Mismatched is only cool if you are 5 years old

I remember when my daughter first wanted to dress herself. Like all 5 year old little girls, she wanted to be fiercely independent, especially when it came to her wardrobe. Most days she would come out of her room wearing a fluffy pink tutu, her favorite cowgirl boots, a long sleeve shirt with some sort of princess motif (every 5 year old owns at least 3 of these) and a pink crocheted winter hat complete with ear flaps….in the dead of August…in the south. And yes, even though she looked like a half hobo ballerina cowgirl, we let her wear it out and wherever we went people would smile and say how adorable she was. Do you know why? Because she was 5 years old and at that age, mismatched just happens to be cute.

Now, stop and think about that same scenario but instead of a sweet, adorable 5 year old put yourself in that get up (get up – southern expression meaning crazy outfit). Hmmm not so cute anymore huh? In fact, you may actually get carted off to the looney bin because you must have lost your ever loving mind dressing like that in public!

So where am I going with this lovely tale of 5 year olds and looney bins? Well, straight to your branding of course! (10 points if you saw that coming) Being mismatched just isn’t cute, in fact it leaves an impression that you are scattered and don’t have a clear direction for your business. Customers notice this…oh yes, they notice and they run as fast as they can because really, who would want to spend their hard earned money in a shop that looks scattered and clueless? Potential customers thought process – If the owner of said shop doesn’t bother with the outside why would they bother with the quality of the products there selling?

With all of the social this and website that, your brand is in a lot of places which means it’s being seen by some of the same people. If you have one design for your website, a completely different one for your etsy shop and possibly even a third or forth for twitter and Facebook it gives a horrible impression to those people you are trying to impress the most!

You want your branding to be consistent wherever your are…not only is it more professional but it’s how you build….(drumroll please Brad*) BRAND RECOGNITION! And we love us some brand recognition because it’s what helps potential customers remember who you are.

So would you rather be a sleek, sophisticated kick ass woman dressed to the nines or a half hobo ballerina cowgirl?

*Sorry ladies, there is no Brad…although if there was I am sure he would look a lot like Jensen Ackles. Don’t know who Jensen Ackles is? Google him, you won’t be sorry!

Do you feel like your brand is cohesive or do you need to do some work on unifying the style? Share your brand recognition struggles + stories in the comments!


  1. Bev F. says:

    When I first started my blog for my business it did not at all match my brand (or the image I was trying to convey!) I had fun designing it, but it was not really what I envisioned my brand to be. Finally I hired my first designer to come up with a logo for it, as well as my Etsy shop, and my brand started to come together. Then when I started to do craft shows, I had to think about both my display as well as how I personally looked, to make sure they all fit together. I’ve definitely come a long way in the past year, but I certainly had a bit of that half hobo cowgirl ballerina look going on!

  2. Lisa White says:

    I totally realized I used there instead of they’re…ugh smacking my head! Lol (I do my best writing in bed and apparently I was a little sleepier than I realized at the time!)

    Bev, I think we are start out as half hobo cowgirls at some point! 😉 When you are in so many places it can be a challenge to unify your brand, especially if you are trying to do it all yourself because you can easily get lost in what you like vs what works for your brand. Kudos to you for getting it all together…I love that you even thought about how you looked at craft fairs because you are the face of your brand. 🙂

  3. s0nicfreak says:

    I don’t think that’s a good analogy. For many customers, the reason they buy handmade is because they are getting it from a unique hobo-ballerina-cowgirl. The manager of the chain store is a sleek sophisticated woman… the employees are all neatly, similarly dressed… so if that’s what they want, they know where to go They want to buy from someone that has the guts to dress like a hobo-ballerina-cowgirl, especially if what you sell is, say, handmade hobo-ballerina-cowgirl outfits. You can be remembered as the person that wears a differently mismatched outfit everyday, and that can be more memorable than the person that is dressed matched and sleek everyday. But true, that doesn’t work with branding… so that isn’t a good analogy.

    • Ah, but if unique hobo-ballerina-cowgirl is your brand + your thing & you’ve made it cohesive, not just an outfit you’ve thrown on because you are trying it out then it becomes a sleek + sophisticated brand regardless of how quirky the style. Tif Fussel of Dottie Angel http://dottieangel.blogspot.ca/ is a great exampleshe built an entire brand around her granny chic eclecticness but she implements it across absolutely everything so it works beautifully.

      • Lisa White says:

        I agree completely. If your “thing” is being a ballerina hobo cowgirl then your brand should reflect that but after you build a following no matter how small and quirky your business may be, you are in fact becoming sophisticated and sleek in your own way.

  4. Darice says:

    Ahaha! Not only do I remember dressing like that (though it was usually wild color / pattern combos), but my daughter currently practices it! 😉 Personally, I think we should all dress a little goofier – smiles + laughter are always needed.

    In terms of shops, you’re right on…at least for me. I love supporting makers who are making a living doing what they love. When I see a well put together shop (similar style photography / quality made / specific purpose) I am more apt to pull out my wallet. Conversely, when I see a hobby or ‘for fun’ shop with a wide variety of seemingly unrelated items, poor photos, and random images I head for the next shop.

    Thankfully, creating that professional aesthetic doesn’t have to be difficult – or undermine your uniqueness as a maker. If you use a standard photo set-up for all of your product shots, select a few colors (or use a rainbow!), and a signature font, you’re off to a great start. Little changes often make the biggest impact. 🙂

  5. jacie says:

    I’m in the building phase of my business right this minute and while reading the same monotonous business blogs I stumbled upon this. All I can say is thanks for the breather!! Dean is so much hotter than Sam 😉

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