Episode #315: Creating an Intentional Brand
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You were listening to Episode 315 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m talking about why it’s important to build an intentional brand. On to the episode.
Hello, welcome to Episode 315. I’m your host, Taylor Bradford. Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode, which is all about building an intentional brand. And I’m really excited to talk about this particular topic, especially because of the things that I have personally experienced over the last month or two in my own business, Sugar Creek. And I want to start by saying I am – and most likely you are because you are a listener of this show or maybe you’re a first-time listener of this show – I am, and this podcast is all about being unconventional business unicorns, we are the square pegs in the round holes, we don’t do things by the book, we march the beat of our own drums. And I think that is what sets us apart and helps us to create and build intentional brands. Because we don’t want to be one size fits all. We shouldn’t be one size fits all. There has to be more than just the money for us as unconventional business unicorns. Not saying the money’s not important. It absolutely helps us put food on the table and pay for the homes that we live in etc., etc. But being unconventional and being that business unicorn means that we are seeking something bigger than ourselves, more purpose in our lives and in our businesses, etc. And that is why it is so incredibly important to craft and build an intentional brand. And I want to give some backstory on doing that for Sugar Creek because it is so incredibly important to me. So is building Boss Girl Creative, and I have tested and tuned a lot of things over the years with Boss Girl Creative, but I’m going to focus today on Sugar Creek because it is a little bit newer in creation and lots of tests and tuning again and pivots made and changes made because I was on a quest to be even more intentional, I was on a quest to create something that was more than just a commodity. Because at the end of the day, the industry that I’m in, having a rental business, means I’m offering a commodity to my clients, and I am more than a commodity. My items are more than a commodity. I want to not be an order-puller. I want to have way more intention than that. So that’s what I’m going to start out with.
Really quickly, we’re getting close or getting closer, I should say – The Inner Circle membership doors will reopen August 1 if you want to know when those doors are open so that you can get yourself in there. It is so, so good, you guys. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. Put yourself on the waitlist so that when I open the doors, I will email you and give you the direct link to get yourself in there. That’s what you want to do. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. This is a monthly membership. You have access to the community. We have a monthly live Q&A session. We have a monthly business book club where we actually spend multiple months on one book. It’s not just a read-and-go. It is – we are going to go through this book chapter by chapter to draft and pull out all of the nuggets that are in the books that we’re reading so that we can get the most bang out of what it is that we’re reading. That is super intentional. I don’t want to overwhelm you by reading non-fiction and not allow you to have an implementation mode. That is what our business book club is all about. You also have the opportunity to participate in monthly co-working sessions. You also have weekly office hours through my Voxer channel and so much more. The community inside is amazing, so get yourself on that waitlist. bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. $27 a month. It’s legit the coolest membership out there. Yes, I’m biased, but – so get yourself on that waitlist. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle.
Okay, let’s dive in. In 2017 – so I started my rental business back in 2014 – October 2014 to be exact, and I had a business partner, and we had a different name, and in 2017, we decided to split, and she went one direction I went the other direction. We completely got rid of our original name, and she rebranded. I rebranded, and Sugar Creek was born. 2018 – so back in 2017, I was an all-in rentals design and styling business. But I could see back then that I had two different clients, or I started to feel that. I didn’t know 100% for sure, but I could feel it. And being unconventional, I use feeling a lot. I use how it makes me feel a lot. And so I could feel that there were two different customers looking at Sugar Creek, one for design and one for rentals. So in 2018, I decided to create two brands, Sugar Creek, vintage rentals, and Sugar Creek creative. The creative is, and still is, my design and styling business. And then Sugar Creek vintage rentals was the rental company. And then, in 2019, I decided that I didn’t want to just be vintage, although probably 90% of my collection is vintage. And that is still a driving factor for me that eclectic collection that is tailored a play on my name. So I dropped the word vintage and replaced it with the word event. So it became Sugar Creek Event Rentals instead of Sugar Creek vintage rentals.
I also began really honing in and fine-tuning my websites and how they spoke to my customers and what that looked like. I had already had an inventory management system built into my platform, so I don’t use an independent, but there are those that exist for specialty rental companies. RW Elephant is one, TapGoods is another, Goodshuffle is a third. I don’t use those. They are really great programs, and probably as I grow, I will either shift over to one of those platforms, or I will just go back to my web developer and say, “Hey, we need to tweak some of these things.” There’s a lot of functionality that I had him build for me that I don’t currently use because I have kept my brand small. And when I say small, I don’t mean, like, tiny. I mean mighty. Small yet mighty because of the intention I have put behind it. So my intention with this brand started back in 2017. And I have been working through the kinks, the pivots, the whatever, since 2017. So in 2018, I joined a luxury wedding group to understand more about the luxury market, and that was more specific to my design and styling brand. I was beginning to be able to work my design chops. And that was really important to me. And I wanted to get down and get serious about creating and crafting that intentional piece of that business and how do I define my ideal client and why do I even want to do this and what does it look like etc., etc.
And my initial copy was really juvenile. It was very trendy, and it still – it ultimately didn’t feel like me, so I hired a copywriter coach to help me with crafting that message. So if you go to sugarcreekcreative.com, you’re gonna see the result of me working one-on-one with Kristi with Editors Edge. She’s an amazing human that will help you craft the right copy for your website—either a done-for-you format or coaching. And so I opted for coaching because I felt like because of Boss Girl Creative and the fact that I have been a constant learner through the years since 2008 that I understood a lot more and felt that I could do a lot of the homework on my own. And so that was the results. So, if you go to sugarcreekcreative.com, you are going to see me being so incredibly intentional. Like, I redid the whole website or revamped it and crafted the messages that I wanted to portray. And then, I used that experience to help me redesign and recraft Sugar Creek Event Rentals. So if you go to sugarcreekeventrentals.com, you are going to see that as well. Very intentional. And I put all of my websites – so the S.T.U.D.I.O. website, Sugar Creek Event Rentals website, and Sugar Creek Creative website, including The House of Sugar Creek website. All of them live and breathe on the same theme. So I am a WordPress user. I have Genesis Framework and the same child theme across all of those websites so that if you landed on a Sugar Creek website, you knew it was me. Again, that’s super intentional.
So 2020, I joined this luxury wedding group to understand more about the luxury market because I wanted to figure out how to communicate to that market. How do I position myself into that market? What crafting what messaging? What intentionality do they find important, and how do I start speaking to that client? I also continued to fine-tune and adjust my website copy, what my websites look like. Again, you will see them in their current state right now. I did a huge overhaul in 2020 during the pandemic because, you know, what else do we have to do, and made them all look consistent. And I also started – and my sales process, and I’ve talked about this on the podcast, I have a whole episode dedicated to sales, actually a couple episodes dedicated to sales, but my most recent one is dedicated to me walking a journey of trying to get better at my own sales process because that was the missing link for me. I don’t like sales. I don’t like being smarmy. And – and I should say I don’t like quote-unquote traditional sales. Again, unconventional over here. I wanted to find a way that selling made sense for me and didn’t feel icky and didn’t feel smarmy. And when I had the opportunity to work for one of my really good friends in her bridal salon, and I watched 35 of her 37 ‘How to Sell a Gown’ videos. It was a wake-up call that I could figure out how to do this for my own business that made sense for my business. Her method was super – I mean, it is definitely a sales process – it was super “here’s step one, here’s step two, here’s step three,” but seeing it all broken out into those steps made so much more sense for how to do it on my own.
And then, I decided to invest in Maria Bayer’s Irresistible Selling course, and that was also a game-changer for me. I haven’t finished through her course. I still have a lot to go back through, and again, fine-tune and adjust. That’s what this is when you’re super intentional. You are constantly fine-tuning, and that can feel overwhelming at times. But I need you to understand that that is just the process of why we are unconventional. We are trying to find how we fit into the overall business picture. We are trying to find how we can better attract the clients we want to work with. And so, if you’re in the wedding industry, or if you’re in the creative industry – more specifically, you probably need to be in the wedding industry because Maria’s program is crafted to those of us in the wedding industry. Game changer. So my experience with my friend total game-changer and then further game-changer getting into Maria’s course. And so, all of those things have helped me craft and hone that intention because the intention matters to me.
So building an intentional business starts with my pillars—the 8+1 Pillar Series, which starts at Episode 244. If you are listening through Apple podcasts, it’s only holding my last 100 episodes, so depending on when you’re listening to this particular episode, it may not be available in Apple. But there are other podcast-listening apps that will go back further than 100 or go to my website, bossgirlcreative.com, click on episodes, and that will give you every episode all the way back to number one so that you can find the pillar series. And if I can ever get my rear in gear, you will also have access to my pillar series in an ebook form. The goal is to launch that the first week of July. I don’t know that that’s going to happen, considering we’re two weeks from July but – of 2021 – but maybe I can get it accomplished in July. That would be ideal. Or August. I don’t know. I tried. I tried to do it on my sixth anniversary of the podcast, which is coming up the first week of July, but oh, it’s been a busy June. So and – yeah, anyways.
Okay, so building an intentional business starts with my pillar series, 8+1, again starts at Episode 244, which is knowing your why and your what, defining your core values, determining your ideal client, creating great content, promoting great content, defining your audience relationships, your monetization strategies, how to set yourself apart, and your self-care. All of those are important in creating the foundation of your business and your brand, thus creating an intentional business and brand. In order to build and create that intentional business, what sets you apart is that you are connecting to your ideal customer through your values, through your personality, and through something bigger. Creating a purpose, fulfilling a purpose. Your brand and the pillars set everything in motion. Yes, your consistency, your design, the product, the service that you create, your website, copy, all of that’s important, but your brand – i.e., the pillars, the foundation of your business – that is important. It has to be there first. That is the driver. That is the underlier. It has to be figured out first. Yes, you will still be fine-tuning. I just gave you a background on my own business and how I have made changes and pivots. And because I am seeking the intentionality, I am seeking what specifically sets me apart again. I don’t want to be an order-puller, and being in the rental world, I’m a commodity. I want to be more than the commodity.
So I need you to focus on the soul of your business. Define that. Research that. Build from the soul of your company. That is what defining all of those pillars is all about. You need to stand for something and remain committed to the vision that you’re standing for, and strive for more than just profit. Yes, we need the profit in order to keep our lights on in order to put food on our table. Yes, that’s important. But when you lead with soul, it means so much more. So stay in search of your meaning. And when you find it, continue improving on it. And seeking better. Always seek better. Always fine-tune for the better because that’s where intention comes in. So again, I’m not a commodity. I want to be more than a commodity. I want to be more than an order-puller with Sugar Creek. We are more than that. Sugar Creek is an experience. It’s the relationship between me and my client and their best day ever or their milestone moments. My foundation is supported through intention. My pillars are created through intention. Your brand needs to be about the how and not about the more these are the ‘hows’: how your products are made, how you help people, how your product or service affects people, how you grow and scale your business. Your brand needs to be about those ‘hows.’ Here are what the ‘mores’ are: more product, more customers, more market share, more profit, more revenue. Your brand needs to be more about the how and not about the more. Create the ‘how’ to get the ‘more.’ Lead with the ‘how’ to get to the ‘more.’ Infuse everything with intention, do the work, do the hard work. That’s what separates you from the mediocres. That’s what separates you from those that just care about the ‘more.’ Identify your true calling and your brand’s purpose, and then I need you to find the courage to do it. Rip that band-aid off, sister. Roll out your own red carpet.
I know that if you’re just starting now or if you’ve been doing this for a few years that it is super enticing to just take on every project that comes your way. And that’s okay. It’s okay because it allows you to test and tune. It allows you to understand what’s the hell yes and what’s a no. It helps you define and craft the foundation of your business and brand. If you don’t know, you don’t know. And until you do know, you won’t know how to be more intentional the next time around. What is the ultimate vision for your business for your brand for yourself? And how do you define and create each of those things with intention? And how do you stay in alignment with those things? You are meant for more because of the intention that is driving the how you will get the more because of your intention behind the how and that’s why We’ll separate you out of the pack. That’s what makes you unique. Again, at the end of the day, when you pit yourself against any person on the planet that’s doing the same thing that you are doing. The one thing that cannot be replicated is you. You are why people want the thing that you sell because it’s you. And that takes intention.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. If you found it inspiring, and I hope that you did, I hope you’ll consider sharing it with your business besties. Again, get yourself on the Inner Circle membership waitlist. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. Doors reopen August 1. You don’t want to miss out. Thank you again for tuning in, and I hope you have a great rest of the week.