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? Then settle in with a mug of something yummy for the next installment of my “Where Are They Now?” series! And I’m especially excited to bring you this week’s blog, because it features a maker who’s working in the non-packaged consumer good space. Settle in and enjoy!
MEET PATRICIA OF INDIGO EMBER
This week, I’m introducing you to Patricia of Indigo Ember, who creates modern, rustic stationery and goods that warm the heart and home using sustainable, earth-friendly raw materials. Welcome, Patricia… we’re excited to share your transformation story!
LBC: Why and when did you originally launch your company?
Patricia: One of my dream life goals was to launch my own business after gaining solid experience in the professional world. My company was launched in September 2012 under a different name (PABD Elegance, LLC). I opened my Etsy store in October 2012 and sold handmade greeting cards.
I’ve always enjoyed crafting as a child and dabbled in various crafts. In the early 2000’s, I created and sent Holiday greeting cards to my family and close friends. In addition, while planning my wedding between 2005 and 2006, I created my own save-the-dates, wedding invitations, programs, table seating cards, favors, and more. I wanted a wedding that was intimate, so I incorporated some elements of handmade (created by me) and received lots of compliments from those who attended my wedding. I also tried home décor crafts such as floral arrangement. I definitely was seriously into crafting, but at that point in time, I hadn’t thought about taking it to the next level of starting a business.
The idea to start my stationery business came from sharing my greeting cards and wedding stationery with a next-door neighbor. She was really impressed with my work and encouraged me to sell them. After I spent some time thinking about it, I decided to give it a try, and my company was born.
LBC: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?
Patricia: My company went through a couple of rebrands since it launched in 2012. The second rebrand occurred when I decided to transition from using paper as the primary medium to wood in late 2013. In December 2013, my company was renamed to Tri~Elegance and I began introducing wooden stationery goods in January 2014. I truly enjoy working with wood; it stems from my father, who was a woodworker.
By late summer of 2016, although my business was growing each year, I felt I was still missing something and needed to work on improving certain aspects of the company. I needed more focus, a stronger brand voice, and an improved website. I’d been eyeing a particular professional graphic design company the year prior. They specialize in creative businesses, and I knew I wanted to hire them to take my website to the next level. So, I did just that in September 2016, thus beginning another rebrand journey into what is now Indigo Ember. I also learned about Brick House Branding through the graphic design company, and knew I was going to enroll in BHB’s Spring 2017 semester class.
LBC: Please share a significant realization about the brand development process that you discovered while in Brick House Branding.
Patricia: Module 2 of BHB brought on significant realizations about the Indigo Ember brand. Creating the core conversation in Module 1 laid the foundation. However, when I started working on the activities involving the brand’s personality and voice in Module 2, things really started to come together. I finally have focus! I’m not saying I’m 100% there, and my brand will continue to evolve over time. But compared to where I was with the company, I gained more clarity on where I want to take the brand, I know my target audience, and I know the brand’s personality and core conversation.
LBC: What professionals did you tag in to help with the process, and what pieces of the branding puzzle did you DIY?
Patricia: I worked with a professional graphic design company to start the rebrand journey, which included business name brainstorming, marketing consultation, graphic design and web design services. I worked with two photographers to redo many of my product photos, including editorial and product shots. These photography services tied into the creation of Indigo Ember’s Holiday 2017 Lookbook, along with the services of another graphic design company who assisted me with packaging.
With the help of Lucky Break’s LBU and BHB courses, I worked on improving the brand’s copy and product descriptions including establishing Indigo Ember’s Wholesale program.
LBC: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?
Patricia: The biggest obstacle I encountered was coming to terms with having to rename my business again! I was quite resistant at first because it felt like starting all over again and honestly, I felt embarrassed about it too (*hint*, third name). After spending some time thinking it over, I knew it was the right thing to do, and I’m so glad I did.
LBC: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding?
Patricia: I think my business now has true focus: I know my core mission/conversation, personality, and voice. Before, there was a lack consistency and focus. I also became more aware of the difference between running a business versus growing and developing a brand.
LBC: Are your products are being received differently by others since the rebrand? How has their reaction evolved?
Patricia: I think Indigo Ember’s customers perceive consistency in the brand including its product offerings and messaging. I believe that consistency will help my customers to quickly identify when they see an Indigo Ember product online or in stores. They also will know what to expect with respect to product quality and customer service.
LBC: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of the rebrand?
Patricia: Sales have definitely increased since the rebrand. I’m also getting more opportunities to be featured in blogs and popular online marketplaces.
LBC: How did Brick House Branding experience help shape your branding process?
Patricia: BHB gave me the tools and resources to help me build and grow the Indigo Ember brand. The first few modules were critical to reshaping the brand and putting it onto the right track. I’m so grateful for the brand personality exercise. It was exciting to have an “ah-ha” moment with respect to the core conversation, brand personality, and voice. It gave the brand life.
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?
Patricia: I would say to keep an open mind. It’s easy for entrepreneurs to get stuck in their ways and not want to change, especially if he/she is passionate about the matter. We like to think we have it all figured out. Sometimes, we may be unaware that we cannot see the forest for the trees, and we may be taking steps that are actually hurting the brand/business rather than helping. When embarking on the brand development process, be open-minded and listen carefully to the recommendations and critiques.
Thanks for catching up with us, Patricia. We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you + Indigo Ember. 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. Enrollment for the first semester of 2018 opens on October 3rd and closes after 10 days, or as soon as we sell out of seats… so if you know you want a spot, be sure to mark your calendar today to ensure you don’t miss out. I’d welcome an opportunity to work with you!
I hope you’ll stop by next Wednesday for another “Where Are They Now?” blog and an amazing transformation that I’m excited to reveal…