Are you wondering what happens to my Brick House Branding 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? I’m excited to introduce you to another BHB graduate who’s making waves!
MEET JENNY FRECH OF SOAPY GNOME
This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Jenny Frech of Soapy Gnome, whose bath and body line embodies the spirit of “koselig” – the Norwegian word for feeling warm, comforted, and cozy. Jenny recently rebranded Soapy Gnome after graduating from Brick House Branding and today, she’s sharing a bit more behind the scenes of that experience. Welcome, Jenny… we’re honored to have you!
LBC: Why and when did you originally launch your company?
Jenny: I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to own my own business, and I started several, none of which stuck. When I was working as a teacher, I started making soap as a hobby. As the soapmaking hobby started taking off in 2013, my husband suggested selling it at our farmer’s market. It was great timing as the main soap maker there had just retired. We created a local following and the business has continued to grow, primarily locally.
LBC: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?
Jenny: I started out with a drawing that I did myself. At the end of 2013, a store was interested in carrying my deodorant, so I hired a local artist to create a new gnome for me. But, I wasn’t consistent with fonts, colors, and the like, and I was still crunched for money. In 2015, we attended our first tradeshow. Our target customer wanted sturdier packaging, so we started looking into boxes. That’s when I invested in Brick House Branding and hiring a designer.
LBC: Please share a significant realization about the brand development process that you discovered while in Brick House Branding.
Jenny: The biggest discovery is our branding word of “koselig” which is the Norwegian word that means a cozy feeling. We use that when bringing new lines and products into our retail store and when creating marketing materials. Having a focus word has made life a lot easier. When I told my mom about focusing our brand around “cozy” she said, “of course!” I’ve always been a flannel jammies, down comforter kind of woman.
LBC: What professionals did you tag in to help with the process, and what pieces of the branding puzzle did you DIY?
Jenny: I hired an awesome designer that I was following on Instagram. She spent a lot of time outdoors in nature, and her work felt very cozy to me. I went in with color ideas and a Pinterest brand board that really helped her out in the design process. We also ordered professionally printed boxes and labels.
LBC: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?
Jenny: Cost. We started with bits and pieces as we could afford them. First, we paid for a new logo; then boxes, then labels.
LBC: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding?
Jenny: I feel more focused and less scattered. Having branding elements in place makes everything easier from social media posts to shelf talkers to new packaging designs.
LBC: Are your products are being received differently by others since the rebrand? How has their reaction evolved?
Jenny: I think people appreciate the more polished, professional look.
LBC: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of the rebrand?
Jenny: My biggest win is probably different than most. We have a brick and mortar shop and we carry all things cozy: soaps, bath products, Turkish towels, wool blankets, teas, and socks. Having a focus on cozy helps our store have a defined purpose and gives our customers a really unique shopping experience. About 75% of our sales are local and business keeps growing. We’ve more than doubled our business in the last 12 months.
LBC: How did Brick House Branding experience help shape your branding process?
Jenny: It made me do the really hard, deep digging work. It was frustrating, but worth it.
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?
Jenny: I feel like going through this process after being business for a couple of years was actually really helpful. Because I’d been in business for a bit, I knew who my best customers are, what products I enjoyed making, and what direction I hoped to grow my business. My knowledge two years in was definitely different than when I first started out.
Thanks for catching up with us, Jenny! We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you + Soapy Gnome… We’re cheering you on!
If you’d like to build a stronger, smart brand in 2017, then I also hope that you’ll consider joining me in the spring semester of Brick House Branding. This 8-week brand development incubator 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. While formal enrolment for the first semester of 2018 has ended, we may still have seats available. I invite you to inquire about availability!