Well it's certainly been a while since I've written a blog post. I'd love to say I've been off doing exciting projects that have consumed all my time but if I am being honest (and I always am) I have just completely lacked the motivation and creative thinking to prattle on in a post. There's nothing like a global crisis however to get you motivated!
I am doing myself a little bit of a disservice; I have indeed been very busy and the blog has needed to take a backseat for the past three months or so while I attempt to juggle everything. The biggest change to my business can be seen in the branding. You may have noticed that the website has had a bit of a face lift and if you follow me on social media you will see that it has also changed direction for a more clean and consistent image. So what brought this change on? What's new?
Well quite simply I had fallen out of love with the previous branding and for quite some time I felt lost with social media and my photography. I tried to put it down to things like algorithms, time and other such scapegoats but the bottom line is that all of these areas met at one point- branding. It's okay to hold your hands up and say 'I actually don't totally love what I am doing/creating/selling' every once in a while. For me, it wasn't the name or what I sold but more how it looked. I wasn't in love with the science beaker, the hot pink and the bubbles. I didn't like that photography felt like a chore rather than a pleasure and I didn't like my quick 'that'll do for today' approach to social media. Something had to change.
So I bought a couple of books I'd had my eye on for a while and took action. The books in question were 'Brand Brilliance' and 'How to Style Your Brand', both by Fiona Humberstone. If I had one piece of advice to someone who might be doubting their branding too, for someone who might be looking to start a business or maybe someone who is looking for an interesting read I would 100% recommend these books, particularly 'Brand Brilliance' which was the first book I read and was a total game changer for my business and outlook on branding. Not only are these books totally gorgeous but they are also very well written. I literally opened up 'Brand Brilliance' and after about two pages had to run off and grab a pen and notebook because I was instantly inspired! There were so many 'OH YES!' and 'YES THAT'S BRILLIANT' moments. I completed every single activity in the book and I am so pleased I did because that is where my new brand came from.
I started with the basics. I knew I loved my business name and tagline and wasn't looking to change either anytime soon. I also knew that I loved the little illustration of me that was created by Katie Abey and if anything I wanted to expand its use further across my branding. Outside of that, everything was fair game! Knowing that I wanted to use the illustration more in my brand was the basis for my new branding colours and I hoped that stepping away from the solely 'hot pink' colour scheme would prevent possibly alienating certain clientele. I also took another look at fonts. Although I did like my previous font it wasn't the easiest to work with and I was worried that clarity would be an issue. So I mixed it up a bit and found a new font that I loved and continued to use my typewriter style for contrast.
I then moved on to a branding mood board to help capture other areas of branding that I needed to consider, especially across social media and graphics I like to create for promotion. I decided to focus these additional illustrations very much on my business and what it created. Florals are a huge part of what I do so I knew these needed to feature along with the stitching and unravelling thread. It all felt as though it was coming together perfectly but I wanted to see if I could really use these in my everyday business so I created a series of mock ups based on my current business stationery such as business cards and promotional postcards to get a feel for how this new image could look...
The end result was one that I was not only pleased with but genuinely excited about! Naturally I wanted to change everything instantly, as is my nature but I knew this would take time especially if I didn't want to waste the money I had spent on current materials. A fire had definitely been ignited however and in no time at all I was making a conscious effort across all of the areas that I had previously been fighting against. Suddenly taking time and care with my photography and social media content seemed to matter. I realised I'd got stuck in a rut with my product photography and that much like my branding, I had fallen out of love with my old style. Simply standing holding my hoop against the same boring wall and photographing it against a slowly rotting pallet just wasn't cutting it anymore. I had been inspired however in developing my flat lay skills and with a slowly growing collection of postcards and props, I started exploring this a lot more. This style certainly took more time and consideration but the end result was a lot more satisfying than another headless shot of me holding a hoop!
In relation to social media I decided to take inspiration from other accounts that I loved to follow and thought about what it was that I enjoyed. I liked a well organised feed, a mixture of work, home and fun! I also liked the idea of creating a grid that showed thought and that is where I decided to mix in funny quotes, illustrations I'd made or promotional posts in a pattern across my feed. Knowing that I had a theme to follow certainly helped me keep focused and made me 'post with purpose' rather than because I felt like I had to in order to battle the algorithm.
Soon enough everything began to flow. I felt as though creating content, especially when it came to posts I was hand drawing, was made a lot easier by knowing what colours, font and images I should be using. I was soon building up better photos of my work that I wanted to show off which pushed me into updating my website, product listings and most recently my business stationery which I designed totally from scratch!
So why am I telling you this? Why does it matter? I guess for me it is about admitting that I wasn't happy, that I'd made mistakes and that it really does matter what 'you' think rather than what everyone else tells you. I've had loads of compliments over the years for my branding, image and style with many telling me that it was strong, memorable and stood out from the crowd. Obviously this is all wonderful to hear and goes to show what can be achieved with very little knowledge at the beginning of a small business journey. Equally however change is good. It is important for businesses to learn, grow and evolve overtime. This November marks five whole years of running a business and I can honestly say that if it wasn't for change I think I would have stopped this business of mine a long time ago. You have to roll with the punches, make brave choices and stay true to who you are.
So whatever it is that you have been putting off or been too scared to do, go for it. It might just be the best decision you've made...