Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Branding Process Continues, or, How to Grow Your Business

Well, it has been a very productive time for me--I feel like I am growing in all directions. Michelle (see post, 2/13/09) has been an incredible teacher and guide for me, almost a therapist for my business with whom I have been sharing all my thoughts and ideas about my business, how it fits into my life, where I want to go, how I imagine I fit into the "marketplace" etc etc, all of which she validates, and then expands upon in the most breath-taking way! We are deep into the logo-design process, which is incredibly fun, as we look at and tweak images of goats and bees [see first draft of logo design, with inspiration Luke and Leah, left], modify and refine the new mold designs, and as I am dispatched out into the field (read: Whole Foods) to do retail research. Let me just take a minute here to thank Mary and Robin, at Santa Fe Whole Foods, for spending their valuable time to answer all my inane questions on how things sell, what works on their shelves and why, and what their customers and they themselves like. So eye-opening! Turns out, once you start looking, you realize that what seems like a perfectly good idea in a shelf display (say a beautiful, handmade, custom wooden display that shows your entire soap product line), is actually a bust in terms of the space it takes up, the maintenance required by the store staff to keep it looking beautiful, and the amount of product that store is then required to keep stocked. So fun to ask Robin questions about what works for HER, as the buyer/stocker, and see her light up with the thrill of finally being asked for HER opinion! Yay!

Another key process that I am in the middle of, is refining my vision and mission for my business. Right now it is in very rough form, but I thought I would share it with you all, and see if there is any feedback. What Michelle has taught me is that socially conscious/green businesses lead with their mission, which other corporations and businesses (like Kmart. . . what's their mission again?) don't. This mission/vision becomes the guiding principle of the business, helping it (me) to discern how to grow, who to partner with, etc. So, here are some of the rough (ROUGH!) notes that I've put down:

Why am I in this business?

Love and respect for the animals.
Love of the nurturing, maternal qualities of milk and milking.
Love of the rhythms of maternity, animals, and the cycles of the natural world.
A connection to the women’s work of our ancestors.

Engaging, challenging and encouraging my entrepreneurial ability

Making a living based on my values—
This business allows me to live within a humane rhythm:
to be present to my children, actively raising them;
to pursue my many passions and interests;
to deepen my connections with my community and relationships with friends.

To fulfill the potential of progressive, “cradle-to-cradle”-based business and to be a leader and innovator in that field;

to encourage others, by example, to follow their passions and deepen their connections with others, and insist on living in a “humane rhythm” that allows for that;

to experience a satisfying and enriching exchange with people locally and globally through the medium of my products;

to bring to my customers a product that nurtures, heals, pampers, inspires and pleases/delights them;

a product that carries with it not only it’s immediate physical satisfaction, but also connects myself and my customers through my story, a certain way of life, and certain values that remind us of our shared humanity and bring us back to what is important in life. This connection takes place not just in the purchasing of products from me, but in the giving and exchanging of my products between my customers and the friends and loved ones for whom they buy my products.

to experience a satisfying and enriching exchange with people locally and globally by creating and selling a product that nurtures, heals, pampers, inspires and pleases the people who receive my products.

Relationship-based business.

Sensuality—connection with sensuality, privacy, love, romance, pampering, luxury, physical pleasure, cherishing of the self.

Thanks for reading. . .