Purveyor House
CREATIVE BRAND DEVELOPMENT + MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
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The Multi-passionate Entrepreneur

Back when I was planning out the steps to leave my corporate position, I dove into podcasts, books, blogs - basically anything that had an entrepreneur angle to see if they had the answers I was seeking. There came a point where it was information overload and I was left feeling like what they said made sense, but not for me specifically

What I realized is that I'm good at many things while most information I was consuming was for the entrepreneur that had a specific skill set and was able to niche themselves. I wish I had that ONE thing I knew inside and out, but that's just not me. 

Fast forward to now, almost a year later from when I began seriously planning what would be Purveyor House, I can say that it's still confusing for me as I lead where this business goes. I know that having a wide skill set and the ability to problem solve creatively is going to serve what I do well, but it's at times still hard to qualify what I do with Purveyor House without using a bazillion commas. 

I've come across a few people recently who are in this same dilemma, so I know this is a common sentiment. Over coffee, a new acquaintance explained how she was feeling all over the place and able to offer so many things. When I said that she was a "multi-passionate entrepreneur," her face lit up. "That's it!"

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So for the record, it's OK to be multi-passionate. It's OK to not have that one thing to offer. It's ok to have a few commas when you explain what you do. 

What's not ok? Letting 'all the things' stop you from sharing what you do. Because I didn't have a clear 'thing,' I found myself stuck in that space, unable to do anything. 

How do you set up a business offering several things? It's not easy, but it's doable. Here are a few tips I've learned along the way...

  1. SET UP AN UMBRELLA PLATFORM - Create a brand (your name or business name) that has enough space to have multiple extensions. By creating something that overarches all that you do, it's easier to digest the whole brand than the sum of its parts. In the future of Purveyor House, I see extensions looking like "Purveyor Design" or "Purveyor Shop." 

  2. CATEGORIZE - Refine the wording of ALL THE THINGS into bitesize pieces so that down the line, you can categorize your website, social or blog posts into their proper homes. One or two words as descriptors work best.

  3. MARKET SIMPLY - When it comes to marketing, put your focus on what you see the highest need being. For Purveyor House, I strategically propped up design as the lead offering as it's easiest to explain, most people understand it, and it offers me an open door to upsell my client for a bigger offering like brand development. Once they realize that you do more than just that one thing, you become indispensable! 

  4. SPRINKLE - Just because you have one thing you lead with doesn't mean that you can't share the other categories you offer. Sprinkle the other services/products you offer in your social media posts 1-2x a week, share blog posts about them, and let your network know that you do one thing but SO MUCH more. 

  5. WAIT - Wait to respond to inquiries. Since you have a lot of things you can do doesn't mean that you have to do all of them. Resist the urge to respond immediately to a request for your services that may not be 100% in-line with what you want to do. If it sparks inspiration, more business opportunities down the road, and they are respecting your pricing structure, DO IT and take notes on what worked and what didn't.

  6. SEE + RESPOND - See what people gravitate towards. What do you get the most positive feedback from? What brings in the most money? Always be looking into your offerings to plan strategically the next step. If one piece of your many things are taking up a lot of time but not translating to sales, it's time to look at it, refine or get rid of it to ease up your focus. 

For some of you, doing one thing and doing it well may be your goal. It can also be the long-term goal for the multi-passionate entrepreneur as well, but getting there can look a bit different. 

Who are the multi-passionates out there? How do you offer your services in a cohesive way? I'd love to hear!

xx, Shannon

Focus Group 101

This week, Purveyor House lead a focus group for a startup. We went into it needing clarity on if the offering was a needed service, how our target market felt about it, and to propose what we should call the service.

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As we went through, we were amazed at the incredible feedback that our group gave us. It was insightful, thoughtful and most importantly helpful. At the end, we were able to clearly see that we were on to a great idea and had a clear list of things to update as we move to implementation and launch!

Not sure what we're talking about? Read on! We shared a bit more about focus groups, why they can help you and how to facilitate your own...

Enjoy! 


  • What are focus groups? 
    • Focus groups are a gathering conducted by a founder, marketer, or third party wherein a guided conversation is facilitated regarding a particular product, service or new business idea prior to launch with people of diverse perspectives but fitting into the product’s target demographic.
  • Why is it important?
    • For founders of businesses, it’s likely that you’ve been so close into your product or service that it makes complete sense to you. You may have asked around for advice from loved ones, and while that’s helpful it can still be too close. 
    • Having a group of people who are in your target market speak freely and without reservation can help you see the value of what you’re bringing to market, what holes you need to patch up, and what questions you could hear (and how to answer them) as you launch.
  • When is it a good time to set one up?
    • Anytime! It’s never too late to get outside perspective. Ideally, focus groups occur after a vision, mission and business plan have been set up. At this stage, you know what your product or service is going to be, have enough detail on logistics on how it would work, and can define who should be the end user of it. Being able to answer the detailed questions is helpful to guide the conversation.
    • If you haven’t figured out those pieces, that’s ok, you can either wait until you’ve put some work or set up a mini version of people who haven’t heard your idea and see if it holds weight with them. You may find their insight is just what you needed to form the idea more fully!
    • If you’ve already set up shop, it’s not too late to get that outside perspective. Having a different perspective can be huge when you are wanting to shift gears in your business, offer something new, or are looking to rebrand. 
  • Who gets invited?
    • We’ve found the optimal size of a group is anywhere between 5-8 people. This amount is great as it gives a diverse pool of experiences and perspectives but is also small enough to where everyone has a chance to speak. 
    • It’s important that you invite people who those that would purchase what you have to offer, in other words - your target market. By inviting and engaging with your target market, you’re able to not only see if your idea is one they’d purchase, but also see what their reservations are, the types of questions you need to answer in your marketing and website, and what resonates with them in how you describe it.
  • How does it flow?
    • Ideally, focus groups are lead by a facilitator. This person can either be the founder or an outside person, like your marketing lead or hired agency. By using a third party, the founder is able to watch the interaction, answer logistical questions and take notes. The goal is to for the facilitator to keep the conversation on track, lead the conversation and press on attendees when the answer can go deeper and richer.

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Want to download so you can use for your focus group? You got it - follow this link to join our email list + grab your free download. This freebie includes BONUS play by play questions, tips that made our focus group run smoothly and yield great feedback PLUS a checklist of how to use the group's responses to your advantage as you implement their feedback.

Enjoy!

Shannon LaBareComment
"Audere est Facere" | Learning, Loving + Leaving

My husband is an avid Tottenham Hotspurs fan. Maybe "fan" isn't the right term - enthusiast, fanatic, tattoo-of-team-logo kind of guy - is a better way to describe him. I've grown up playing and loving soccer so I get the game, but my fan-dom not even on the same scale as the one who "bleeds blue." We were lucky enough to go to a game in London in February and what an experience it was. The atmosphere was electric and the fans were SO into it, plus we won so husband was in a good mood.

Anyways, we watched a great documentary a few months ago about the history of the club, how they have stood up for their own and their new stadium. One thing that they went over was the club's motto "Audere est Facare," latin for "To Dare is To Do" - a motto I've heard a million times but never really sat and thought about it. I don't know if the timing was right - I just put in my 2 weeks notice at the stable job of 7 years to start out on my own - of if it is just that good, but it rocked my world. It's completely motivational but also begs to go introspective. Those who dare to try, make it. 

“It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory." - Bill Nicholson, THFC manager


In that same spirit, I wanted to share a bit behind the scenes - what I'm learning, loving and leaving as I grow this business. I'm daring in this new venture of mine and with the 'dare' comes a lot of lessons I'm looking forward to bringing you alongside me in this journey. 

LEARNING

To be totally honest, I'm learning how to think clearly. To take a step away from the situation, let it breathe and come back with a comprehensive, level headed approach. Too often, I respond quickly and 10 minutes later think of all the better ways I could have handled it. I believe that this type of thinking is rooted in passion and problem solving and that doing it right away shows better resolve, but it actually is counter productive at times.
I've had to force myself to take moments to breathe, relax, and think strategically about everything I do. It takes restraint, but when I actually do it, I'm so pleasantly surprised by the response I get. 

LOVING

Getting back to designing. I've been designing since high school, through internships and college, from freelance to the corporate world. A few years ago, I was moved off of design at my job in favor of project management. I never knew how much I needed a design outlet more than when that occurred. I amped up my design work on the side, leading to today where I'm now booked with design work. 

Making stuff look great has always been my "thing" and I can't tell you how much fun it is to be doing it. 

LEAVING

I am ditching the computer to-do list. GASP. I've tried it all - Asana, Evernote, OneNote, etc. I find that this is helpful to have in one place, but I can't get over the physical act of writing down my to-do lists in my planner. I have a weekly list organized by client/project and items that need to get handled that week. I write this list either at the end of Friday or Sunday before things get busy come Monday morning. What I love best about this is that it's a living & breathing document that sits next to me as I work through my day and not another window I can close to get out of the way. I have a cute Ban.do planner and love the layout and stickers to jazz up each page. And let's be honest, how satisfying is it to cross an item off the list? 


Well, there you have it. A Tottenham themed post (husband, aren't you proud?) and a bit of my growth as a business owner, designer and brand developer. What are you learning, loving and leaving?

Personal Branding 101

Blissful Retreat, a salon and day spa here in Bakersfield, is in the middle of a brand + website launch with the Purveyor House team! We are diving deep to find out who they are and how to best tell their story, which is one of perseverance and passion. At any company, there are many people that work within its walls, and each of them needs to feel that any change in the company is one that feels right and resonates with them as well. We spent time with the team to share what business development is and what it means for them and how personal branding plays a part in that. 


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What is a brand?

Many people think of branding as something that’s not something for them - it’s too corporate, it’s not for someone running a business solo - that couldn’t be further from the truth. Simply, a brand is the culmination of who you are, what you do and why it matters. It doesn’t matter if it’s under your name, a business name or even you within a broader business. If you have an audience, in real life or on social media, you have a brand.

So, what is your brand?

Who are you? What do you do?  What do you want to share with the world? Who could be interested in it? What do you represent? Asking yourself these questions can set a strategy for how you interact with your audience and frame your content to support what you do.

Who Cares?

Start attracting dream clients who gravitate to your passion, your style, and your point of view. Imagine your dream client and build them a personality. Who are THEY? What do they like? How do they like to be spoken to? What can you offer them that'd help them out, either from a business or personal perspective? Making a dream client have a real personality will help you figure out how to reach them and show them why they should care about what you're up to. 

Staying "On Brand"

These days, we are all connected. We love to share what we’re doing on social media. Being a brand, you have an expanded audience looking at you not only for your services but to find out more about you and how they can connect. Everything you share socially, in turn, represents the companies and brands you align yourself with and has an impact. The outcome - positive, neutral or negative, depends on if it’s aligned to their strategies. More than your tribe, your posting affects how people view you currently and who may find you in the future. This doesn’t mean that you have to not live your life authentically. It means taking more care to what you post. Think back to your brand - the fusion of who you are, what you do and what you want to represent. Before posting, think through those three things and ask yourself, “Is what I’m showing and saying true to my brand?” Taking a quick step back will allow you to find ways to build your brand while still remaining true to yourself.

Future Growth

Spending time to define your brand [who you are, what you do, and what you represent] not only helps you understand your point of view but can also show you places that need attention and development. At times, you can be faced with decisions to post one thing or another, or even make a huge shift in your business. Understanding your brand will help you stay true to your foundation and make choices that are true to you and the brand you’re building. It will feel real and right.

It’s a strategy and a plan to help take you to the next level. When you have a personal brand, you can have a broader voice that’s bigger than the sum of its parts - imagine what that could do if you wanted to promote something and you had an audience waiting for the chance to book?

Now what?

Dive into who you are and what you do, think about it - write it down. Start sharing your expertise. Share your story. Create unique, high-quality content that captures your ideal client’s eyes. When you have a solid platform, invest in design to bring your brand even more to life with a logo and unique aesthetic that accentuates it. Live your life, love your brand, and share both along the way.


What is your personal brand? I'd love to see what you are cooking up and how branding has helped you progress. 

[event] Second Saturday x #chlorophyllwall

This past weekend, we had our first ever pop-up shop celebrating the newest mural here in Bakersfield! The #chlorophyllwall was designed by the talented Jeran of Oleander + Palm in partnership with Sherwin-Williams and Bakersfield High School. The concept came to represent the colors of native plants in Central California and was painted at the 17th Place Townhomes.

Decorative walls are such a fun way to bring life to architecture and are all the rage for photo backdrops. Given the location of this wall and it's proximity to a lot of amazing things downtown, we wanted to share it with everyone.

Jeran and I generated a few ideas and landed on the first to be a pop-up shop. It so happened that market gathering was already happening within walking distance so we asked if we could jump on board and sponsor the whole day. In partnership with 17th Place Townhomes, we came alongside the already happening Second Saturday to make #chlorophyllwall a stop on a walking tour of the day's events. 

It was off to the races to plan this event quickly, strategically and on a small budget. I wanted this event to be impactful, but for the right reasons. We could bring people to the wall and take their picture and call it a day, but why not involve some local talent and make it more of a destination? 

Enter in a curated set of vendors, an all locally owned and operated amazing group of people!

Overall, the turnout was great and more than I expected. Our downtown is tricky on Saturdays, but having the support of Second Saturday and those that care about downtown, community and supporting local businesses, I call it a success for sure.

Some event behind the scenes for those curious on how to do an event like this on a budget...

  • ASK FOR HELP! Seriously, let people know what you're doing and where you need assistance!
  • Ask for collaborations! The lovely Stasie came up with a genius idea to involve Ghiladolce Bakery, having them create one of a kind #chlorophyllwall cookies for sale at Cafe Smitten the day of the event. If anyone asked or purchased, the barista would give them a card with our location and tell them more about the event happening down the street.
  • I drove awareness with a $30 event ad in Facebook running for 6 days prior to the event, capturing over 200 interests.
  • I designed and printed the materials, mainly a few posters and handouts.
  • Donations in the form of tables and table cloths were requested and fulfilled, thank you!
  • Photography was one of the hardest pieces to nail down, but thanks to Andrew Rodriguez, we got all these amazing photos you see here. Texting the night before and putting out an SOS really does work sometimes! 
  • Given the bright background and all the vendor's showcases, I wanted our vendors'  booths to shine and not distract from the wall. The only decor pulled together was large green balloons. The goal of the green balloons was to guide those at the other part of Second Saturday down the street to the wall where we were set up. The balloons may not have been the best idea, given it was windy and there were a lot of pokey things around where I placed them. Also, the helium tanks from Target are a joke! I need the heavy duty ones my mom used when she was a clown (another story for another day). Oh well! They looked good while they lasted!
  • Lastly, don't give up. I really wanted a food truck to be there. We had sno cones, but I wanted some substantial food options. Unfortunatly, nothing panned out since all food trucks in Kern County were booked 🤔 for 10-2 on Saturday, but you better believe I was hunting each of them down and emailing, Facebook messaging and texting until the day before. Even without the food trucks, it was a great event. 

To drive this home, putting the event on was a great learning process for me. I've been doing corporate events for years but never felt personally tied to or excited about. Sure, I wanted those events to succeed and to do a good job, but I was just a cog in the broader political wheel of a big company. This was something different. I think it boils down to the fact that I wanted to show that our downtown and people are worth celebrating and I took it personally. I took it as I'm providing a platform for others to share what their passionate about with our community which not only brings them up but the city as a whole. 

Sure, I wanted it bigger. I wanted more vendors. I wanted people to see creativity.  To just show up. To support those like Jeran who are doing amazing things for this town and elevating our design cred. I wanted people to come from other parts of town and see what cool things are happening downtown. I want them to see what I see and be excited.

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But, this is a start. A really cool one. 

THE BUSINESS of TODDLERHOOD [volume 1]

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I'd share a few tidbits I've learned from my toddler that have helped me in my business journey. He's a wise, old soul with a tenacity that doesn't quit

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  1. If you hear "no," ask again.
  2. Learning to walk is hard but running comes soon after.
  3. Be picky - your taste is one of a kind.
  4. Ask for help.
  5. Try your best to wake up with a smile on your face.
  6. If you do something awesome, treat yo' self.

Ok, most of those are super tongue in cheek pieces of "advice" - but stay with me here.

  1. If you hear "no," ask again.
    • I've heard this so many times as I've worked through proposals, idea pitches, the like. Keep pitching. This is not groundbreaking advice - we've heard it a million times before, every blogger, entrepreneur, what have you probably has a blog post or podcast on this. But, thinking from a toddler point-of-view can really drive it home - That thing behind the NO is all you can think about and you won't let it go. You can't, it's what drives you. Nothing else matters, so TRY AGAIN.
  2. Learning to walk is hard but running comes soon after.
    • We stumble, we fall. We cry for a while (all day, all night). We sulk. We brush it off. We get back up. We learn that it takes one foot in front of another. Slowly it starts to pay off. Then we can't do anything else but walk, so we walk faster. Then we run. 
  3. Be picky - your taste is one of a kind.
    • Toddlerhood is rough and food decisions are one of our biggest pain points. A picky toddler can turn a great morning into a crazy power play. If I'm trying to not think about this morning's episode and take something from it, it's that being picky is actually a good thing as a business owner. From who you hire, to what type of projects are right for you - being picky propels you forward and keeps you in alignment with your goals. 
  4. Ask for help.
    • Once my son could talk, I wanted him to learn how to ask for help. The whole non-verbal babyness was hard for me, I never knew what he wanted. Once he could at least point or ask for help, it became so much easier. The guessing game was over (well, almost over. try reasoning with a 2-year old that popsicles aren't on the menu for breakfast). My point is that there will always be a time where you can either go it alone and wish you had help OR you could just ask for it from the beginning. The first option leaves you open for resentment and wishes while the other builds community and relationships. Just do it, ask for help. It's not a weakness to ask for help, it's actually the strongest thing you can do.
  5. Try your best to wake up with a smile on your face.
    • Besides the few days when he's woken up with a stuffy face cold, I'm almost always greeted with a "hi mama!" and some resemblance of "good morning!" How wonderful is it to face the day with that type of optimism and happiness? I suppose adulting shapes us into skeptical and cynical folk, but if we could just start the day in a happy, centered way, I'd bet that your day goes so much smoother. When I worked out in the morning on a normal basis [i'm trying to get back, really I am] - those days were filled with energy and clarity. I loved that about working out in the morning. It was hard to get up but by the time work came around, I was ready because I had already smashed the hardest part of the day. 
  6. If you do something awesome, treat yo' self.
    • Self-explanatory. Works for toddlers & works for adults.