For one final look back at our 2016 journey, I'd like to share an excerpt from an ebook I wrote in collaboration with Sharon Fain of Academy of Handmade Artists and Supporters.
One of the greatest lessons we learned as a company in 2016 was that growth and change are an inevitable part of being in business—just as it is throughout our lives. The real magic happens when we embrace that change and make an intentional plan to build on that growth.
You can read the entire story by going here: Rebrand: A Love Story. You can even chart out your own journey with a set of guiding questions included after each chapter.
Here's an excerpt from the first chapter…
It was August 2015, and we had wrapped up the most intense period of activity our business had ever seen. We were spent. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Simply burnt out.
Over the course of 15 weeks, my wife and I had sold natural skin care products and DIY skincare kits at 10 different craft shows up and down the West Coast. We had flown out to New York to pitch five major retailers at the Etsy Open Call Event. We had written and spoken and planned and promoted our brand so much that we knew it inside and out.
And none of it was resonating the way we wanted it to. With more effort and hustle than we had ever done before, we were simply not seeing the results we were hoping for. So we took stock.
We took our first week off from the business...ever. And even though it was imposed upon us by the crushing burnout that we suffered in August, it was one of the most valuable breaks we have ever taken.
We took a good long strategic look at our customer. We started cataloging the feedback and customer reactions we had received at the craft shows, in emails, or on social media.
What we discovered was a revelation. The customer that we had been targeting this whole time was decidedly not the customer that we had actually been serving.
Because our understanding of the customer was flawed, the problem that we were solving for that customer was very different from the problem we thought we were solving.
Our current brand was failing to resonate with the customer we had targeted, but it was also failing to effectively serve the customer we were actually reaching.
We had a choice to make: either take a hard look at all aspects of our current brand and fix it to attract our target customer, or go all in on a ground-up rebrand in order to provide real value to our actual customers.
It was never a hard choice.
But if we were going to set out on a completely new direction for our brand, we had a whole lot of work to do…