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In yesterday’s post, I defined my style as beach-rustic, targeted my customers as grown up surfer girls, and found my niche with leather macrame bracelets. Today, I am going to focus on pulling all of this together by building a brand for Serendipity Blu.

What is branding? A brand is simply your image. It is who you are and how this translates to your business.

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WHO AM I?

This is a great exercise to determine how to define your image. Use 10 words or phrases to define YOU. This is my list:

BOHEMIAN, BEACH BUM, ARTISAN, WANDERER, JEWELRY JUNKIE, MUSIC LOVER, PEARL JAM FANATIC, GYPSY, FREE SPIRIT, JOURNEYWOMAN

Since I am a jewelry junkie, I have a great collection of PJ adornments to wear to shows, so we can eliminate that off the list…and I am basically left with a collection of descriptions to apply to my image. I have decided a whimsical way to pull my image together is to use retro beach and vintage surfer themes and images.

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BE RECOGNIZABLE

SHOP BANNER & AVATAR – My shop banner and avatar on my Etsy shop and my gravatar on WordPress all feature images of my jewelry that have been enhanced to look like vintage photos. I run my business mostly from my iPad and I have acquired quite a collection of free photo FX apps. For my banner (shown at the top of this post), I first selected three pictures of my Betty Bracelets and gave each of them an aged appearance. Next, I used a photo collage app and one of my own photos of the Caribbean Sea as the background. I added the aged Betty photos and my shop name in a casual text. Finally, I used the same editing app I previously used on the jewelry photos to crop and size the banner according to Etsy specs. I then decided to add some distressing to make it look even more rustic. Te entire process took only about an hour and the result was very much worth it! For my avatar and gravatar, I also used one of my jewelry photos, but this time the editing was much more simple. I only used the editing app to crop the picture to a square, age it, and size it to the proper specs.

PHOTOS – I think it is very important to develop your own photo style to distinguish your work. I have two image styles I always use. The first one features my Betty Bracelet propped up on natural seashells placed on a piece of cream colored scar booking paper. I always use natural light for this shot to capture the truest hue of the beads and sharp details of the leather and toggle. This is the photo I used as my “cover photo” for my Etsy listings. The second image is taken in direct sunlight on dark distressed wood. I love these shots because they really show how amazing the recycled glass beads look shining in the sun – remember, I am marketing to beach bums like myself! I often use these images in my blog. At first, I thought taking all of my photos the same way would be redundant, but then I realized it would make them recognizable. It is also imperative to make sure your photos are crisp and clear. My best advice is to purchase the best camera you can afford (don’t be afraid to buy a used camera if it is high quality), always use the highest resolution setting, and take many photos at various angles. My camera is a few years old, but it still takes amazing pictures, so I have no plans of replacing it anytime soon. It is a Fuji FinePix with 16MP and 10x optical zoom.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? – Serendipity is one of my favorite words…I love both the way it just rolls off the tongue and the fact that it loosely means, “just seeing where life takes you.” My favorite color is aqua blue, so I chose Blu to complete my shop name for that reason and also because it conjures up images of the ocean. I thought about adding “jewelry” to my title, but I was afraid it would limit my craft. I am a macrame artisan and I may also like to add bags or scarves to my shop. My shop tag line is BOHO BEACH CHIC FOR A FREE SPIRITED LIFE. I think that pretty much sums it up. My shop sections on Esty also evoke images of the beach: Betty Bracelets, Mermaid Tears (for my wire wrapped seaglass collection), etc. I also name each of my items; I feel it helps customers to remember special summer or vacation moments. For example, all of my Betty Bracelets are named for surfing beaches.

PRICE POINT – Does my price point match my target customer? My bracelets currently range from about $25 to $35. My designs are geared toward my customers’ more casual attire and I feel this a fair price for a quality artisan piece.

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MARKETING MATERIALS

I have chosen these three printed items to complement my business image. For my business cards, I used the same image from my avatar and gravatar (remember my mantra, BE RECOGNIZABLE) and chose a square card format – these are 2 inches square. I like to feature just an image on the front; I wanted the card to mimic a vintage photo to keep with my theme. The print on the back is black on a white background. I chose a fun font for my shop name, since it is larger, and a plain, easy to read font for my contact info. I ordered these from UPrinting and I was very pleased with both the quality and the price. Here is a link to their website:

http://www.uprinting.com/

I found a fantastic deal through Etsy for these great MOO Mini Cards! I use them for discount coupon cards when clients make a purchase. I love how they feature the Etsy logo. With this special offer, you can get 100 mini cards free and only pay shipping. My total cost was $5! Here is a link to this great deal:

http://us.moo.com/partner/etsy-minicard-trial?utm_source=etsy&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=minitrial

I just love these tiny kraft tags (1 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch) from Dolphin Bead Designs! They perfectly complement the rustic look of my jewelry. I like to tie them with hemp cord. The quality and price are great. Dolphin Bead Designs has a wide range of tags and earring cards and a variety of finishes. Definitely check them out here:

http://www.dolphinbead.com/

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PACKAGING & CRAFT SHOW DISPLAYS

I like to tie my look together with rustic packaging. I use natural muslin bags and recycled kraft jewelry boxes. I wrap everything up with hemp cord and ship it in a recycled kraft padded mailer.

For my craft show displays, I choose natural wood displays, cream (rather than stark white) linens, and seashell accents.

That is a whole lot of info! I think this is my longest post yet! I hope I have inspired you to really get creative and develop a unique look for you and your business. I would love for you to share any thoughts, ideas, or tips through my comments section. I have one last pearl of wisdom to share:

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This wonderful little book, The Handmade Marketplace, has been a great reference for me in getting serious about the business end of my craft. It is available on Amazon for about $10 in both print and Kindle editions:

http://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Marketplace-Locally-Globally–Line/dp/1603424776/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359250287&sr=1-1&keywords=the+handmade+marketplace

Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

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