Sunday, 16 January 2011

Brand (new) Plan

About a week ago I was working on my business as a whole entity rather than just a way of selling and found a great website called Copyblogger and a series about branding your business there. As an experiment I thought I would go through all of the steps he suggests and I’m putting the step-by-step online. It’s a very useful site. Have a look if you’re interested/involved in small business marketing. This is the second part, the first is over here.

I am doing the second part because the first part had the most positive response to anything I’ve ever put up on here, which was lovely.

It’s also great timing because it coincides with something that is going on over at Etsy. There is a newsletter for sellers called Etsy Success which is run by a lovely lady called Danielle and she is currently running a Shop Makeover. I opened the email and the very first thing looking back at me was called Building Your Brand. Perfect!

So, here goes part two.

11. What do you plan to offer?
I am hoping to keep adding to my range depending on what people respond well to. I am going to sell my jewellery at craft fairs and in shops and keep online selling limited to collage work. At the moment I am working on a range of greeting cards to be sold either in bundles or individually. If that goes well I might work on prints, digital copies of my collages and then branching out into other paper goods. It would also be great if I could offer more custom designs and have that as a service providing branch of the business. I hope that my text and image collages remain as the flagship product at least for the moment.

12. What makes you unique?
Many things I hope.  I guess I have to thank my grandmother for a lot of my quirks but experience probably has a lot to do with it as well.
This actually seems the most personal of all of these questions. I don’t think I can summarise what makes me unique and I’m not sure that I know either.

13. What hobbies or interests do you have?
I love walking. I adore the ocean and beachcombing. I don’t think travelling is particularly unusual as a hobby but I find a lot of my inspiration from places I visit. I take a lot of photographs – which obviously ties into my collages as that’s where a lot of the material comes from. I try to do as much gardening as I can but that usually depends on the weather! Most of my interests come through in my artworks.

14. What are your core beliefs?
Creativity good = ordinary life bad.
Other people may be smarter or richer but that doesn’t mean that they know best or are doing things the right way for you.
People will always surprise you, sometimes in a good way and sometimes not.
Don’t plan too far ahead, it won’t work.
The most interesting people are rarely found at swanky dinner parties or clubs but in the local shop or next to you on a train, everyone has a story.
Two very normal things in combination can be completely extraordinary.

15. What makes you uncomfortable?
I don’t like talking on the telephone – I always put it off as long as possible when I have to do it. I would rather talk to people face-to-face or email them. I’m not a fan of self-promoting, which is tough because that’s all I’m doing at the moment. I hate telling people that the things I make are good (my toes involuntarily curled just typing that). But I like my work, I just hope others do as well. Lots of other things make me uncomfortable but they have nothing at all to do with business. (Being given small children to hold, people talking loudly in libraries, walking into a pub/restaurant to meet people and not knowing where they are sitting, being set up on dates by well-meaning friends etc…)

16. If money were no object, and you could do anything you wanted for “work,” would you still do what you’re doing now?
Yes. I’d probably buy more expensive materials but otherwise this is what I would spend my time doing and then give the products to a charity to sell.

One of the new card ideas
17. What are your favorite colors?
I would love to know other people’s favourite colours. I love blue, my favourite gemstone is blue Tanzanite, I like blue clothes and blue flowers. I’m not a bit fan of yellow, mostly because it looks terrible with my skin tone but I really do like and appreciate all colours. I have been trying to work out what colours are popular with my collages but all I can see is that there is no pattern! Something that I know from Etsy is that it is useful to link specific colours with emotive descriptors to help people find what they are looking for.

18. Is there a specific design style that you really like?
I’m a traditionalist in most areas but I like mixing that with absurdist themes. I think a lot of collages can get boring if you don’t tweak things to change perceptions. Most of my materials are traditional but I mix bright colours with gravestone lettering to mess around with the genre. I don’t think traditional equates to boring but rather to a great familiar platform that is a lot of fun to play around with.

19. What emotion(s) do people associate with you?
Oh dear. Stubborn I would imagine, stroppy or maybe determined. I hope creative. I do try to be kind. I think that a lot of flaws can be forgiven if you try to be good and do good. I just hope people don’t find me boring or average that would be about the worst thing that someone could say about me. I guess this is really a question for other people rather than me.

20. What brands / designs from other companies make you jealous?
There are so many great designs that you can see all of the time. I admire people who have different talents than I have because I wish I could be like them. I admire people who have similar talents to mine because I know the work that goes into them. I tend not to get inspiration from other artists whose work is similar to mine, partly because that feels like stealing and partly because it tends to be very new ideas which inspire me the most. Andrew Zuckerman’s photography takes my breath away, Colin McCahon’s art is my favourite in the world. I tend to get a lot of inspiration from other sellers on Etsy and when I do I either add them to my favourites or plonk them in my next treasury so if you’re really interested then that’s where to look.

Part two done and dusted. I really do hope people are still interested in this, if nothing else it is great to be able to try and sort through my ideas about my business. It's also fab having this online so that I can look at it if I need reminding of what I am doing, and by writing things down hopefully I will stick to the plan more closely.



  1. Lovely to read your blogs Vicky. I've also enjoyed looking at some of the other blogs that you refer to. Your blog has inspired me to set up my own.
    Tony Beale

  2. Thanks for posting this! I am just getting to it after the Etsy newsletter with the links sat in my email inbox, and I'm thrilled to finally get to read!

  3. What are your core beliefs? How do other people think of you? ug!! Again, I say, you are brave for doing it and very brave for doing it publicly! Thank you.