We’re wrapping up this installment of our “Where Are They Now?” case study series following Brick House Branding graduates with a salute to a fellow southerner. Mary has had racked up thousands of Etsy sales and she’s busier than ever- attending trade shows and opening a retail store, too!
BHB wasn’t easy for her, but I do believe she’d say it was worth it! Customized jewelry is a popular category on Etsy and there’s a lot of, *ahem* “shared inspiration” in design. Through BHB, Mary elevated her overall brand presentation, developed ways to brand individual pieces, and found inspiration to launch a new collection that hits right at the sweet spot of her target customer. She’s since built a new Shopify site to help attract customers outside of Etsy, diversifying her revenue and (smartly) limiting her company’s dependence on third-party platforms she can’t ultimately control.
We’re grateful to have her back to tell you about those evolutions and what they’ve meant for mkw design co!
Getting to Know mkw design co.
LBC: Why and when did you originally launch your company?
Mary: I started mkw design co. back in 2011 while finishing my senior year in college as a way to relieve stress & make extra money (broke college student!).
LBC: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?
Mary: In 2017, I started following Lela after hearing about Lucky Break from a friend (Harmony at Old Soul Artisan). The more I read and learned from her, the more I realized that if I truly wanted my brand to succeed for years to come, I needed to tighten up my brand positioning, who I was selling to, and what I was selling them.
LBC: What significant realizations about the nature of branding did you discover through Brick House Branding?
Mary: I learned that branding is so. Much. More. Than just a logo and color scheme. The journey to find out who my target customer is (“my MVP” as Lela says), how I talk to her, and how to tell the story of my brand in a way that helps me connect with her were really vital pieces to the puzzle.
LBC: How did you allocate the workload? Did you tag in professionals for some pieces and DIY other facets of the brand redevelopment?
Mary: I tagged in a graphic designer to create my new logo and they did a great job. I was looking for something simple but classy, with emphasis on the “mkw” (my initials). I also used a metalsmith to create the tiny “mkw” tags that you’ll find on my necklaces now and I had a custom stamp made so that my brand can be stamped on the inside of cuff bracelets and other pieces. I design all of my jewelry cards using Photoshop or Canva.
LBC: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?
Mary: Getting out of my own way and letting the process work. Lela is a genius when it comes to branding and really makes you think critically about your brand and what you want it to be (and how you want others to perceive it). But it took me a little while to open my mind up to the possibilities.
LBC: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding?
Mary: I feel way more confident in how my brand is presented to the world and I have zeroed in on who my MVP is and what she’s looking for. I’m also much more attuned to the aspects of my business that reflect on my brand and have been working hard to make everything as cohesive as possible – from the experience shopping on my website to in-person shows to fulfilling wholesale orders, and selling my jewelry in my retail shop.
LBC: Are your products are being received differently by others since the rebrand? How has their reaction evolved?
Mary: Along with the rebrand I’ve also redesigned older pieces of jewelry and integrated parts of the rebrand into that, and I’ve received great feedback from customers. I feel like my loyal customer fanbase is growing and that’s been absolutely great to experience.
LBC: Can you share a recent win that you’ve enjoyed now that you’ve rebranded?
Mary: I attended Dallas Market this past June for the first time which was a huge step for me in building my wholesale business and I received my first 4-figure wholesale order as a result!
LBC: How did the Brick House Branding experience help shape your brand development process?
Mary: Whenever I’m designing new jewelry, I think about my MVP and whether the pieces would be what she wants to wear. My MVP is always at the top of my mind and that helps me stay on track.
LBC: What advice would you give to someone who’s getting ready to start the brand development process?
Mary: Be open to the process and know that you’ll have to do a loooot of soul searching and deep analysis into your business in order to make the necessary changes to succeed and building a lasting brand. It might take a long time (I still rewatch the videos and go back through the worksheets to get continued clarity) but Lela knows her stuff and will be there to guide you every step of the way!
LBC: What’s next for your brand?
Mary: We’re neck-deep in holiday season prep and are in the process of moving jewelry production and shipping into the back of my retail shop, which we will be transitioning into a flagship store of sorts after the New Year. Exciting things to come!
We *love* what Mary has created with MKW Design Co! Want us to be a part of your branding journey? Brand development just-so-happens to be our specialty, and Brick House Branding is our most celebrated program. Enrollment for the January 2020 of this 9-week brand development mentorship is open through September 13. Grab your seat and let’s build your brand together in 2020!