Way back at the beginning of our Makers Month we had a brand Q&A with Kim from Finest Imaginery and now we thought we should share another great perspective on branding with Jo from HAM. So let's hear what insights she can give us to making your brand work for you.
Hello Jo, Could you tell our readers a little about yourself and your business?
Hi! I am the illustrator behind HAM and spend my time capturing moments from the contented life of Rabbit on a range of ceramics, wall art and paper goods. We sell direct online at hammade.com and through our family of stockists around the world.
Where/when did you decide that you wanted your own business?
I started working on HAM in 2010 after making the tough decision to leave the job I loved at the brand consultancy Wolff Olins. A lot of factors got me to this point: I’d always been hungry to start a business having grown up surrounded by people doing their own thing - both my parents and brother run companies. I’d also studied fine art at university and although I was working at a creative agency, I was a strategist and longed to be physically designing and making. The final push was getting ill in my mid 20s, which came a bit out the blue, and stopped me in my tracks for a year. I had to take some time off and whilst I was away I started filling up my sketchbook again and the HAM idea was born. Returning to work was definitely the best thing for me but my outlook on life had changed and I was now very much focused on living for the moment, so I took the plunge, left work and launched HAM in 2011.
Who do you design for?
HAM has quite a broad reach. I always hope to create things that all ages can enjoy. And I try and keep the themes and humour universal so language or culture isn’t a barrier.
Do you think you need a brand identity?
Absolutely! Brand is often mistaken as just a logo or the look of a business but it can do so much more. Think of your brand as an idea, something that defines what makes you special, then use it as a guiding principle or a blueprint for all that you do. Staying true to what you stand for will help keep your offer authentic and consistent and it’s a really powerful tool for helping make decisions about opportunities that come your way.
Does using social media help to build your customers?
Social media has revolutionized the way we do business, cutting out the middleman and enabling us to have a
direct conversation with a ton of potential customers all over the world. It’s a big part of our marketing strategy and best of all it’s free! It is evolving so quickly it’s tricky to keep up. We have a presence on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram (my fave) and I’m keen to get to grips with the next wave of apps… Snapchat is next on my list!
Top tips to building your brand.
- Really think about what you stand for as a designer, the idea driving your work and how that makes you different.
- Use brand as brief for all areas of your business: from the development of collections and deciding which events to show at, to planning collaborations and figuring out your tone of voice.
- Get family and friends involved. There are always ups and downs so share concerns with those around you and gauge feedback wherever possible.
- With time and experience your brand will naturally evolve so don’t be worried if the offer or brand idea changes and needs a refresh.
- Invest time in thinking about your customer experience. Use your brand to help make packaging, web content, newsletters and social media really unique.
- Keep striving to think how can I make this better? And don’t forget to celebrate the good times!
Time to share the love, name some of your favourite designers.
There is a gang of us that all started around the same time – we see each other regularly at trade shows and we’ve become pals, something that’s important when you work in such an insular way. It’s been amazing to watch their collections flourish and their following grow. Aside from loving and respecting what they do they are all ace people. Highly recommend checking out…
Tom Pigeon, Tori Murphy, Lisa King London, Chase and Wonder, Not Another Bill, Kangan Arora, Lindsey Lang, Wrap Magazine and Richard Brendon.
Thanks so much Jo for having a chat with us about her brand and that super cute rabbit! Some great new people to stalk (We mean check out) on social media too!
Hope you have found it useful and it may have given you some inspiration into making your brand work for you more!
H & Sammy, xxx
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