Personal branding has been all the rage for a while now, so much though that on a forum on Etsy crafters are dangerously thinking more about their brand than their product. I want to dispel a few myths, talk a little bit about quality and, hopefully, point you in the right direction.
The Work Matters. I don't care if you are, like me, in marketing, make soap, are a band, sell clothing, or are a personal coach - if you do not have quality products and services you need to go back to the drawing board.
The Work Comes First: Sure we can all sit around and think up killer band names, but if we can't play an instrument, aren't willing to practice, or have no clue what our sound is we are wasting our time. You have to create first, brand second. In this age of killer websites for crafters, shops, marketing folks, etc it seems like the brand comes first. Or that you can be a "celebrity". And I am NOT saying you can't, but do you want to be D-List or A-List? If you are thinking A-List you need to create great stuff. Really great stuff. Stuff you are passionate about.
I have worked with killer clients who do great work. One of them, Gordon Aatlo is a supreme jewelry designer who has tons of experience. His work wins every prize and is coveted by those who know beautiful. So, is he a brand - he is, but the work came first. He learned how to design, craft, and market his work. He started selling locally, then nationally and now internationally - but it is all about the work. In fact, if you take a peek, the jewelry speaks for itself. You have to be the very best you can be - you have to be, like Gordon, an A-Lister.
Branding the Work: Even if you are selling "you", which many of us are as solo-entrepreneurs, you are still branding or packaging the work. You can brand yourself as an expert and a rock star, but if you don't have work to back it up you are branding an empty shell. Writers are branded writers because they write. Sure, you can be a celebrity by sleeping with a star, but then that is what you are known for - and as a committed crafter, designer, writer, chef, or social media super star I don't think that is what you are going for. Brand the work - really, you are the queen or king behind the extraordinary work and will get plenty of kudos.
I have had the great honor to work with individual artists, illustrators, designers, huge companies, small businesses, bands, on line superstars, schools, and was the Director of an art school. In all those experiences I know that all talk means just hot air -if you have a great logo, a great brand message, a great idea but you don't have anything to back that up it is pointless. Do the work. Get passionate. Care about what you are doing. Then think about packaging it all up.
When you are ready for that or just want to check if you are ready give me a holler and I can give you an honest assessment. jacqueline at moxieworks dot net