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 CHRISTY OF KBSHIMMER
I’m thrilled to introduce you to Christy Rose of KBShimmer. After digging deep in Brick House Branding, Christy’s brand is all grown up and more in line with her ideal client than ever. Welcome, Christy… we’re so glad you’re here!
LBC: Why and when did you originally launch your company?
Christy: Like many small businesses, KBShimmer was created through my drive to do something beyond working at a stressful day job. I was working long and demanding hours in a career that left me unfulfilled. My indulgence at the end of the day was a long, hot bath and a good book. On really tiresome days, only a trip to the local spa for a pedicure and fresh polish on my tips and toes could change my perspective on almost everything.
In 2007 I walked into a bath and body store on vacation and fell in love with the bold colors, rich scents and creative vibe from handcrafted body care that filled this store’s shelves. I knew, with support from my husband Jason, that I could not only enjoy my pedicures and bath, but create my own products to enjoy during those peaceful moments.
In 2008, my home was overflowing with bath and body goodies and I needed to make room to create more! So I took those products to a local craft show and KBShimmer was born. For a few years, my night and weekends were spent making products, shipping orders and attending craft shows. But life has a funny way of propelling people forward, doesn’t it? Unexpectedly in 2011, I found myself without a job. That event launched an internal struggle: though I didn’t want to work for anyone else, I needed to support my family. While pounding the pavement looking for work, I diligently watched for opportunities to grow my business into a sustainable income that would give my family the security it needed.
LBC: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?
Christy: Being in business for 10 years, things can start to feel stale and old. Trends in the marketplace change, businesses grow and evolve, and sometimes what worked before no longer fits. That was really the case for us. About 3 years ago, I knew I needed to update my look. I took Brick House Branding, but ultimately I was scared that I would lose customers or my share in the marketplace if I made a drastic change. I took little pieces from BHB at that point and did a slight refresh on my bath and body labels.
But, as you can imagine, it wasn’t enough. New brands were constantly come into the picture that looked fresh, fun, modern, and more current than I did, so I knew I had to get over my fear and embrace changes. I signed up for BHB one more time, and took it with my husband. We took a hard look at our Ideal Customer (or “MVP” in BHB speak), and figured out where she shops, what attracts her to brands, what drives her purchases. We took that knowledge of Liz (that’s what I call my MVP) used it as the foundation for our new branding.
LBC: Please share a significant realization about the brand development process that you discovered while in Brick House Branding.
Christy: I always knew that I might not be my ideal customer, but it is hard to step away and look at not what you like, but what your MVP likes. That is the most significant thing I learned, that we don’t need to be our MVP. We might be, but we might differ in some aspects, too. That staying true to what our MVP and ideal customer looks for in our brand was more important than anything. That really helped when my husband and I differed in opinion on the branding.
My husband and I took BHB together. I knew that it would happen, but at some points our visions did not mesh, both while completing BHB and during the design process. So when that happened, we really dug back into our coursework, taking a fresh look at our MVP’s personality, her likes and what she would desire from a brand. What did Liz Google, where did she shop, what she did in her spare time? We looked at so many facets of her personality that I can tell you what car she drives and what drink she will order at the bar. Liz does have a lot of traits that come from my personality, but she is a bit younger, more in tune with social trends, and almost has some traits from my sister and daughter. Realizing that we needed to know our MVP inside and out was very important in helping us stay true to our brand, especially on those occasions when our MVP did differ from my own personality or my husband and I did not see eye to eye.
LBC: What professionals did you tag in to help with the process, and what pieces of the branding puzzle did you DIY?
Christy: I tagged in Shauna and the team from We Are Branch for my rebrand. I actually contacted about 5-6 branding agencies when I was ready to start the design process. I spoke to each company to not only see if they could do what I wanted, but to make sure they were a good fit for me. I already write my own site content, and had a plan for photography, so those were not important aspects for me when looking for a designer or design team. While also I wanted visuals for my website, I didn’t need a new website platform. I also looked at their time frames, if they were more modern, more traditional, more tweaked clip art or freehanding everything. It was important for me to find someone I feel comfortable talking to and that was open to my ideas and vision.
Once the rebrand was over, and packaging design was underway, we tagged in both a box company and a label company. We brought those people in early as there is no use designing a beautiful component if making it is out of your price range or requires a longer lead time then you have. We were lucky to find great reps at Consolidated Label and Your Box Solution to help us out.
Once we received all our boxes and labels, our in-house staff got to work making everything in new bottles and with new labels. We also tweaked some formulas for the rebranding. That meant that we really couldn’t just relabel old product, everything had to be remade. I also decided to tag in Products On White to retake all my product photos on white backgrounds. That was something I had handled myself in the past, but the cost of outsourcing this piece was definitely worth the weeks of shooting and editing photos I would have had to do. Plus, if I spent all this money on great packaging components, I wanted to make sure to show them off properly!
LBC: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?
Christy: The biggest obstacle was sticking to my timeline. I really would have loved to have launched before Christmas, but with design changes, hiccups in packaging and labels, and just the extended time it took us to remake everything, Christmas was gone before I knew it. I realize now that I was pushing too hard and would have had to take shortcuts to be ready by Christmas, so I am glad we took the time to do it right!
LBC: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding?
Christy: The hardest thing once my rebrand was complete was looking at my old logo! I really think that my old branding had a more youthful feeling then I ever wanted to project. I hated that we had new components in house, but had to keep using what I already thought of as my “old” logo. I think now I feel more sophisticated, ready to talk to more wholesale accounts, more confident in putting our brand out there to consumers that may not have known us.I know that we have a kick ass product line, but now I know that our design also reflects that!
KBShimmer 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?
Christy: We just relaunched March 15th, but so far the reaction has been great. When sending out press samples to bloggers, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. It is super scary to take an established brand and redo everything from top to bottom, so the positive feedback we have gotten so far has been amazing!
LBC: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of the rebrand?
Christy: We have already had several new wholesale inquiries since the rebrand, and some collaboration requests. That to me speaks volumes that the changes we made are the right changes.
LBC: How did Brick House Branding experience help shape your branding process?
Christy: One of the best aspects was feeling like I was coming to my designer prepared. There were some designer that I spoke who seemed amazed at how well I understood my ideal customer, my MVP. There were some designers that wanted to start out the process with what seemed like a mini BHB session. So with BHB under my belt, I felt I could confidently attack the branding process and really move forward in a direction that I felt would help my company stay current not only now, but 10 years down the road.
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?
Christy:I would want anyone going through a full rebranding to know upfront that it will probably take longer than you think to get it all done and ready for the public eye! Also, good designers are booked. Don’t be surprised if you need to wait weeks or even months for the designer that fits you perfectly. The perfect designer is worth waiting for. And budget more than you think you will need. You only have one chance to make a first impression with your new look, so if you feel it is off, not perfect, don’t move forward until it is.
I also suggest trying to stay away from trendy items in your branding. Pineapples, arrows, rose gold and woodland creatures may be hot, but so was avocado green in the 70’s and mustaches a few years ago, and now both look dated. It is important to look at the longevity of your brand.
In the end, you need to drive the rebranding process so that your look and products speak to your MVP. In the end, we all want people to love our products enough to hand over the cash time and time again.
Thanks for catching up with us, Christy. We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you and KBShimmer… 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 is open and closes on April 27!