Are you wondering what happens to my Brick House Branding alumni post-graduation? What they do with the momentum and new-found knowledge? Curious about where they take their businesses in the year following all that hard work?
I’m back with another installment in my “Where Are They Now?” series and I’m doing-cartwheels-excited to show you the serious waves my BHB graduates are making!
Say hello to Harmony of Old Soul Artisan
I’m thrilled to kick off this round of catching up with my Brick House Branding graduates with Harmony Todd of Old Soul Artisan. After digging deep in Brick House Branding, Harmony fully embraced her brand’s dark side + emerged with a beautiful, focused brand. Welcome, Harmony! We’re so glad to have you here.
Lucky Break: Why and when did you originally launch your company?
Harmony: I launched Old Soul Artisan in September 2014. I had just finished graduate school and spent the summer evaluating career options that had at one time seemed logical but were now surfacing questions about whether any of them would lead me to the life I wished to have. The cure to some of this anxiety came in the form of creativity by resuming an old hobby I had of making candles. The beginnings of my company were similar to many makers: I made candles for fun, gave them to friends, someone mentioned I should start selling them, and so I did! Within a few weeks I had created a small product line, designed simple labels that I printed at home, and got a booth at the local farmers market.
Lucky Break: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?
Harmony: By early 2017 I had been in business for a few years and had grown a small following of customers and a handful of wholesale accounts. My business was growing, but very slowly. I was struggling with the feeling of working all the time and some weeks having very little to show for it in my bank account. Most of my sales were from repeat customers. While that let me know I had a great product, I realized I had a problem attracting new customers or new stockists. I felt like I was just spinning my wheels and that my marketing and brand messaging must have been so disconnected that my brand wasn’t able to stand out.
Old Soul Artisan packaging and logo, BEFORE Brick House Branding and a rebrand.
Lucky Break: Please share a significant realization about the brand development process that you discovered while in Brick House Branding.
Harmony: The most significant realization is that I needed to niche way down. Lela said something to the effect of “when you try to speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” The exercises in Brick House Branding led me to visualize the company I wanted to build. I realized I needed to put more of my own artistic flair into it. It dawned on me that I had given up a career for the pursuit of creative freedom and that my company had not been reflecting the creativity I had bottled up inside of me. BHB helped me infuse this creativity with a brand story that targeted a niche market and the result has been a company that is more genuine and unique.
Lucky Break: What professionals did you tag in to help with the process, and what pieces of the branding puzzle did you DIY?
Harmony: I manufacture all my items, so everything from scent development to pouring and labeling candles is done in-house. Additionally, I built my own website on Shopify, wrote all the new copy, and designed my wholesale line sheet.
However, trying to DIY everything was one reason I had found myself in the position I was in, so I tagged in several professionals for help. I hired a wonderful graphic designer who was also a photographer that had experience with other brands with a darker aesthetic so I knew she would understand the look I was going for. She helped bring my vision to life by updating my logo and designing new product labels and marketing materials. After having my labels professionally printed (which look much better than anything I could have printed at home), I shipped my items to my designer to have them photographed. The investment was worth it. Not only do my items have a much more professional and sophisticated presentation, but outsourcing this work saved me a lot of time and stress that these tasks used to create.
Old Soul Artisan packaging and logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand.
Lucky Break: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?
Harmony: The biggest obstacle was learning that everything takes longer than you expect it to. In the end, everything worked out and I was able to launch the new branding on time but it was a big lesson learned in project planning for the future. The biggest problem I ran into was with my printer. I expected to have my labels printed in two weeks but it ended up taking about six weeks because they weren’t color matching correctly. I ended up having to change label paper due to this but it actually turned into a positive outcome since the textured paper enhanced the leather-bound book cover design of my labels.
Lucky Break: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding?
Harmony: It has changed a lot! Before the rebrand I was directing everyone to my Etsy store. My photos were OK but certainly not professional. There was always a voice in my head that said “in the future…”. In the future, I will have a website or better photography or this or that. There were always things that I was unhappy with, most of it because I tried to DIY everything that I simply didn’t have the talent for. After finishing Brick House Branding I now feel much more empowered to get out there and talk about my company, and with the additional information learned in LBU feel ready to pitch retailers with confidence.
Lucky Break: Are your products are being received differently by others since the rebrand? How has their reaction evolved?
Harmony: The reaction was amazing! When I launched the new branding (and website) I received great feedback about it. My customers loved the new direction of the company. A cohesive brand story is incredibly important and my customers could immediately identify exactly how much work went into this rebrand. The products are basically the same but the new presentation and storytelling that has been interwoven into each of the scent descriptions has been an exciting change to my customers. I’ve also begun to see more press and retailer notice that I imagine will only help my company to continue to grow.
Lucky Break: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of the rebrand?
Harmony: Even though I’ve been in business for four years now, there has always been some nagging thought in my head questioning the sustainability of my business and its potential for growth. Due to the positive reaction to the rebrand I finally feel like, “Yeah, I can make this entrepreneur thing work!”
Old Soul Artisan packaging and logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand.
Lucky Break: How did Brick House Branding experience help shape your branding process?
Harmony: It simply wouldn’t have been possible without BHB. Lela asked all the right questions that got me thinking about things in an entirely new light. Without the trainings, worksheets, feedback, and coaching calls I would have never been able to get my brand story as cohesive as it is now. Hiring Lucky Break Consulting was the best professional development investment I’ve ever made.
Lucky Break: What do you wish you had known at the beginning of the brand development process? What advice would you give to someone who’s getting ready to start the brand development process?
Harmony: You have got to go into this with an open mind and be willing to objectively analyze your business. You need to be prepared to change things you may not have expected to when you started the process and also be willing to invest in upgrading things like photography and packaging. My rebranding experience required a lot of soul searching. It was hard work but absolutely worth it.
Be patient and expect there to be delays in the launch timeline. Rebranding can be a massive project. There can be hiccups along the way, especially when you tag in other professionals to help. It took me 14 months to finish the rebrand. Please be gentle with yourself and keep generous amounts of wiggle room in your project timeline.
Finally, enjoy the process! You will learn a lot about yourself and your business along the way.
Thanks for catching up with us, Harmony. We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you and Old Soul Artisan… We’re cheering you on!
If you’d like to build a stronger, smart brand in 2019, then I hope that you’ll consider joining me in the winter semester of Brick House Branding. This 9-week brand development mentorship dissects awesome brands and then helps you build your own, brick by brick, with me working right alongside you to cheer you on and ensure that you’re on the right track. Enrollment opens on October 2!