Today's post is the first in a series about Etsy shop branding. Creating a successful online shop, whether it's on Etsy, Big Cartel, Copious, or any other online fashion platform, begins with the quality of product you sell and the strength of your customer service. Once you've successfully mastered these crucial features, shop cohesiveness and branding are the next steps. Whether it's handmade craft, artwork, or vintage items, presenting your shop as a cohesive brand is key. Branding has become a buzz word in the burgeoning market of small indie businesses. Branding is the experience you create for your customers before, during, and after their visit to your shop. Consumers have come to expect a shopping experience. Creating this experience for them ensures a lasting impression and is very important to having staying power and a loyal customer base. Some of the most successful brick and mortar fashion retailers (think Anthropologie or LL Bean or Victoria's Secret) have very developed, cohesive, and recognizable visual branding. They sell an image, not just a product. This package included a store's visual merchandising in window displays, store props, catalogs, shopping bags, price tags, gift wrapping, and even the music and scents that are piped into the store. The result is a recognizable experience that hooks the customer. In an online store, this branding may consist of the store's avatar or banner, business cards, the style of the shop's photography including backdrops, gift packaging, stickers, price tags, and sale avatars. If these items are crafted cohesively, the result is the creation of a shop brand. Creating a logo is the first step in a successful branding. Your logo should capture the spirit of your shop and be unique enough that people will remember it. Emily created Vintanthromodern's logo based on a DIY sign I made for the shop when I first started out. I was doing the East Rock Street Festival in New Haven (my very first) and needed a sign to hang in my booth. While diving at the bins at the Goodwill Outlet, I found some buttery yellow cloud shaped vintage placemats. I painted and cut out banner cloth letters in a font called Sybil Green, and strung them together.
Emily created the graphic logo in a vector graphics editor, building all of the pieces of the logo by hand. I wanted a shop logo that was clear and easy to read but whimsical and kept the DIY feel of the original real life sign. The end result is a banner for the Etsy shop and for the blog that mimics but streamlines the original Goodwill-placemat banner. I also love birds, so she included a bird sitting atop the "clothesline" that holds the clouds together.
If I can't use the full shop logo, like for an ad, Emily can take some elements of the full logo -- the clouds, the bird, the clothesline -- and use them individually or put them together in a new way while maintaining a consistent brand.
Once your shop has a logo the next logical step in branding is creating business cards. In the next post, you'll learn about the business card design process!