Five steps to rebrand your Etsy shop

Etsy shop owner, Agnes Becker, owner of we are stardust – a greetings card shop where art and science collide, tells the Local London Etsy team how her rebrand helped her create a more coherent shop that she hopes will pay off in sales when she launches her shop on 15 September.

In 2016 I was lucky enough to get a job that allowed me to take a day a week to give my Etsy shop a proper go. I knew I needed to streamline my designs. The cards were taking me an age as I chose new colors and fonts for each design. My logo wasn’t very inspired and it all looked a bit amateur. I certainly wasn’t making it clear to my customers what my shop was about. A rebrand was in order.

I enrolled to the Etsy Resolution 2016 online course by The Design Trust; I bought Fiona Humberstone’s amazing How to Style Your Brand book; and I took advice from my mentor. The process was enjoyable, hard work and totally worth it. I feel I understand much better what my business is about and what I am providing to my customers. Now I need to see if it pays off in sales when I launch this week!

In case you’re thinking of doing the same thing, here are the 5 steps I took to rebrand my shop

1. Decide on what you want to be known for

By identifying what I wanted out of this venture I could help to start understanding where I wanted to head towards. The Etsy Resolution 2016 course and How to Style Your Brand book forced me to ask lots of questions (see my answers below). If you’re wanting to rebrand, ask yourself:

What is your business dream?
I have big plans for this one…but I’m not ready to share it yet!

What does success look like for you?
To earn enough to work on my business 2-3 days a week in the next 3-5 years.

What do you want to be known for?
Creating beautiful products that bring art and science together and help my customers learn something about the world we live in.

Who are your customers? What do you want them to think and feel?
My customers are people who are stylish, love to learn, are nature lovers and are fiercely loyal to family and friends.My phrase describing my customers is “greetings cards for those with wild natures, sophisticated minds and loyal hearts”. When they come to my shop I want them to think of travel, adventure, discovery, new species. I want them to feel inspired to find out more about the natural world.

What inspires you most about your business?
Drawing beautiful things from nature and learning more about the world.

What do you want to avoid?
I didn’t want my shop to have the “geeky” image that many science-based shops do. Not that there’s anything wrong with geeks – I would proudly call myself a geek – but I wanted to reach further than just those who already love science. I wanted to reach people who love beautiful, simple style and who love to learn.

2. Do a competitor analysis

Look your 10 closest competitors to understand more about their work and how your shop fits into the picture. Create and fill in a table with competitors’ names across the top and questions down the side about their strengths, weaknesses, what they sell, prices, clients, marketing etc.

This exercise helped me to understand how my products and ethos may differ from theirs. For example, many of my competitors draw heavily on the science theme – with bubbly liquids and complicated charts. I wanted to steer away from that and focus on natural sciences with old botanical drawings and star charts.

 

Doing some branding work... #smallbusiness #craft #illustration #science #scienceshop

A photo posted by we are stardust (@wearestardustuk) on Mar 4, 2016 at 12:55pm PST

 

3. Identify three brand values

The first two steps build up to this section: deciding on three brand values. I found identifying these values absolutely crucial in developing my brand. Try these two exercises:

  1. Write down all the words that describe your business and then narrowing them down to 20; 10; 5; 3.
  2. I also found a rather “out there” exercise from The Design Trust worked really well for me: Decide what you would be if you were an animal; a musician; a mode of transport. Once chosen, write down all the values that link to your chosen animal, musician type, transport mode. For example, I chose the wolf as my animal - it is loyal to its friends and family, wild, mysterious, powerful, and beautiful.

These exercises helped me hone down on a few values. Eventually, I decided on:

  • WILD: We are stardust loves wilderness; it is for those who love adventures, exploring and discovering. Cards are created with respect and awe for the natural world.
  • SOPHISTICATION: We are stardust has style and substance; it is for those who value beauty, knowledge and learning.
  • LOYALTY: We are stardust has a loyal heart; it is for those who fiercely love their friends and family.

 

Everything I do in my business I think about whether it reflects these 3 values.

4. Choose a seasonal personality

The seasonal personality concept comes directly from the How To Style Your Brand book. Fiona Humberstone has a great blog about seasonal personalities, which I would recommend. Basically, there is a personality for each season and your business will fit into one of them. Every seasonal personality has particular qualities in terms of values, colours, feel and look that will help you hone down the style for your shop:

  • Spring: Fun, youthful, creative, inspirational, approachable. Light, bright clear colours. Circles and dots. Clear fonts. Movement.
  • Summer: Elegant, graceful, chic, understated, organized. Empathetic. Strong sense of responsibility. Cool, delicate, muted colours. Flowing lines, florals, script fonts.
  • Autumn: Earthy, organic, nature, history, integrity, authenticity, campaigner, ambitious. Warm, intense, muted colours. Natural textures and substance. Hand-rendered fonts.
  • Winter: Decisive, driven, luxurious, self-assured, cutting-edge. Strong, cool, intense, clear colours. Geometric shapes. Minimal fonts or highly opulent.

 

My seasonal personality was definitely Autumn. With this and my brand values in mind I could start pulling things together for my brand board.

5. Create a brand board

This is the fun bit where all the thinking comes together to create the look of your brand. There are many steps to creating a brand board and the How To Style Your Brand book goes into much more detail. Essentially they go like this:

  • Collect all the things you love – create a Pinterest board with logos, photos, colours, fonts; start a physical scrap book. Use paint chips to help you decide on colours. As you are collecting ask yourself what it is you like about the things you are collecting and why?
  • Create a mood board – for each element you have collected check it aligns with your brand values and seasonal personality. If not, get rid of it. I had to be quite ruthless there. Keep narrowing down.
  • Create a brand board – Once you have honed down on a few colours, a logo, fonts and, if you like, illustrations and patterns, put them all together and see if they work.
  • Stick to your brand board - Once you have a brand board you are happy with constantly refer back to it when you are creating your products, putting together marketing materials or styling photos.

I love my final brand board. I think the colours reflect adventurous walks in the countryside as well as a hint of industrial with the copper. The Bodoni font is sophisticated and the Raleway font more scientific. The illustrations are reminiscent of scientific figures in textbooks. The logo represents the star Venus – also the goddess of beauty. I try to make everything with my brand board in mind. It has helped me streamline my designs and the purpose of my business.

The whole process took me about 4 months working part-time but I really enjoyed it and now have a brand I am happy with and proud of. Next I need to find out if it helps me with my launch sales! I’ll let you know after Thursday…

Website: www.wearestardust.uk
Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/wearestardustuk
Instagram: instagram.com/wearestardustuk
Twitter: twitter.com/wearestardustuk
Facebook: facebook.com/wearestardustuk
Newsletter subscription: bit.ly/stardustjournal