Where Are They Now? Theresa Mendez of Thistle + Hops

Angie Chua

Thistle Hops logo

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!

Theres Tub


This week I’m catching up with Theresa of Thistle + Hops. She’s living proof that you don’t always come out with what you expect to at the end of Brick House Branding. After all, she came in to rebrand one company, and came out birthing another. Thistle + Hops is set to launch later this month, and I’m on pins and needles waiting to see it live. Take it away, Theresa …

Lucky Break: Why and when did you originally launch your company?

Theresa: Texas Beer Soap Co. was launched in 2012 when I began creating custom Beer Soap for some of our local Craft Brewers to sell in their Swag Shop. I had another soap line I began in 2010 that was goat milk based, and due to the unique differences and audience, I needed a different name. Something that would appeal to men.

Lucky Break: At what point did you know it was time for a rebrand?

Theresa: Honestly, I began this journey to rebrand Wandering Thistle, my primary line. I would cringe when I would see my customer’s post their pictures of my products. Mind you the soaps were beautiful, but the packaging was not up to par, so to speak. Rebranding Texas Beer Soap Co. was a result of BHB.

Texas Beer Soap, before Brick House Branding + a rebrand
Texas Beer Soap Co., before Brick House Branding + a rebrand

Lucky Break: Please share a significant realization about the brand development process that you discovered while in Brick House Branding.

Theresa: During the BHB process, I was attempting to rebrand both lines, Wandering Thistle and Texas Beer Soap Co. The amount of heart, sweat, and tears that was required was too much to deal with at once for 2 separate brand voices. With the guidance of Lela and her team, along with my fellow brandmates, I was convinced that focusing on Texas Beer Soap Co. and taking it into a new direction was the way to go. Texas Beer Soap Co. was really geared towards men. Thistle + Hops celebrates women; whether they work in the industry or just love a delicious, well-made craft beer!

Lucky Break: What professionals did you tag in to help with the process, and what pieces of the branding puzzle did you DIY?

Theresa: This was probably one of the hardest areas to delineate. Lela gave us so many options and professionals to converse with. It was a little overwhelming to say the least trying to stretch those marked dollars and get the most bang for your buck. I had always DIY’d my labels and packaging, and I knew this had to the the first and foremost decision. But before I made this step I had a consult with Andrea Evans, Trademark Attorney, to make sure the name was viable. Then I hired Riley Fouts as my graphic designer to create Thistle + Hops and bring it to life. And we snuck in a new look for Wandering Thistle to give some cohesion between the two. When we had beautiful custom boxes made for Thistle + Hops, I was one excited little DIY convert.

Lucky Break: What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during the rebranding process?

Theresa: Me. I was my biggest obstacle. I had perceived expectations that it would be relatively a quick process. Once the process began, it was a long, dusty road to that first margarita. I mean, you dig deep in this rebrand and you come up feeling parched.  Lela had us eating, drinking, and sleeping our ideal client.  The other obstacle was to decide were the finite amount of money was going to be spent, and for which services. I had a stunning packaging idea I wanted, but the budget simply was not there. Once I began working with Riley, we made strides and found the perfect combination.

Lucky Break: How has your own perception of your brand evolved since graduating from Brick House Branding? 

Theresa: I have met more women in the area of my brand voice since graduating, I have a much clearer picture of who she (my ideal client) is and what she wants. And I have to say I give her major props for her candor and drive, and I am confident Thistle + Hops will deliver.

Thistle + Hops, after Brick House Branding + a rebrand
Thistle + Hops, after Brick House Branding + a rebrand

Lucky Break: Are your products are being received differently by others since the rebrand? How has their reaction evolved?

Theresa: Yes, even though I haven’t officially launched Thistle + Hops. I have given a few little glimpses and a few product samples to get a feel from the community. Reviews have come back very favorable. My official launch will be in October for a charity event, Best Little Brewfest in Texas. I am excited to hear and feel the pulse of women in the craft beer community.

Lucky Break: Can you share a recent win that you’ve realized because of the rebrand?

Theresa: Absolutely! As I was researching my ideal client, I discovered some amazing women in the brewing industry. I read their stories, felt their pain and their successes. There was a lot of history unfolding at my fingertips and I knew I had made the correct decision to listen to Lela and get out of my own way. The names of the soaps are directly inspired from these women. Some are humorous, but all have a significant meaning and a definitely a fist bump implied.

Since the rebrand I have joined the Pink Boots Society, a global organization of women supporting women in the brewing industry by teaching, mentoring, and educating. We have an active local chapter and a few of us are in the Cicerone training program at the moment.  Along with my participation, a portion of profits from Thistle + Hops will go to the Pink Boots Society for their scholarship program.

Thistle + Hops, after Brick House Branding + a rebrand
Thistle + Hops, after Brick House Branding + a rebrand

Lucky Break: How did Brick House Branding experience help shape your branding process?

Theresa: BHB gave me the structure and inner working of Thistle + Hops. Having deadlines was important to remain on task as well as the camaraderie of the other brand participants. The true heart of the whole program is Lela. Her business savvy and brilliance is priceless. If, I could only use one word…CLARITY. She brings it in and ties it up with a fancy ribbon. Sometimes you have to shake things up and just get out of the way!

Lucky Break: What do you wish you had known at the beginning of the brand development process?

Theresa: That it wasn’t a race. It takes time and a lot of it and that’s totally ok! That it would be 12 months later and I am still polishing the pieces.

Lucky Break: What advice would you give to someone who’s getting ready to start the brand development process?

Theresa: Take the time to do it right. Do not stop once you get out of BHB, keep connected, follow through with your deadlines, read and reread the books Lela gives as resources. Take really good notes, every detail is important and do not look at what others are doing. They are not you, not your brand. Be comfortable being you and own it!

Thanks for catching up with us, Theresa. We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you and Thistle + Hops… We’re cheering you on, and can’t wait to see that rebrand in action!

If you’d like to build a stronger, smart brand in 2019, then I hope that you’ll consider joining me in the winter 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 now open through October 12!

About the Author

Angie Chua

No one on God’s green earth can pull off brightly-colored lipstick and a fedora quite like Angie Chua. Her 6’5″ husband and Instagram-famous dog live with her in the world’s most adorable airstream trailer in San Jose. Angie is a talented hand letter, a proud Dachshund mama, and the brains behind bobo design studio– a lifestyle brand for those with a serious case of wanderlust. When not speaking at maker conferences, installing public art, or traveling in her Weinerbago, she’s busy making everything prettier at Lucky Break, managing our social media, and lending ground support to our clients.

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