Where Are They Now? Stacia Guzzo of Handcrafted HoneyBee
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 and Brick House Branding alum (and longtime Lucky Break client) Stacia Guzzo of Handcrafted HoneyBee, whose recent top-to-bottom rebrand has been the jet fuel that propelled her business forward this year – we’re talking tripled and quadrupled wholesale accounts and sales numbers! I’m honored to have played a part in her company’s evolution, and thrilled to share the results with you here today. Welcome, Stacia!
LBC: Why did you originally launch your company?
Stacia: The original inspiration for Handcrafted HoneyBee was essentially an extension of teaching my live classes in skincare. I loved being able to essentially be a “teacher-in-a-box,” and the kits allowed me to expand my teaching reach. Within a year of launching, however, I began to really want those lessons to have meaning beyond a simple skincare product, and we began to incorporate empowering messages as part of the kit experience.
LBC: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?
Stacia: In July of 2015, we were invited to Etsy Open Call in New York to pitch 5 major retailers—including brands like Nordstrom and Land of Nod. The overall feedback from the buyers was that our brand messaging needed refinement and that our packaging needed to step up a few notches. After coming home, I spent a few months meditating on what this was really going to mean for my brand. I asked myself: are we on a general trajectory that feels right? Are we really carving out a niche for ourselves that is in line with my strengths and passions? Along with these questions, we also looked at some practical questions. Who was really buying and using our kits? And how could we best serve that audience? The process of answering those questions led us to decide in September of 2015 that we wanted to rebrand to focus on educational skincare, and to hone our core audience to girls and young women (with tangential offerings for grown women as well).
LBC: What professionals did you tag in to help with the rebrand process, and what parts did you DIY?
Stacia: By October 2015, we were interviewing designers to help us with our rebrand, and by November, we had signed a contract with Aeolidia. Over the next 5 months, they built an entirely new branding package from the ground up, and then in the four months following that they crafted a custom website for us as well. In addition, we utilized Aeolidia for some of our editorial kit photography. We hired POW Photography for our simple line shot pictures as well.
After Brick House Branding, we felt really confident in our ability to write powerful and compelling copy, so we did almost all of that work ourselves. In addition, because the branding guide from our designer was so good, I have been able to DIY things for subsequent product launches (such as labels and graphics) and other brand collateral (like postcards & marketing material) pretty seamlessly. That branding guide has been gold for us. I highly recommend anyone rebranding to make sure that is part of the package!
LBC: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during your rebrand process?
Stacia: Once I had settled on our new direction, I felt very anxious to have it finished and in my hands (even though I knew it would be a months-long process). It was challenging to get excited about our old branding, especially when everything behind the scenes was so forward-thinking. I really had to push through that mental barrier and incentivize myself to sell through our old material!
LBC: What, if anything, survived from your original branding?
Stacia: I think our internal goal of the kits to empower through creative exploration is still there, but it is much more focused now. But almost everything was torn down to the studs, assessed, and rebuilt—right down to our kit and skincare formulas. I’m glad about that, actually. It was important to analyze every single piece and make sure it was as strong as it could be moving forward.
LBC: Did the rebrand process take longer or prove to be more challenging than you anticipated?
Stacia: No—I was very impressed with Aeolidia’s commitment to deadlines and delivery dates. Nothing went longer than expected. And in many ways it proved to be easier than I expected, because we clicked with our designer from the start. There were so many times when we’d write to one another something like, “You’re in my brain!!!” So that actually made the process quite exciting.
LBC: What role did Lucky Break play in your rebrand and/or in the execution of your rebrand?
Stacia: Lela was instrumental in this rebrand. She was the very first one to help me look at the feedback and the sales data with a gentle-but-honest eye. She was the one who encouraged me to be brave in considering my options (I was really, really scared of the prospect of reimagining my brand). She was also the one who helped to guide me in our private sessions as I honed in on where I really wanted to take the brand. Of course, I also should mention that Brick House Branding played a huge role in helping me prepare our materials before we approached our designer. By the time we started the process with Aeolidia, we knew exactly who our customer was, where she shopped, what kinds of imagery resonated with her. In fact, Aeolidia told us several times that we were some of the best-prepared clients they’d ever had! I owe that all to Brick House Branding and the worksheets that my husband and I worked through over and over and over to really nail our brand voice.
LBC: How do you feel now that you’ve come out the other side? How has your perception of your brand evolved?
Stacia: This has been the best decision for Handcrafted HoneyBee. Since the launch of our rebrand 7 months ago, our retail sales have quadrupled, our wholesale stores have tripled, and I feel very excited about the potential of where we are headed. The brand perception in general has been elevated exponentially. I’m so proud to tell people that this is my business!
LBC: Can you share a recent win you’ve realized because of this rebrand?
Stacia: Our Lip Balm Kit was recently recognized by the Creative Child Awards program as being the 2016 Product of the Year in the Educational Kits category; in addition, our Groovy Lamp Lip Gloss and Clay Mask Kits won the Preferred Choice Awards.
LBC: What advice would you give someone getting ready to start this process in their business?
Stacia: Preparation will pay off, and patience will be key. Not just patience with your designer, but patience with yourself. Patience with the process. Patience with where you are now, and patient anticipation for the “you” that is to come. Use your downtime before launch to create test groups, gather testimonials, and plan social media. And above all, allow yourself to have fun with it. Launch Day can actually be a big party rather than a stressful thing, if you allow yourself to celebrate all of your hard work!
Many thanks to Stacia 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…