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TallTayl
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Let’s talk a second about Staying on Brand. 

 

When we first start out how many of us have it all figured out?

 

Definitely not raising my hand on this one! I started with soap. Just soap. And a nice workshop full of odd sized wood with which I made molds. Lots and lots of molds. My first outing my soap was naked in displays. I chose to package and add a label with ingredients and scent at point of sale. Well that didn’t go so well. With any more than one person in line there was a bottle neck. 

 

As as I tried to figure out what packaging would work I noticed something.  If I threw my soap on a table with soap from every other seller at that market I would not be able to pick mine out of the pile easily.  If I couldn’t then how on earth would my customers? 

 

Likewise when having to select packaging for random sized soap things got expensive quick. And every mold used a different amount of  soaping oil, fragrance, etc. shipping to the poor suckers who took a chance on me early on was chilling too since no two bars were quite the same dimensions. 

 

Then it hit hit me hard: Standardize! 

Standardize dimensions, swirls, decorations, etc. and choose those dimensions based on how many I needed to fit on market displays to sell the most along with how many could fit into the most flexible mailers so customers would easily predict their order size and shipping cost. Bingo! 

 

This notion carried on to candles. Having too many variations of size and shape created a testing and manufacturing nightmare. Too many sizes of the same scent took a load of shelf space and invariably someone wanted another size. When I cut down I sold MORE! Glorious sales and more profit from not having so many things to choose from.

 

today, my customers can spot an imposter from across the way and remain very loyal, for which I am eternally grateful. 

 

How about you? Can your customers easily identify your items in a sea of others available? 

 

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From the beginning I wanted to blend nature with imagination.  Trying to stay on target is pretty hard for me.  I'm going with neutral colors, sepia and brown tones, and while that appeals to me, I also go gaga for bright things, but that's not fitting my focus atm.  The nuetral, I hope will appeal to many, while quirkiness to bring interest can come in through art and titles.  I've done or chosen art only to want to redo it again.  I'd ideally like all of the same illustration style, but for now I'm settling on at least hand drawn aspect and colors coordinating.

 

Trying to find a balance between getting it just right and getting it done.  Starting Somewhere.  I'm contending with a strong urge to try everything, here.  Despite some mistakes  (don't ask about the evil chipmunk), I'm feeling at least on track. 

 

 

 

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3 full years of shows and I am still evolving.  Not as much as I did in the past, it is slowing down some as I have figured many things out.  BUT always exploring slightly.  The biggest thing I changed last year was changing my name from Milo's Candles (Milo was our dog) to 716 Candle Co.  (716 is the area code of Buffalo, NY) Which made me update the entire Branding.  It was an amazing exercise that really made me rethink of everything.

 

When I do something I like to think I am not trying to make this for 1, but rather 1000.  Meaning how easily can I scale what I am doing, with out increasing my labor costs too much.  I hope the time and cost of making 1 vs 10 vs 100 is no proportional equal.  Meaning  If 1 takes me 1 minute, I hope 10 takes my 7 minutes and 100 takes me 50 minutes.

 

Like @TallTaylI use to have 3 different sized tins of my candles I would take to shows.  (Small, Medium, and Large) I wanted to try and accommodate EVERYONE.  Well smalls quickly went away.  Then I realized no one was really buying larges.  So I started to bring double/triple the Medium size,  and then ran a promotion when you buy 3.  I started selling WAY more all of a sudden.

 

I just got through my 4th xmas and I finally feel like I have things somewhat in order.  I am not content, but feel good.  

 

I use to do 40+ shows a year, and I think this year I will do about 15-20.  AND probably make about the same amount of money and profit as when I was doing 40.  Dropped a few shows from last year, trying some new ones this year.

 

I do like to look back at some of my early pictures and ways I was doing stuff.  Makes me laugh.  And I hope in another 3-4 years I look at at how I am doing things now and laugh again.

 

I think the biggest single piece of advice is to never be content.  Always look and try to improve.  Whether it is with your process or your product.

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My bane has been my logo and tag line. I have been tweaking it and the fonts and colors I use for years and I feel I am close but not there. Mind you its the same tag line and logo and color scheme but its just not quite right if you kwim. Argh! Super frustrating. Or maybe I am just being too much of a perfectionist. I just want a simple logo that defines my company and its just not a clear picture in my head of exactly what I want. How do you get there?!!

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22 minutes ago, Candybee said:

My bane has been my logo and tag line. I have been tweaking it and the fonts and colors I use for years and I feel I am close but not there. Mind you its the same tag line and logo and color scheme but its just not quite right if you kwim. Argh! Super frustrating. Or maybe I am just being too much of a perfectionist. I just want a simple logo that defines my company and its just not a clear picture in my head of exactly what I want. How do you get there?!!

 

I know what you mean.  The pretty artistic stuff I totally struggle with.  I struggle drawing stick figures.  And for me I know this and it makes it worse.  I firmly believe you can not "learn" artistic.

 

 

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No you can not learn artistic or be taught it.    It has to be a natural thing that you are good at.  You either have it or you don't.   It still can be very mind frustrating though.   I can take 1 look at a booth in a show or look at the labels on the jars and know instantly she needs to hire a professional to help her out.    And there is no shame in that at all.   We are all made up differently.

 

Trappeur

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You can have logos designed on Fiverr, and if you google logo design there is online software that you can use to create.

Also want to up your design skills? You can get Affinity which is cheap and just like photoshop, they also have a version of Illustrator

and have their own version of Indesign but it doesn’t open Indesign  just yet.

If you haven’t used Canva yet for design work, check it out. 

And seriously if this is what is holding you back it doesn’t cost your candle supplies to get a good design these days.

Put together a mood board of designs you like, color, and then write a story about what your candles are about. Use this info to work with a designer.

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I carry a little sketch book with me and doodle.  Usually after a while doodles start to turn into something. 

 

I’m in a phase of petroglyphs,  and wanted a little symbol that told my story and was recognizable, usable on many products. 

 

The craftserver logo above was the result of a lot of doodling, and a CraftServer team to bounce ideas off of. If you look at the flame, the outline shape makes a C and an S. The spirals are common in my logos - in this case the curly “wick” in the flame represents the growth and learning journey of chandling. The logo is emblazoned on things like Diffuser Ornaments, pendants, tote bags, t shirts, you name it. Simple. Easy to identify. And completely unique to this forum and me.

 

Find your story and your mark will follow. 

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4 hours ago, NightLight said:

You can have logos designed on Fiverr, and if you google logo design there is online software that you can use to create.

Also want to up your design skills? You can get Affinity which is cheap and just like photoshop, they also have a version of Illustrator

and have their own version of Indesign but it doesn’t open Indesign  just yet.

If you haven’t used Canva yet for design work, check it out. 

And seriously if this is what is holding you back it doesn’t cost your candle supplies to get a good design these days.

Put together a mood board of designs you like, color, and then write a story about what your candles are about. Use this info to work with a designer.

 

I know what you mean but I already have pro design programs on my comp. Plus I have the logo and tag line I have been using for years that I like. But I want to tweak it and I don't have any clear picture in mind how I want to tweak it. Normally when I make a design I have a picture or at least an idea laid out in my mind. I do all my own design work and get a lot of compliments and respect for my work on my products. But this one thing eludes me. I wonder if it could be I think too much about it.

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I am right there with all of you. I love my logo but really need a good tag line. I am also redoing my web site from the ground up and the colors I am choosing are a struggle. I have seen such clever tag lies out there and think why didn't I think of that. One I have found to be very clever recently is a guy from the Cape and it is "biggest wick on the Cape" I am taking any and all suggestions on a tag line. 

 

Karen in MA

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On 4/19/2019 at 10:01 PM, TallTayl said:

Sometimes bouncing ideas with a few members jogs things into a good direction. 

 

@Candybee  As TT said, maybe you can bounce ideas off of members here. I have not had the pleasure of seeing your candles or logo yet, maybe share some photos of your finished jars or whatnot and if you have thoughts or ideas bounce them off us here? Wouldnt hurt I guess

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2 hours ago, TallTayl said:

I can make a private “club” area for you Candybee. Then you can invite people into the group privately. When it’s done we just deactivate the group.  It’s a little dicey sharing publicly, I know... 

 

At some point this summer, after my jars have returned from Texas getting photographed, I would like to do this with a select group of people as well and get some feedback. Ive been working on these for a few years but only my eyes have seen them. I think it is time to get some feedback other than family members lol

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I'm still in the very beginning stages, but I do think about branding a lot. I've got a document that is serving as my brain dump: the colors I'm using as part of my brand; a list of  tag lines that I've come up with; the type of containers and color of said containers; packaging components, and all that jazz. I'm happy to have reduced my containers to two types: 8 oz tins and 12 oz jars, which eliminates many wicking headaches... But, I do try to think like a customer. How can someone instantly recognize my brand? What makes me stand out? Why should the customer purchase my product over a competitor's product? There is so much to think about, and being a librarian and so research-focused, it's fun, but also, ARGH. 

 

All that said, I'm learning a ton from everyone here, and learning to be patient, as well. 

 

Back to doodling...

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/20/2019 at 9:54 AM, kfintoni said:

I am right there with all of you. I love my logo but really need a good tag line. I am also redoing my web site from the ground up and the colors I am choosing are a struggle. I have seen such clever tag lies out there and think why didn't I think of that. One I have found to be very clever recently is a guy from the Cape and it is "biggest wick on the Cape" I am taking any and all suggestions on a tag line. 

 

Karen in MA

I think an effective tag line should contain SEO keywords

 

So the tag long would be a combination of keywords specific to your brand (ex: location, specialty, qualities, style, demographics)

 

This all goes back to branding. On a piece of paper write down words that you think describe your brand

Some keyword ideas....

 

Descriptive features: Luxury, handcrafted, handmade, elegant, country, minimalist, apothecary style,

 

location: your state, city, southern, east coast, west cost, midwest

 

Materials: hemp wick, soy, cotton wicks, coconut, apricot wax, 

 

Strong selling points: long lasting, 100% ______, strong scents, "triple scented" (whatever that means lol), paraffin-free, eco-friendly, custom fragrances, phthalates-free

 

 

Edited by Testing123
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I love this topic. Branding has been taking up a lot of my time-I think it is incredibly impt!! Would be interested in how you are proceeding and happy to give any feedback or input. 

For me, I have a very specific vibe I am going for and I have a lot of inspiration boards of the look I am going for -on my pinterest acct. i am now in the process of bringing it all together...meshing my web site look, fragrance names, container style...everything...to make it all cohesive. It is a whole separate enterprise apart from the candle making.

I am also working on SEO and social media marketing and will be talking to a professional branding person too. 

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3 hours ago, candlesinflorida said:

I love this topic. Branding has been taking up a lot of my time-I think it is incredibly impt!! Would be interested in how you are proceeding and happy to give any feedback or input. 

For me, I have a very specific vibe I am going for and I have a lot of inspiration boards of the look I am going for -on my pinterest acct. i am now in the process of bringing it all together...meshing my web site look, fragrance names, container style...everything...to make it all cohesive. It is a whole separate enterprise apart from the candle making.

I am also working on SEO and social media marketing and will be talking to a professional branding person too. 

 

Sounds like you are thinking this through all the way. Would love to see the results at some point! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Btw, if anyone wants to run anything by me, I am happy to give constructive criticism.  I live in Miami, where design is a little more colorful and flashy than other locales, but I have also lived in Pennsylvania and Los Angeles...so I have a pretty good sense of different styles. Not a marketing expert, but I did work in tv for 20 years and have strong visual/presentation thoughts.

Just message me if you want w photos-I love looking at candles lol.  

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  • 3 weeks later...
1 minute ago, iansmommaya said:

I'm getting there. I think I'm close but honestly as soon as I'm done I'll start alllllllllll over.

 

Dont forget you can always use the wisdom and guidance of the forum members here for any feedback if you wish to share your branding thoughts here someday.

 

Good luck!

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