photography.
Rachel’s work is really special … not only is she an amazing lifestyle & editorial photographer, but she also tells stories of couples and families, with her photographs. Her work is stunning. While the locations she chooses are a big part of the visual appeal, it’s mostly about the way she captures these intimate moments between people & their loves. It’s remarkable.
When approaching her brand identity, I knew we needed a design that would highlight her work, which by the way, can be described as simplicity with heart.
I am so pleased with the overall design, and how it all comes together on her new website (powered by Showit
). Overall, it was all about sparking the perfect client experience.
I hope you fall in love with Rachel’s work (and with Rachel, because she’s amazing).
VISIT RACHEL’S SITE
CONNECT WITH RACHEL ON INSTAGRAM
FOLLOW HER ON FACEBOOK
As per usual, there’s been radio silence over here. Life has been … life. The new year has brought a lot our way: a very active, talkative toddler … amazing new clients … a new, healthier lifestyle for J and I … and some new adventures. One of my goals for 2016 was to share more of my real life on this blog. As a brand coach, I encourage my clients to share their hearts, and do so consistently. I’m taking my own advice, and applying it here.
So, life … it’s been crazy. I’m in the constant battle between finding a work/life balance that feels right for our family. I know I’m not alone here. Being a working parent is hard work … letting the guilt/imbalance just be there is something I’ve been trying to accept. Instead of beating myself up for not finishing my to-do list, I’m working really hard each day to keep everything manageable. From the moment I drop Alba off at school, to the time I leave to pick her up, I feel like a boss. I’m working hard … I’m meeting deadlines. I’m being creative. Once that little gal is in my arms, it’s time to sink into my other role, and let the to-do list go.
One way I’ve been dealing with daily stress/anxiety is getting into working out. For the last 31 days, I have worked out every.single.day. And, I love it. I love seeing my body change. I love the measurable gain in strength. I love that I feel strong & empowered. If guilt was a pie chart, a large portion of it was not making time for self-care. For the last month, I’ve picked Alba up from school, set her up with a snack (or stickers … or play dough), and then worked out for 30 minutes. One of my excuses was not having the time (and I didn’t feel right taking time from my work day), so I made the time. I’ve had moments while I’m in a plank, and Alba is crying right in my face for a hug. I’ve had to say, “Mommy needs a minute. I’m doing this to be strong. I’m doing this for you!” … The first couple weeks were brutal … she couldn’t understand that I needed some physical space. Now, she’ll set up her yoga mat right next to mine, and “workout” with me. There are still a lot of moments where she walks behind me when I’m doing kicks/lunges, or crawls under my belly when I’m doing yoga. It’s all part of the fun.
Work wise, 2016 brought a new element to the Three Fifteen Design experience: a faster client timeline. Allowing myself 12 weeks per project left room for procrastination, but it also encouraged me to book more than I could handle. This year, projects are much shorter (just 4-6 weeks), and it feels
good amazing to have momentum. I will be sharing the 2nd 1/2 of my 2015 projects soon, and with March approaching, I’ll be sharing more full projects from 2016.
So, I’m here … I feel like the new year has truly brought a lot of good energy my way. I hope that I can exude this, and use it in my business (always working towards that balance). While I don’t visit this blog nearly as much as I wish I could, I hope that each visit brings value to its readers! Thanks for sticking with me.
I hope you’re having a beautiful year so far!
While I suck at blogging, I do share bits of life & work over on Instagram. Follow me there!