How to Boost Your Instagram Following Beyond 10k

Esther has generously offered to share some the key principles she's put in place since taking over their Instagram account about a year and a half ago. At that point they had about 400 followers and they've been able to grow it to 10.3K as of August 2016. If you're wondering how to grow your Instagram followers from the hundreds to the thousands, read on!

Esther Holden, founder of The Bakers Party Shop, is sharing her tips on how she’s grown her Instagram following and keeps them engaged. Here’s more about the business, in Esther & Shauna’s words:

With the introduction of our blog, you can find amazing recipes and party ideas all while shopping for fabulous baking and party supplies, some are even made by us. Our mission is to help you Bake Life Sweet™ through sharing our knowledge of baking and entertaining along with providing great products to help you bring your sweet recipes to life.

It began in the historic Old Port in Portland, Maine when we met while working at LeRoux Kitchen, a local specialty kitchen store. We had each started our own dessert catering business so it was only natural to join forces. While we no longer bake professionally, our many years of experience helps us source the best baking and party supplies to offer you and we love to share our recipes and baking tips on our blog.

Esther has generously offered to share some the key principles she’s put in place since taking over their Instagram account about a year and a half ago. At that point they had about 400 followers and they’ve been able to grow it to 10.3K as of August 2016. If you’re wondering how to grow your Instagram followers from the hundreds to the thousands, read on!

Ice cream cups designed by Esther. Get the ice cream recipe. Buy the adorable cups.

Ice cream cups designed by Esther. Get the ice cream recipe. Buy the adorable cups.

Heart cookies from The Bakers Party Shop. See tutorial. Buy pink box.

Heart cookies from The Bakers Party Shop. Get recipe. Buy pink box.

Key principles to grow your Instagram followers – for a product-based business

1. CREATE:

Focus on creating and sharing appealing content (I’m pretty sure most business owners have heard this before). Just like you hear people say you “buy” with your eyes, people do that too when they are scrolling through Instagram. Your photo has to grab them, make them stop to notice and then hopefully give a {heart} or comment.

Not everything has to be picture perfect, but many do like that and there should be some consistency to what you are posting or else you may have a hard time getting engagement.

2. EDUCATE:

Are you teaching your followers something, providing a tip they can apply to their life? Ask yourself “why” would someone stop to notice your feed and posts. Adding value through teaching can help others learn more about you and your business and create an emotional connection that could lead to them becoming a customer.

Not all posts have to be done this way but we’ve found that sharing tips and teaching people how to do something helps with engagement.

3. COLLABORATE:

Work with other creatives – businesses that are similar to yours. Collaborate on a themed post or giveaway. This helps everyone involved by sharing their followers within a similar target market. We’ve done this a few times over the last year and a half and not only is it fun for everyone’s followers, it also gives the business owners content to share. It’s a great way to expand your follower base authentically.

4. TARGET:

Think of your ideal follower and post things that will draw them in. Target your posts to attract them. Just as they say you should know your ideal customer for your businesses, it is important to know your ideal follower so you can adjust the content you share to nurture them. Don’t get me wrong, not every post has to be perfectly targeted. We still post some random things – but we try to keep them related to our business somehow, and if there’s no relation, those posts get shared to our personal Instagram accounts.

Also, people will get sick of your posts if all you post is basically an ad for your business. Share posts from other Instagram feeds that relate to your business. We love to share other beautiful confections people make. Be sure to tag the creator in the photo and comment to give credit – so people know it is not your photo. We find that the re-shares of others are some of our highest traffic posts.

5. VALUE:

There should be value in what you post or something your followers should take away. Step outside your business and look at your Instagram feed and think about why someone would – should – follow you. Do you provide value in the content you share? Are you helping them in some way? What are some of the strengths you can share that relate to your brand?

Take our business for example. We sell baking and party supplies. Yes, we have an online shop and would we love you to shop with us? Of course! Supporting our business provides our income. However, we are much more than just a shop. I’ve always kind of thought of our shop as a means to earning a living through the goods we sell but that is just a small piece.

Shauna and I have both been baking since we were knee high to our Moms in the kitchen. We have a love for baking and a passion for sharing it. We hope through our blog (that is right in our online shop) and some of the posts we share on Instagram that we can teach people how to bake, decorate, or put together a party display.

Share the reasons of why you do what you do with your followers. We all have our strengths and gifts and letting your followers know your “why” may also help them connect to your business and brand better.

6. CELEBRATE:

When someone engages with you on your posts and takes the time to comment, acknowledge them back! Just like you are posting… let’s be honest, to get noticed, your followers might enjoy getting a response back. It lets them know you noticed them.

We love connecting with people. We are still working on trying to get more engagement through comments, so when we catch a comment we do our best to say thanks or respond to someone’s question. Now, if you have a very active or large account it can be hard to see people’s comments and sometimes they get missed, but if you catch them giving a “Thanks!” could really make someone’s day and make them feel more connected to your business or brand.

TIP: CONTESTS

Another great way to get engagement is to run contests. For example, when I come up with new sprinkle mixes I often post on Instagram and ask our followers to help name the new mix. In return, the person who helps name it gets sent a free jar of the new sprinkles. We get ideas on what a consumer would think of naming a product, get engagement by asking them to leave a comment on our post, get to introduce people to a new product in a fun way + get the product in the hands of a potential customer or customer! It’s a win, win for everyone!

Many who have won something from one of our giveaways have turned into repeat customers. Thinking of a way you can do something like that with your business might help create more engagement in a fun way.

Cranberry cheesecake from the Bakers Party Shop. See tutorial. Buy adorable tart pans.

Cranberry cheesecake from the Bakers Party Shop. Get recipe. Buy adorable tart pans.

Ice cream chocolates by Bakers Party Shop. See tutorial. Buy chocolate molds.

Ice cream chocolates by Bakers Party Shop. See tutorial. Buy chocolate molds.

The Instagram game is still a work in progress, just like any social media and just when you think you’ve figured it out, they change something! Being intentional about the content you share and figuring out who your target follower is and then nurturing them will help your account grow, and hopefully your business, too.

Those are the top principles I’ve tried to put in place to help grow an authentic following who generally seem interested in our business or what we have to share. We’d rather have a small following that cares than a huge following for just the sake of the number.

I’ve enjoyed the launch of the Instagram “stories,” as the last thing we needed as a busy small business is one more social media platform to build. We look at this as a new fun way to share the spontaneous behind the scenes, not so picture perfect things (that still relate to our business) with our followers to create a new kind of engagement. Having a new way to connect with our followers throughout the days we have time is great, as we are not on Snapchat.

Thanks for inspiring me to put this in writing, Aeolidia!


Thank you so much, Esther! You can follow @bakerspartyshop on Instagram to see how this is all done (and drool over the desserts). And visit The Bakers Party Shop site to read the blog and get the goodies!

Get your Targeted Traffic workbook

Want to get started figuring out how to do this yourself? Grab our workbook to research and pin down what you know about where your best customers are hanging out. It explains traffic-generating concepts in more detail, and you can use the included tips to make a plan to get high-quality, high-converting traffic to your website.

How to Get Targeted Traffic

Download your Targeted Traffic workbook

 

Go for the Extra Special: A Custom Shopify Theme for Pango Productions

Pango Productions website home page

“Do we need to arm our latest penguin with a hot water bottle to keep him warm in the winter?”

This is one of the ways Cindy Pang first described the personality of her company, a greeting card publisher called Pango Productions. Just from this simple image, we knew we were in for something special.

Cindy creates the kind of vibrant, adorable greeting cards that you’d never want to toss because they’re bursting with life and originality. She and her friend David sell these creations on their website, wholesale to other shops and boutiques, and also license their innovative characters. Now about 12 years old, Pango was ready for a completely new website that addressed 3 specific goals:

  1. Drive wholesale transactions through the website: “we would like the site to become the focal point for this and effectively become the sales agent,” Cindy said. She envisioned an intuitive, easy-to-use online platform that would entice retailers to buy with beautiful imagery and minimum fuss. Equally important, she needed something that’d be just as simple for them to operate on the backend.
  2. Create new opportunities: “We would also like the site to be a true window to our products and the design to reflect the fun nature of Pango so it can also become a portal for licensing and design opportunities outside our current product categories.” In other words, a site that would showcase all that is great about Pango.
  3. Grow as they grow: Since Pango planned to expand their offerings from greeting cards to new product categories, it was paramount that their new site adapt and grow with these changes.

Now, these were very specific goals—which we love—that called for some very specific execution. With Shopify providing a solid e-commerce foundation, Cindy needed us to create a custom Shopify theme for Pango rather than use a pre-made design. While Shopify’s basic functionality and pre-made themes are easy for businesses that are just starting out, we realized that Pango had reached a point in their growth where their needs (and hence, the solutions) were unique to their brand and products.

As we brainstormed various ways to showcase Pango’s originality and help set them up for success, our team kept coming back to that parrot! Okay, that, and their most powerful selling point: their cards are innovative, fresh, and no two lines are ever the same. The designs and characters are cute and somewhat mischievous, and they are never what you’d expect.

Natalia worked on bringing the voice of Pango to life through copy and narrative on their About page. It told a wonderful story about the brand’s origins and their growth into a happy, London-based studio where imaginations run amok and the Pango crew makes tea and dances when they fancy it.

Pango Productions web design licensing page

Next, Shoshanna stepped in to work on the site’s new design. Inspired by the About page, Cindy and David proposed creating graphics to go with the narrative on the About page and animating them. They discussed providing storyboards so the animation could be like a little movie. Shoshanna thought this approach was inspired, but she proposed simplifying it. By scaling down from full-out animations to simple scrolling effects that display on larger screens, Pango’s fun characters would still convey the personality of the brand, without overwhelming the page content.

View the animation on the Pango site – so cute!

pango-about-cropped

The result was an animation-like effect that fills the web experience with movement and life—even little touches around the site, like on thumbnail rollovers, added a little special something while not distracting from the overall shopping experience. New photography and a simple layout with plenty of white space make each card pop with its own unique design elements, and new licensing and wholesale pages give a welcoming, easy-to-navigate nod to new partners.

See this project in our portfolio.

Could your online shop use a custom makeover full of carefully tailored-to-you solutions? Contact us about a custom Shopify theme and let’s explore the possibilities!

 

11 Big Lessons From Handcrafted HoneyBee’s Transformative Rebrand

Handcrafted HoneyBee, a skincare kit brand, realized they were selling to the wrong audience. They took stock and decided to completely rebrand their business from the ground up.

Our clients, Stacia & Robert Guzzo of Handcrafted HoneyBee came to us to tear their business down to the bedrock and build it back up again. It was an inspiring project! Here is some insight straight from them, into the rebranding process and strategy they used.

They began as a brand that wanted to empower women, but that wasn’t why their customers were buying.

Handcrafted HoneyBee Heroines

They started to dream bigger, and they found that the magic happened when they began to think smaller:

The women most in need of self-confidence and inspiration are actually women-in-the-making.

  • Did you know that the number of women earning Bachelor’s degrees in computer science in the U.S. has plummeted from 37% in 1984 to 12% in 2011?
  • Or that a recent study conducted by the Girl Scouts suggests that girls who are interested in STEM are more likely to view obstacles as something that can make them stronger?
  • Or that a recent survey of 200 female entrepreneurs from Inc 5,000 companies identified female mentorship as a critical part of their success?

In every girl, there is a potential inventor. A potential artist. A potential entrepreneur. A potential chemist. And we can help to nourish and unlock that potential.

We want to empower the next generation of promising young women to become leaders that can integrate logic, creativity and intuition to solve the problems of the world around them.

And we’re going to do it with a simple kit.

Handcrafted HoneyBee, product photography hero shot

What made this branding and website project so effective?

Of course the Aeolidia team does their best on every project. I’ve managed to pull together a group of designers, developers, strategists, and content creators who are never able to settle for “good enough” – they’re constantly going above and beyond the call of duty. We provide the design and tools and our client uses them to build their business.

But sometimes a client comes along who is able to harness the power of the Aeolidia team to make something that is almost guaranteed to succeed. What did Stacia and Robert bring to their project that will likely ensure their success?

  1. A deep understanding of their brand, their perfect customer base, and what differentiates them from others in the market. I can’t overstate how important this is to success.
  2. The knowledge that the project with Aeolidia is an investment, not a cost. This difference is vital. A cost is something that isn’t going to help you make more money. The heating bill for your studio is a cost, and something that you might as well try to keep down. A design project, however, is an investment. Keeping costs down here is going to hold your business back. Investing where it makes sense to is going to let you 10x or more the price of the project.

Robert explains their plans and mindset in great detail in this multi-part series about their rebrand with us on Academy of Handmade. Sharon Fain of Academy of Handmade has turned this into an ebook that doubles as a workbook for you to do the same for your business. You can grab that here:

Rebranding from the ground up ebook

Download the ebook directly

You can also read through those posts on the Academy of Handmade site, by following the links next to each blurb, below. So fascinating!

A-Z rebrand with Handcrafted HoneyBee

Prologue: we were struggling and everything felt like an uphill fight

“If you are struggling with your current brand – trying to find your voice, striving to figure out why your message is not connecting with your audience, seeing that your business goals are not aligned with kinds of customers you are attracting – then this story should offer you some hope. Because we were there. Oh yes, we were there big time.”

Part 1: the need to change

“Our current brand was failing to resonate with the customer we had targeted, but it was also failing to effectively serve the customer we were actually reaching. We had a choice to make: either take a hard look at all aspects of our current brand and fix it to attract our target customer, or go all-in on a ground-up rebrand in order to provide real value to our actual customers.

Part 2: the work it takes to get a rebrand right

“But brand is so much more than the visual style. It’s more than the logo. It’s more than the website or the product or the blog. Brand is the heart of the relationship that you want to have with your audience. It’s the foundation of your entire business. It’s your reputation. It’s your WHY. And that’s why a rebrand should never be taken lightly.”

Part 3: how to choose a designer

“The day that Stacia got the quote, she wrote me at work to say, “It’s a lot of money… but it could also be the tipping point. The thing that gets us to the point where we are making a living from this dream. And it’s a really good proposal. We have some talking to do!”

Part 4: creating compelling content

“The more we wrote, the more we fell in love with our new brand! Because the more we wrote, the more we realized just how much of a need there was for what we are creating. We realized just how much we wanted to serve our customers. And we realized just how much we had to offer them.”

Part 5: creating and using your brand guide

“And here’s the craziest thing. Our designer was surprised when she saw how much we were actually using it. In a recent correspondence she wrote, ‘Rarely do my clients take their style guide and really run with it! I think of all my clients, you are only one in a small handful who has.’”

Part 6: creating compelling packaging

“Our top goal was packaging that could speak for itself. Previously, our products would sell when we were there in person to speak with the customers. But we didn’t have packaging that could sell a product on a shelf or on a website.”

Part 7: juggling two brands at once

“Whatever we planned to do for our content marketing, we wanted to honor the audience & customer base that had gotten us to this point. So one of our main goals was to help our current audience understand the reasons for the rebrand and invite them to share in our vision for the future.”

Part 8: building a homepage

“Our short-term goal was improving our online sales conversion. Our long term goal was a bit more complex: strengthening our customers’ relationship with the brand. As the owners, Stacia & I were in charge of content creation, but each member of the Aeolidia team would be able to contribute to the story we were trying to tell, the value we wanted to deliver & the connection we wanted to forge.”

Part 9: launching the new site

“Bespoke tailoring is clothing built from the ground-up, starting with your body. Bespoke fits you perfectly because it was made precisely for you. It has the features you want because it was designed with your needs in mind. The same is true for a custom website.”

Epilogue: relationship advice for your rebrand

“We began this rebrand with a strong focus on our “why.” It was a vision of the future, the seed of an idea. Everything that followed—our content, our visual identity, our packaging, our website, even our product lines—sprouted from that seed.

And those investments in our brand have started to bear fruit. In the kind replies of our newsletter readers. In stellar customer reviews. In awards & press coverage.”

Grab the workbook to do this for your business

Sharon has made the workbook not only inspirational, but actionable. There are takeaways for each section, and areas for you to fill out and dream big for your business. Sharon has generously offered this ebook to you, and you can get the PDF directly from the link below:

Rebranding from the ground up ebook

Download the ebook directly

Visit Handcrafted HoneyBee!

Visit Academy of Handmade!

Contact me if you want to work some magic for your own wonderful business.

Have a wonderful day.

Give Your Business a Head Start: PaperWand

It’s hard to do everything at once, which is why most businesses start out with small steps, like creating their own logo or using a web design template, before taking big leaps and hiring a specialist. There’s a lot of growth that happens between these two milestones (I like to think of it as the teenage phase). Your business is full of promise and energy, but also wavering between doubt and confidence as you navigate its place in the world.

But wouldn’t it be great if, instead of struggling with awkwardness, you went straight to the successful phase?

We know not every business will have a budget for professional graphic design, but for those who do, hiring a designer is a great investment to make because it can give your business a head start. A strong, cohesive visual identity and optimized site design mean you won’t have to work as hard to gain trust, because you’ll look trustworthy. Your website will have a good conversion rate, so more browsers will become customers.

How do you know if you’re ready to take the leap? If you’re still experimenting with product types and styles and don’t know who your customer is, the time might not be right just yet. But if you really understand your brand and your target audience (we can help with that) and are ready to take it in an exciting new direction, we’re all in!

We recently had the pleasure of helping Neesha Merani, owner of PaperWand, with exactly this kind of launch. PaperWand is a line of whimsical gifts, art & illustrations created by Neesha to capture the magical moments of young motherhood and childhood. Though in the works for years, PaperWand officially launched in Oct. 2015 with a logo and web design that Neesha, who is an award-winning graphic designer, had created herself. Within months, though, she felt her business had outgrown its visual identity. Neesha hired us for a complete relaunch with these specific goals in mind: she wanted a delightful brand that clearly communicates her message, creates an immediate emotional connection to her customer, and a happy experience that makes them think “Yes, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for!”

PaperWand logo

What made Neesha’s project with us such a success is that she had a laser-like focus on how she wanted her brand to evolve. We started by creating a brand new logo and brand guideline for PaperWand, and Neesha’s direction helped pave the way for a logo that got right to the heart of her brand:

“I want to stay away from being too literally magical. PaperWand is more about what your heart wishes, and the daily magic moments in life, less about magic spells,” Neesha said. Sarah’s design incorporated a hand-drawn, custom font paired with a shining star that mirrors PaperWand’s sense of wonder, magic and wishfulness. The starburst made for a beautiful, iconic PW monogram.

paper-wand-QBIGtemplate

PaperWand is a perfect example of what happens when you bring a deep understanding of your brand and objectives to a designer and they totally get you and run with it. Ready to pass the baton to us? Contact us and let’s discover how we can set your brand up for big wins.

See this project in our portfolio.

Get this look yourself

Aeolidia Client Logo Help Guide

Download our logo help guide, which explains in detail how to use your brand

If you’d like us to work this magic for your business, please say hello!

How to Get Real Traffic on Shopify – That Will Buy!

Here's how to get traffic to your online store. Marketing and promoting your business is a huge part of having a successful online retail business. You can do this yourself, hire someone in house to do it, or hire a marketing agency to devise and implement a strategy for you.

I have been getting so much enjoyment out of speaking with the creative businesses that subscribe to my newsletter lately! We have been having some real conversations, and one of the things we’ve been discussing lately has been conversion rate – the simple math that tells you what the heck you can expect when you get traffic to your online store.

A sweet reader read through my explanation of how conversion rate works and what it means to you, and replied,

Thank you!!! This is EXACTLY what I have been scratching my head about lately and trying to muddle my way through and not even know where to start. Thank you so much for bringing this into the Aeolidia stable.

I’ve been a huge fan of your blog and tips for yonks and there is not an agency that even compares to what you offer.

Just the tips in this email alone 100% clarified what I should be looking at (and I discovered it was something I was ignoring because I was scared of facing it, my conversion rates!).

In my email I offered to anyone to take a look at their stats and get back to them with a personalized plan of what they should do. I had a LOT of email conversations that week. But I found that my answer was nearly the same for everybody. So I’m sharing it with you!

What to do before you begin trying to increase sales on your site

First, make sure that what you’re working to promote is something that is going to sell well. Think of it this way. If Oprah was going to feature your site in six months, what would you do to prepare? If you knew for sure that a billion people were going to click over and start looking around, what would you want them to see? This is what I would want to feel confident about if my Shopify site was about to get a ton of traffic:

1) Is the product remarkable?

Am I selling something that is easy to sell, once people see it? Does my product sell itself? Do people clamor to buy it and rush to share it with their friends? If my product wasn’t a hot seller to my target customer, I wouldn’t want Oprah to mention it, and I certainly wouldn’t want to spend all my time struggling to try to sell it.

If your business does really well with wholesale accounts, in your own brick and mortar, on Etsy, or at in-person events, congratulations! You’re ready to go, and by the way, you should probably just hire us to take care of everything for you. Since your product sells well in other venues, you know if you use the right strategy online, you will get plenty of sales in your own shop.

2) Does the website convert?

If all of Oprah’s fans are going to hit my website, I want it to have a high conversion rate. If I can convert 5% of a billion people, I’ve got it made. 0.05% of a billion people… well that’s still 50,000 people. But you see what I mean.

Your website should immediately answer the question, “what is it, and why would I want it?”

If I was going to spend time and/or money marketing my site, I’d want to be sure I was getting the best results I could. Here are some ways you can improve website conversion yourself. Please get in touch with us if you’d like a custom site that will convert your target customers to sales.

Okay, so you have a killer product and an effective website? But no one is really shopping?

What to do if your business is awesome but you don’t get enough traffic to your site

With an Etsy shop, a brick and mortar shop, or even a trade show or craft fair booth, you can just kind of exist, and people will walk in because they’re passing by. Then you can show them how awesome your products are and make a sale! On your own Shopify (or other ecommerce) site, no one is going to just pass by and notice you. You need to go out and find them yourself.

Marketing and promoting your business is a huge part of having a successful online retail business. You can do this yourself, hire someone in-house to do it, or hire a marketing agency to devise and implement a strategy for you.

Promoting your Shopify store

If the marketing budget is tight, it’s all stuff you can do yourself. It’s a lot of work, and you’ll need to really throw yourself into it to see results. I would pick ONE method to start with, and do the very best you can with it.

Here is my list of the five ways to get traffic to your site.

I would start with something that’s already showing signs of working for you, and putting all of your effort into that at first. Google and Pinterest search results are important, but can be slow and hard to tell at first if it’s working. Social media and influencer marketing is more immediate, but not as long lasting. Make sure you’re working to get other people to mention you, rather than talking to your own small group all the time.

Include a dash of newsletter in your strategy at all times, because you should never neglect your email list – these are the people who love you best! You don’t want them to forget that they signed up when you finally get around to emailing them.

If you focus on social media, pick ONE platform to be the best at. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Once one social media channel is working well, you can add another. You won’t get anywhere if you try to get everywhere right away.

The quickest way to grow is to have influencer accounts with your target followers as their audience share your shop with a strong call to action.

Paying to promote social media posts

Plan to either spend some money or send some product to influencers as payment for showing off your goods. For a benchmark, our marketing team spends between $150-$250 USD per month on advertising for each of our clients that they work with. You might choose to invest in Facebook ads, Instagram promotions or features on influencer accounts, promoted pins on Pinterest, or Google AdWords.

You don’t want to do this haphazardly when you’re paying, so be very diligent that the audience you will be reaching is engaged and is interested in your type of product. Make sure photos and text promoting your product are the kind that have produced sales for you in the past.

If you do any type of advertising, you’ll want to read up on what makes an effective ad on that platform. I’ve heard of a lot of people paying for ads that do nothing for them because they didn’t have a strong call to action, the audience they chose wasn’t a good fit, or all kinds of other mysterious reasons promoted posts on social media flop.

Research, test, and evaluate

When you run ads, you want to evaluate how they did and if they were worth it. If ads are cutting way into your profits without creating enough volume to offset it, something needs to change in your strategy.

Wherever you plan to focus your efforts, whether it be Instagram, Facebook, or elsewhere, go check out what your competitors are doing that seems to be working. Not to copy exactly what they’re doing, but to get a feel for what your shared audience responds well to.

Chat with others (possibly in our awesome Facebook group for product-based businesses) about what works for them.

The bottom line?

Show up every day. Provide value. Interact with the right people. Figure out what works. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Get your Targeted Traffic workbook

Want to get started figuring out how to do this yourself? Grab our workbook to research and pin down what you know about where your best customers are hanging out. It explains traffic-generating concepts in more detail, and you can use the included tips to make a plan to get high-quality, high-converting traffic to your website.

Click the photo or button below to nab it:

How to Get Targeted Traffic

Download your Targeted Traffic workbook

National Stationery Show Tips From Inklings Paperie

National Stationery Show tips from Inklings Paperie. Learn what to expect at the NSS, NY NOW, or other gift or trade show. Tips on booth setup and wholesale relationships.

Are you headed to NY NOW this summer, or any other trade show, market, or craft fair? Or even planning for next year’s National Stationery Show? We’re going to be sharing tips from creative stationery and gift businesses as you prep.

Today’s contributor is Lindsay Henry of Inklings Paperie, who we chatted with at the National Stationery Show this spring. Her pop up and scratch off cards were standouts at the show, and her booth looked amazingly polished and professional. You must watch the adorable “how-to” videos on her website.

inklings-montage

Lindsay Henry of Inklings Paperie

Lindsay Henry, photo © Inklings Paperie

National Stationery Show tips

How many years have you been in business?

We first opened our Etsy shop in 2010 on a whim, but didn’t start selling products there until 2012. In the years to follow, our shop would grow organically. Our tagline, “Love in the little things” continues to influence every aspect of what we do. We’re relentless about pouring love into every detail of our products, from the sustainably-sourced papers and vibrant soy-based inks we use to the details in our packaging. But it goes beyond ink on paper. We want to inspire kindness through both the products we create and how we operate as a company.

Roughly what percentage of your business is wholesale vs. retail?

Currently, the breakdown is approximately 75% retail and 25% wholesale. Before we exhibited at NSS, we really had not been very aggressive about building our wholesale business. We wanted to first lay a solid foundation for the brand, with a strong sense of who our customer is and what retail partners would be the best fit for us!

This was your first year at the NSS. do you feel like you were ready? What did you learn? Will you attend next year?

I’m a firm believer in doing something well or not at all. My husband and I walked the show in 2014 and left with the plan to lay the groundwork and exhibit in 2016! As part of our preparation, I participated in Tradeshow Bootcamp (an online series of webinars designed to help with the logistics of exhibiting and wholesale). This was invaluable to not only answer my many questions, but it also provided a rich and incredibly supportive community of people and fellow makers who would also be exhibiting at NSS. When it came time for the show, I couldn’t have felt more ready. We left the show already talking about the next show, and we look forward to exhibiting again and seeing many of our new retailers again next year!

Do you do any other trade shows, markets, or craft fairs?

Markets and fairs really aren’t the best fit for us, primarily because we have two young kids and weekends are all about family time for us. We focus instead on connecting with our customers online through our Etsy shop and through Instagram and Facebook (@InklingsPaperie). We love to receive their feedback on our products, and their reviews mean the world to us. We’ve received over 6,600 reviews, and I read each and every one of them.

Fruit cards by Inklings Paperie

Fruit cards, photo © Inklings Paperie

Scratch off cards by Inklings Paperie

Scratch off cards, photo © Inklings Paperie

Would you like to share a mistake you’ve made or a problem you’ve had at a trade show, and/or your smartest tip or best moment?

While the show itself went smoothly for us, our booth setup had a bit of a rocky start. An talented carpenter who happens to be a good friend of ours back at home had built a custom booth based on a sketch I provided in the weeks leading up to the show. Due to time constraints, we didn’t have the opportunity to do a “dry run” booth setup from home. We were so tight for time that we were literally painting our crate as the freight company was scheduled to arrive.

My husband was confident about how easily (and quickly) we could put our walls. The mistake we made was that we didn’t have a diagram of the plans, so when my husband became ill with food poisoning on day one of setup, I was at a total stand-still. I knew how the finished product was supposed to look, but I had a pile of wood and no plans before me.

Fortunately, a kind stranger (now, a friend) helped me piece together the puzzle, and it came together beautifully. My recommendation to others would be to do a dry run and build as much efficiency into your booth as possible. Things will always take longer than you expect. Go into it with a clear plan to minimize down time (and pack snacks and water in your crate)!

What does your business get out of attending the NSS?

The show is an incredible opportunity to connect with new and existing retailers, to meet members of the press who you might not otherwise have met, and to participate in awards and competitions that can garner interest in your line. We had many retailers come to our booth who had seen our cards in the Louie Awards display, and others who had received our pre-show mailer and made a point of visiting us.

My recommendation to others would be to make the most of every opportunity leading up to the show. Research your dream retailers, and drop them a line. Send cards to members of the press ahead of time. Post sneak peeks on social media, and put yourself out there.


So interesting and helpful, thank you, Lindsay!

Ultimate trade show packing list

I have a bonus for you today! 14 stationery companies shared their own trade show packing lists with us, and we’ve compiled it into a master list. You can also peek and see each business’ exhaustive list, with things like how many catalogs they bring, etc. The one thing everyone agreed on was to bring at least four different kinds of tape! Want this? Sign up and nab it below:

Ultimate Trade Show Packing List

Download our ultimate trade show packing list and be totally prepared

Last chance in 2016! Aeolidia schedule update

This is a quick news type post, and I’m talking to just a few special someones with this post. You are the special someone if you can answer yes to these four questions:

  • Do you own a creative or design-oriented product-based business?
  • Are you on track to gross at least $100,000 with your business this year?
  • Are other branches of your business growing, but online retail is stagnant?
  • Is your ecommerce conversion rate low (like 3% or below)?

You, I am talking to you: I have a suspicion that you can’t afford not to invest in your ecommerce site right now. Things change very quickly with the internet, and what worked 3 or 4 years ago is not going to keep you competitive.

Your business is at that tipping point where the return on investment for hiring Aeolidia can be huge. Not sure you believe it? Email me today, and I’ll ask for just two numbers from your stats which I can use to predict how your business will do with and without our help.

This is my latest party trick, and it’s been quite illuminating for the business owners I’ve been talking to.

If you know anyone who might fit the above criteria, please introduce me – I’d love to help out.

Aeolidia 2016 schedule

As for the news: we are currently booking the last block we have available in 2016.

Beginning: September 19
Ending: November 11

Logo projects that begin in September will be done in November.

Website projects that begin in September will be designed by November. Then we take a winter break, and develop your site in January for a February 2017 launch.

If you are exhibiting at NY NOW, let me know and we will make a plan to get your site live in time to impress your new wholesale accounts.

Let me know where your business is at and where you want it to be, so we can make a plan. I hope to hear from you today!

Get Help Choosing a Business Name: How Our Brainstorming Service Works

Hiring a copywriter's help with choosing a business name. It can feel crazy to hand over such an important part of your business to another person, but rest assured, our method works and it's collaborative. Your business's personality and your input will always be at the forefront of the conversation.

Are you thinking about changing your business name? Or choosing a business name for a new endeavor? It’s hard, isn’t it?

As a person who created a spreadsheet of possible names for both of my children and polled all my family and friends, ranking each one before I could decide, I totally know how you feel! I was actually in the delivery room preparing for my second son’s imminent arrival, and the nurses had written the two names we were still deciding between on the whiteboard. I imagined shouting both names on playgrounds, saying them lovingly, saying them angrily… it’s a big decision, and I know a business feels like a baby in some ways, too.

Let’s talk about what to expect when hiring help for this big decision.

Aeolidia’s work is known for being transformative, and sometimes that transformation takes you back to bedrock: the name you’ve been using for your business no longer fits what you’re doing and what your customers relate to. With the upcoming investment in graphic design for your brand, you may realize you don’t want to spend money on that old, no-good name.

Over the years, I have added logo design, product photography, copywriting, marketing consultation, trademarking, and business name brainstorming to the services we offer. You can come to us at a crossroads for your business and we put all the little wheels in motion to take care of the bits and pieces that must be in place to generate online sales.

We do a lot more business name brainstorming than I expected when I first introduced the service. I love it when we can do this! It’s great to be able to start from the start, and know that we’re preparing our clients for success.

The Bunbury logo has an illustrated character

Business name: Bunbury. After much deliberation, brainstorming and inspiration, Tonia and Dennis were reminded of a character from an Oscar Wilde play. Over time, this character’s name came to represent a secret excuse for sneaking off to spend some time doing something you love. This direction got us all excited—it was exactly what we’d been discussing: abstract, yet fully capturing the brand’s true spirit.

Here is how the business name brainstorming process at Aeolidia works

We get so many questions about how this service works, and this is an area where people can get cold feet. It can feel crazy to hand over such an important part of your business to another person, but rest assured, our method works and it’s collaborative. Your business’s personality and your input will always be at the forefront of the conversation.

Background and business information

We begin with goals and objectives, just as we do with all phases of your project. We make sure we all completely understand your unique selling proposition – what differentiates your business from others. We get a handle on your target client – the specific perfect person who you will be speaking to when you market your business. And then the creativity begins!

5-junes-feature

Business name: 5 Junes. This name is meant to represent the 5 spring and summer seasons a girl experiences from ages 9 to 12, bursting with life.

The process of choosing a great business name

Natalia, our copywriter, is at the helm of the biz name ship, and here is how she describes the journey for our clients:

The business name brainstorming process works in phases. We start in the same place all great brands start: with words and ideas. To get from point A to point YAY, we’ve found it’s best to set objectives for each round.

Round 1: After receiving your answers to our naming questionnaire, I will come up with an initial list of name concepts. These will contain 5 – 7 potential names, their corresponding domain names, and a few lines about the inspiration, story or meaning behind each one.

Your objective: Tell us what names are working for your business and why. Tell us also which names you don’t believe will work, and why. This helps us begin narrowing our focus in a direction that will meet your branding goals.

Round 2: In this round, I begin narrowing your list of name concepts to ONLY what works. They may include names that are variations of the ones you liked, inspired by them, similar but more abstract, similar but more literal… here is where we really begin exploring the possibilities that most resonate. With this in mind, you’ll again receive a list of 5 – 7 potential names, their corresponding domain names, and a few lines about the inspiration, story or meaning behind each one.

Your objective: Tell us which names are resonating in this round, and which are also still contenders from the first round. If going through this process has given you new ideas and directions you’d like to explore as well, now’s the best time to bring them up.

Round 3: By this stage, it’s really best that we’re not changing directions so much as narrowing focus. I will begin refining the concepts that have most resonated from rounds 1 & 2. I’ll again create a list of 5 – 7 names, this time more similar in focus and/or inspiration.

Your objective: By this stage, clients usually have one or two names they keep going back to. Trust that. If you find you keep comparing new names to one that grabbed your attention in Round 1 or 2, it means there’s something there worth paying attention to. Let’s identify these last few options—what is it about them that’s grabbed you?

Round 4: In this last step, we’re usually deciding between one or two names. I will often weigh in on which one I feel best hits your branding objectives. Or I might present a couple of alternatives, inspired by the qualities that are working best in each name. In this last round you may receive anywhere between one to a few additional new variations on these concepts. In other cases, we may opt not to provide new concepts, but to answer any questions you have about your final picks.

Your objective: Decide on your new name. Say hooray! We’ll all cheer and be super excited for the next step in your branding.

blaze-and-wander-business-cards

Business name: Blaze + Wander. Paired with the tagline we created—Found Along the Fringes—it’s a call to be bold, wild, free and expressive.

Business name FAQ

We would love to start your business off on the right foot by first learning what is unique about what you do and who you offer it to, and brainstorming a business name with you that captures your business’s spirit, appeals to your target customer, and has an available domain name. It’s a great thing to feel confident that your business name fits your brand, will be memorable for your customers, and will serve you well for many years.

We get lots of questions about how this works, and we want to make it less of a leap of faith, so here is our naming FAQ.

What does the service include?

Assistance in discovering a suitable name for your business that has an available domain name.

How long does business name brainstorming take?

Business name brainstorming typically takes about 3 weeks, with one week in advance to gather some information from you for Natalia to consider. If you’re decisive, it can go more quickly. If you’re indecisive, we can help with that, but projects seldom last more than three weeks.

What if I have a hard time deciding during the process?
Luckily, the reason the decision is hard is also the reason that you can’t really go wrong when you have a set of great choices: any of them will work well and allow you to grow a strong business.

It can be hard to get fully behind a name when it doesn’t have a logo and brand design wrapped around it yet, but your Aeolidia designer will be following along with the process and already imagining design ideas to make it just right for your customers. Have faith that the name will make sense when all the pieces of the puzzle are put together.

What if I come up with a name idea that I ultimately choose during the process?

That is wonderful when that happens! We’re glad to stimulate your creativity and help you find something that works for you, even if it wasn’t on Natalia’s idea list. As the service is the brainstorming and the passing back and forth of ideas, there is no discount if you happen to be the person who finds the final name.

What if I end up sticking with my original name after we brainstorm?

This has happened exactly once so far, and the client found it to be a helpful exercise and a good validation of sticking with her original business name. Similar to coming up with your own name, the value of our services is in the ideas and the deep dive into what your business is all about. If we get to through all of the rounds of the process, there is no discount if you don’t choose a name.

What if I never like any of the ideas?

I can’t recall a time that we reached a total impasse with a business name. Your project will work out wonderfully if you’re able to keep an open mind, be prepared for ideas you wouldn’t have thought of (that’s the whole point of this exercise, right?), and remember to always consider each idea from the perspective of your customer, not your own personal preferences.

There is always the possibility that creative work like this won’t match your expectations, and then you just have to move forward in a direction that will work.

Will anyone else on your team help with name ideas if we can’t find a name that works?

Nope, we find that “too many cooks in the kitchen” can be a problem for these type of projects. If you’re having graphic design work done, your designer may weigh in with her thoughts about your business and what would work for your customers, but we find it’s best to keep the rest of our team out of the wordsmith’s kitchen.

Can you guarantee that I won’t accidentally be using someone else’s business name?

We check extensively with Google that the names we’re suggesting don’t conflict with a possible competitor, and we also try to use names that will be easy for you to rise to the top of Google’s results for.

However, you don’t want the nightmare that is the Cease & Desist letter – we strongly recommend that you have our partner law firm do a trademark search for you and trademark the name after you decide on it. We’re glad to add this service to any project.

What do I do next after deciding on my business name?

Run out there and buy your domain name, and register the name on all the social media platforms you may end up using.

If it’s an existing business with a customer base, you will want to rename or redirect all your accounts, websites, and email addresses, so you don’t lose any old information or existing followers. You will also want to gently transition people into understanding that your business has changed its name.

What about my logo?

We offer this service as a first step for our brand identity graphic design packages. So our next step will be to design a wonderfully fitting and engaging brand identity around your new name. We will have all the information we discovered during naming to use in designing the look for your brand.

Can I see some examples of your business name projects?

Yes! We have the names and graphic design collected here in our portfolio, and the case studies of the business names are all listed here in our biz name blog category.

felicette-secondary-logo

Business name: Felicette. “Felicette was the name of the first cat in space, sent by France in in 1963. When Natalia first showed it to me it got me very excited. I love the smart geekiness of a cat in space. It’s simple, it’s about a cat, and it has a fun and interesting story. I love the French aspect (being in New Orleans). Overall I am super excited about this new direction.”

Are you ready to transform your business?

We’re your team! Please get in touch right now so you won’t have to live without a business name you can be proud of any longer. Tell us about your business, where you’re at with it, and where you’d like to be, and we’ll put together what you need to get on the right track.

Bonus!

To get a head start on this process, figure out who your new business name will be for. Download our dream customer exercise below! Print out & fill out, to create your own customer profile of your dream girl or guy. The more specific you get, the more helpful it will be in the long run. Have fun, and dream big!

Who is your dream customer?

Go get the dream customer exercise

 

Putting Together a Trade Show Booth: Giddy Paperie

Are you headed to NYNOW this summer, or any other trade show, market, or craft fair? We're going to be sharing tips from creative stationery and gift businesses as you prep.

Are you headed to NY NOW this summer, or any other trade show, market, or craft fair? We’re going to be sharing tips from creative stationery and gift businesses as you prep.

Today’s generous contributor is Leslie Chalfont of Giddy Paperie, who we chatted with at the National Stationery Show this spring. She gives us an overview of her business, then shares ten things she has learned about trade shows, including where to save money and where to splurge when putting together a trade show booth. Read on!

Tell us about Giddy Paperie. 

How Giddy Paperie came to be…

I am not your typical anything, I have a business degree and have painted since two years old. Now I get to combine both everyday.

It started with the conundrum of what to give for Christmas? I decided to make something and figured a calendar was fun to create and practical. The friends and family then wanted to give it to their friends and family and so it grew and grew. While growing up, my daughter would help edit the calendar, assemble and deliver the gifts with me. We always thought it would be great to work together more when she was out of college.

Now she is and now we are finally in business on a much bigger level. She is the marketing and PR expert and I am the artistic director. Our aim is to make art a part of everyday life: form and function is always the goal. We believe a good invitation will never go out of style and the handwritten note is always a treasure worth saving.

Our calendars are our flagship item and the number one seller.

How many years have you been in business? 2.5 years

Roughly what percentage of your business is wholesale vs. retail? 60/40

How many years have you exhibited at the NSS? Will you attend next year?  Two years in a row, undecided for next year… I waited until December for this past show to decide.

Do you do any other trade shows, markets, or craft fairs? Which ones, and how do they compare for your business? Yes, pop-ups at Lilly, West Elm and Pottery Barn have been great along with 3-4 holiday markets in the fall. Love connecting one-to-one with the customer and seeing their reaction to our designs. Most fun part!

Would you like to share a mistake you’ve made or a problem you’ve had at a trade show, and/or your smartest tip or best moment? Biggest mistake…not asking others for help before it’s too late and thinking I can do it all… it’s exhausting and stressful. Smartest tip… saying yes to people who want to help!

What does your business get out of attending the National Stationery Show? The exposure is amazing and unexpected.  The show also validates your business as being taken seriously as a company.  It takes a huge commitment on all levels to do the show and plugs you into the community right away.

Fun fact: we had food delivered several times during set-up via Uber:  one night we had “Taco-Tizers” that held us over until dinner.  Also had Amazon Prime Local on speed-dial for delivery of several things,  it was like having our own “assistants” but not!

Giddy Paperie calendar, photo by Giddy Paperie

Giddy Paperie calendar, photo by Giddy Paperie

Giddy Paperie ombre bee card, photo by Giddy Paperie

Giddy Paperie ombre bee card, photo by Giddy Paperie

Giddy Paperie zebra cards, photo by Giddy Paperie

Giddy Paperie zebra cards, photo by Giddy Paperie

10 things I know about Trade Shows

Pre-show

1. Best foot forward: No matter what, see your booth as a miniature store that is a reflection of your brand. Does it tell a story or give the feeling of your brand?

2. Be ready for anything: bring extra of everything. Although it may seem too much, you never know when you may have to give a sample to an important new client, or if something is damaged, you may need to replace it. I have to travel by plane and load all of our products and pieces on the plane in a very heavy carry-on bag. What do I choose…anything that cannot be easily reproduced or purchased in NY. The rest of our items are packed in large suitcases and travel with us. Waiting for them at the baggage claim is nerve-wracking but I know if my luggage is lost, I can replace anything in those bags.

3. It’s not cheap…although you can trade up or down where you spend your money. Since I do not live close, I chose to pay to have my booth set up and ready by my favorite display company: Manny Stone.

Some people send a crate with everything in it. From Florida, that is very expensive and by myself, I cannot put up the walls of my booth on my own. So once I arrive, my booth is painted and ready to go. I chose to buy my own foam flooring, shipped to my hotel and then we installed it, easy peasy. After the show, we gave it away to another vendor who could use it. My cost? $124. My shelves were pre-made with stained strips of wood, and L-brackets already attached and shipped in my suitcase. Easy to install and looked great. Cost? $16.

Décor: I rented vintage furniture from a local company in NY; this was my splurge but I think it separated our look from the generic offerings from display companies and I saved money. The pieces were delivered and picked up by a courier service.

Show time

4. All feet matter: take care of your feet with good shoes and a foam floor. Last year we ached all day, this year we were just perfect! You literally stand four days for 8 hours a day. We have always been told never to sit in your booth, not to be on your phone or to eat in your booth… all good advice. If our booth was larger, we probably would have a table for writing orders, but not so this year.

5. Make new friends: your “neighbors” around your booth are a great part of the show. We are all creative, all trying to grow our business and all from different places, and yet, we all are different in style and process. You can learn so much from each other about production, labor and business practices that are helpful. Plus, they will be able to help you if you take a mini break from your booth.

6. Show up with swag: We did new buttons and mini journals that people liked so much that they are now a part of our new products. It added excitement to the conversations and a good way to share new ideas and designs.

7. Be nimble: If you are talking to a prospective vendor, find out what they are interested in and if you don’t have the product but it is easy for you to do, try it! We picked up a whole new category of products using existing designs that met a need for several new vendors.

8. Recharge at night: This is the only time you really get to relax. We were purposeful in going to different parts of the city, seeing the sites and trying new spots for dinner. Every night was different and we stayed in an area that was still close but not as congested.

Last year, we were in the Times Square area and found it fun but very congested, hard to find transportation and created unneeded angst. This year, we stayed in the garment district and could still walk to the Javits Center or catch Uber or taxi much easier and cut down on unneeded stress.

Post show

9. Do nothing for 48 hours: Literally, nothing. Last year, I tried to hit the ground running and start filling orders and emailing too soon right when I returned. Not good. This year, I took 48 hours of nothingness and then was recharged to get the back-side of the show complete: filling orders, writing thank yous, sending emails and unpacking.

10. Be patient: I think we all envision a big client ready to swoop us up for the “next new greatest thing” and that may happen to some. However, if it doesn’t happen right away, be patient and see where the road takes you. We have learned so much about the business, the trends, the endless logistics and at the end of the day, some things arrive when you least expect it from a company you would least expect and it all works together.

The exposure you get from a show like NSS is invaluable and the intrinsic value cannot be measured right away. I will fill our new orders, try to stay connected to potential clients and keep painting all the way.

So interesting and helpful, thank you, Leslie!

I have a bonus for you today! 14 stationery companies shared their own trade show packing lists with us, and we’ve compiled it into a master list. You can also peek and see each business’ exhaustive list, with things like how many catalogs they bring, etc. The one thing everyone agreed on was to bring at least four different kinds of tape! Want this? Sign up and nab it below:

Ultimate Trade Show Packing List

Download our ultimate trade show packing list and be totally prepared

Meet 16 Smart Creative Businesses Taking It To The Next Level

Meet 16 Smart Creative Businesses Taking It To The Next Level: These inspirational creative businesses include: a sewing pattern designer, a baby product retailer, four stationery designers, a girl-empowering bath & body brand, three party stores, two clothing designers, two gift shops, a toy designer, and a sewing studio.

I wanted to give you a quick peek at our clients’ recent launches, and at what we’re working on over the summer. These inspirational creative businesses include: a sewing pattern designer, a baby product retailer, four stationery designers, a girl-empowering bath & body brand, three party stores, two clothing designers, two gift shops, a toy designer, and a sewing studio.

It is such an honor and a delight to be able to work for such creative, smart, and just plain fun business owners. I think you’ll like them, too!

We will write about these products in more detail in the upcoming weeks, but for now, I wanted to give you the rundown of what work we’ve finished and what we’re beginning now.

These ones are totally done!

Design block three at Aeolidia has wrapped up, and block four is underway. Some of our logo clients from block 3 are having a website built, and the others are new to us this block. I’d like to show off the inspiring brands that are ready to put their plans into action and achieve their goals now! Here are the projects we’ve recently completed:

 

Big Little

Big Little patterns

Client: Lisa Spearman
Project: Business name brainstormingBrand Identity and Customer Experience Design
Current site: Big Little (re-branded website coming soon)

Status: Branding complete, awaiting reveal

Oh, you guys! We’re keeping this one under wraps for now, but the new name and look for Lisa’s business are just lovely and perfectly fitting, and I can’t wait to share.

 

Cushy Cove

Cushy Cove playmats

Client: JungJoon Park
Project: Business name brainstormingBrand Identity and Customer Experience Design, styled and model product photography, copywriting, marketing consultation
Current site: Baby Care Play Mats on Amazon

Status: Done and ready to launch

Baby Care Play Mats has become Cushy Cove! You can see one of our photographer, Jen’s photos for this new brand, and we’ll be sharing more of this project on the blog.

 

Fresh Out of Ink

Fresh Out of Ink business cards

Client: Katy Sensenig Schilthuis
Project: Business name brainstorming, Brand Identity and Product Presentation Design
Website: Fresh Out of Ink (woo hoo!)

Status: Project complete, website launched!

We’re Katy & Albert, a husband-and-wife team and the brains behind Fresh Out of Ink. We fell in love via snail mail when we were 14 years old – hence our love for paper and heartfelt, handwritten messages. We started Fresh Out of Ink in 2016 to spread the joy we felt to others.

We work together to come up with the fun, unique ideas that make up our collection, before Katy hand-draws and illustrates every quirky, colorful product. When we’re not creating, we’re living in Dallas, Texas, and spend our time drinking coffee, laughing with friends, and snuggling with our cats: Sushi & Queso.

 

Handcrafted HoneyBee

Handcrafted HoneyBee brand identity design

Project: Brand Identity and Product Presentation Designcopywriting, styled product photographycustom Shopify website
Website: Handcrafted HoneyBee (woo hoo!)

Status: Project complete, website launched!

Stacia and Robert Guzzo, Aeolidia valedictorians this semester, are now ready to roll! We completed the brand in block one, designed the website in block two, and have just launched the entire online experience for Handcrafted HoneyBee at the end of block three.

They wrote a ten part blog series about their rebranding project, and I’m quoting from part 9 here:

Our brand was looking to create an outstanding customer experience. We wanted to strike an emotional chord and engage the intellect at the same time. We wanted to inspire confidence in our product by presenting seamless, intuitive navigation & ease of use.

A custom designed & developed theme is enabling us to accomplish our goals more effectively. It is helping us to communicate consistently to our customer with one voice, through our website, our newsletter, our products & our offerings.

No matter what happens after the site launches, we have built a home for our brand that we can be proud of.

See this one on our blog

 

Pango Productions

Pango Productions web design

Client: Cindy Pang
Project: Custom Shopify website design
Website: Pango Productions (launching soon)

Status: Project complete, website will launch very soon!

This site needed to be fun, fun, fun, and Shoshanna stretched her development muscles on this project by creating animations throughout the site using CSS. The About page, in particular, is a great example.

Christine, Pango’s designer, said:

While putting it all together, I kept in mind your desire for a clean and modern but fun and quirky website. The design features simple typography, graphic elements, and a pops of bright color. Of course, the site remains clean and easy to navigate so that your customers can do what they came to do—shop your delightful products.

These ones have moved to the next phase

We were hard at work on these projects on block 3, and now we’re moving right along with the next step through summer.

 

Emily McDowell Studio

Emily McDowell cat lady mug

Client: Emily McDowell
Project: Custom Shopify website
Current site: Emily McDowell Studio  (new site scheduled to launch in September)

Status: Site designed and in development

Guys. GUYS. This is going to be epic. Cannot wait to show you this one!

 

Hip Hip Yay website

hiphipyay-print

Project: Brand Identity and Product Presentation Designcustom Shopify websitecopywriting
Website: (new site scheduled to launch November 11)

Status: Brand and website designed, coding begins this block

Charlotte runs an online boutique party store in Australia, with a cute selection of party goods sourced from around the world. We completed her logo and brand identity (seen above) and website design, and now we’re developing her new site on Shopify.

Our designer, Christine, designed a clean, modern, adult looking website. I can’t wait to show you this one!

 

JillianMaddie Paperie

JillianMaddie business cards

Client: Holly Hutton
Project: Brand Identity and Customer Experience Design
Website: JillianMaddie on Facebook (new site scheduled to launch November 11)

Status: Branding complete, website in progress

This new paper, packaging and party supply business’ website is going to be a beauty!

Christine has designed a homepage that shows off Holly’s wonderful assortment of paper and crafting items. JillianMaddie Paperie’s story is told through an airy layout, bright photography and delightful details. The party throwers who visit the site will feel inspired and excited, with a clear invitation to go shopping.

Miss Rose Sister Violet

Miss Rose Sister Violet

Client: Yasmin Kerkez
Project: Custom Shopify website, copywriting, marketing consultation
Current site: Miss Rose Sister Violet (new site scheduled to launch November 11)

Status: Site designed and in development

We are creating such a fresh, classy, modern, sophisticated, whimsical website for these dream clients! Those are our guiding keywords; how do you like them? I am really looking forward to finding out where this work takes Miss Rose Sister Violet. Stay tuned!

 

PaperWand

PaperWand logo

Client: Neesha Merani
Project: Brand Identity and Product Presentation DesignCustom Shopify website
Current site: PaperWand (new site scheduled to launch November 11)

Status: Branding complete, website being designed

It’s so fun to prepare a brand new business for success and know that they don’t have to spend time struggling through the amateur phase of growth. Neesha will be able to hit the ground running with her new look and website all sorted out. We’ll be sharing more of her brand identity on the blog soon.

 

Sunshine Parties

Sunshine Parties

Client: Louise Sanders
Project: Custom Shopify website, copywriting
Current site: Sunshine Parties (new site scheduled to launch November 11)

Status: Site designed and in development

Melanie has designed a clean, bright, and happy website for this party business to move on up from Etsy with their own custom shop. We have been having a lot of party-style FUN lately, haven’t we?!

These ones have just begun

Looking forward to block 4, I’m thrilled to introduce you to these inspiring businesses. See where they’re at now, and check back with us in a couple of months to see their transformations!

Crafty Wonderland

Client: Cathy Zwicker and Torie Nguyen
Project: Custom Shopify website, copywriting
Current site: Crafty Wonderland (new site scheduled to launch in 2017)

We started Crafty Wonderland in April of 2006 (coming up on ten years!) as a small scale art + craft market. The market grew so much over the first 3 years that we had to move to the Convention Center to accommodate the demand by both shoppers and vendors. It was through the market that we were offered the opportunity to open a pop-up shop. The temporary shop was so successful that we decided to stick around permanently.

We feel that our current website does not do a great job to distinguish and explain the two facets of the business. We have wanted to add a commerce element to that but are overwhelmed with thinking about how that would add to the confusion! The new website would help people clearly understand what we do and the different facets of our business.

Gather Here

Client: Virginia Johnson and Noah Dubreuil
Project: Custom Shopify website, copywriting
Current site: Gather Here (new site scheduled to launch November 18)

Gather Here is just over 5 years old. We recently relocated a mere 7 minute walk from our “birth place” to the heart of Inman Square, surrounding ourselves with a vibrant small business community. With the opening of our awesome new space that was a labor of DIY love, we want our online presence to be just as awesome.

June & January

Client: Amy Richardson-Golla
Project: Custom Shopify website
Current site: June & January (new site scheduled to launch November 4)

We are looking to increase our current cart size by encouraging our customer to buy the products they love in more color options. We’d like to see conversions increase and cart size increase over the next year. We’d also like to see an increase of google search traffic

Lovewild

Client: Sierra Zamarripa
Project: Custom Shopify website, copywriting, trademark registration
Current site: Lovewild (new site scheduled to launch November 18)

We started with our first retail market in May 2014, slowly doing markets until we did our first trade show- officially launching our line to the wholesale market in January 2015.
With every new show we get a bunch of new accounts but our direct retail remains stagnant…

We’re also launching a new sister line of the company. It’ll start with a relatively small line so I’m not sure if there should be a completely separate website or if we should seamlessly merge the two online into a lifestyle brand.

Petit Collage

Client: Lorena Siminovich
Project: Custom Shopify website, copywriting
Current site: Petit Collage (new site scheduled to launch November 11)

We enjoyed working on Mapamundi Kids for Lorena and her husband and we’re super glad to be back getting their much-beloved flagship brand, Petit Collage, up to date with a new online shop.

Do any of these hard working business owners sound like you?

Your small but fast growing business is perfectly poised to make a big splash in retail, and that’s exactly where Aeolidia loves to meet you. Our work is strategic, completely custom, and entirely goals-based. We like to get involved when we know our work can be transformative and cause exponential growth.

If you’re ready to move forward with your business, and to invest in some outside help, we would love to be your team. If you email today, we can get you into block 5. Block 5, you ask?

Tell me more about this block system

In 2016, Aeolidia is doing projects in a block system. This means that we have set up discrete blocks throughout the year, and all projects start at the same time, and launch by the same time. When you work with us, the block system will mean these things to you:

  1. You will know exactly when you will launch, and your launch date is guaranteed
  2. Your launch date will be strategic, based on your business’ important sales season

Each block is two months long, and you will be working with either a designer or a developer during a single block.

  • A logo takes one block.
  • A website design takes one block.
  • Developing that website takes one block.

So each of our clients will need 1-3 blocks (2-6 months) to complete their project.

Here are our blocks for 2016:

  • Block 1: January 4 – March 4 – CHECK!
  • Block 2: March 7 – May 6 – CHECK!
  • Block 3: May 9 – July 8 – CHECK!
  • Block 4: July 11 – September 16 – hard at work!
  • Block 5: September 19 – November 18 – prepare for next year

Let’s say you’re doing a full re-branding and want a custom website. When should you get started? We’d be glad to discuss that with you in detail, but a rough guideline is:

Have a New Year’s resolution to take care of? Have your site designed in block 5 this year, so you’ll have a head start launching in 2017.

Need an impressive brand identity and compelling website for wholesalers to shop from by the National Stationery Show next year? Get your logo designed by block 5, your website designed in block 1, and we’ll build it for you in block 2, in time to head to New York in May.

We book up early, and are glad to book you up to 18 months in advance. Please let me know if you’d be interested in telling us more about your retail goals and objectives so we can put together a custom proposal for you. If so, I have a wonderful questionnaire for you to fill out.