When you think of good branding, what comes to mind? Is it pretty packaging, a hip logo, superb photography, consistent fonts, or high numbers of followers? We didn't know what the word "branding" meant when we first opened our Etsy shop. After about a year on Etsy we began to pay attention to the buzz words, "it's part of our brand" etc. Branding was a concept that slowly became a reality as our business was also becoming a reality.
We didn't start our business as business people, with business knowledge. We started as Sam and Kristin. We were two people who liked to make things for our home, and we also enjoyed styling our home. (When I was a teen I wanted to sell friendship bracelets on the boardwalk in Venice Beach.)
Now that we're seasoned e-commerce sellers, we understand the value of branding, and definitely consider the rules of branding when making decisions. But there is something deeper that can't be overlooked; branding must connect back to you.
Our business name came to us one random evening years ago, we were throwing around ideas, like "Sam the Handyman". At the time we were selling mason jar soap dispensers on Etsy as "The Honey Shack". We knew mason jars were unlikely to sustain us, and we were in the process of designing other home decor pieces, like small reclaimed wood framed mirrors. Then it suddenly clicked..."Hurd & Honey". "Hurd & Honey" is who we are (one day we'll share the full story), and our tag line "For Your Home" indicates what we do, implicitly. We loved it right away. Sam is "Hurd" and I'm "Honey"... The tag line "For Your Home" adds some clarity. The essence of our brand is conveyed through our name, and possibly still leaves questions marks, like "do you make honey?", but we identify with it, and that matters. Before you even start thinking about branding, YOU MUST LOVE YOUR NAME.
If you're having trouble choosing a name for your business do not worry, it will arrive to you in the most beautiful moment. Sometimes practicality and trends lead us in the wrong direction, it's best for the name chosen to be authentic and represent what you sell, and in essence, represent who you are. Keep making your beautiful pieces and in the moment your name will arrive. We promise.
With a cherished name you are on track to developing a strong brand. Telling your story is simple. For example, if you sell handmade soap, and love the art of making soap, there is a story you are sharing through the making and selling of soap. In your own unique way (through your product photography, social media, your creative process, etc.) you are telling this story. There are thousands of soapmakers out there, but not one of them is telling the same story. Therefore, there is room enough for all of us, as long as we are, well, who we are.
Your Name + Your Story
And that's your brand. The details can be refined, like the color of paper you wrap your products with. Your packaging is not your brand, your logo is not your brand, you are your brand. The beauty in all of this is that your product doesn't have to carry all of the pressure. If your branding and your story are connected your products can change. Your customers, your followers will stay with you through these changes because they simply identify with you, they love your story.
Life is a river; life moves, there are smooth seasons, there are rough seasons, and the direction in which we travel can suddenly change. Rest easy, everything will flow into place.
A Few Stories That We Love:
Aly's brand - "your life moments are precious, you are valued, you are beloved".
Kate's brand - "life is full of imagination and creativity, a fantastical thing, full of exploration".
Sara's brand - "Love thy neighbor, give others time, listening is invaluable."
Luke and Abby's brand - "Handle life in moments, breathe in, breathe out, and take in what is around you, even if your travel is limited to your own backyard."
Thank you for reading,
Hurd & Honey