Elevating my own brand: a new identity for the brand stylist {Part One}


I'll be honest, this post has been a long time in the making. When you're writing a book, everything else is literally eclipsed. And so here we are, five months on from the launch of my lovely new brand identity and finally I have a chink of time to give you a little behind-the-scenes tour of how this beauty came to be. So settle down somewhere comfy, what follows are a couple of posts that'll give you an insight into how and why I rebranded and the impact it's having on me and my business.

Thinking bigger

It all started when I made the decision to allow myself to think a lot bigger about The Brand Stylist. For a very long time, I promised myself to keep my business small but perfectly formed. I wanted to keep my workload to just two or three school days a week in term times only and I wanted to keep things simple. So no staff, no overheads, no VAT.

Having founded, grown, sold and taken refuge from a pretty large business, with all the highs and lows that this entailed, I was determined to keep things really, really simple for my next company. Of course, keeping things simple when you're of an entrepreneurial mindset isn't always easy. It wasn't long before my ideas were bigger than the business I'd set out to create. How to Style your Brand was overwhelmingly more successful than I could've anticipated and after many, many deliberations, I decided to bite the bullet, separate out my publishing company and take The Brand Stylist VAT registered.

That meant that I could dream so much bigger: the retreat in Majorca, a two-day Brand Brilliance workshop, more consultancy and the opportunity to run online courses. It's still just me. I haven't taken on any staff - yet. Although I'm getting to the point where I'll probably want to. But thinking bigger about my business gave me the opportunity to think bigger about my brand.

When I set up my company back in the summer of 2014, I'd thought I was going to be a blogger, with a little consultancy on the side and monthly workshops. I wanted to publish How to Style your Brand and I imagined I'd probably write more books over time. It's funny, because aside from the blogging (I definitely don't define myself as a blogger, although blogging is an integral part of my business), the business is doing pretty much what I set out to achieve. But like many of my clients, as I've grown in to my business, I've become more confident about what I have to offer, where I sit in the market and the message I want to portray.

My old identity was definitely quite a play-it-safe option. I didn't want anything too girlish and it needed to have a certain gravitas. But it definitely didn't feel like 'me'. I was trying to create a relatively neutral backdrop to what I imagined would be a blog I'd write several times a week showcasing other peoples' designs. Actually, as it turned out, this blog has gone in a rather different direction. As have my workshops and consulting. So it was time to celebrate that.

The brief

I wanted an identity that looked 'wow' when you saw it. One that felt aspirational, elegant and stylish. And one that communicated my expertise and experience without being obnoxious or overly corporate. I also wanted something I could carry through to my workshops and retreats. It's been all of that and more. In fact, the whole experience has been so inspiring that when it came to designing my book, the initial spreads flew together because the whole identity just felt so right.

I started working through my own process. Writing a set of goals, working through a brief and creating a mood board. I collaged together a few ideas to get an idea of what I was after and also, to act as a sanity check to be sure that what I wanted would work, I collaged up some images of recent workshops to see if it could all work.

Finding the right designer was a little stressful. I have so many amazing friends and colleagues in the industry that I was worried about offending them by not working with them. I know. Exactly what I tell you guys not to worry about! But as soon as I knew the sort of thing I was after, there was only one designer for it. I'm so pleased we were able to work together.

I worked with the amazing Shauna of Branch who was a delight to work with. I love her elegant, feminine style and I knew that she would be able to balance that with the strength and gravitas I was looking for. She's done an incredible job. And in the next post I'll show you exactly how the initial ideas shaped up into the final design.