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Small & Supercharged Podcast Ep 3 – Sophie Callahan on commercial photography

In this episode I chat to special guest, equestrian photographer, vlogger, blogger and all round legend, Sophie Callahan. You’ll know I love Sophie from, well, most of my content(!), but on this episode we’re talking about commercial photography. Commercial photography sounds a bit scary, but it isn’t – and more than that, it’s really important for your business. So, over to Sophie… and a huge thanks to her for her help with this episode.

Have a listen here…

Sophie Callahan on commercial photography

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 3 – Sophie Callahan on commercial photography… what you’ll hear in this podcast episode…

  • The scope of commercial photography, the kind of shots that can be taken and why. Sophie has done a lot of work for country and equestrian brands and she shares some quite eye-watering examples!
  • How to organise a shoot, whether you’re a brand or service provider
  • How to work out which photographer is the best one to suit your needs, what kind of questions to ask and more.
  • Even though it’s a good idea to find a photographer whose style aligns with your business, a photographer will usually adjust their style, if requested, to align with your brand better… but it’s also important to remember why you chose them.
  • You can be as involved (or not!) as you like. Some photographers will source models, locations and everything else – you just send the product. But there are opportunities to be more involved with your commercial shoot too.
  • What to send your prospective photographers to ensure they understand your vision and can do what you need.
  • Why it’s important to be clear about what you want to do with the images after the shoot. Images for social media, like Instagram, will be taken in portrait rather than landscape, for example.
  • Copyright and what you can do with the images you have taken.
  • The importance of communicating with your photographer to establish what you can and can’t do with the images you have taken.
  • How you can cost shoots and possible different options available.
  • How often you should have a shoot for your brand, whether it’s a service or product based business.
  • Why phones are great, but the camera isn’t what you’re paying for!
  • The importance of good photography on social media.
  • The difference good photography can make, even to eBay sales.
  • Combined shoots and how these can keep the cost of photography and commercial photoshoots down.
  • The difference between lifestyle and packshot photography, if there’s a place for both and how to know which to pick.
  • The value of using photographers who are skilled in your niche for lifestyle images – so using an equestrian photographer for your equestrian business, for example.

A HUGE thank you to Sophie Callahan for being an amazing podcast guest and for helping to demystify commercial photography. Sophie is EVERYWHERE on social media – here is where you can find her:

Thanks so much for dropping in. Don’t forget you can subscribe on Spotify, iTunes or Podcast Player, just search ‘Small & Supercharged Podcast’ or my name.

If you’re an Apple fan, you can subscribe here.

How to… pick fonts to represent your brand

how to pick fonts to represent your brandFonts can be a game changer when it comes to a logo or brand identity. In all honesty, the biggest change between my old logo and my new one is fonts that were used. Picking fonts to represent your brand can be challenging, but the good thing is that if you get the right one, it can make a HUGE difference.

How do you pick fonts to represent your brand?

I start with magazines, Pinterest and searching the web. There are a LOT of fonts available, a huge amount in fact. These go through fashions, like all design does, and more are being added all the time. There are a few different kinds of font family:

Serif type fonts – these are generally older style fonts and tend to have small lines at the tops and bottoms of the letters. A good example is the Word favourite Times Roman. When I say ‘older style’, there’s nothing wrong with using older style fonts at all. They can show heritage, knowledge and tradition when used correctly. Baskerville is a really nice example of a font that works really well today. You’ll see it’s classic and elegant but not old fashioned. Have a Google!

Sans Serif type fonts- sans means ‘without’ in French, so you’ll find a sans serif font doesn’t have the little extra bits. Generally these fonts are seen as a little bit more modern and feel a lot more curvy and round because there are no extra lines. This can make them feel soft and friendly too. Arial is a popular example of this (again, a Word favourite!), Avant Garde is another good one.

Script types fonts- should make you feel like they have a handwritten quality, even though they’re obviously more uniform than handwriting. They tend to flow and feel approachable too. The font I use for ‘Rhea Freeman’ is a hand lettering script font, but my previous one, Lobster, is also a Script font.

Decorative fonts- usually more elaborate than a Script font and can look incredible if used carefully. Some of the decorative fonts are not that easy to read (of course. some are!), but they should be used with caution in branding… in my opinion. Pick the right decorative font and it can work really well, but there are many caveats.

How to pick the fonts

So now you know the different font families (and it is useful because now you know what you’re Googling!), think about how you might use them. My logo is made up of two fonts – a premium handlettering font called Winsome and Oswald, and I use another font for my website copy. This means I can use these fonts in different ways on my website, social media graphics, etc etc. Size is important as, especially with a decorative or script font, if it’s too small, you won’t be able to see it. And if the person who is reading your website can’t actually read it, you might have the most beautiful font in the work and it won’t do the job!

But how do I know which fonts represent my brand?

Well, you need to think about the values of your brand, your customer avatar (and what they like and expect) and lots more. Some fonts sit better with different kinds of jobs – you’d expect a solicitor to have a very bold, easy to read, no nonsense font. This doesn’t mean it can’t be a premium font or even bespoke. This works with the values of the brand, the serious nature of the business and more. But if you’re an artist or more creative, a more decorative font can help you express your creativity in a way that doesn’t undermine your work… see what I mean?

A good place to start is to look at the kind of fonts that similar businesses use. You’ll probably see a pattern in the families they use and the styles. You don’t have to do the same, but it’s a useful reference point and place to start.

A word of warning about fonts

Less is more. There are so many beautiful fonts available that it can be really hard to pick which to use. The good news is you can use more than one font in your branding, but these need to a) work together and b) be limited. Too many fonts can confuse a message, and fonts that clash rather than complement can feel amateur and a bit manic… which no business wants!

 

How to… pick a colour palette for your brand

colour palette for your brandOh- colour. It’s such an important thing… and something that is devilishly difficult to get right. While I am far from an expert on colour (I’m working my way through two fabulous courses by Fiona Humberstone – one all about colour psychology- so she is!), I wanted to shed a bit of light on how to pick a colour palette for your brand, based on my experience of mine. In addition, I want to talk about aspects of selecting a colour palette that I think are really important. Well, a few of the points that I think you should consider if you’re in the same boat.

How to pick a colour palette for your brand

You have to like it – before we go any further into what colours means, etc, etc. This point is a really important one. You have to like the colour. It doesn’t have to be your favourite colour, but not something that repels you! You might be wearing heavily branded clothing in this colour, your business cards and stationery will be this colour. You have picked this colour to represent you, your company and your beliefs. You have to like it. And then you need to start looking for the exact shade that you like. A good way to help you if you really don’t know where to start is a good bit of mood boarding. Get magazines and literally rip out bits in colours you like. Don’t overthink it, just pick out ones you like. Don’t add any ‘I like this but…’ caveats, just get ripping. You can sift things at a later stage. You’ll probably notice a theme in the kinds of colours (pastel/neons) and shades (pinks, greens, etc) that you like… and that might help you find the colour/s.

 

Colours mean certain things – this is very much a beginner’s guide to how colour works, but I am just explaining my process on things. Yes, you have to like it, but then you have to realise what the colours mean and if that aligns with what you’re doing. And you’ll also find, at this stage, that many businesses offering similar services have a similar colour palette. And there’s a reason for that. So, you might love the colour red, which can mean love and passion, but also anger and warning. Now, for some brands, this would be absolutely fine, but if you’re an alternative therapist, for example, it’s giving a strange message. Blues, greens and turquoises are associated with calmness, tranquility, even healing… so these make more sense. It’s also one of the first things people see, the colour of your branding. Before they even read a word or have an opinion on what you do or who you are. So for some services and businesses, colour at this stage really makes a huge difference.

 

Think of your audience – if your perfect customer is female, then using colours that appeal to ladies (in general) is a good call. If your business is aimed at men, the same applies. One great example of this, I think, is the Female Entrepreneur Association. The name explains who its target customer is, but the pinks, gold and blush colours really help to emphasis this. This is a great example of how the right colour palette for your brand can communicate a message.

 

What season is your business in? – this is something very much from Fiona Humberstone and my learning through her fabulous books How To Style Your Brand and Brand Brilliance, but also something that’s mentioned in her courses too. The season of a business doesn’t mean you can only use certain colours, but you might find that certain shades of a colour tone better with the season of your business. I think this aspect of colour takes a little getting your head around if I’m honest, but it’s very useful if you can. I have linked to Fiona’s Colour Psychology blog area here to learn more about it, and you’ll find free downloads too.

 

And now for the palette – most brands have more than one colour in their branding. This might seem like a pain, but it’s really useful. It allows you to subdivide product ranges, use different colours for different aspects of your social media and more. These colours usually complement the main colour.

In my case, burgundy is my main colour, I have a sage green as a secondary colour, and do also have a blue too. And I use a lot of white. Of course you can also knock back the opacity of the colours you use too. And don’t forget the colour of your fonts- this is part of it. Mine is grey.

It’s a good idea to work with a pro when picking a colour palette for your brand or, if funds don’t allow, do a lot of reading and research. I genuinely love Fiona and find her knowledge on the matter incredible, so go and have a good read of her blog, follow her on social media and, if you can, buy one of her books or do an online course.

 

The other thing to note is that while colour and picking a colour palette for your brand is important, it shouldn’t stop you from actually launching a business. A nice font in a good colour is all you need to get going. Design shouldn’t stop you progressing with your business, far from it. It should help you further communicate your message and elevate your brand. Keep that in mind!

How to…hire a graphic designer

How to...hire a graphic designerAh- graphic design. It’s a tricky one, isn’t it? I have a real thing about design. I’ve worked with graphic designers for years with clients. I’ve worked with in house graphic designers when I was a marketing manager. I have huge admiration for people who can master InDesign… a skill I tried to learn a long time ago… and something I was not good at. In addition to this, I have taken part in branding courses, read a whole load of books on, listened to podcasts on it… and I do also do a fair amount of graphic design myself. Why do I do this? Because if I want something for my own platforms, I usually have a really clear vision for what I want. But here’s the thing. The graphic design work I undertake myself is really, really basic. I put text over images I’ve cropped and resized. I use font families I know are on brand – I don’t stray. I use colours I know work but stick to a really tight colour palette. Because I know it works.

I really lack the confidence, experience and, let’s be honest, skill to make serious graphic design changes. I can use the assets developed by a professional really well. I can work with a professional to develop these assets and guides… I enjoy it to be honest. And I can see when something is on or off brand from 50 paces. And I know when something isn’t right. But when it comes to creating a fresh brand identity, making new templates, POS, etc etc… I need assistance. And you know what? That’s fine- because I am not a graphic designer. I also know enough to know what I don’t know.

Time for a brand tweak

It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I had a big brand refresh. This involved a new site and a new logo. And at the time I loved it. The fonts selected were fairly new (at the time!), the colour was on brand (and consistent with the colours I’ve always used), and the strapline described my business’s new direction, which was more towards coaching. All the boxes ticked.

Then I was in that awkward hovering phase. I flipping hate that stage. You know when you like it but you’re wondering if it could be better and that stops you doing anything? Yeah. That was happening. So I got it out there and was happy with it.

Then what happened?

Brands, in my opinion, should ALWAYS be looking at when they’re going to upgrade their look. Not if, when. Big brands do this all the time, but you might not be aware. There are many, many subtle tweaks that happen in big branding all the time. It helps keep a brand more current as fonts, styles and colour trends change. These changes are rarely dramatic, but maybe the colours get tweaked, the font gets ‘upgraded’ or an element is dropped. Fonts go through trends and styles… and the Lobster font that I used on my logo was a lot more ‘unusual’ when I started using it. I was actually looking for a handwritten font when I found it, but couldn’t find one I liked enough, that was still legible and felt right. It did a good job… but over the last few months I have started to see it everywhere. I ordered something online and the ‘next day delivery’ text on the side of the box was Lobster. Yep. Its days were numbered.

So how did you find a graphic designer?

A word of warning here. Not everyone who says they are a graphic designer actually is. Sounds cryptic, but it isn’t. I do graphic design (I use Canva a lot – I like Canva) so, therefore, I am a graphic designer? No, I don’t think so either. To me, graphic designers are not people who use ‘Clipart’ style graphics, who don’t understand how colours, fonts and layout styles work together. They’re just like me. I have nothing against these people – I do it, but when I am looking for graphic design work, I need someone who has a much higher knowledge level than I do.. and a much higher skill level too. Otherwise I would save my money and do it myself. Do you know what I mean?

I’m not saying this is everyone’s view… and I blame this view on being ‘spoilt’ by working with some really talented people now and historically. It does spoil you, because you appreciate the process and how amazingly creative true graphic designers are. They’re artists, but have a whole load of marketing and branding considerations too. It’s a real skill.

How did I find the graphic designer I’m working with?

Well, the answer was actually under my nose… which would have saved me a whole lot of time and stress if I’d realised! There’s one designer I have worked with for years whose work I have always loved. She really gets the brands she works with and creates stunning work for them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an email, piece of POS or graphic that has made me think ‘oh… not quite’ or ‘not on brand’, far from it. What’s more, she produces work with aspects that I would not have thought of because I am not a graphic designer. I know how she works, I have seen examples of her work, she’s super efficient… and she gets me… which makes explaining my brand a whole lot easier. I mean, I don’t have to, she already knows me!

I’ve just launched my new brands and I LOOVVVEEE it. The process was much faster than I anticipated (completely due to the designer’s efficiency!), so it’s out there in the world. And I’m so pleased and have already had some lovely comments.

I can’t wait to share the detail behind the process, the branding, fonts and colours with you. I’m hoping it’ll inspire you to get excited about being on brand. I honestly feel it’s SO important, creates more cohesion and professionalism and is easy to implement when you get your eye in too…

If you saw the word Canva and wondered what on earth I was talking about, make sure you check out this blog here…

Why I love… The Brand Stylist

The Brand Stylist - Brand BrillianceIf you’ve seen my Instagram in particular, you will have noticed that a book is a regular feature in my pictures. And this book is Brand Brilliance. It’s by the very talented Fiona Humberstone, also known at The Brand Stylist. But saying I just loved the book wasn’t enough… because I’m also taking Fiona’s fabulous online course, Design for Go Getters, and loving the whole process.

How did I find The Brand Stylist?

I actually can’t remember with complete certainty(!) but I think that I first found Fiona and The Brand Stylist on Amazon. I mean, that’s where I find a lot of people… either that or through podcasts I listen to. But I’m fairly sure that my first ‘meeting’ with Fiona was on Amazon, when I bought ‘How To Style Your Brand’. I have a HUGE thing about branding and being on brand. Having worked with so many business over the years, ‘on brand’ is a phrase I have used a lot. It’s something that any and every business owner needs to be concerned with and something I continually assess. And I don’t always get it right – far from it – but I am constantly trying. Over the years I have picked up a huge amount from the talented graphic designers I have worked with, but Fiona’s take was a little different. She clearly is bursting with technical knowledge, but she brings as slightly ‘softer’ side to it. Fiona talks about what ‘season’ your business is and the colours and style of these. It’s something that (in my experience at least) has taken a while to kind of marinade and develop in my head. I did enjoy ‘How To Style Your Brand’, but it left me with a lot of questions (I tend to think about things a lot!) that swilled about in my head.

Then Brand Brilliance came along

I was listening to a Me and Orla podcast where Sara Tasker interviewed Fiona. She was LOVELY. Approachable, jolly, insightful and passionate. I listened to the podcast a number of times and felt inspired after each listen. Fiona spoke about her new book, Brand Brilliance, and it sounded incredible. I trundled off to Amazon again and bought it. It’s not a cheap book (it’s around the £20 mark), but it is worth every single penny. I’ve paid £5 for books and felt ripped off, but I felt that Brand Brilliance was exceptional value. Before we even get to the content, the book is a work of art. It’s a lesson in layout and font, style, imagery… and that’s just how the book is, rather than what it contains. The content blew me away. It’s superb and I have recommended it to SO many people. When I meet up with people, I regularly take it along for them to see… and I think that everyone I have shown it to has purchased it! I loved the book and will be re-reading it again very, very soon.

But it didn’t stop there…

See, when you have a positive (I mean, really positive) ‘experience’ with someone, you find out more about them. I related to the book and Fiona’s philosophy and wanted to find out more about her and what made her tick, so I signed up to her newsletter and followed Fiona on social media (she’s usually found under her brand The Brand Stylist) and adored her content. And then she announced a course… Design for Go Getters. The course was run online and, again, not exactly cheap but, because of the book, I was quietly confident I would get exceptional value… and I was right.

What’s Design for Go Getters?

Design for Go Getters is The Brand Stylist’s online course that sheds a lot more light on design, its impact, how it works and what it says (and how to achieve it too!). As I said, I have a huge interest in design and have seen first hand the impact of good design vs. poor design and the impact this has on every area of a business and the perception of a brand. So I was keen to get some ‘proper’ education under my belt, that built on what I had learnt and loved from Brand Brilliance. I’m yet to finish the course (but when I do I intend to revisit, review and expect I’ll get more and more from it each time I look at it!), but I am enjoying every second. Combining mixed media, examples, information and challenges, I am lapping up the experience, the course… and have taken huge inspiration from it in terms of in terms of branding and design… but a whole lot more too.

So, that’s why I love The Brand Stylist. If you have even the slightest interest in branding and design, I would suggest ou follow Fiona on social media and have a good read of her blogs, they’re inspiring too. You don’t have to buy any of the above at all (and I haven’t been asked to write this, just FYI, I just want to share things with you that I love that I think you might like too!), but I wanted to share it with you, just in case.

Find Fiona here, at her online home The Brand Stylist

A few minutes with… Felix Favor Parker – Fairfax & Favor

Felix Favor ParkerIf you’ve seen this blog before (and if not, welcome!), you will know I have a bit of a thing for Fairfax & Favor. And their packaging. And their branding. I’ve enjoyed watching the rise of this dynamic, young company and the pieces that I own sit and smile at me when they aren’t in use. More than this though, the people behind the brand, Felix and Marcus, are really lovely, genuine people too, so I’m delighted to be able to share this ‘a few minutes with…’ blog about Felix Favor Parker.

Tell us a bit about you and your background

Marcus and I both grew up in Norfolk and have been great friends for a very long time

What made you want to start a business?

We decided we wanted to start a business when we were 16, In Norfolk there is a tennis tournament at Hunstanton that is a social event for 15-17 year olds. There was nothing for the younger children so we wanted to buy a bouncy castle and charge the parents. That was when we founded the name Fairfax and Favor. Luckily we couldn’t afford to buy a bouncy castle and eventually started making shoes instead.

How is Fairfax & Favor different?

Our business is different as we have always focused on more than just buying a product. We are selling a lifestyle, a community. Whether it’s popping in for a drink on the stand to the handwritten notes that come with each order. We like to get to know our customers.

What makes your products special?

Our products are special because they are timeless classics with the Fairfax and Favor attention to detail. As well as this all our shoes are designed for comfort with memory foam padding.

Fairfax & FavorIf you had to sum up your business in a few words, what would they be?

Classic, stylish, elegant young, fun and quintessentially British

Do you have a motto or ethos?

When we started we made many mistakes, I remember one year I drove to Blair Horse Trials and realised I’d forgotten the card machines. However our motto has always been “live and learn”

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?

Keep cost low, live as cheaply as possible and invest every pound back into the business, and you will grow organically.

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively

We value Shopify, our website platform, hugely. It’s a great software system, easy to use and tracks everything accurately.

Best thing about running a business?

Complete freedom to have a go at anything, some work and some don’t, but it’s nice to be able to try

Worst thing about running a business?

Being responsible for other people’s salaries, the risks you take later have to be weighed up as you are playing with livelihood if it all goes wrong

Fairfax & FavorTop business blog you follow

Richard Branson Virgin blog

Top business book you’ve read

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk,  The Tripping Point and Felix Dennis – How To Get Rich

One thing we might not know about you

I failed University

Top business achievement

Being involved in Drapers 30 under 30

Where can we find Fairfax & Favor online?

Web – http://www.fairfaxandfavor.com

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/fairfaxfavor #fairfaxandfavor

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/fairfaxandfavor/

A few minutes with… Athena Cauley-Yu – Meticulous Ink

Meticulous Ink first caught my eye on… wait for it… a vlog I was watching by Tanya Burr! I know I’m not Tanya’s demographic (AT ALL!), but I like to watch vlogs to help improve my own skills, to see what works and what doesn’t… and Tanya’s definitely works! Anyway. On one of them Tanya had a letter from Meticulous Ink, who I think she said had done her Athena Cauley-Yu Meticulous Inkwedding stationery. The envelope and the lettering honestly blew me away. It was SO beautiful and so different. A little Harry Potter-esq. It was gorgeous. As a stationery junkie I had to find out more. Hell, I became absorbed in the world of Meticulous Ink and followed all their social media channels and drooled over their website and gorgeous stationery products for longer than I’d like to admit. I started talking about them to friends and family… and then I emailed Athena, the lady behind this amazing brand, to see if she’d like to participate in this blog. And she said yes. And I did a happy dance. And that’s not even an exaggeration. So here’s a few minutes with Athena Cauley-Yu. You’ll see from the pictures below, her stunning products and her story why I’m now more than a little obsessed.

Tell us about you and your background

Meticulous InkI grew up in North London and was raised by my mum, who would constantly leave subliminal encouragement in my vicinity as a child – things like self improvement books and fancy toy cars. My mum was very good in that way, and was always supportive in my desire to be creative. My first job was working on the phone in my father’s oriental take-away when I was 14 and I have worked ever since. At university I studied Arts & Media, as I was unsure exactly what I wanted to do, and it was a course full of variety. We got to choose classes from Fine Art, Digital Screen Arts, Photography, and Animation, then we’d whittle it down to just one subject to specialise in. I chose Fine Art Printing because nobody else used the enormous print studio at the university, so it was my own personal private studio! After university I worked at two private stationers in London before embarking on the great adventure of my own creative business.

What made you want to start a business?

The huge encouragement from my mum was definitely the basis for wanting to achieve and for believing in myself. My father also ran his own oriental restaurant and takeaway, which definitely added to my entrepreneurial side. I’ve always been extremely positive and optimistic, and when I was ready to leave London I knew it was the right moment to create something of my own. I know there are logical steps to completing and succeeding at anything in life, so I knew that I wanted to go all in and try to build something of my own. 

How is your business different?

Meticulous Ink is an utterly bespoke printer and stationer. This means in each of our projects we aim to create something unique and fitting to the occasion. We understand the importance of first impressions as well as lasting impressions, be it an elaborate wedding invitation or a subtle business card. Our aim is to make beautiful things that will make the recipient proud. Alongside our bespoke work we have a small store full of paper related goods, we wholesale our own brand stationery, plus I run Hand Lettering Workshops to spread the joy of writing.

What makes your products special?

All of our own brand stationery is printed on-site at our store and printworks in Bath. We like to live up to Meticulous Ink Invitationour name, so each and every printed item is individually checked by our small team to ensure it’s perfect in every way. It’s this tactile, hands-on approach that helps to get that Meticulous Ink feel in everything we make.

If you had to sum up your business in five words, what would they be?

Meticulous, utterly bespoke fine stationery.

Do you have a motto or ethos?

Our ethos is to create beautiful things that we are proud to put our name to.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?

Persistence is key to everything you do. You have to hustle constantly in every aspect and every part of the business. If you can be persistent then you will be successful.

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively 

We switched to Xero for our accounts last year. Although it is more work it gives me a much clearer idea of what the business looks like from the inside out on a daily basis.

Best thing about running a business?

Particularly having a creative business – being able to think of a product or design and then translating that into a physical reality. I get huge satisfaction from imagining a card design for example, and then being able to follow that from drawing it, to creating the plates, to the printing, up until it is on the shelf and a lovely customer purchases it.

Worst thing about running a business?

The constant stress. Being a business owner is the most stressful thing you will ever do; the hardest job you will ever have, but also the most satisfying and the most rewarding.

Top business blog you follow

I’ve recently begun following Fizzle which is really great. I like their tone of voice and the way they write. I’m also a big fan of watching the Ask Gary Vee show on YouTube – he’s really inspiring and so motivated! Plus I like Tim Ferris’s podcasts – he interviews incredible people, from athletes to huge business moguls.

Top business books you’ve read

The Success Principles – Jack Canfield

The E-Myth Revisited – Michael GerberMeticulous Ink Wax Seal

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki

One thing we might not know about you

I have a black belt in Shotokan karate, which I got when I was 17.

Top business achievement

Our Collaboration with Mulberry, where I taught a series of calligraphy workshops at their flagship store in London, then at their store in Paris. It was fantastic.

Where can people follow you or your business online 

Website: www.meticulousink.com

instagram: http://www.instagram.com/meticulousink

Facebook: www.facebook.com/meticulousink/

Visit us in person! 134 Walcot Street, Bath BA1 5BG

All wrapped up – Sophie Kirkpatrick- Atlas & I

After seeing Atlas & I at Badminton Horse Trials and then seeing the video included in here on Facebook, I had to drop Sophie an email and find out more about her brand, her packaging and what inspires her.

Atlas & I Atlas & I packaging demo (click to see!)Atlas & I Bespoke Leather Album 

Tell us a bit about Atlas & I and what you do

At Atlas & I we create gifts that tell your story. From a photo album printed with a vintage map of where you got married or went on your honeymoon to a congratulatory gift of a silhouette created from a photo of someone completing a gruelling challenge. 

Let’s start with your branding – how did you decide on your logo, the colours and your branding overall?

The company was started 5 years ago from my coffee table. Initially it started at KirkPatrick Design (My surname) but I didn’t think it explained what the product was and it wasn’t a name I could see going global! I sat down with a good friend who was a graphic designer and we brainstormed names, colours and logos. The circle and star above the brand name hints at the idea of a compass and the name Atlas & I was born from the use of maps and the personalised aspect of each and every product. Because the vintage maps are all sorts of colours and designs it was important that the logo was simple and clear and stood out. We took the red from the markings on an old London map that showed the tube stations in a strong deep red colour and the text we wanted to keep fresh and contemporary.

How did you decide on your packaging? What elements did you consider?

The artworks came first followed by the leather stationery range. It’s hard to package a picture as well as keep the glass protected in transit so these were always bubble wrapped to keep them safe. The leather albums and journals needed something to protect them in transit as well so the gift boxes were designed to do this as well as look beautiful and keep your album safe on the shelf in your house. Photo albums last for years and so the packaging they are kept in need to be just as robust. The tissue paper is only a recent addition but all our products will now be wrapped in this.

What kind of response have you received to your packaging?

Atlas & IPeople love the boxes, I think it heightens the experience of receiving a gift. Once you unwrap the paper you then have another layer to get through by opening up the box. That sense of excitement about what’s inside just grows and by having the name on the lid, people are already thinking, maybe it’s a map!

Do you think packaging adds to a product and the customer experience? Was this something you factored into your product quite early on or something that has evolved over time?

To be honest the packaging started as a practical aspect of the product to protect it in the post. I looked at so many gift box companies who had such huge numbers for their minimum orders that I simply couldn’t afford the outlay of ordering 1000 gift boxes, especially as we have size different sizes of boxes. But when I found a company  in the UK that could do small quantities it was possible to make beautiful packaging at an affordable price.

Are there any other brands who have packaging that inspires you? Or that you think is done really well?

I love Jo Malone, everything about the brand, the packaging and the product. You think, “who would buy a candle for £50!?” But the packaging and ceremony of the brand makes it all worth it.

 Anything else you’d like to add?

I think as more and more competition arrives on the gift market and products that are so similar crop up everywhere, packaging, brand and stories are almost becoming more important than the product itself.

Where can we find you online?

www.atlas-and-i.com

https://www.facebook.com/atlasandimaps/

 

When should you stop posting on your social media?

When to stop posting on social mediaThis blog post is not one I had planned on writing. Not one that was on my schedule. But it light of the horrific attack that took place in Manchester on Monday night, I felt a need to write it as it’s something I have been asked a lot since. When should you stop posting on your social media?

I woke up to the news of the bomb in Manchester and that was quickly followed by a stream of DMs from clients who were rescheduling all their posts for that day. We chatted, via DM, and agreed it was the correct thing to do, for the morning at least. People were shocked, Facebook and Twitter was full of people’s thoughts about the incident. Some were trying to find loved ones. Some were sharing useful numbers. Some were offering and organising help. It was a horrifying yet warming scene. Something truly awful had happened but people were pulling together, using social media for good, to allow information to reach more people faster than would have been possible previously. Now. How does a product post fit that picture? Is it appropriate to be shouting about your successes when others are distraught? Should you be telling everyone why they should spend their money on your services when some people have had their world torn apart overnight?

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it. It sounds like I’m having a real go at people who chose to post, doesn’t it? Let me explain.

When should you stop posting on social media?

After being involved in the world of marketing and PR for a very long time, I view things differently to your average person. I look at the possible impact on a brand when something is worded incorrectly, when customer service falls below par, when the packaging isn’t fitting. And also I have children and various other life experiences that change how I views things. We all do. People view terrorism differently too. Some people believe that we are letting the terrorists win by changing what we as a nation do – by letting their actions impact on our daily lives. I get that. But that’s not why my clients halted their social media activities. I think it’s fair to say that they gave little/no thought to the terrorists when they made their decision to pull their social media posts. They were thinking of the families and the people involved. It didn’t feel right to tell people to go and look at a new product or anything of the sort. Some chose to share a message of support. Some chose to share useful numbers. Some waited until much later in the day, when people’s initial shock had subsided and they had started to come to terms with it all.

Was it right to hold back? I personally think so. Social media is social and it’s important to read the mood as much as it is to read a room when you enter it and talk about relevant things. Were people wrong who posted? Not necessarily – well, not in my eyes BUT there are lots of caveats to that. I think some people were. Their own beliefs matter and also the actual content would make a big difference. I saw some posts that were done very well and some than made me wince. Physically wince. Would these posts have made me wince on a normal day? Maybe, but not as much.

Luckily we don’t see that many events on this scale, but in our own niches bad things happen. Horses and riders can sometimes die or sustain horrific injuries in various equestrian sports, drivers die racing, players become paralysed playing rugby. These are all tragic. So what do you do then? Do you carry on as normal or do you adjust your content and your tone appropriately. I would say the latter.

What do you think? Did you stop posting on social media?

It’s not about letting terrorists win. It’s about being human and being respectful to people who are suffering. How you decide to do that is up to you. That might be carrying on as normal or it might be changing your social media plan for the day. But just one final thought – if you’re unsure and you don’t post… will anyone be upset?