Meet the Maker: Leah Klasovsky of Leahlani Skincare

Leahlani Skincare

I’m excited to share another installment of our ongoing “Meet the Maker” series.  Here, we share morsels of business wisdom and a peek behind some of our favorite brands. This one is particularly special Leah Klasovsky of Leahlani Skincare.

 

Meet Leah Klasovsky of Leahlani Skincare

 

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

Leah: Realizing that my body was out of balance, I set out on a quest for healing. Fate led me to Spa Luna, a holistic esthetician school on the Island of Maui. With no prior knowledge of skincare and never having had a facial in my life, I felt a strong pull to trust my intuition… so off we went.

My husband and I packed all of our belongings and moved from Oahu to Maui to embark on this new journey. In life, we have so many defining moments… moments that change our very existence. My experience in the year I spent on Maui did just that, it changed my life.

For the next few years, I immersed myself in the world of holistic skincare and soaked in as much knowledge and advanced education as I could. I became a Spa Director at the Hilton Spa on Kauai and also had the privilege of having my own private esthetician practice. Working one on one with my clients during this time proved to be my most valuable education. I have had the honor of touching hundreds of precious faces over the course of years in my practice, each face told a story of skin longing to be heard and longing to be healed. I quickly learned how valuable my hands truly are, and what powerful healing tools they make.

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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: Harmony Todd of Old Soul Artisan

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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 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.

 

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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.

 

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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!”

 

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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!

 

 

The Lucky Break Calendar – May 2018

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Am I the only one who had to do a double take when I flipped the calendar and it said May? 2018 is rolling along and it’s already time to begin thinking about holidays for the wholesale market. Time – and the holidays – wait for no one my friend.

 

This month the LBC team is busy attending The HSCG Soap Conference where we can’t wait to give hugs and mingle with our favorite alumni. Will I see you there? Be sure to stop by the booth to say hello to me and the team and pick up some Lucky Break swag while you’re at it.

 

Whatever you’re up to this month, know that I’m cheering you on!May2018

Where are they now? Crystal of Sugar + Spruce

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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 round of “Where Are They Now?” case studies and I’m doing-cartwheels-excited to show you the serious waves my BHB graduates are making!

 

SugarSpruce_Crystal

 

Say hello to Crystal of Sugar + Spruce

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Crystal Wellman of Sugar + Spruce. Crystal recently rebranded her apothecary company, and I love how she’s incorporated feminine fun, whimsy, and color into every single aspect of her brand (including an amazing launch party that she shared on Instagram). Welcome, Crystal! We’re so honored to have you.

 

LBC: Why and when did you originally launch your company?

Crystal: Sugar + Spruce started out as Ladyburg, the symbiosis of my passion for skincare and a  shared mother-daughter hobby of making soaps and bath and body products. It was the Summer of 2012 when I had a skincare studio that I operated out of a salon. At the time, I was looking for growth and, as my lease was ending, I took that as a push to pursue my dream of owning and operating a boutique in the quaint historic downtown area of Fredericksburg, Va. After a lot of market research I decided I would combine my passion for skincare and making personal care products. The front of the boutique was our retail store and the back was our skincare studios.

 

Sugar + Spruce packaging and logo, BEFORE Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Sugar + Spruce packaging and logo, BEFORE Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

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

Crystal: Online marketing has grown so much in the past few years. Especially with social media becoming such a necessary tool for business, we wanted to create a brand that could relate to our online audience just as much as our local audience. The name “Ladyburg” didn’t quite resonate with our friends ordering online in say, New York, as much as it does with those here in Fredericksburg. The name, Sugar + Spruce, instantly tells our audience we have a sweet tooth for sprucin’ up! (Plus, we’re no longer mistaken for a “Ladybug”!)

 

Sugar + Spruce packaging and logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Sugar + Spruce packaging and logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

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

Crystal: BHB taught me to dig deep…I still hear Lela saying “Dig Deeper” in my dreams. Digging deep is hard and painful and I honestly wanted to quit every week during BHB.  Prior to BHB, our target “audience” were women 25-45 and that’s all we had, which showed in our marketing since we really had no consistent person to market towards. We were able to define a specific person to be our target customer and that allowed us to have a consistent voice which is easily transferable across all channels of marketing.

 

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

Crystal: Because I was already running a very busy retail and online store, I didn’t have the time to DIY. I tagged in Aeolidia to come in and create a brand that spoke to us as well as our target customer. Having the knowledge of going through BHB made the process of working with Aeolidia so smooth and easy. Now that we had our cheeky brand we needed a company that could help bring our brand to life. We worked with a boutique PR company based in Richmond, Va. named POSH PR®. They’re our creative aids! From branding shoots and in-store parties, to managing social media and blogging, they’ve helped us create a brand personality that’s consistent in its imagery and messaging!

 

Sugar + Spruce packaging and logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Sugar + Spruce packaging and logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

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

Crystal: The timing! (Okay, and maybe my impatience.) I wasn’t quite as prepared for the amount of time re-branding requires. Whether you’re DIYing or tag-teaming with another company, it’s a time consuming endeavor! But you know what they say, “Good things take time!”

 

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

Crystal: Prior to BHB, we were a bit all over the place. We lacked consistency. There was no cohesion between our product, our brand voice, and our design. We started our re-brand with the ending in mind. We knew we wanted to look and feel like a candy store. That one absolute helped streamline our decision-making process when it came to choosing fun colors and patterns. We’re all about the sweetness at Sugar + Spruce and making products that look delicious! We’re appealing to all of the senses and customers can’t help but linger a little while longer (which we have seen through higher transaction amounts!).

 

Sugar + Spruce packaging and logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Sugar + Spruce packaging and logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

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

Crystal: Customers used to think that our products were expensive. Elevating our brand has elevated the perceived value of our products. Through colorfully consistent packaging and cheeky descriptions customers are buying more than a product, they’re engaging in a fun experience! Some of the products have tripled in retail price, yet, they are selling better than ever!

 

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

Crystal: Partnerships! We’ve worked with numerous lifestyle bloggers and influencers who are equally as excited for our new brand. Our new brand has opened up more avenues and we’ve loved exploring how we can continue expanding our brand awareness. Expanding our social media presence has played such a pivotal role in discovering fun partnerships.

 

Sugar + Spruce logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

Sugar + Spruce logo, AFTER Brick House Branding and a rebrand

 

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

Crystal: BHB instilled strategy in my business plan. Admittedly, we used to “wing” it when it came to any kind of business plan. Now, our messaging, marketing, and introduction of new products are much more synchronized, which automatically adds value to our business.

 

LBC: 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?

Crystal: That asking for help is okay and encouraged. I equated doing everything myself to being the best business owner. I learned the hard way that that is far from the truth! I was able to do a little bit of everything without mastering anything, which negatively affected overall quality. I was fortunate to be able to tag in some amazing companies to help with my re-brand: Lucky Break Consulting helped me pinpoint what and who my company was. Aeolidia helped bring my brand to life with amazing graphics, logos, illustrations and sooo much more. Posh PR is helping me bring my brand to life by taking over my messaging, marketing, blogging, branded photo shoots and helping to keep me sane. My in-store visual company has transformed the interior of the store in less than a week by hand painting my custom branded graphics on some of our walls, I gave him a few days and many cans of paint and it was pure magic in the end. Many hands make light and oh-so-much-better work!

 

Thanks for catching up with us, Crystal. We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you and Sugar + Spruce … We’re cheering you on!

 

If you’d like to build a stronger, smart brand in 2018, then I also hope that you’ll consider joining me in the spring 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 April 17!