I’m back online

My blog was down for about 3 or 4 days just now, did you notice? I host about 40 domains on my account with 1and1.com, and have just recently installed wordpress on two others besides this one. I guess the server didn’t like that, so it came up with an Internal Server Error 500 for awhile. I did try to contact 1and1 about it (I *just* received a reply from them, more than 2 days later. In internet land that’s like a month right?), but as they were taking their sweet ass time getting back to me, I went and ordered hosting from bluehost.com instead and have migrated this site to them. So far so good, and I think eventually I will probably move all 40 domains to them. Sigh.

I did have a few hiccups migrating, as I couldn’t log in to my wordpress admin at all, I couldn’t export all my posts etc that way, so once I’d moved everything and re-installed WP I found all my posts were gone. I thought for about a minute that they were lost forever (almost had a minor tantrum) but then I thought there had to be another way of exporting the data, and luckily the interwebs helped me work out how to do it. SO… phew. We are back online and still intact.

Branding your handmade products correctly

Branding your handmade products correctly

If you read my little blurb over to the right, you’ll see I have too many ideas in my head. Sometimes this means to get one out quickly to make room for the others, I don’t always resolve every aspect fully, and when I come back to it later I’m not entirely happy with it.

This post is about branding and taking the time to get it right, something I slipped up on with one of my recent projects.

I’m talking about the re-branding of my jewellery range. 5 years ago I was making and selling jewellery to friends and family, and online. I was selling under the name “Glam” which suited the product at the time. It was aimed at late teens to early 20’s, with a distinct pop feel to the branding (hot pink, black, grey, pop-rock style). The jewellery I was making had no cohesive style, I was basically making whatever design popped into my head, so I ended up with lots of different items that didn’t really fit together.

In the re-launch however, I wanted to really streamline the designs, so I am selling 8 specific styles that were popular, that I can re-make again and again. I’m only using quality materials (Sterling Silver instead of plated, glass, shell and lava beads instead of acrylic), and the designs really do compliment each other now. The target market is older, so the branding needed to be less pop-y and more funky.

This is where I’ve failed.

I got too caught up in finding a domain that fit the name, that I ended up going with a domain I already owned, the purpose of which was initially a wedding related website. MadlyDeeply.net. I figured “well that will do”, but it really doesn’t have the feel I’m going for. I want the jewellery to be thought of as unique, funky and unusual, not delicate and pretty, or mushy, as the name sounds to me now. The domain name then led me to the design of the logo and earring tags, which are quite feminine (with the cursive text and curvilinear lines). If you pick apart the design, you can see I’ve used deep purple and greys, trying to counter-act the overly feminine style. I knew in my head that I wanted it to be edgy, not girly, but it just wasn’t getting resolved because the name was keeping me from getting to the point I wanted it to be.

So what is the answer? Took me awhile to get there but now it’s pretty obvious: change the name. My internal struggle with this is #1. I’ve already starting branding the jewellery as MadlyDeeply, and #2. All the good domain names are already taken.

#1 I settled by rationalising that now is the time to change it, before I get many more sales and before I do any market stalls. The brand is only in it’s baby stages at the moment, so it’s better to get it right now, rather than wait til I have 50 or 100 sales and then just confuse past buyers. I also rue the fact I have already purchased earring tags in the MadlyDeeply branding style, but I’ll chalk that up as a lesson learned.
New earrings on tags

#2 I have solved by deciding to consolidate what will be my main handmade website, with the jewellery website. I own www.mikaela.com.au which will showcase all my handmade goodies (a whole range of things such as buttons, magnets, kids canvas’, clothes, fabrics and lots of other fun stuff that I plan to sell at the markets). I can then simply create a subdomain for the jewellery, whose name is yet to be decided upon. I need to get it right this time. All the branding can still point to mikaela.com.au, and I will have a prominent link to the jewellery section.

Here are my branding designs, previous and current (For the purpose of this post I have redesigned the logo with the word ‘mika’ so you can get a feel for what I’m going for):

Old LogoNew Logo

I feel this is much more inline with where I was my jewellery to be positioned style-wise, and a 4 letter name will make me much happier =)

So, moral to the story: Take your time. Make sure you are getting it right. Don’t settle on a name, logo, or design, just because you want to get it out there quickly. Because when you realise it’s all wrong and want to start again, it’s going to take time and effort that could have been spent making or marketing your already well branded product!

Do you struggle with the branding of your handmade product? Please share your story by commenting below =)

UPDATE: My good friend Miri and her sister helped me come up with Juno, who was the Queen of the Gods (& Goddess’) back in the day. This fits really well, because now all the styles have been named after Goddess’, and the message I am trying to get across is for women to be strong in mind, body and spirit, and sometimes kick some butt, as the Goddess’ used to do. You can see the updated Juno website here.

Sneak Peek : Photoshoot for ZilpahTartBags.com

Sneak Peek : Photoshoot for ZilpahTartBags.com

Sunday evening I went out with Yumi of ZilpahTartBags.com to shoot for her new catalogue. The sky threatened to rain and it was disappointing to not get a little more sun for the shots, but near the end it peeked out from behind the clouds and we got some nice photos. We went to the reserve in Latham.

Zilpah Tart Bags

Zilpah Tart Bags

Her bags are super cute and I definitely recommend heading over to her website to check them out. She also has a regular stall at the Canberra Bus Depot Markets in Kingston for my Canberra readers.