Oh yes, this is my favorite part, the big reveal of the grand prize New Biz/New Year Giveaway winner
! It’s been so incredible having a back stage pass to be a part of this from the very beginning-it almost feels like my own launch too! When Leeana entered our giveaway all the sponsors were drawn to her enthusiasm, kindness and dedication to building not just a business but an empire of soapy handmade goodness. Its been 6 months since our giveaway winners were announced and we already witnessed one miraculous makeover. Today Arianne of Aeolidia
& Leeana (+ a guest appearance from Lauren Hardage) are visiting us today to share the transformation of LoveLee Soaps
workable before to the absolutely beautiful after. It’s like a small business fairy tale!
Let’s start with the before…
Leeana: What about your branding before didn’t feel right for you? When you entered our giveaway you were ready to make 2012 your year to shine, what about your previous branding didn’t work or was holding you back?
Before entering the giveaway LoveLeeSoaps had very little branding. I had an Etsy banner and Twitter background that I put together. Both had details included like bright colors, polka dots, and hearts that I wanted for the future but neither of them felt completely right. My branding was out dated, far from consistent and definitely not professional looking. I feel like my previous branding did hold me back because I wasn’t completely confident with the appearance. Another thing that was holding me back from taking the steps to bettering my business was college. I wanted to wait until I graduated. This way I would be able to put all of my focus towards the project. I held off and kept studying, while Aeolidia pulled at my creative strings in the back of my head.
Arianne: From a design perspective let’s look at Leeana’s before, it is certainly cheerful and certain aspects were working, but it was missing some key elements. What is your take on those missing pieces?
It’s important when branding your business to keep everything consistent, but Leeana was using a variety of fonts, colors, and graphics for her Etsy banner, business cards, thank you notes, and packaging.
The branding report Tracy created gives Leeana a toolbox of sorts to use when working on materials for her business: fonts to use for both web and print projects, as well as a color scheme with color codes (hex for web, CMYK for print). Paired with her strong logo and her illustrated heart mascots, these consistent details will help customers remember her any time they see her branding.
Leeana: Let’s watch your winning video againbecause it brings me so much joy! This exuberance & joy is definitely one of the things that drew us all to your entry in the first place. You hit the ground running after winning our giveaway and made the decision to invest in having Aeolidia build you a brand new website, integrate your blog, create some fabulous illustrations & more. How has investing in your business & having the support of professionals changed your business?
Once that video stopped the excitement never ended! In fact it only grew bigger from there. Investing in my business has opened my eyes completely. I am so confident and proud of the new business look that I just want to share with everyone. My new branding is now consistent and everything flows together. Aeolidia and Oh My Handmade have definitely helped me bump my small business up to the next level and I am ready to take it on full speed ahead from here.
And now the grand reveal of the after….
Arianne: Your team did SO much work on this project & sprinkled your magic dust on everything from the logo to the content. Can you give us a full list of what your team took on to transform Leeana’s brand?
Leeana added quite a few extras to her giveaway winnings, and we ended up doing the full package for her, which is our favorite thing to do! It’s great to be included for all of a business’ branding needs, so we can keep everything consistent and creative.
- Logo design, color and black and white
- Branding report
- Custom mascot illustration
- Home page, category page, and item page design for the shop
- Blog design
- Design of rotating slides for home page
- Category page header graphic templates
- Newsletter design
- Etsy banner
- Favicon for URL bar and bookmark list
- Cartkeeper ecommerce software to run the shop
- WordPress integrated with Cartkeeper for the blog
Leeana: Before winning the giveaway you did all your branding yourself-how did it feel to give some of that control to Aeolidia? Tell us a bit about the process of working with the team at Aeolidia and the timeline of your rebrand from winning our giveaway to now.
Let me tell you if felt great handing over the control to Aeolidia. Normally I would be hesitant handing over such a huge project that is so important for the future of my company but lets face it, team Aeolidia is amazing! I dreamed of having them work on my branding for about 2 years so when the time came I had no fear that I would be the slightest disappointed with anything.
The process started with Tracy Bishop designing the logo. She sent over three separate sets of ideas. I gave feedback on each design and eventually the LoveLeeSoaps logo was created.
It was full speed ahead from here!
Isa Marie Seminega began gathering information for the Press release while Dewi Faulkner worked on the about page. I was blown away with Dewi’s writing. She sent over the first draft I opened the email read it and just sat there in shock. We stopped at draft number one because there were no changes even needed.
By this time Jennifer Way received the soaps for the photography and I requested bright, colorful, and whimsical. Did you expect anything else? She did a beautiful job and I love the crisp, clean outcome of the photos.
Next up was Lauren Hardage on the on the home page, category page, item page, and blog . Lauren blew my mind with her design work. It was like she took the scrambled mess of ideas gathered inside my head and organized them into a functional, working piece of art.
After Lauren was finished Zoe Rooney did all the coding work. Zoe answered every single one of my questions immediately. She gave advice and helped smooth things out when I thought my brain was going to explode.
LAUREN HARDAGE on the new LoveLee Soaps site:
This project really exemplifies how important content is. One thing that was SO fun on this one was the slides for the slideshow. Leeana had both professional pics and some that she took ready to go. They looked great and they led the design. She also had the slogan putting the splash back in bath time and fun bath and body for all ages ready for me to use. That definitely helped inspire the design direction.
Also, she had so many products, it was easy to nail the look right away. I had such a good idea of her scope and style. It is so much harder to force content in later using placeholders and descriptions of real items. Her product line is so focused, I didnt have to make a site that was appropriate/flexible enough to accommodate both jewelry and plates, for example.
Honestly, (warning, self-congratulation ahead) I think another reason its getting such nice feedback is because Leeana was very happy to delegate the layout and look to her team, and just focus on the big picture. She had constructive feedback, but didnt tinker. That kept everything looking tight and unified, with a consistent design point of view throughout. She knew her design goals and remained true to them throughout the process, letting us take care of the details.
Leeana: And now how do you feel about your transformed business? Was it everything you imagined it would be?
I feel ecstatic about my transformed business! I couldn’t be happier with the way that everything turned out. That final outcome is everything I imagined and a million times more. Working on each of the projects was tons of fun and at times extremely stressful. I am so thankful for everyone that helped make this project come together. It has been so hard keeping things undercover for the past few months while we wrapped everything up. I am happy that I can finally share the details with everyone.
Did winning our giveaway truly change everything for you? Looking forward to the rest of 2012, now that you have your beautiful new look, how are you going to show it off to the world? Tell us all your grand plans for soapy world domination!
It truly did change everything for me. I have a whole new look and I have never felt more confident and inspired. It feels like a brand new beginning. I read something recently that opened my eyes and it was from the Oh My Handmade Guide to Businessy Goodness. (Which if you haven’t picked up your copy you are missing out!) I read “nothing ever grows in the dark” (Tracey Selingo
) This hit me because right now my new website is in the dark. It is my job to turn on the lights, invite everyone in and let it shine. I am planning on showing my new look to the world by spreading the word about LoveLeeSoaps wherever I go. I am so thankful for my fabulous customers and supportive fans that are helping me spread the word and shouting from the roof tops along the way.
Arianne: I hope your whole team is so proud of their work on this makeover, it truly is incredible! Thank you for all your help with this giveaway and teaming up to give a talented young entrepreneur a chance at an extreme business makeover ala Aeolidia. Not everyone can win an amazing opportunity like our giveaway though, in your opinion, what is the one piece of branding that is most important to invest in if you want your business to stand out (in a good way!)?
You can’t get by without a polished logo, especially if you need to create all the extras: packaging, business cards, invoices, receipts, mailing labels, etc. If all you can afford right now is a great logo, you can then use it to base the rest of your branding on. Then, as your business grows, you’ll be able to take that logo and perhaps have further aspects of your business designed for you.
Starting off as early as you can with the logo you want means that you can keep it each step of the way, without losing any customer recognition of it. If you skimp on the logo, but invest in a website, for example, you may find yourself later having to redo everything – redesigning the logo, coming up with a new color scheme, changing the design of the site. If you start with a strong logo that will last and be able to grow with your company, you won’t have to take any steps backwards.
While I’m here, I wanted to mention that we’ve recently launched our new branding packages! For those thinking we do websites only, we want to let you know that we are ready to do the whole shebang for you: from logo to packaging to letterhead, even down to ribbons and tissue paper printed with your logo or custom illustrations!
If you’re not ready to take the plunge just yet, please join our mailing list
. I’m planning to send out some fun “case studies” of projects where we’ve done all the branding, and you’ll get to peek in on those.
Leeana: Your determination to build a thriving business is so obvious in the way you participated so fully in our giveaway and then threw yourself into this redesign. You’ve been working seriously hard since January! I think you are a shining example of how you can see an opportunity and leap for it with all your heart. What is the biggest lesson you are taking away from this experience that is going to help you make your business the very best it can be?
The biggest lesson that I am taking away from this entire experience is that with hard work, determination, and being myself all things are possible. With these three things I have found everything else will fall into place. I have the best job I could ever ask for and I am so lucky that through this experience I have met and connected with an online community of talented individuals from all over the world. I want to thank everyone for coming along for the ride and following this incredible opportunity that I have been given. Let’s join together and make 2012 an unforgettable year!
As a gift back to our community Leeana is offering a $50 LoveLee Soaps gift certificate as a giveaway to YOU!
For extra entries leave a comment if you:
or shout this giveaway out on Facebook or Twitter
This giveaway closes next Tuesday at midnight EST with the winner announced Wednesday, May 10 at the bottom of this post.
This giveaway is closed! Congratulations to Sherie
with comment #24!
Let’s give a big hooray to Leeana and Team Aeolidia for this truly amazing transformation, I see only bright things ahead for LoveLee Soaps & am so happy to be right there with you cheerleading you on!