Sunday, March 20, 2011

Building Your Brand

I don't think branding crossed my mind once until I opened Stuck Together. When you are out and about in the world, I think it is just something you take for granted. But, every retailer has a brand. They have a team of people who work on creating, building, maintaining and progressing that brand. While you may not have a team of people working on your creative business or craft, it is a good idea and a smart business move to spend some time developing a brand for your product.

Brand is defined as:
"A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity - it affects the personality of a product, company or service."

Here are some helpful steps to help you start in the journey of creating a brand for your shop!

1. LOGO! Create a logo that is only yours and use that logo on EVERYTHING you make, advertise, create and promote. People will begin to recognize your logo and associate it with your products and business. This is a good thing! You want people to know who you are and a logo is the first step.

2. Be cohesive! It is important that you follow a cohesive style with your products. This can be accomplished through using consistent materials, colors or procedures. They should also be photographed in a cohesive way with the same backgrounds and lighting. You can see this in many of the successful shops on Etsy and other creative marketplaces.

3. Create a line! One of a kind items have their place, but you will find that successful brands have a "line" of products that can be recreated again and again. This saves you time and money. You can buy supplies in bulk or wholesale when you are planning to recreate an item. Time is saved when you only have to make one sample to photograph rather than many OOAK items that each need to be photographed. This is smart business!

4. Progress! You can progress your brand by adding new items which support and evolve your current lines. These new items should still be recognizable as yours, through the cohesion and logo placement, but they are NEW. People love new! But do not sacrifice all the the branding work you have done. It should all "go" together. Just imagine your products like a family. Different things that all look like they come from the same place.

Best of luck to you on your branding journey!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't Forget to Keep Going

My mom asked me the other day why I keep making and adding new stuff to my shop. Isn't 200 items enough? Oh, silly momma! I gave her a thesis statement on the importance of progress and momentum.

I am always looking for new designs and brainstorming new ideas to keep this baby going. Repeat customers want to see new product. They aren't going to buy the same thing twice in most cases. MOMENTUM is the key. Like a snowball down a steep hill. Be the snowball... beeeee the snowball.

The minute you stop moving, it stops moving. Consider your shop a shadow. It is going to follow you where you take it. If you stop in the middle of a field, all confused like, it will stop with you. If you sprint across the field and dance in the sunlight of success (cue awesome metaphor), it will come with you there as well.

Always ask yourself questions!
Where have I been?
Did it work?
Where am I going?
What do I want?
How do I get there?

Just don't stop.... don't ever, ever stop.

PS - I love that friggin' Panda.