Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Branding History + Tips on Streamlining Your Online and Offline Brand

One of my many price tag incarnations. This is #2 of  about five total. #6 is being developed!

I've been brainstorming on branding a lot these days. I'm working on making my antique mall booth, Etsy shop, blog, and more one consistent, flowing, strong brand. It's fun and challenging, and I'm happy with my progress thus far. I've been asked by fellow Etsy and online sellers to provide specific tips on branding and to share my evolution thus far. I figured right now, before a big switch-out of tags, cards, etc. would be a perfect time to discuss it!

Price Tag Incarnation #1: Simple white hand tags hand stamped with boat and owl stamps


Pro Tip 1: You don't need to spend any or much money to make your brand look pro or stand out. Be creative with your resources, the handmade look is often prized in antique malls or selling in marketplaces like Etsy. These old stamped tags are by far the ones shoppers responded to the most! They received many compliments and "coos" over their simple cuteness and classic look. And they were the easiest/cheapest!

Price Tag Incarnation #2: Home printed tags on colorful card-stock. Hand cut, hole punched, strung.


Pro Tip 2: Be consistent with your brand. Your tags, cards, website, and every single photo should project your brand experience. Infuse it into everything you do. Tell a story. My brand's always been colorful and playful, and I keep trying to add more to that story and develop it.

Price Tag Incarnation #3: Huge colorful Price Tags on Card Stock, hand-stamped with item's price.


Pro Tip 3: It's important to use time wisely! If you have a huge amount of items to tag (like I did, for three different antique mall booths at this time!) hand cutting out, stringing,then stamping each tag is a bad idea. It took me hours and hours to switch out my booths with these tags. You may want to order pre-strung and cut tags if you have the budget- time is money! They were worth a try to see if they would be attention grabbing enough on their own to entice sales but I'm also told they were distracting and could have caused the opposite reaction. What do you think?


The background of the price tags above and below was this hilarious scan from my 1980s Transformers comic books collection. I liked the white version better, you could see the transformers even more!


They were also the backs for cute stud earrings, I still have some of these hanging around. They'll likely go on to my Etsy Shop to be sold along with some other up-cycled quirky pieces I've  been holding on to behind-the-scenes.

Price Tag Incarnation #4: Huge plain white Price Tags on Card Stock, no more hand-stamping prices


Pro Tip 4: With good design, less is more! It's all about the challenge of presenting as much of your message as possible at a glance. This makes good branding a ever-evolving, streamlining effort. As much as I enjoy my transformers watermarked tags I'm phasing them out for something more branded. I'm using plain white hang tags in the meantime.

First Etsy Incarnation: Put Up in a Rush for Christmas Shoppers. Did the job, but needed more!


Current Incarnation: The fonts and use of photography in the logo ties into the shop better than the previous ones. Pleased with the improved tagline, too!


I've also developed new packaging but I'll write about that along with how the website's evolved another time. I wanted to show that you rarely get it right the first time and it takes years of streamlining and developing to arrive where you're satisfied with your brand-- only for you to change it up again. The constant innovation is the funnest part of owning a business for me. (By the way, if you ever need a website banner, tags designed, or logo/branding packages e-mail me, I love doing them!)

What do you use for price tags? How has your brand developed over the years? What do you like to see from a company you're going to buy from? Got any printers/companies/designers to recommend?! Do share!
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24 comments:

  1. I'm working on streamlining my brand as we speak! In my booth, I have a birds on a wire theme. My mom painted the sign for my booth featuring that silhouette, and I made my own tags by printing the birds on coordinating cardstock. I've got a similar banner in my etsy store, but I think I made a mistake there. I'm not selling vintage on Etsy, but things I made. I think if I decide to sell vintage online, I'll start a new store for the handmade things and keep the vintage in the bird themed shop. It starts getting confusing after awhile!
    I love your Etsy banner! It looks so professional and really makes everything you do go together.

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    1. Thanks for the helpful feedback Cathey! I love the fonts I use for branding now, I went through hundreds to arrive at ones I like! I LOVE what you make on Etsy, for attractive and creative, agreed that the birds on a line doesn't quite fit what you're selling there. That's where it gets tricky when you decide to do multiple things in different venues. I think you're on the right track with separating handmade and vintage, though I think adding the vintage items to the existing shop you have would work, too.

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    2. Thanks for your feedback too! And thank you for your kind words on my etsy things! I'm thinking of switching the name and url of my etsy shop to something completely different. Naming it after my antique booth probably isn't necessary since I'm not selling vintage there. I'm working on a revamp of my banner to include dots and my shop name. The birds will be relegated to vintage things only.
      I'm a little nervous about changing the shop name. Apparently I only get one change, so I'd better pick something I like!

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    3. Yeh, that would be nerve wracking! Good luck with everything, I'm always trying to figure out the best ways to sell art vs. vintage, too. It's a tricky move.

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  2. Great tags! I print my own. LOVE the little stud earring holders. I used to use the back of my business card to put earrings on (then they got a card!), but now I have a quote printed on the back so I can't do it.

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    1. I've seen business cards as price tags too or attached with the item, all good ideas :)

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    2. Love the price tags!

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  3. Did you print these yourself or use a printer?

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    1. I don't have a working home printer so I printed them from a nearby print shop, Inky Fingers, then hand-cut, hole punched, and strung them. Took hours and hours so I'll now be ordering them pre-strung!

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  4. I don't have the time to print and string tags. They are nice.

    I use return address labels stamped with a red owl. And my hang tags are stamped with a red flower. It works and a method that I can do rather quickly. I experimented with the ink colors. Black stamps just seemed to blend into the background of the booth. Where as the red on white stood out a little bit .

    I didn't bother switching out the old tags in my booth when I made the change. Over time the old tags just weeded themselves out as customers purchased those items. I think it makes a difference.

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    1. I don't either anymore, it was way too time intensive! I like the idea of using different colored ink for the stamps to stand out.

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  5. Thank you so much for this, it's very useful. I'll save it!

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  6. Hey Van,

    I really like your robot themed stuff, it's memorable. I use my DBA name of Texas Treasure Box on everything. And I print business card price tags, and the fold-over plastic bag toppers for all my crafting element stuff that hopefully will go into my empty Etsy shop! Seamless is the only way my brain works...oh except for the books I sell, that Amazon name is Texas Book Buyers. I guess my brand is "Texas" since I incorporate the state name into everything I do, right?

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    1. Thanks Crystal, I'm trying to decide if my rebooted tag, business cards, and signs were going to feature robots and you're giving me confidence to keep with the theme. Even though I don't sell robots and instead hoard them :)

      I love "Texas Treasure Box" - GREAT name and theme :)

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  7. I have a confession to make - I have been selling on eBay since 2005 and still haven't really figured out my brand! With eBay, it has been an evolving thing in terms of the types of merchandise I've carried over the years. Because of this, I have yet to really commit to a brand, but I'm getting there - I think!

    A fellow eBayer took a look at my eBay store not too long ago and said that I sell things for the child at heart and things that tell a story. So I guess I am honing in on my brand.

    Branding is so not my strength :0(

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    1. It's always an evolution, you'll get there. :)

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  8. Wow, your blog is a treasure trove of useful advice. Thanks!

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  9. Wow, your blog is a treasure trove of useful advice. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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