Brand Love :: Margot Elena

Brand Love :: Margot Elena

Sometimes a case study for good branding comes along that stops you in your tracks. That is exactly what Margot Elena does. She embodies creativity and the art of being brand savvy. One name, four incredible brands and companies. Perhaps you own something from Lollia, which dons the table tops throughout Anthropologie. Or Love & Toast? It’s sold at Whole Foods. The two other brands (or as she so cleverly calls them, chapters), Library of Flowers and TokyoMilk? You’ll want to get to know and get your hands on them quickly. Margot Elena and the four chapters she has created are the epitome of how incredible design is the core of demonstrating a brand’s story, strength and distinction.

But there is a great mystery surrounding this brand…who IS Margot Elena? Why am I completely unable to find a photograph of her? Does she exist? I have my suspicions…and apparently others do as well.

Lollia is perhaps her most recognizable brand, which tells the story of a beautiful, elegant romance. Have I mentioned the packaging is so lovely and gorgeous? It makes me feel like I’m strolling through an English Garden.

Library of Flowers is my favorite – the design is so vibrant, the scents so thrilling. The collections take you outdoor to a robust garden over flowing with hot pinks and bright yellows.

Love & Toast is for the natural woman. Equally as feminine as her other collections, Love & Toast inspires ties to the natural world for a dash of elegance and Eco-consciousness.

TokyoMilk is an edgier, more sophisticated brand that includes scents inspired by exotic places, vintage imagery and a darker side.

This brand case study is interesting for the obvious reasons: how does one woman create four incredible, successful, yet distinct stories and brands? She is not simply repackaging the same scents over and over. She keeps design at the root of her products, prioritizing strong brand design and killer packaging to distinguish the different collections. When thinking about your own brand, detailed, consistent design should always be at the root of your brand story – this distinguishes your product from others and grabs the attention of interested customers.

Yet, the mystery behind Margot Elena is important to examine as well. Does it matter if Margot Elena is a real person or a marketing ploy? We think not. This gorgeous brand is a persona that stands for femininity, variety, female powers, confident beauty, incredible design -  why not believe in her? Let her be your best friend OR let her initials, ME, remind you that her product is all about making you feel amazing. If this is the case, it’s an incredibly well executed marketing strategy that oozes excellent branding from head to toe.

What do you think? Is she real? Is she a marketing strategy to make women realize the Margot Elena brand is ME?

 

Read a bit more about Margot Elena in this fantastic interview on From the Desk Of.

 

Sources
Margot Elena Logo
Lollia Logo & Image // Library of Flowers Logo & Image
Love & Toast Logo & Image // TokyoMilk Logo & Image

 

Brady Campbell, Step Brightly MediaBrady Campbell is Step Brightly’s Director of Social Media and Marketing. Brady’s flair for bright, special moments bring energy to Step Brightly’s daily musings. Email Brady at brady@stepbrightly.com. Step Brightly is a boutique graphic design & web design studio based in Oak Park and Chicago. We work with clients from coast to coast and insist on doing fabulous design for fabulous people. We share our best ideas, trends for clients and other colorful tidbits in our newsletter. Sign up for bright ideas here.

 

 

Bright Ladies || Inspired Branding : Alexa von Tobel

In our Bright Ladies || Inspired Branding series, we’ve featured a number of incredibly talented, creative women. They’re bloggers, interior designers, chefs, artists. Yet this week’s Bright Lady is a different type of creative lady…and after having the opportunity to have the the financial firm, Cray Kaiser, as past clients, we value the power of strong financial leaders. Particularly when they’re women.

She’s creative with finances, helping people around the world manage their finances and achieve financial goals. Alexa von Tobel of LearnVest has an impressive number of people both talking about and listening to her (myself included). And with Tax Season in full-swing (less than one month!), we wanted to get her on your radar, too. From newspapers to economic forums, Alexa has taken a problem many people face and created a solution that is not only tangible but realistic and providing guidance and security to many who might have been missing it in their personal finances. Forget big banks and men in suits – we like this woman and her fearless drive to have a positive impact. Go girl!

Top 5 reasons we love Alexa von Tobel:

1. Among many of her accolades, she was named a “Woman to Watch” and “30 under 30” by Forbes. Enough said.

2. Her office space is both organized and bright, two must-haves on our list!

3. She doesn’t limit LearnVest to numbers and bank accounts – they have an incredible Pinterest account that is absolutely worth following!

4. I must be ahead of the game because I already own 4 of Alexa’s 5 favorite budget beauty must-haves.

5. She creatively takes numbers, something we don’t understand, and turn them into a positive, both in our bank accounts and in our minds.

 

Brady Campbell, Step Brightly MediaBrady Campbell is Step Brightly’s Director of Social Media and Marketing. Brady’s flair for bright, special moments bring energy to Step Brightly’s daily musings. Email Brady at brady@stepbrightly.com. Step Brightly specializes in brand design strategy. Located just outside Chicago, in Oak Park, we work with clients from coast to coast and insist on doing fabulous design for fabulous people. We share our best ideas, trends for clients and other colorful tidbits in our newsletter. Sign up for bright ideas here.

 

 

Bright Ideas :: Ellen DeGeneres +  CoverGirl Brand Collaboration

Bright Ideas :: Ellen DeGeneres + CoverGirl Brand Collaboration

When I think of CoverGirl, I think of Niki Taylor, Tyra Banks and America’s Next Top Model. Glamourous, flowing locks, high cheek bones, creamy skin. These women are the essence of classic youthful beauty and give women everywhere a hope of what CoverGirl will do to them. This is the essence of the CoverGirl brand – making every woman more beautiful.

When I think of Ellen DeGeneres, I think of the funniest female on the face of the planet. She sets a standard for humor, confidence, and generosity. Converse, suits, short hair, 50+ and unparalleled wit. The classic comedian, she always puts a smile on your face. Ellen is her own brand – funny and just make-you-feel-good awesome.

As CoverGirl celebrated their 50th Anniversary, they could not have made a better move than to bring on their most unconventional CoverGirl to date: Ellen. When I started seeing the ads with Ellen, I thought YES! What an incredible brand collaboration. There is no doubt CoverGirl has always done a good job picking their models. But what makes the choice of Ellen as the CoverGirl is the brand’s recognition that beauty is not just for 6′+ supermodels – it’s for all women, regardless of hair length, skin type,age,or sexual orientation. CoverGirl is 50! Their message has become: be a CoverGirl no matter how old OR who you are.

By collaborating with the “Ellen” brand, CoverGirl plays on Ellen’s strengths to demonstrate their own: humor, generosity and confidence. This caters to a larger audience, brings more customers into the world of CoverGirl and strengthens both parties’ brands.

Focus less on the endorsement side of a collaboration and more on the brand power. Collaborating is complimenting. When you think of your own brand, don’t be afraid to seek out other companies and brands out there who parallel your mission. It not only accomplishes the obvious factor (abroader audience base), but it helps strengthen your mission and what you represent.

Did you know Ellen also collaborated with American Express and Vitamin Water? Brand Collaborations have been a favorite of ours for a long time.  Vivienne Tam + HPLipSmackers + Dr. Pepper. Target + Philip Lim. Tiffany & Co. + Frank Gehry. We love seeing them done well and we love the opportunity to pursue them ourselves.

What brands would you want to collaborate with?

 

Photo Credits:
Ellen in Makeup // Simply Ageless Top Left
50th Anniversary // Simply Ageless Bottom Right
Quote via CoverGirl Twitter

Brady Campbell, Step Brightly MediaBrady Campbell is Step Brightly’s Director of Social Media and Marketing. Brady’s flair for bright, special moments bring energy to Step Brightly’s daily musings. Email Brady at brady@stepbrightly.com. Step Brightly is a boutique graphic design & web design studio based in Oak Park and Chicago. We work with clients from coast to coast and insist on doing fabulous design for fabulous people. We share our best ideas, trends for clients and other colorful tidbits in our newsletter. Sign up for bright ideas here.

 

Bright Ideas :: A New Way to Think of Social Media

Bright Ideas :: A New Way to Think of Social Media

I am a control freak. Gotta be on schedule, on time and on budget. Good for clients, bad for letting go. I have had a fear of Social Media for years. What if “they” don’t respond? What if I am ignored? All of my jr. high school fears are ignited.

Then I read an article by Bill Baker about his southern Grandmother. He imagines that she would have this to say about Social Media:

“…find five things that you are really interested in and passionate about. Do your homework and be able to talk about those things really well. People will think you’re interesting and passionate.”

“…never mix too much business with pleasure. No one likes to be sold all the time; it’s vulgar.”

 

Social Media is an elevated, very “alive” way of sharing your brand. Your home page is your anchor, your social media channels are the energy that carry your brand into the minds of potential clients. They reflect your story, strengths and passions. The person who is 100% over the top, in-your-face about a passion (let’s say the evolution of Kim Kardashian’s wardrobe) is pretty unappealing – you don’t want them on your feeds. But the person who shares thoughtful articles about an up and coming designer, inspiring photographs from a fashion show and thoughts or statements that make them (and their brand) more relevant and interesting to you – that person is using social media correctly.

Graphic Design & Branding is about creating a cohesive visual story that people can tell and retell. Start your conversation gradually. Don’t shout out 140 character tweets, no one will listen. Engage on a small scale. Leave comments. Tweet in agreement. Make a personal connection. It is better to have an audience of 10 people who are listening than 100 who aren’t. If those 10 people recognize your strong brand voice – your purpose – they can be social for you and tell 10 of their friends. There, now you have 100.

As Step Brightly has started a brand transformation over the last few months (oh yes! Very exciting! Stay tuned!), there has been a lot of thought and reflection.

We love talented women.
We love vibrant colors.

We love clever design.

 

With these principles behind our brand and purpose, we strive to make our activity on social media reflect these things tastefully and clearly (note: not loud and clear). Not to mention, that is the fun in social media – engaging those elements you love dearly and connecting with others who share the same appreciation!

Sean Low, the editor behind The Business of Being Creative says the success in Social Media will be seen in how well you share with others, not how loud you do it. So go on – be social.

 

Step Brightly is a boutique brand strategy design studio located just outside Chicago in Oak Park, Illinois. We work with clients from coast to coast and insist on doing fabulous design for fabulous people. We share our best ideas, trends for clients and other colorful tidbits in our newsletter. Sign up for bright ideas here.

 

Trend Alert : Subscription Boxes

We, along with Entrepreneur.com and the NY Daily News, are confident subscription retail is here to stay. It’s fun. It’s convenient. It’s a bright idea.

What’s incredible about these new ventures are the brands being built around them. Women don’t say “Oh, goodie! I just got my box full of beauty samples.” They say “Heck yes! My Birchbox came today.” The Birchbox brand is the product. The box concept is the first in a new series we’re launching: Bright Brand Ideas, where we dote on creative women with creative brands who think outside the box.

Here are our Top 5 Favorite Boxes…and why we love them below.

Kudos to the amazing design teams who created these vibrant box subscription brands!

1. Stitch Fix - One of the first subscription boxes we blogged about, Stitch Fix asks you to fill out your style profile, request a fix and patiently wait for the mailman to deliver a box full of clothes handpicked just for you right to your door. Try them on, purchase and keep what you like, send back the rest in a pre-stamped package. Founded by Katrina Lake, the company strives to provide clothes that fit a woman’s lifestyle and flattered their bodies. Great shopping, literally right on your doorstep.

Source

2. Birchbox – $10 per month gets a bright pink box delivered to your door, full of lovely beauty samples. From Juicy Couture perfume samples, to magical oil for your hair, nail files and nail polish (I actually bought a separate large toiletries bag to store all of my samples. Now whenever I travel, I grab something fun and new and that I know is the perfect size for travel). And for the samples that you really love, you can log into my account, find out exactly what they sent you that month and buy the full size. Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp – GENIUS idea ladies!

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3. Olive Box – For the paper lover (which I am!). “Handpicked paper and lifestyle products delivered to your door.” From greeting cards to notepads, we love Grace Kang’s concept that promotes another favorite of ours: getting handwritten snail mail from our lady friends! Stock up on cards for birthdays and holidays, or always have a cute notepad on hand. So fun!

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4. Turntable Kitchen- Music + Food + Vinyl = Awesome. Their website tagline says it best: A curated Music and Food Discovery Experience delivered right to your door. A monthly subscription gets you delicious recipe and music recommendations. Each box comes with a 7″ vinyl, 1-2 Premium dried ingredients for you to make 2-4 servings of each dish or drink, original recipes and occasional treats. This box is great for guys and gals alike, and was started by a Guy/Gal duo, Matthew and Kasey. We’d go to their house for dinner anytime.

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5. For the Makers – Another box we’ve tested and blogged about, this box brings out your inner maker, in a very Anthropologie-esque fashion. From the box itself to it’s contents, every piece is well thought and well assembled. Tools to complete the projects, instructions to help you along the way and elegant packaging to hold your new piece of jewelry or home good. As this box is very project-completion driven, the ladies behind For the Makers do an incredible job driving their brand visually through Social Media, encouraging makers to pin, tweet and instagram with their hashtag #forthemakers (over 800 photos on instagram alone). Brand geniuses!

Source

 

Brady Campbell, Step Brightly MediaBrady Campbell is Step Brightly’s Director of Social Media and Marketing. Brady’s flair for bright, special moments bring energy to Step Brightly’s daily musings. Email Brady at brady@stepbrightly.com. Step Brightly is a boutique graphic design & web design studio based in Oak Park and Chicago. We work with clients from coast to coast and insist on doing fabulous design for fabulous people. We share our best ideas, trends for clients and other colorful tidbits in our newsletter. Sign up for bright ideas here.

 

Bright Now :: Chartreuse Color Pop

A question we’ve been asking ourselves: Is it spring yet? Alas, it’s not. So instead let’s warm up with the lovely color that has been on our radar (and nails!): Chartreuse. It’s bright, but I do not think that means it is a color to simply use as an accent or subtle addition here or there – let Chartreuse be the big, bold statement. Let it take your outfit, living room or brand colors to the next level. Because we believe this color is going places…like top of the list for Pantone 2015 Color of the year. Now I’ve said it twice, it’s got to happen.

Shoes // Dress // Earrings // Ring
Chair // Necklace // Notebook // Dress

Bright Brand Ideas :: Get Creative with For the Makers

When my Mom sent my birthday present last week, I wasn’t surprised to see that she sent it in a previously used shipping box – our garage is full of empty boxes because “you always need boxes for shipping.” I was surprised, however, when I saw it was a For the Makers box. How did she know about For the Makers?! Maybe she’d really gotten into her Birchbox subscription and was diving headlong into monthly subscription boxes – these concepts are taking off like crazy after all (it’s all we’ve been blogging about! Here and here). I quickly discovered why the box was previously opened: my Mom had tucked some cards among my very own For the Makers project! The Wire Jewelry Kit in Gold. Well done, Mom.

I’ve always been a dabbling jewelry maker, so this project is right up my alley. The kit itself is so well designed – compact, clean and thoughtful. From the craft paper packaging, to the craft paper crinkle inside, I love its very Anthropologie-esque aesthetic. Inside the little box was everything I needed to get started: chain, wire, O-rings, lobster clasps, semi-flush cutters, chain nose plier, round nose plier, a small muslin pouch  and a how-to instruction kit. (Note: upon opening and seeing the tools, I did already have 2 of the ones they supply and subsequently gave them to a girlfriend. You do in fact get 3 tools.).

I took a stab at the first project: a bow ring. Pretty simple and super cute!

Then I decided to get crafty with the letter instructions from inside the how-to guide and made an “XO” ring. A bit more challenging but I felt pretty bad-ass when it came out exactly how I wanted.

Chartreuse is my color of the moment. Pantone 2015 Color of the Year – I’m calling it now, you watch and see.

As I am not much of a bow girl, I decided to stick with the letter-design options and went for a big pendant to put on a chain. While creating a logo for my portfolio last year, my designer (aka, talented boyfriend) pointed out my first two initials are BE. And I’ve always liked that, so that’s the word I went with.

Luckily B and E are simple letters to create. I felt extremely proud of my creation and truly enjoyed the hour or so I spent making my new jewelry!

All in all, this DIY-in-a-box is a fantastic product! It was not too daunting, very manageable, and I had plenty of materials (except the chain, but only because I’m a long-chain necklace girl) leftover to make more rings. After a quick clean up, I tucked everything into the muslin bag they provide and am able to store it with the rest of my jewelry crafting materials.

———-

There are two aspects of For the Makers that I absolutely adore. First, it is easy. The tutorials (with pictures!) are easy to follow and understand. My project did not take a long time – I worked on it while watching my other boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, travel Peru. Second, this has to be the greatest gift in the world! I’ve now been on the giving and receiving end, both times with enthusiastic responses. Give it to a friend who isn’t sure about her craft skills. Get it for yourself for a fun weeknight project. All in all, another “Something-magical” in a box that I cannot wait to get subscribe. Along with my monthly Birchbox, I’m all set. Next to try is either RunnerBox or OliveBox – which would you choose?

 

Brady Campbell, Step Brightly MediaBrady Campbell is Step Brightly’s Director of Social Media and Marketing. Brady’s flair for bright, special moments bring energy to Step Brightly’s daily musings. Email Brady at brady@stepbrightly.com. Step Brightly is a boutique graphic design & web design studio based in Oak Park and Chicago. We work with clients from coast to coast and insist on doing fabulous design for fabulous people. We share our best ideas, trends for clients and other colorful tidbits in our newsletter. Sign up for bright ideas here.

 

Bright Brand Ideas :: Shop via subscription with Stitch Fix

I love shopping, but rarely find myself in a store other than the local grocer. I have 4 kids, what’s a girl suppose to do? I recently joined a wine of the month club, and that, in combo with our recent post about Windsor Smith’s Room In a Box…and a new client project is that going to launch soon, also in a box, got me thinking–how can I get my shopping fix, get quality curated pieces, and not leave my house? Enter subscription retail services like Stitch Fix!

Here’s how it works:

Like Windsor’s Room in A Box questionnaire, you fill out an online fashion profile for the Stitch Fix stylists. They suggest using our favorite visualization tool, Pinterest, to create a board of your fashion style–and to window shop the web. I am already having fun.

Stitch Fix will gather your information, be inspired, shop and send you 5 pieces in a box, around $65 each for a total of about $325. If you love it, keep it, if you don’t, return it and provide them feedback. I love this idea.

Why this idea is so bright:

I am a busy mom who wants to be current and fashionable but doesn’t have time to shop. I get my own personal shopping experience that is web-lead, using online tools and, if it works, gives me beautifully curated fashionable pieces to build my wardrobe on, from home.

Stitch Fix was started by Katrina Lake, a Harvard Business School alum. They recently landed $12 million in funding, so I expect we will be seeing more of this brand and bright ideas in the future. And Katrina, if you want help designing your blog to match the brilliance that is your fantastic idea- I am all yours!

 

Stitch Fix
images via: Stitch Fix website

Lisa Guillot Creative Director, Step Brightly

Lisa Guillot, the creative force behind Step Brightly, is a branding designer and strategist with 15 years of experience. Lisa, and her curated team of creatives, build genuine brand experiences. Bona fide, spirited, colorful, deep brands with personality and strategic meaning to you and your clients. You can find Lisa on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest or email her at lisa@stepbrightly.com. We share our best ideas, trends for clients and other colorful tidbits in our newsletter. Sign up for bright ideas here.

 

Bright Brand Ideas :: Windsor Smith Room in a Box

Much like our Bright Ladies || Inspired Branding series, Bright Brand Ideas will showcase our love of that brand – from smart marketing ideas, style and industry, to distinct philosophies and vision. There are so many Bright Ladies out there, but there are also a lot of ladies managing amazing brands – time to combine the two!

Our first Brand Bright Idea comes from interior designer, Windsor Smith. Windsor Smith has combined her savvy business smarts with her unique design capabilities to bring exceptional interior design recommendations for a fraction of the cost with her Room In A Box service. After answering a series of online questions and taking a few measurements, you have access to her vision, inspiration and suggested products completely tailored to your room. Genius marketing idea!

She was recently featured on Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog, goop, helping Gwyneth makeover two rooms in her house. This is a MUST see, as the transformation is both documented beautifully, as well as turns out positively stunning.

We want Windsor at our house right now.

Her branding is consistent with her style and product: clean, simple, classic and elegant. She keeps the accent color of cerulean blue present, but not pushy, throughout her entire website – her logo, her “About” page, navigation arrows, even the shopping cart for your purchases! Subtle yet thorough, this is a great strategy for a strong brand.

Her inspiration gallery accommodates vision and insight into what working with her can look like – from lavish to simple, most importantly: attainable. This both provides and inspires confidence in potential clientele and, more than anything, makes the more interested in how can it transform their own room.

Which room would you makeover with “Room in a Box?”

All images from Windsor Smith Room in a Box – Inspiration Gallery

 

Step Brightly is a boutique brand strategy design studio located just outside Chicago in Oak Park, Illinois. We work with clients from coast to coast and insist on doing fabulous design for fabulous people. We share our best ideas, trends for clients and other colorful tidbits in our newsletter. Sign up for bright ideas here.

Bright Brand Ideas :: The Infographic

Infographics are ev.ery.where. And I like them. They’re creative! They’re colorful! They’re informative! And they’re dense. You get it all quickly and in one place. In this fast-paced, insta-info world we live in, this is an invaluable tool. Numbers, people, graphs – the scroll-through visual keeps the reader interested and eager to see what statistic will pop up next. Entire startups have been formed around their team’s ability to create a beautiful infographic (so if you’re not sure you or your own team have the time and/or ability to create one, fear not! That’s what visual.ly will do for you!).

The fact is this: Infographics are a powerful visual medium to share information about your industry and, more importantly, your company. Why should a potential client care about buying your service? What is the value added? What is the investment? What is the potential? Let an infographic help tell your story.

How about this: an Infographic of The Infographic. Funny but incredibly interesting.

This image alone tells you a great deal about what Infographics are made of, from their font, subject matter and navigational iconography. And if you search “infographic” on Pinterest, well just go ahead and get comfortable because you could spend days poring through the examples.

Take our client, Cape Nanny. They help families find nannies, as well as help nannies find families. This infographic featured in Parents Magazine from Care.com is an incredible resource to share with potential nanny clientele. Boston, Cape Nanny’s target geographical area, is in the Top 5!

Trying to figure out where to spend your efforts in Social Media marketing? This infographic about different Social Media Networks, their usage and their strengths provides the 411 in a clear, concise and brand-color friendly way.

And the infographic that inspired this post? I’ll let Finley Kathleen do all the talking. Because it’s pretty darn awesome.

Can’t get enough these gems? This Board on Pinterest is a great place to peruse even more and get inspiration for your own infographic!