Case Study: Branding an Etsy Store

Or at least that’s what we thought we were doing when Barbara Behan agreed to let her Blue Kimono Studio Etsy Store be a case study on The Marketing Spot. But as we got into the branding conversation, Barbara’s perspective changed. As Barbara put it:

“…since starting your suggested exercises, it became clear that I want a larger concept than an Etsy store… what I want now is to brand a business concept that’s larger than my Etsy shop.”


All Sign Posts Lead to Branding

Branding is not just a function of marketing, it’s a function of business. And that’s why the first step to creating a business is to develop your brand. Entrepreneurs often flounder for years, struggling for incremental growth because they created a business without a brand. (**Side note** See: What is a Brand?)

The branding process itself is not that complicated, simply a matter of asking yourself some basic questions. The hard part is discovering the deeper meaning behind your answers, and drilling down to find what’s makes your business a interesting brand. Below are the questions Barbara answered, followed by her revised answers after we drilled down.

What are your Values?

1. Personal relationships
2. Creativity
3. Flexibility

Drilled Down Values:

1. Generosity – Giving back.
2. Personal Relationships – Not just a customer relationship, but being available on a personal level.
3. Design Excellence – What Barabara sells will meet lasting design principles.

What is Your Mission?

Connecting women with hand-made beauty made with recycled materials.

Drilled Down Mission:

Create and sell clothes that embody traditional women’s values of comfort, healing, connection to nature, handwork, and personal relationships.

What is Your Vision?

For Women to have beautiful products for themselves, but they don’t use any new natural resources.

Drilled Down Vision:

To have a home based business that provides a viable part-time income for my family, flexible enough to allow creative growth for 1-5 years.

I also asked Barbara to fill in Marty Neumeier’s “Onliness Statement:”

Blue Kimono Studio is the only independent clothes design business that: Makes clothes that tell a human story (Where my materials came from and what kind of women used or made them. Other designers are using recycled materials but do not tell this story.)

What is Your Brand’s Promise?

To create clothes that comfort body, mind, and spirit.

Drilled Down Promise:

To give you clothing that tells a story.

What’s Your Tagline?

Barbara hasn’t arrived on a final tagline yet, it’s a work in progress. So far that progress is

Clothing that Tells Your Story

Barbara’s Reactions

I asked Barbara to give me some feedback on the branding process. You can probably empathize.

How did you feel before we went through this process?
“I felt directionless and amateurish with my business. Felt I needed help presenting myself to the world.”

What has branding done for you?
“It’s forced me to think about the big picture of what I’m doing and why, to create a context in which to tell others about it.

Its really liberating because I feel now that I’m beginning to run my own show, whereas before I was just making stuff, and then wandering around. Every time I would list a product on Etsy I’d sit at my computer wondering what to say about it. This will give me a framework for everything I do.”

What is your biggest take-away?
“Probably the mission statement.”

Where do you think your company will go now?
“Forward, with the branding process as a roadmap. My next steps are to get help with a new business name, a more refined tagline, and a logo.”

Barbara’s advice for other entrepreneurs:
“Don’t neglect branding out of fear of business jargon. Don’t assume you know what it is. Find guidance and get educated.”

To get started branding your business yourself, see: The Brand Promise

For branding services contact: The Marketing Spot

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