There is something so exciting about coming up with the one single idea start your brand. You just can’t wait to start, you have hundreds of ideas flowing and you are so eager about starting something you think will be great. You have all these ideas and so many directions you want to go.
That is how I am when I get an idea and I just want to start DOING.
When I came up with the idea of starting a brand, I knew I needed something that I was passionate about and something no one else was doing. Since I was a little kid the sandwich was my favorite meal. I literally made everything into a sandwich. Since its one of my favorite meals, I knew I wanted to come up with a product focused on the sandwich. I did not want to open a restaurant or deli. I had this broad sandwhich inspired idea, but I knew I had to narrow it down and find a focus. Building a brand is a long process and I wanted it done right.
I use to run a t-shirt brand many years ago and I loved it. It was clothing brand for my university, the University of Central Florida. It was way ahead of its time and Internet shopping was just starting out. We ended up shutting down, but I loved everything about it.
When I decided that I wanted to start my brand. I knew that I wanted everything in my brand to connect. Which meant I needed to think things through and just couldn’t start doing. I need to be focused.
I read Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk, and he talked about doing what you love and writing and sharing that knowledge with others who have the same interests. The book is a great and easy read and it includes an appendix that has 21 great things to remember. It talks about becoming your own personal brand talking about that passion and becoming an expert of it.
I had a really hard time coming up with a brand name but that didn’t stop me from thinking of all the other aspects of the brand. I was constantly brainstorming to build the concept and idea. I knew that whatever I came up with my brand needed to be consistent and creative.
Once I had a brand name, I knew I needed to start get my name out there via social media. I started a tumblr (delifreshthreads.tumblr.com) and I just posted anything and everything I could find that was sandwich related. I wanted people to know that I loved sandwiches and I wanted to share that love. So I looked for things I thought would be unique and posted it for all to see. I then went to twitter and instagram and did the same. My goal the whole time to interact with others and build awareness as well as connect with others that love sandwiches. My message was always the same.
When thinking about your brand and design consider all the little things that tie into your concept. Depending on what your brand is about you need to focus on those and include those elements into everything you do. From Social meda, packaging, design, your message, etc. As a sandwich theme- I think of everything from Mom’s packed lunch to going to a deli shop for sandwich. How is it packed? What’s in the bag? What are things that relate or are connected to sandwiches?
I know you have seen other established brands that have already solidified their branding. Brands like Johnny Cupcakes, The Hundrends, and Benny Gold have ventured out of their niche since they are already recognizable and established. For a new brand trying to do this, it may not be advisable. When people see your site and your product you want them to know what you are about. You know the saying- “You only make one 1st impression”
Yes I know my brand is a food item just like the ones served by Jimmy John’s Owner and most folks that know about indie brands tend to group any food related clothing brand back to Johnny Cupcakes. Since I respect my brand and other brands like Johnny Cupcakes, my intentions are not to ever copy or imitate any brand for that matter. That is why when people visit DeliFreshThreads.com or check out my twitter and intstagram they see that I am truly inspired by the King of Meals, the Sandwich.
I have made it a point that everything I do with Deli Fresh Threads is connected to my theme/brand – Sandwiches.
I look at building a brand very much like making a delicious sandwich. Like every sandwich you first need to have an idea of what type of sandwich you want to create. You then need to get the right ingredients that are needed to make that sandwich. Jon Cryer sums this idea well with “You don’t order an egg-salad sandwich at a Chinese restaurant.”
So what does your brand sandwich look like?
What are your ingredients?
Bread: the type of shirt you print on, your website, social media sites,
Condiments: pins, tags, packaging, whatever else you do that would compliment your brand
Meat: Shirt design, your message, tweets, blog posts, brand niche,
How it’s going to be prepared (type of screen printing, how it will packaged, how it will be plated and presented, etc)
Whatever else you can think of putting into it. Does it go with the sandwich you are trying to make? Is it consistent and focused?
There are a lot of little things that can go into making a sandwich (brand); it’s up to you on how simple or extravagant you want that sandwich to be. Sometimes you may have a vision of what you want that final sandwich to have, but you may not have the resources to do it all. So then you need to decide; what are the most important ingredients in the sandwich you are making. Will the lacking ingredients/condiments take away from the sandwich? Focus on those ingredients and then reach a point where you are happy with the sandwich that you created and want to serve others. At the same time continue to build and evolve to make that dream sandwich bigger and better.
Whenever I tell my mom how delicious a meal was she would always say “It was made with love.” I think that also plays a big part in making a sandwich people want. People can see what kind of sandwich maker you are and what you are trying to make and serve them. Sometimes things just taste better because someone else made it for you.
In the end anyone can make a sandwich, it’s up to you on whether people keep coming back for more of YOUR sandwich.
Aside from people buying my merchandise, the greatest compliment is when they send me messages or tweets of a sandwich they ate, saw, or read about. It means they are thinking about me when they see a sandwich. I love this because it means that I all the little things I do are consistent and leading them back to my brand and me. What is your brand about?