Sunday, June 29, 2008
I get a lot of compliments on the Savvy Auntie logo. I am so happy that people love it because there is a lot of meaning behind it.
The logo had to represent a number of important elements of the brand. It had to be feminine for the women we are serving. It had to be strong to represent their voices finally being heard. It was to be somewhat techie to incorporate the fact that it was an interactive property, and of course it had to incorporate the "playful luxury" branding of Savvy Auntie. Naturally, I also needed the logo to be legible and memorable.
The Syrup team put together a number of very strong candidates for me. Some were a little too techie, some were a little too feminine, and one, although stunning, would never have the legibility we needed.
And then there was the one we worked on that finally, after a couple of drafts, became the Savvy Auntie logo. it was - and is - PERFECT! Syrup can describe the essence of the logo much better than I can:
"The Savvy Auntie logo strikes a delicate balance between technology, femininity & professionalism. The logo that Syrup created is an entirely custom typeface, using a sans serif treatment to project a modern aesthetic as well as rounded edges for an equally warm and soft impression. The "e" can be interpreted as an inverted @ sign, a widely recognized symbol on the web, and the "y" and the "e" connect, symbolizing the importance of community."
So there you go. This is the story of how the Savvy Auntie logo came to be. It was mid-October and we were one step closer....
P.S. We are counting down the days until the launch of SavvyAuntie.com!! Visit www.savvyauntie.com to be included in the Beta site and write: I read your blog in the blurb area.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Many of you are asking when SavvyAuntie.com is launching. I don't blame you. I have been telling my networks on Facebook and Twitter, not to mention friends and family, that the site is launching very soon.
And I promise you this: It IS launching very soon.
But here's a great lesson to learn about Entrepreneurship. As much as you envision and plan and work hard, some things are just out of your control. Plain out of your control.
The truth is, sometimes the good stuff is out of your control as well. Good luck and bad luck have one thing in common: it's all luck. So while the site is taking longer than expected to launch, I would not have changed a thing. I am very lucky to be in the position I am in with so many people believing in me and the site. So very lucky.
The people I am working with, the creative agency Syrup and Quarksoft, the technology team, all believe in me, in Savvy Auntie, and in doing the best possible job they can for my success. I have now hired Megan Licursi Marketing Communications to manage my PR efforts and Megan and her colleague Kristi believe in me. I am very fortunate to be working with these dedicated and incredibly talented teams.
And then there are all the amazing people I have met in my online and offline social networks who have been spreading the word about Savvy Auntie. Had I launched a few months ago as first hoped, I would never have had time to cultivate these incredibly valuable and valued relationships. Without a doubt, these relationships are integral to the success of my company, if only because these people believe in me.
I promise you that I am launching very soon. In the meantime, if you would like to sign up as a Beta Tester, please visit http://www.savvyauntie.com and put the words: "I read your blog" in the message area. You may also refer your Auntie friends to the site as well. All Aunts are welcome, including ABRs (Aunts by Relation) ABCs (Aunts by Choice) Mommy Aunties, Godmothers, Great Aunts, etc.
So as much as I would like to tell you that I am launching Savvy Auntie tomorrow, I can't do that. But I'm ok with it - if only because I am just so fortunate that you even care to ask.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
One year ago today, I woke up an entrepreneur.
Today, I woke up with a list of things to do before I launch that is the size of New Jersey.
The year has been full of ups. Very few downs. And lots of hope, gratitude and wonder.
It's not that I haven't been working like crazy. Ask my friends, they'll tell you. I've spent nights and weekends at my desk. Plus, I am also consulting to pay the rent. I do find time for the important things, like spending dad's big birthday with him. Or dating. Or seeing friends walk down the aisle and celebrating their special birthdays. And of course, I find time to spend with my nephew and nieces because nothing could be more inspiring to me. However, mostly, it's been a lot of work. A lot of hard decisions. A lot of challenging things to learn. And a lot of wondering how I would get through it all.
And I couldn't be happier.
I love my job. I love that Aunties write in to thank me for doing this. I love that some of the biggest brands in the world are considering sponsoring the site. I love that I have over two dozen Experts writing for Savvy Auntie - and thanking ME for the opportunity! I love that I have met hundreds (hundreds!) of people through Twitter and Facebook who are so incredibly supportive that I am overwhelmed. I love that my own Auntie is more proud of me than I could imagine. I love that every day a new wonderful surprise pops up without fail. I love that this blog has become a helpful tool to scores of entrepreneurs (or entrepreneurs-to-be) who are inspired by it. I love that when I walk into a room, people walk up to me and say: "You're Savvy Auntie!"
I love that I started this business. I am proud. I am honored.
One year ago today, I woke up an entrepreneur. Today, I woke up the Auntrepreneur behind Savvy Auntie. Today, I woke up "me." What's not to love about that?
Monday, June 9, 2008
A Rose is a Rose, But it Ain't Pink.
Color is a very important component of a brand. It can be a differentiator: Coke is red, Pepsi is blue. It can be a uniter: Green means healthy and or, well "green." Color can be natural (brown) or unnatural (blue raspberry). Colors can be corporate (blue and gray) or fun (yellow and orange). The colors of your brand should be meaningful, even if they are just meaningful to you.
Taking time to create a color palette that is reflective of your brand is essential, in my opinion, to the brand promise. Don't show me a rainbow, but then be conservative. Don't look rugged, but then sell me flowers. Finally, don't be all frou frou and expect me to take you seriously.
Of course, different colors may reflect your brand if used in a consistent way - especially if your brand IS color. A few years ago, when I worked at the world's largest beauty company, I was editor of the company magazine. The palette of each quarterly issue of the mag reflected the palette of that season's runway. (You'll notice that certain color palettes are "big" every season. And you'll find many of the same tones used in cosmetics, home furnishings and of course, fashion.) Since cosmetics and fashion are integrally linked, the color palette of the magazine was always right on. And further more, you could always guess the timing of a past issue just by the palette. The magazine even received a Color Award from Pantone - the authority on color. That's how important color is to me.
Color defines a brand like scent defines a spice. In the case of Savvy Auntie, the choice of color also had to be personal since Savvy Auntie is a reflection of me. But it also had to reflect every Savvy Auntie and the "Playful Luxury" branding we were going for. The color had to define the brand.
Luxury is often reflected with metallics (difficult to achieve online) and black. So we knew that black would be part of the palette to ground Savvy Auntie in it's own richness. But how would we color in Playfulness?
Often the best way to describe the type of color palette you want achieved is by expressing the experience one might feel when seeing it. I told the agency that I wanted the Savvy Auntie Community to feel like walking into a local The Container Store on the hottest day of the summer, feeling the fresh cool air as the doors open, and seeing a lot of white, with spots of organized color (i.e. the containers) throughout. I wanted open and airy, with gorgeous, playful, bright, delicious, color peeking around everywhere.
So, we had black/luxury, white/open and airy, and color yet to be defined. Colors that resonate with me the most are warm tones with a shade of coolness and cool tones with a warmer side. This means blue reds, reddish pinks, and warm blue tones like teal.
I loved the pinks and reddish pinks I was shown. They were perfect, not too girly, not too grandmother of the bride, and very 'empowered woman.' These colors would be primary. The whites we chose had to be clean, but not cold. And black was black, unless it was just a shade under to give it more warmth and texture.
We threw in a few other colors, to empower the primary tones, and then played around with the colors as the site was being further developed. (We ended up added a fresh citrus green for a light punch of color and used less of the golden yellow tone that looked like gold gone soft)
What you see above is the color palette that defines Savvy Auntie and our Playful Luxury branding. Some colors are repeated in near similar shades, reflecting the ratio of use.
The Savvy Auntie flower, currently resting on our holding page at www.savvyauntie.com, along with the Nomination for Beta pages that follow it, are a perfect reflection of our color palette.
If the company name is the 'identity,' it's brand the 'promise,' then the color pallete is the world it all lives in. Savvy Auntie is my name, my brand is my promise, and I warmly welcome you to my world.
I hope when the site launches, you will feel right at home. Or at least, love the decor.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
On September 21, 2007, the Syrup team and I met to talk about branding for Savvy Auntie. All in all, between our kick-off meeting and late October, it would be close to two months before we were all satisfied with the look and feel of the Savvy Auntie brand. And still, the brand continues to evolve and will always modernize with the women it serves.
A brand is a living, breathing, organic representation of a product, service, company etc. For me, Savvy Auntie has to not only represent the modern, cosmopolitan Aunt, it also has to represent me as its founder. The latter was in itself a decision I had to make early on; would I be an invisible CEO, or would I be a public figure - a model representation of Savvy Aunties around the world? Obviously, I chose to represent because the creation of Savvy Auntie is the culmination of my dreams-come-true - and grew out of the immense love I have for my nephew and nieces. But that meant that the brand had to be something that resonated with me on a deeply personal level - and yet be universal enough to be something my Aunties want to have a relationship with.
I honestly feel that good brands are gifts. Good brands don't just love themselves; they are a reflection of something consumers yearn for, aspire to, live in, and are passionate about. One's relationship with a brand is visceral. One's connection with a brand is instinctual. It's a partnership between brand-owner and its audience. They reflect each other, in time, space and passions.
There are many layers to a brand. And it took weeks of collaboration to find a concept we all loved. Would the brand include illustrations? Silhouettes? Photography? What colors would best represent the brand? Would we follow the flow of pastel parenting sites? Would we take a European approach with clean, stark imagery? Would we be uber-modern and design a concept that shows we are cutting edge? What about fashion mag sophistication?
In the end, we took pieces of all of these ideas and created a brand identity we call: Playful Luxury. The Savvy Auntie spends (or aspires to spend) her discretionary income on luxury goods and services, but she's also playful and nurturing with her nieces and nephews. So the branding had to reflect both sides of this amazing woman.
When people ask me how I came up with the branding for Savvy Auntie, I am proud to say that I hired a brilliant team of brand concept developers. But the truth is - it also had to come from me. I guided the agency with my creative brief, magazine swipes, color suggestions, and an in-person expression of who I am and who Savvy Aunties are. When I didn't love something, I told them why. When I loved something, I told them why. I was 100% present in development of the Savvy Auntie brand. Because she's me. Because she's you. Because Savvy Aunties deserve the respect and devotion of a company that cares about them. Because Aunts deserves a brand that gives back by reflecting their very passions.
I am exceptionally proud of the Savvy Auntie brand. SavvyAuntie.com launches soon - but you can see a reflection of the brand at the SavvyAuntie.com holding page now. It's a flower - a representation of a relationship that is just beginning to bloom. I hope that means something to you. It means the world to me.