Where are they now: Angela Heitz of Angel Minaro

Angel Minaro, after Brick House Branding + a rebrand

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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!

 

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SAY HELLO TO ANGELA OF ANGEL MINARO

This week I’m thrilled to catch up with my Brick House Branding graduate Angela of Angel Minaro. Angela really embraced my message to niche, niche, niche (and niche some more), and she turned a good brand into a great brand. The transformation is stunning! Welcome, Angela! We’re so glad to have you here.

 

 

Lucky Break: Why and when did you originally launch your company?

Angela: At college, I specialized in product formulation and so I had always dabbled in making skin and body care products. I had dreamed of having a skincare store but never really did anything to realize that dream. In 2009, my now-husband and more than a few friends and colleagues got let go from their jobs. It seemed to be commonplace at the time. I felt a deep anxiety that I needed to have something to fall back on if indeed I ended up with the same fate, so I went to work and started seriously formulating and creating skincare products that I could market as a serious business. In 2011 after a lot of hard work, Angel Minaro launched and I was so very proud of it.

 

 

Angel Minaro, before Brick House Branding and rebrand

Angel Minaro, before Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

 

Lucky Break: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?

Angela: After a few years in business, I really wasn’t seeing any progress or results. I had a few accounts here and there and a few sales. I was working very hard but the business wasn’t profitable, so I knew there was something missing. I don’t think I ever really knew that I needed a rebrand until I took Lela’s Brick House Branding class.

 

While taking the class, I shockingly realized that I didn’t really know what a brand was and how deep branding is. I began to realize that that was at the root of the problem.

 

 

 

Lucky Break: Please share a significant realization about the brand development process that you discovered while in Brick House Branding.

Angela: For me, the brand development process was very emotional. I realized that I didn’t have a brand identity or an ideal client. It was very gut-wrenching to me when I got to the realization that I had worked so hard for so many years and that I would literally have to start again. I had to get to this point emotionally though to realize that I couldn’t hold on to the past and to be willing to move on.

 

I had to figure out who my ideal client was and get to know her inside out. Her wants and needs, likes and dislikes, everything!

 

It dawned on me that I needed my brand to resonate with my ideal client as strongly as my old brand did with me. It had to be all about her, and all of a sudden it clicked for me what branding was all about.

 

 

Angel Minaro, before Brick House Branding + a rebrand

Angel Minaro, before Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

 

 

Lucky Break: What professionals did you tag in to help with the process, and what pieces of the branding puzzle did you DIY?

Angela: I hired the same graphic designer who designed my old labels to work on the new labels and boxes because we have a really good working relationship. This time though, I was armed with all the information I needed to convey what I wanted from her. Not just… “Make it pretty”! I didn’t have that before.

 

Gilah Press and design printed the labels and Custom Boxes Corp printed my product boxes. They were so helpful.  I got the super talented Madam Scodioli (a referral from Lucky Break Consulting) to take my product shots and as you can see, the difference is crystal clear.

 

I will be writing my own product descriptions, and this is purely due to financial reasons but as soon as I can swing it, I’ll be tagging in a professional to do that.

 

 

 

Lucky Break: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?

Angela: Trying to figure out my brand identity and time!

 

First of all, I had to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t really have a brand, and then trying figure out my brand identity was hard and took me a long time. I also had a timeline for completing the rebrand, but I’m learning fast that life gets in the way and that’s the reason I still haven’t officially relaunched. But I’m still pushing through. If you want it bad enough, you have to keep going, and that’s what I’m doing.

 

As painstakingly slow as the progress has been, I look at where I started and where I am now and I’m really proud of how far I’ve come.

 

 

Angel Minaro, after Brick House Branding + a rebrand

Angel Minaro, after Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

 

Lucky Break: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding?

Angela: Honestly I feel more confident about my brand. It is more cohesive. I feel more comfortable pitching to my ideal client because I believe my pitch. I know what I’m offering and who I’m offering it to. The old brand really wasn’t speaking to anyone and was completely all over the place.

 

 

 

Lucky Break: Are your products are being received differently by others since the rebrand? How has their reaction evolved?

Angela: It has been received very well. The feedback I’ve had from the focus groups has been overwhelmingly positive and most importantly the reactions and feelings that I’m trying evoke with my products seem to be happening. The rebrand has been having a more emotional response than the…“Your products are good” response!

 

 

 

Lucky Break: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of the rebrand?

Angela: A few upscale wedding industry professional have inquired about including my products as gifts to their clients. I’m really excited but also feel a bit intimidated.

 

 

 

Angel Minaro, after Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Angel Minaro, after Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

 

Lucky Break: How did Brick House Branding experience help shape your branding process?

Angela: It was my road map. It literally helped me realize that I didn’t have a brand and that I had to start from scratch. Once that happened, I found that it was a complete guide that helped me figure out what I was offering, who I was offering it to and how to do it…very well!

 

I’m always referring to the Brick House Branding curriculum when I’m working on any aspect of my brand.

 

 

 

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?

Angela: I wish I knew how emotional it would be. I would say to someone who’s getting ready to start the brand development process that they should come in with an open mind and be ready for some really hard and intense physical and emotional work.  But it’s so worth it!!!!

 

 

Thanks for catching up with us, Angela. We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you and Angel Minaro… 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!

 

 

 

Where are they now: Angie Chua of bobo design studio

Angie Photo

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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!

 

Angie Photo

 

SAY HELLO TO ANGIE OF BOBO DESIGN STUDIO

You might recognize Angie from Team Lucky Break.  But before Angie was a part of my team, she was a client and a BHB graduate. I’ve been uber impressed with her since I first met her at Craftcation, and watching her grow her brand has given me many a proud mama moment. Cheers, Angie!

 

 

Lucky Break: Why and when did you originally launch your company?

Angie: I launched bobo in 2008 making handcrafted makeup bags. I was working at a pharma startup that ended up closing its doors during the economic downturn of 2009. Unsure of what my next job was going to be, I began putting more effort into bobo. I had grand dreams to turn it into something, but looking back, it was definitely a hobby at best.

 

Shortly after losing my pharma job, I started my career in brand advertising, and that consumed my life until 2017 when I decided to give bobo the college effort I always dreamed of.  So while I started in 2008, I really consider 2017 the start of my company.

 

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bobo design studio, BEFORE Brick House Branding

 

 

Lucky Break: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?

Angie: I always joke that I had been a “long time stalker turned client,” but it’s true!  I had been following Lela and her work for a while.

 

The second I quit my job, I threw down coin to work with Lela in BHB because I needed her to blow down this house so I could build it up again properly.  I figured that I had the disposable cash at the time and thought I should tap in the help early instead of waiting till I’ve made every mistake and then trying to scramble the funds together to get that lifeline from her.  So the decision to rebrand wasn’t even really about the rebrand itself, it was about utilizing Lela’s resources while I had the financial wiggle room to do so and set the foundation for my business.

 

 

Lucky Break: Please share a significant realization about the brand development process that you discovered while in Brick House Branding.

Angie: I knew BHB was going to be challenging work. This wasn’t the first time I had  seen a “build your target customer worksheet” or read about branding. What I did not expect was how much of an emotional process BHB was going to be. This is where Lela really shines.

 

She helped me build a deep connection to my brand and my work in a way that transformed everything for me- how I view my products, how I think about my brand, how I talk about my brand, how I create content, and how I want others to view and experience it.

 

 

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

 

 

Lucky Break: What professionals did you tag in to help with the process, and what pieces of the branding puzzle did you DIY? 

Angie: I had joined some online groups, “masterminds” so to speak, and taken one “target customer” online course.  While the info I learned was useful, it was all very “cookie cutter.”

 

Nothing was groundbreaking. Nothing was actually focused on my business, and it was information that could be easily found googled from a blog post somewhere on the internet. I knew Lela was the real deal, so I didn’t spend too much effort searching the web for SEO friendly blog posts by people who were not authoritative in the space.

 

 

Lucky Break: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?

Angie: The biggest obstacle was nailing down the essence of my brand in a way that felt authentic, not just to me, but to my customers. I have ADHD, and I tend to be all over the place creatively (and in life), but finally ironing out my “core” helped me reign in the ideas, edit my products, and made the creation process more straightforward.

 

bobo design studio's Instagram feed, before + after Brick House Branding

bobo design studio’s Instagram feed, before (left) + after (right)  Brick House Branding

 

 

Lucky Break: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding?

Angie: It is night and day. My brand is growing in ways that I can only attribute to Lela and BHB. Before BHB, I had no direction. I walked into fabric stores and walked up and down the aisle to see what prints spoke to me. I’d spend so much on prints that I’d bring home and never end up using.  I was waiting for the fabric to speak to me to generate inspiration. It’s very much an artist’s way of thinking.

 

Now, I think like a brand instead of an artist.  I think about my customer, where they are going, what colors and patterns they gravitate to, what complimentary goods provide value to their life? That fuels my decision-making process, and in the end, I create a more cohesive collection of goods that speak to them (and me!)

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Lucky Break: Are your products are being received differently by others since the rebrand? How has their reaction evolved?

Angie: 100%.  People used to love my bright prints, not because of what bobo meant to them. My bags acted as great gifts; purchased by someone needing a unique gift in a pinch.  It almost was a placeholder for something of meaning. My goods didn’t end up with someone who drew a connection to what I created.  In the end, it didn’t have any real intrinsic value to the person who was buying my bags or the person receiving it.

 

But once I re-branded, I began to see repeat customers. I saw people who tagged me in photos using my bags when they traveled (which is in the context of my brand- Wanderlust goods), they began to see themselves in the brand and built loyalty to my products.

 

 

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

 

 

Lucky Break: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of the rebrand?

Angie: I have two significant ones-

  1. I was asked to be a part of this branding case study! I think in my final survey for BHB, I said a goal of mine was to be a “before and after” case study! Ta Da!
  2. When one of my favorite organizations, Dear Handmade Life said they wanted to do a blog post and feature me on a podcast revolving around the evolution of my brand, how I handle social media as it pertains to my branding, and how I stay authentic to my business.

 

Sometimes branding is the work that people don’t see and takes the most effort behind the scenes. To have someone else externally take note, and acknowledge the intangible parts of the business that I’ve poured my heart and soul into- it’s so validating, not just for me as a person, but for the investment in working with Lela.

 

 

Lucky Break: How did Brick House Branding experience help shape your branding process?

Angie: BHB taught me to narrow my focus and hone in on a niche. Strangely the opposite result occurred- it gave me more creative freedom to create relevant products and gave me permission to make product decisions that would or would not ultimately serve my customer.

 

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

bobo design studio, AFTER Brick House Branding

 

 

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?

Angie: If I could go back in a time machine and give myself some advice, it would be to sign up for this sooner. It’s never too early to think about branding. It will only save money, pain, and emotional heartache by tapping someone in as early as possible.

 

Investing in branding is not dependent on how far along you are or how big of a brand you are- it’s about investing in building a proper foundation. It’s about how well you understand what it is you do, the value you bring, the visual and verbal communication of that value, and understanding your customer on a deep level.  It’s about valuing your business enough to invest in it, and take it seriously.

 

Thanks for catching up with us, Angie. We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you and bobo design studio… 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!

 

Where Are They Now? Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

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Are you wondering what happens to my LBU or BHB alumni post-graduation? What they do with the momentum + new-found knowledge? Curious about where they take their businesses in the year following all that hard work? This week we’re continuing our “Where Are They Now?” series, catching up with graduates who are truly “leveling up” their creative businesses. I hope you’ll join me in cheering on these makers + product designers!

This week we’re talking to LBU alum Lisa Buteux, whose up-leveling and streamlining of her apothecary brand Comfort & Joy led to an invitation to live pitch her line to West Elm buyers. She was then accepted to host a pop up shop in her local store, as well as have her products carried by West Elm LOCAL in her area. Congratulations, Lisa…we’re excited to share your story!

 

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

 

 

LBC: Was this your first time participating in a live pitch?

Lisa: Yes, this was my first time.

 

LBC: What did you do in advance to prepare?

Lisa: I printed copies of my “about” page and line sheet. I also put together little sample bags to give to the people I met at West Elm.

 

LBC: How were you feeling as your prepared?

Lisa: I was nervous, but excited and honored to have been given this opportunity. It felt like being pushed from the nest for the first time. It was one of those defining moments where you realize that your hard work is being recognized.

 

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

 

LBC: What was your mindset as you walked into the pitch?

Lisa: I felt a mix of thoughts and emotions. Some of my inner conversations went something like, “Well, Lisa, here we go! This is the summation of all that you have worked for, and you have been blessed with the opportunity to share your story with the ‘big guys’… Let’s DO this!”

 

LBC: What kind of questions were asked of you during the pitch?

Lisa: They mainly focused on the story of my business, and were very interested in the “why” of my business. They were happy to hear that I also have a program where I give back to an organization that helps women and their children recover from abusive situations.

 

LBC: How long did the pitch session last and who was present?

Lisa: I pitched to two stores. Each session lasted about 15 minutes. I was interviewed by one store manager for each.

 

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

 

LBC: What was the outcome of your pitch to West Elm?

Lisa: I am happy to share that my products were accepted into one of the West Elm stores in New York City. I will also be part of the catalog for all of the LOCAL stores in my area, so I may be in other locations as well. I have done one pop up so far, with another scheduled.

 

LBC: What role has Lucky Break played in the evolution of your business?

Lisa: Where do I start? Without Lucky Break, I would definitely not be where I am today.  I took Lela’s LBU Live “how to wholesale” course, which taught me MUCH more than how to wholesale. I really learned about all the aspects of running a small product-based business. It was the best thing I ever did for Comfort & Joy Apothecary. Lela is the quintessential mentor, and delivers courses worth their weight in gold. She digs DEEP, and is so very thorough. Lela truly cares about her students, and takes what she does very, very seriously. I am so blessed and fortunate to have met her and taken part in her programs.

 

LBC: What was the most important business lesson you learned last year?

Lisa: Stay the course. Keep fighting. Stick to your “why”. Don’t give up.

 

Lisa Buteux of Comfort & Joy Apothecary

A shot of Lisa’s West Elm pop up

 

LBC: What do you wish you had known or been better prepared for going into the pitch with West Elm? 

Lisa: I made a line sheet on the fly. Soon after that, I used Lucky Break’s VIP Line Sheet Design Service, and they created an absolutely beautiful and professional line sheet and order form for my business. I feel proud to share them with new and potential stockists.

 

Q: If you were given the opportunity to live pitch again, would you?

Lisa: Yes, absolutely!

 

 

Many thanks to Lisa for spending a few minutes with us. The entire Lucky Break team is cheering you on!

Are you an LBU or BHB Alumni with some big news to share? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “LBU/BHB ALUMNI” as the subject line. We love to celebrate alongside you and shout out your success…

 

Meet the Maker – Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare

Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare

Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare

 

Today in our Meet the Maker series, we have a very special guest in the form of LBU alumna Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare. Renan joins us from Potomac, Maryland, and we are thrilled to share her story with you today. Welcome, Renan!

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

Renan: I have been an entrepreneur all of my adult life; I have always worked for myself, so for me it was not a leap, but a part of who I am and what I’m used to. Being an entrepreneur is all I know and all I’ve ever done. Actually, if I were ever to work for someone else, that would be a leap for me!

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Renan: I started my business in such an unplanned way. I always say that the universe pointed me in this direction. I originally started Sans Skincare to help my beautiful mother, who at the time was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I wanted to find healthy products to use on her skin. But as I look back, I realize that I started Sans also to help myself get through a very painful time in my life. Starting Sans at the time I did, when my mother was so sick, distracted me from the awful reality of what was going on. So because the start of Sans was so unplanned, I really didn’t envision anything. At that time, I was really taking one day at a time.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Renan: I would describe my products as pure and simple skincare. I try to create products that are simple in every way. Simple from the ingredients I use, to the number of ingredients I use, all the way to the very simple and minimal packaging. There is a serenity that one gets from simplicity. Simple is important to me.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Renan: You can find Sans Skincare products on our website (www.SansSkincare.com), at small boutique spas and stores, and being used by estheticians.

Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Renan: I am an early riser, so things start pretty early for me. I must have gotten used to that from years of taking my older son to water polo every morning at 5 o’ clock!

After taking my younger son to school, my first order of business every morning is a hot cup of tea with our homegrown honey. Can’t start my day without that! I typically like to address emails first thing so I don’t keep anyone waiting. This way I know that I have gotten back to everyone in a timely manner before the craziness of the day begins.

Since I wear all the hats in my business, each day is different and I try to designate specific days for specific tasks. For example, I try to do all of my formulating early in the week, and try to get all orders out early in the week so no products sit around on a truck over the weekend. Days that I am formulating, I usually just formulate and nothing else. Later in the week is designated for business things. A typical ‘business’ day might be working on collateral materials for marketing, then doing a photo shoot of products and other related items to be used for social media.

Organization is an ongoing process, and I do it every day, trying to make my processes more efficient. The evenings are usually set aside for things that I can easily do on my iPad like social media, research, planning, note taking, etc. I even sleep with my iPad next to my bed for spontaneous ideas in the middle of the night!

 

LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Renan: I think the most important question one can ask themselves before starting a business is if there is actually a need for their specific business. I see so many people starting businesses without doing the upfront research needed to see if their product or service will actually sell. This is so important and can save a lot of frustration, time, and money. I even suggest doing a ‘dry run’ before actually launching. Put your idea or product out there on a small scale first and see if there is any interest, and realize that you are not only looking for interest, but you are looking for sustainable interest.

It’s also very important to think your business model through well…very well. Not just what kind of a business will it be, how will it function, but also a very important question to ask is, “How will this business integrate with my life?” For me, it was very important to find a business that will fit in with my life. My younger son has special needs and requires more attention than a typical child; for this reason, I needed to create a business that would provide me the ability to have flexibility. My business must work around my family. I firmly believe that one’s business must fit into their life, and not the other way around. It makes for a much happier and less stressed life!

Lastly, but certainly not least, please, please ask yourself if you can afford to start your business at this time. This sounds very simple, but the reality is that many businesses fail because someone didn’t calculate the upfront costs, and they didn’t factor in that somehow you have got to be able to have an income stream coming from somewhere else while you are trying to generate this new income stream.

 

Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare

 

LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Renan: I really don’t get overwhelmed. The times that I do become frazzled, I try to step back and look at the big picture, and put things into perspective. I think it’s important to assess the situation and reassign importance and reaction. In most cases, I realize that I am giving a situation more importance and reaction than it really deserves.

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Renan: My training is in graphic design and I have had my own design firm for the past 15 years. Initially, when I started Sans, my inclination was to hire a designer to create my brand look. I thought I was too close to the process and thought that I wouldn’t be able to do a good job for my own company. After much thought, I decided to keep the design in-house and do it myself. It was difficult I must say. Much more than anything I have ever done for a client in my 15 years as a designer. I suddenly knew what it felt like to be on the other side of the table. As difficult as it was, I’m glad I took he project on myself. It probably took me 3 times as long to come up with my ‘look’, but I’m happy with it, and I saved a lot of money in the beginning when every penny saved was so important.

I also think in the beginning it was a very good idea to involve my friends and family in the marketing of the business/products. I have an amazingly loyal and loving family and friends. When I launched this business, everyone took serious responsibility for getting the word out, passing out samples, and calling on all their connections (I have some well connected family and friends!) This was huge in getting the initial big push. I would say to anyone starting a business use your resources, task your friends with getting the word out; one person tells another tells another.

 

LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?

Renan: My biggest obstacle was right after I had developed my brand – after I had developed the formulas and my packaging was on lock, I was ready to get started, but I didn’t know what to do next. I was trying to figure all this out by myself, but I had never created and tried to sell a product before. I somehow found the Indie Business Network (IBN) and I joined. I initially joined just to get my liability insurance, but I quickly realized what amazing, amazing support IBN, and other groups like it, can provide. The help, knowledge, inspiration, and resources I was able to get from fellow makers was incredible. I soon began asking questions and really involving myself. I think the big lesson I learned was to not isolate myself. I was able to get so much direction from other makers.

 

LBC:  Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?

Renan: Of course, the cure for cancer is important for me. A portion of my profits have always gone to cancer research. But recently my focus has taken a turn. I am still, as a company, very interested in supporting the cure for cancer but now this support in much more focused. I have recently come upon a doctor who is making huge strides in the cure for cancer. He is not well know at this time, but I’m confident soon he will be as his protocols are currently going through the last stages of FDA approval. This doctor has spent his life fighting for those with cancer and first hand I have seen this remarkable man cure those who are stricken with this awful disease. There is currently a documentary in the works about him. I am so taken with this wonderful doctor and his work that I want to support him in his efforts.

 

Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare

 

LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Renan: 1. My iPad. I can’t live without my iPad. I have everything on it; I use it to research, store information… I use it for absolutely everything. I would be completely lost without it (don’t worry, it’s backed up!)

2. Social Media. I am on social media every day. Where else can you reach so many people and get so much visibility for free? Social media is modern day advertising. Fewer people are buying expensive media spots and doing all of the advertising/connecting with their customers with social media.

3. My Board of Directors, and I use this term very loosely! Over the years, I have assembled a group of very trusted people. Each of these people have expertise and are very accomplished in a different area. When I have questions, when I don’t know what I’m doing, I call on them. It is one of the best things that I have done for my business!

 

LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?

Renan: I hope you will see a company that is secure and sound. I hope you will find a company that makes good decisions and shows a healthy increase in sales every year. I hope you will see me having the time of my life running this company. But most importantly, I hope Sans can be part of a greater mission, a mission that encourages people to think about their well being and to consider what they are putting onto their skin, what they are eating, how they are living. I hope we can help people realize that it is within each of us to take control, to make our own lives the best it can be and to make our beautiful planet the best that it can be.

 

LBC: Which Lucky Break products or services have you utilized and have they proven helpful? 

Renan: As I described previously, one of the best things I did was to join the Indie Business Network. It was there that I could get answers to my questions. I asked many questions and would get many wonderful answers. But the answers of one really nice, curly-haired woman always resonated with me. She always had very sound answers and advice. One day, I looked her up and found that she had a business consulting company. I went through her website with a fine-toothed comb. Now, you have to know, I’ve never taken online courses, and really didn’t think a course could be taught very successfully online. But I really liked what this woman had to say in our IBN Facebook group, so I took the plunge, with a smaller course to start.

The first course I took was Mastering the Spa Market. It was taught over the course of a couple of nights and honestly, I thought, what can you learn in a few nights? Well, the first night of the class, this woman came online, with her southern drawl, and started teaching. It was after that first class that I knew I’d be around, taking classes from Lela Barker for a long time! This course BLEW ME AWAY. I learned information in that course that, had I tried to learn on my own, would have taken years of trial and error to pick up.

After the Spa class ended, I was all in, no stopping me. Soon after, I registered for Lela’s LBU, class which was everything you ever need to know, from A-Z. I just recently completed the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) class. So much information, so well taught, so easy to follow.

I am so happy. I really do feel that I have a partner in Lela; she is always there to help.

 

Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare

 

LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?

Renan: Salad. Cold greens. I love fresh, straight-from-the-garden veggies. I could eat salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner…no problem!

 

LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?

Renan: My favorite quote is not really a quote; well, it’s more the words of a song. and the song is “I Hope You Dance”. My beautiful mother dedicated that song to her grandchildren and said to them, “And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance…” That is how I live my life…I try to dance!

 

LBC: If you were given a million dollars, but were not allowed to keep a single penny for yourself, friends or family, how would you spend it or give it away?

Renan: Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve said this hundreds of times. I wish I had so much money that I could know what it feels like to give it away. But it’s got to be enough money so as to be able to completely change someone’s stars, to change their life.

If I were just given a million dollars, I would try to find those who are good people, hard-working people but because of circumstances in their lives beyond their control, they just can’t seem to get ahead. I would want to make their lives completely changed and create happy people who don’t need to struggle anymore. I would love that!

 

Thank you, Renan, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love what you’re doing; we’re so honored to be associated with Sans Skincare, and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for you. We’re cheering you on!

 

Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

The difference between a commodity and a brand

The Difference Between a Commodity and a Brand

The Difference Between a Commodity and a Brand

 

Many of us have been thinking about the process of branding all wrong.

 

We think our logo, color palette and font selection is what defines our brand. We mistakenly believe that the visual aesthetics that we’ve carefully constructed to represent us are what sets us apart in the marketplace. And while that’s certainly one piece of the puzzle, your brand’s visual identity is hardly the largest or even the most important piece.

 

At its core, branding is the process of understanding who you want to serve + how you want those people to feel and then working consistently + passionately to create a consistent emotional connection with that audience over time.  So the first question to ask yourself in the process of branding your company is: how do you want your customers to feel? If you’re able to create and sustain emotional resonance, then your products enjoy the opportunity to go beyond mere commodities and transform into a true brand.

 

Commodities are products which can easily be substituted for one another. They’re items for which a demand exists, but no qualitative difference across a marketplace.  Think:  fresh corn, gasoline, steel beams and gold bars.  We could buy one ear of fresh corn or another, but we’re not predicating that purchasing decision on loyalty to a brand. Conventional or organic? Sure. We assess the color and health of each ear, but sell me ABC corn or XYZ corn- I care not, so long as the price is right and the produce looks fresh.

 

In contrast, brands create differentiated products which are highly desired by their customer base. Their customers have some degree of brand loyalty, seeking out those specific goods in the marketplace. Brand customers are less likely to substitute products based on price + availability.

 

Did you catch that? Because it’s pretty damn important. Brand customers are less likely to substitute products based on price + availability. They don’t care that one product may be more readily accessible than their favorite brand. They’ll gladly trek to the market across town or patiently check their mailbox for a week, awaiting the delivery of a much beloved product. Fans in that customer base are no longer slaves to price, grounding each and every purchasing decision on which company can provide the cheapest widget. No, brand customers will gladly pay more to support companies and causes they believe in, that make them feel important or reinforce some aspect or another of their personal identity.

 

True Nike fans won’t purchase a pair of Adidas shoes, even if they’re on sale. Starbucks fans will drive eight more blocks, bypassing the Dunkin’ Donuts shop, in order to satiate their morning coffee fix.  And in order to be successful in the long term, you and I have to discover how to make our handmade soap the soap of choice for the people at the farmer’s market on Saturday. We have to give them a reason to load the kids into the car seats and trek across town replenish their stock at premium pricing. We need to drill deeper into our jewelry, our stationery, our handbags, candles and ceramics to understand what we’re really selling, why it truly matters and how we can enrich the lives of the people we get excited to serve.

 

If you feel as though the current marketplace is growing uncomfortably + increasingly crowded, then it’s time to up your brand game. It’s time to think less about your logo and more about how you can create emotional resonance with the people you get out of bed for each morning.

 

Spend a few minutes today meditating on the three key questions I recommend asking yourself to get at the very heart of your brand:

 

1.    Who do I want to serve?

2.    How do I want them to feel?

3.    What will I do to enrich their lives?

 

The answers to those three queries guide everything else your company will do from product design + development to pricing. And they’ll inform what fonts, colors and imagery you select to represent your brand. But that’s a story for another day…

 

BrandInspirationWorksheet_400

Click here to download my “Brand Inspiration” worksheet

 

If you’re in search of creative brands who are hitting it out of the park, then I’d like to introduce you to a few dozen companies which are fertile ground for inspiration.  Click the image above to download my hyperlinked list of brands to watch- hover over any brand name in green, then click to be whisked right over to their front door.  Look carefully at brands both inside + outside your product category, and take cues about how they execute on their brand promise.

 

Instead of looking exclusively at brands which share an aesthetic that resonates with you, explore new brands and see if you can ascertain, simply by looking at their websites:

 

1. What are they attempting to “own?”

2. Who are they striving to serve?

 

Scrutinize the language used on the websites, the story + details revealed via their “about” page, and the colors, fonts, + product photography which is created to communicate their core. What can you learn by watching these brands in action?

 

If you’re interested in drilling deeper into your brand to create brand loyalty and passionate fans, raise prices and to create a sustainable business, then I’d be honored to welcome you into Brick House Branding. Its maiden voyage is happening this month and the reviews have been so positive and the demand so high, that I’ve decided to teach the series again in June + July. Registration opens Monday, May 26th and seating is very limited. Every last spot was claimed within 3 days last time, so I recommend securing a spot as soon as enrollment opens if you’re interested in building a stronger brand this summer.