So a few people have asked me questions in relation to why I chose to re-brand and what that process was like for me.
The simple and quick answers of "I've evolved as a person, in my style and in my aesthetic", and "I've grown creatively as an artist and needed something new to reflect that", are all true, but it's a little more in depth than that.
So I thought I would compile a list of sorts in hopes that it answers some of the questions I've been getting from you guys. Plus it might potentially be helpful to any other small business owners or aspiring small business owners, in regards to brainstorming about what it is you want your brand to look like, portray, and be.
I also hope that it encourages and inspires you to really think about your brand and what it is you do stand for and represent and what it is you're putting out there and showing people you're about. Because rebranding goes way farther than a new logo, in case you didn't know.
I want to preface all of this with saying that I did not go to school for this. I've never even taken any business classes. So I know that I am by no means an expert on this subject. However, over the past few years of owning my own business I've definitely learned a lot about this sort of thing, whether it's by trial and error or by learning from other makers and small business owners. The latter of which is especially valuable I think, learning from one another. So if anything I've learned in my journey can in any way help someone else, I'm more than happy to share it because I wouldn't have achieved any sort of progress in growing my own business without the help of so many others.
So, without further ado...
Thoughts On Rebranding
Who Is My Ideal Customer?
I think this is something they teach you in business 101 probably right? I mean, again, I've never taken a business class but I think it's pretty standard stuff to think about who it is you're marketing your brand for when you create and start a business. Until recently I didn't really know who my ideal customer was. I never really thought about it. I just sort of took the photography jobs that paid the bills, made the knits that sold and as a result I was a little bit all over the place. Additionally I wasn't very proud of a large portion of the work I was putting out there because I felt like it wasn't conducive of who I was and what I wanted to represent as an artist.
So, I realized that I needed to identify and pinpoint who it was that I'm marketing to and trying to reach with my business. I want to be more purposeful about reaching a more specific and curated style of people who represent my ideal customer. People who have similar ideals and dreams and who I would work well with creatively.
It's not about looking good, or being picky and choosy about who I work with or for, or thinking my work is too good for certain people. It's not about that at all, and I hope I can properly convey that. Simply put, it's about working for, with and alongside people who I gel with. Again, people who have the same, or similar, goals, dreams, aspirations and mindsets. And that list isn't as limited as it may initially sound. Because I think a part of the creative process and working with people is also to challenge one another and stretch each other during your process of creating and working together. However, it's important, especially from a creative standpoint, to work with people you mesh well with and who have similar tastes, interests, styles, etc. to your own. Because when that's on the table, that's when the magic happens! That's when you can make beautiful work for people who will truly love and appreciate what it is you do because they get what it is you're doing. They love and accept what it is you represent and aren't going to be disappointed with the outcome of what they hired you for because they aren't trying to change you and ask you to be something you're not.
I wanted to be a lot more intentional about what I'm putting out there as a whole. My brand is a very personal one and largely a part and representation of who I am. The things I do, the things I love, the places I see, what I'm passionate about etc.
I wanted that to all be cohesive and make sense. I also wanted to challenge myself to question and analyze what it is I am putting out there to people. Is it positive? Is it uplifting? Am I encouraging and inspiring in the way I'm similarly encouraged and inspired? Not to say that I have to put on a good face all the time and claim to have this perfect and put together life (there's going to be a post on that later), but to make sure that I'm being real and authentic and doing and saying things that are true to who I am and what it is I want to represent.
In a nutshell, pretty much just stay true to my core values.
Bring Knitting and Photography Together
My business is essentially a two part business. My photography and my knitwear. The two didn't neccessarily coincide before and I didn't do a very good job of bringing the two together under one umbrella in relation to my brand.
So now I'm working on doing that better. It's a bit of a work in progress, and It might not make a whole lot of sense still to most people, but Essentially I think if you read about The Traveling Photographer and The Knitting Queen, you can kind of get now what it is that I do and why I do it. At least I hope so!
Essentially though, I think there's a lot of beauty in the world. But, I think a lot of it get's overlooked because it initially appears to be something that's in and of itself normal, average and mundane. Plus we are all in such a rush nowadays, we overlook a lot of the these things in our hurry to get wherever we're going and we don't stop to appreciate them. I essentially want to help point out the beauty in those every day things with my work. Whether it's with picture taking or designing knits. They're the two biggest ways I have of interpreting and contributing to the beauty I see in the world.
I want to help you notice the simple but unique little pieces that make up our lives and that make them ours. I want to notice and appreciate these little moments and correlations of simplistic beauty in my day to day and in turn help you do the same.
Not only as a person have I grown and evolved over the past few years, but as an artist as well. In my style, aesthetic, goals, thought process and my creative process as well, to name a few things. So obviously I really wanted a brand that reflected that. The "new me" if you will. I think it's really important to leave yourself room to grow when working under a brand that's heavily influenced by who you are, and not only that but embrace and welcome change when it's time for it. I was starting to feel very limited and confined under my old brand and realized a lot of the stuff I was trying to put out there just didn't coincide with the overhead of what I said that I did. My style and my work to name a few things, just weren't matching up and that was confusing not only to me as I attempted to grow and evolve as an artist, but others as well.
Traveling has always been a big part of my life. I grew up with a family who was always big on going and seeing and experiencing new things. Some of my favorite places in the world have been discovered while on family vacations actually.
But as I've grown up and done my own traveling and exploring independently over the past few years, I've realized how much it's become a part of who I am. As a result it's seeped more and more into my brand and my business. I love the stories that come with traveling and the ability to create my own and in turn be a part of others. Which, again, you can read more about here and here. But I want to challenge myself, and you, to step outside of your box and comfort zone more. Challenge yourself to do and be more. This doesn't have to necessarily entail hopping on a plane/bus/train to travel physically to a new place. Although I'm a big advocate of that, but I've found I'm also stretched and challenged just as much if not more so in situations and places closer to home. I think it's more so about the mindset I have in regards to things. Traveling, for me, symbolizes trying new things and facing fears and opening yourself up for growth and change that can be hard but necessary for bettering yourself and others around you.
But, simply put, because it is one of my biggest loves, I want to incorporate it more into my lifestyle and business and what I get to do for a living.
While this is more of a silly reason, it did play a part in the rebranding process so I thought it was worth mentioning. I don't really wear my glasses as often as I used to (yes they are real, not fake. I know, I know. I'm such a hipster, and it's even more hipster for me to say I've had them for over 5 years before they were cool but whatever). Contacts just make more sense for a girl who's constantly on the go and wandering about in all kinds of weather and situations and holding a camera up to her face 75% of the time. So those representing me and my brand didn't really make sense anymore. When handing people my business card, they didn't really get it. "Oh cute!" they'd say, "But uh... why the glasses?", because, you know, I wasn't ever really wearing them so people didn't see the connection (no pun intended. Get it? Get it?)
So it was time for a change. For something that wasn't so specific and to broaden my brand past that limited representation. (More about the new logo and some details and story behind it coming in a post later next week!)